The following is the fourth in a six-part series of articles on "Blue Ocean of Digital Hallyu (the Korean Wave)" contributed by Cho Yong-joon, Executive Director, Division of Public Relations & Project of the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunities and Promotion (KADO). ...Ed..
Discovering a new national brand should be a prudent decision. But, it is actually not such a difficult matter. One of the best ways is to seek new brand through public support. If do so, I'd like to suggest "Digital Wonderland" as the new national brand. Wonderland reminds us of the pleasant and interesting fantasy of the Disney movie, "Alice in Wonderland."
Digital Wonderland means that a country made of digital exists "somewhere over the rainbow," like the famous music of the Alice in Wonderland, and it is South Korea.
In fact, we can really feel the "Digital Hallyu" overseas. We often access news that Korea's digital products, technologies and services are sweeping world-famous shops in foreign countries. However, it is difficult to actually feel the enormous power of Digital Hallyu because such products, technologies and services always exist near us.
However, the situation changes when we go to foreign countries. When we see a Korean-made TV in a hotel room or a Korean-made LCD board guiding flight schedules at an international airport while staying abroad, we are deeply impressed with it.
Of course, the present level of the Digital Hallyu has already surpassed this level because we can often see advertisements of domestic electronics companies anywhere in the global village. Even we can see advertisements of domestic electronics companies in Iran, which nearly closed its door to abroad since the Islamic Revolution, and in Iraq where terrorist attacks occur frequently. An official of Samsung Electronics joked, "Samsung Electronics always builds an advertisement tower in the places where terrors will occur."
In case of Samsung Electronics, the nation's largest electronics maker, its overseas sales account for about 80 percent of the total sales.
In 2004, the consolidated sales of Samsung Electronics reached 81.9 trillion won in 2004, exceeding the 80 trillion won mark for the first time.
Of the total, the overseas sales came to 63.6 trillion won, accounting for 77.7 percent of the total sales. Like this, we can feel instantly how great and how valuable the Digital Hallyu is when we are abroad.
Middle East Digital Hallyu
Although the influencing power of the Digital Hallyu is not confined to a specific region, I'd like to introduce the Digital Hallyu in the Middle East first.
In particular, I'd like to mention about social contribution activities by Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran.
I selected the Middle East region to show that the Digital Hallyu is rapidly spreading all over the world, even to such dangerous places studded with terrors and war.
Dubai is the biggest commercial city and tourism city of UAE. In the center of Dubai, there is the Al Maktoum Bridge with heavy traffic volume. On the bridge, Samsung Electronics established 68 advertisement boards. As many people in Dubai have to walk across the bridge almost every day, so they have to see Samsung Electronics' advertisement boards.
In addition, the bridge is under the traffic jam situation almost all day long, enhancing the Samsung Electronics' advertisement effects greatly. In the past, the Dubai City banned commercial advertisements on the bridge. However, Samsung Electronics managed to get the restriction liftedby making allout efforts, and enjoyed high advertisement effects on the bridge. In particular, the advertisement effects of Samsung Electronics on the bridge jumped scores of times as Dubai has cemented its position as the hub of the Middle East and oil dollar billionaires of the Middle East and Russia frequently visited the city for shopping.
Shocked by the enormous advertisement effects, Nokia, which is falling behind Samsung Electronics in the mobile phone market, requested the Dubai government to withdraw its advertisement contract with Samsung.
Accordingly, we can say that the Samsung's advertisement on the Al Maktoum Bridge is the symbol of the Digital Hallyu heralding that the Koreanmade digital goods are the best in the world.
The Middle East and Africa Headquarters of Samsung Electronics in Dubai covers 72 countries in the Middle East and Africa.
In the region, Samsung raked in $3.5 billion in sales last year. Of the total sales, 48 percent came from mobile phones, 29 percent from Brown tubes, and 22 percent from white-collar home appliances.
The marketing strategy of Samsung Electronics in the Middle Eat is focused on high-end products as women in the Middle East are very luxurious and have a strong voice in their families.
In 2003, Samsung Electronics organized a fashion show only for 70 princesses and aristocrats of UAE. All participants held Samsung-made mobile phones in their hands.
Samsung aimed at the noble image of its mobile phones by showing that princesses and aristocrats of UAE are carrying Samsung-made mobile phones. According to a survey of consumers in eight countries in the Middle East and Africa on awareness conducted in October 2004, the unaided awareness of Samsung Electronics was 55.4 percent and the aided awareness was 96.1 percent.
It indicates that 96 out of the 100 persons surveyed know Samsung in case of suggesting the company name, and more than half know Samsung in case of offering no hint.
The above table shows that Samsung Electronics falls behind Nokia in the unaided awareness, but surpasses Sony in terms of both unaided and aided awareness.
Noteworthy was that only Samsung has succeeded in enhancing the awareness against all the others suffering a drop in the awareness.
The remarkable improvement in the awareness of Samsung does not only from its active advertisement activities but also from its success of localization strategy through aggressive social contribution activities.
For instance, Samsung delivered relief supplies to earthquake victims in Iran, becoming the only private company in its kind.
On April 6 last year, Samsung delivered $200,000 in relief funds, including $100,000 worth of its electronics products), to a non-government organization (NGO) in Iran to help earthquake victims and their families. In fact, Korean companies have maintained very special position in Iran. Since the Islamic Revolution, most Western and Japanese enterprises evacuated from Iran or cut their trade with Iranian counterparts.
However, Samsung and other Korean enterprises have continued their brisk marketing activities.
Under the recognition that crisis is a chance, Samsung has staged brisk marketing activities and most of its products succeeded in securing the No. 1 position in the market share in Iran. Accordingly, we can say that Samsung Electronics has succeeded in seeking Blue Ocean in the Iranian market.
Besides, Samsung has staged a variety of social service activities in the Middle East, including financial supports for medical facilities in Iraq and Palestine and free replacement service for computer monitors of hospitals and universities in Iran.
In particular, Samsung is strengthening its marketing activities for boosting women's external activities in the Middle East.
In June 2003, Samsung Electronics held the "Olympic Day Run" event, a short-distance race, with some 25,000 Iranian women in attendance. It was the first collective activities of Iranian women since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.