Will Euh Yoon-dae Polish Korea’s Image Globally?
Thirty to forty years ago the notion of a hotel owner receiving government assistance for the promotion of a region or a country was laughable in many countries. Today virtually every country hosts a government agency or ministry tasked with tourism promotion.
The 1980s brought about the concept of the 'global village' largely because advances in communications and transportation facilitated international communication and corporate expansion to virtually every corner of the world. Financial institutions and economies adapted to this trend, spawning global mega corporations.
At varying speeds, governments realized that foreign direct investment and increased trade were now something they could influence to their favor. Political factors such as the end of the Cold War, China's embrace of capitalism and India's economic development were all influenced by, and played a part in, the speed at which our global village was created.
More recently, the concept of nation branding emerged. Individuals and the few companies that began developing and marketing the concept were initially treated with skepticism.
Today we are living this reality and competition amongst regions and nations is no longer confined to developed economies but a prerequisite for every nation in the world.
Investment, trade and tourism have to be won, and these pillars of national economies can no longer compete in isolation of one another as effectively as when they pool their resources and develop common goals and strategies.
Such branding on a national level should not take away from sectorial marketing and communications initiatives but rather enhance and support a holistic approach that recognizes and adds to the competitiveness of each sector, region and industry. A country or region's image, reputation, cultural and social appeal and the like all play an increasingly important role.
The common thread in these three trends is recognizing the opportunity, which South Korea, to its credit, has done at the highest level. This top-level leadership is an important element in fully succeeding with the branding process. The challenge now facing President Lee Myung-bak and his newly-chosen Brand Korea tsar Euh Yoon-dae, is to determine how to effectively mold and manage Koreas brand and reap the benefits for the nation as a whole.
The challenge is further complicated by the world's current bleak economic outlook, something that will re-shape the global financial landscape and the political significance of certain nations, at least in the short term.