Five Watch-Out PR Factors in Korea in 2012

Sungbong Lee is is President of Prain, Ketchum’s exclusive affiliate partner in Korea..

As the New Year starts, it is the time to think and make good predictions of forthcoming issues. Of course the local issues differ country to country, but the general picture and trends are shared around the globe.

Here are five major issues  Korean PR will face in 2012.

1. The power of social networking services (SNS). Last October, SNS has emerged as an influential political leverage by proving its power in Seoul mayoral by-election. The emerging tool prompted many voters, especially the young people, to head to the polls at the last minute giving social activist Park Won-soon an overwhelming victory. This has alerted many politicians about the importance of communication that is truthful and persuasive. Efforts to woo SNS-savvy voters are taken into actions immediately, resulting many to develop SNS platforms such as Twitter and Facebook ahead of two key –parliamentary and presidential– elections this year.

2. Launch of four new integral cable TV channels –Treat or Threat? Four general programming cable channels operated by Korea’s major conservative dailies started its services in December 2011. Increases in the number news programs in the new cable channels are possibly a good sign in terms of increasing PR platforms, but a new form of investigative reporting may emerge to increase the viewership and influence.

3. International mega events. The 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in March will be the largest summit in the security field with participation from more than 50 heads of state and international organizations. In fact, the hosing of the Summit in Seoul is significant where the direction and possible provocation of North Korea is raising global concerns after the death of Kim Jong-Il. Korean government, as was the case with G20 Summit in Seoul in 2010, will stage national campaign to draw consensus among citizens. Also, the world’s largest sports festival, the Olympic Games, will be held in London in July and the large volume of sports marketing activities by Korean corporations will be a topic of conversation.

4. Increasing social welfare awareness. Social welfare is the key political issue all around the world. Global economic depression has triggered the fights against social inequality and emphasized the importance of social welfare. Currently, establishment of reasonable welfare policy is a concern for many people in South Korea. To reflect such interests, demand for healthcare PR is likely to increase as well as both the public and private welfare services.

5. Online PR performance measurement. No matter how big and what industry you are in, the online communication based on various SNS platforms is now a must-to-do activity for all customer based corporations. Many companies initially have jumped into the SNS pool without much thought, after seeing its influential power and success of the small pioneers. There is no doubt that the online tools are important in modern days, but this now raises the new question: how effective is it? With continuous development and complication of online platforms, the scientific and logical measurements of online PR will be in demand in the near future.

Good insights of future trends will be a crucial characteristic for everyone in PR, in fact, in any industry. More importantly, all the possibilities of unexpected events should always be considered with flexible manner when developing PR strategies.