The Korea brandIn an industrialized society, wealth and quality of service determine a nation’s competitiveness. This is not so in a knowledge-based society.
In the latter case, the overall image of the tangible and intangible assets of a country, such as its political, economic, social and cultural environments, decide national competitiveness.
This is why corporations these days invest so much on design and hold brand value in such high esteem. When a brand earns confidence in the market, sales start to rise and value-added benefits soar.
In this sense, a report from the Hyundai Research Institute that the brand value of Korea as a nation ranks 32nd out of 38 countries is not a matter to be taken lightly.
In many studies, Korea is viewed positively for its fast economic growth, attractive electronic goods, diligent people and its hosting of the Olympics and the World Cup.
But negative images associated with Korea, of a divided nation which is home to violent protests and militarist dictatorships, still overshadow the good.
We rightly feel that these conceptions are unfair when our semiconductors, cell phones, automobiles and shipbuilding industry are rated as tops in the world. But despite its economic progress, it is a harsh reality in the world market that Korea’s national brand sits below the average.
Last year, Korea’s GDP fell to 13th place after China, Brazil and India. There is a possibility that Russia and Mexico will soon catch up with us.
If we stay as we are now, we are never going to become a developed industrialized country. We will be left behind as an ordinary semi-developed nation.
Of course, where we are now is only the outcome of several decades, worth of progress. Now we have to start building a national brand. In economics, there is a theory that explains how the image and even the cost of a product are greatly influenced by the name of the country in which it is produced.
National brand is also an important factor in luring foreign investment and tourists. So it is urgent that we start thinking about brand management for our future. To manage brand value, it is important to nurture a positive image, while lessening the negatives.
We should find a wise way to prevent strikes by big labor unions or provocative comments from North Korea. In this way, we can raise our national competitiveness and our country will be treated as well as it deserves to be treated.