New buzzword arrives in Seoul

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New buzzword arrives in Seoul

Janssen Korea, a pharmaceutical subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, believes in “thought leadership,” an up-and-coming leadership style that focuses on advancing the marketplace with innovative ideas and new perspectives on behalf of consumers and clients.

Last month, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety approved the release to the market of Janssen Korea’s Sirturo, a treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, which does not respond to frontline TB drugs. Janssen’s new drug, the company says, is the first new drug mechanism for the disease in 40 years.

“Our definition of thought leadership is a style of leadership that understands social issues and problems from a broad perspective before anyone else, based on expertise,” said an official from Janssen Korea, noting that the idea of thought leadership is attractive at a time when society is becoming more complex. “The definition also includes proposing solutions and a course of actions to those problems and issues,” the official continued.

According to the company, there had been a perception in society that tuberculosis was a disease of olden times, that there were already enough treatments on the market and thus no more was needed.

“Janssen, however, flipped over that perception and developed a new treatment for patients that are resistant to existing drugs,” the official said.

Although the term “thought leadership” is not a buzzword in Korea, the jargon is gaining ground globally. Last year, Forbes published an article on thought leadership, defining it as “becoming an authority on relevant topics by delivering the answers to the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience.”

Among the benefits of thought leadership, Forbes said, was that “by communicating thought leadership you become part of the conversation, early in the buying journey. You allow your audience to get to know you.”

More companies in Korea are taking notice and adopting the style.

Samsung Life Insurance, for example, introduced a mobile-device insurance service, which conducts some of the explanations of an insurance policy to people who often find it difficult to spare time from their schedules to meet a sales representative in person. AXA sells auto insurance on mobile apps (See article, Page 5). Paris Baguette, the ubiquitous bakery chain, is also a practitioner of thought leadership. Thinking that consumers tended to worry about the sugar contained in a loaf of bread, it recently started selling a sugar-free bread.

BY lee eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]


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