Setting slant on reality key to sales

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Setting slant on reality key to sales

“A bed is science.”

This advertising slogan was introduced in Korea 18 years ago and is considered a cliche today.

However, the slogan changed the country’s furniture business for good. Besides looks and practicality, whether or not a bed is designed for one’s health has emerged as a key factor when purchasing such an item. Specialist bed companies also came about at this time while beds with price tags of more than $9,743 emerged.

The framing war is fierce in business. Although clear academic theories have yet be formulated, companies have learned from experience that how consumers perceive reality is directly related to sales.

The latest example can be found in the telecommunications industry. LG U+, the smallest among the three mobile carriers in Korea, came up with the slogan “We are 100 percent, real LTE,” referring to the latest generation of wireless communication technology. LG U+ was targeting SK Telecom and KT, which have adopted LTE-A, a different frequency usage that is considered slower.

“Our market share actually rose by one percentage point,” said Kang Shin-gu, one of the company’s publicists. SKT fought back, stating “LTE is for everyone, but LTE-A isn’t.”

Innovative framing tactics tend to be successful in business. In the late 1990s, Daewoo’s Leganza model was a hit with the advertising slogan “Shh,” referring to how it drives without making much noise. Other automakers were promoting their cars with a focus on mileage, fuel efficiency and affordability during that period.

Another noticeable change in the way Korean businesses today use framing, according to Yeo Jun-sang, a professor of business administration at Dongguk University, is being open about negative aspects, or potential negative aspects, of products.

For instance, instant coffee maker Namyang adopted the slogan “coffee without Casein [sodium caseinate].” The substance falls into the category of possibly unhealthy substances that coffee makers in the past wouldn’t talk openly about.

“As people’s income increases and the quality of their lives gets better, they are more interested in what’s safe and what could eliminate potential danger factors,” said Yeo.

BY CHOI MIN-WOO [hkim@joongang.co.kr]





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