Medicom was established in 1997 and is the largest domestic agency of its kind in Korea. A focal point of the agreement for Burson-Marsteller will be developing digital and social-media capabilities specifically suited to the local market. Content creation, an area of expertise for Medicom, is also expected to be a priority.
Medicom will benefit from the support of Burson-Marsteller’s global network. The companies will work together on new business development inside and outside Korea, and will be able to offer each other’s services to existing clients where applicable. Margaret Key, the market leader and representative director of Burson-Marsteller Korea, said in a statement that the partnership combined “Burson-Marsteller’s global reach and strategic communications experience with Medicom’s extensive digital expertise and unmatched local capabilities”.
Key told Campaign Asia-Pacific that it is important to have a thorough understanding of the unique digital platforms in Korea in order to communicate effectively on behalf of non-Korean client companies. Introducing Korean companies to a global audience was equally important but somewhat less of a challenge, she said.
Common client demands include content creation and the ability to identify the appropriate channel to develop communities on. “Every client has a different need,” Key said. “We need to be creating customised programmes that go beyond the traditional media base.”
Jae-kook Lee, Medicom’s president, said that with the Korean digital environment having evolved to such an extent, there was now the potential for Korea to become “the teacher rather than the student” with regard to digital communications. Although Korea has its own digital ecosystem, he said that certain practices and models could be applied to good effect in other markets.
In addition, Lee pointed to a growing segment of Korean companies outside the likes of Samsung, LG and Hyundai, such as Hanwha, seeking to expand overseas. Communication, and in particular its localisation, naturally plays an important role in that expansion, he said. “Many Korean companies want to go overseas, but at this point, only about three are doing PR in the appropriate way. The problem is the mindset. They don’t know the world and don’t know how to build brands. Development is needed.”