SEOUL: The Government Information Office (GIO), the South Korean
government’s national PR department, has turned for the first time to a
private PR agency to provide technical assistance with its
Communications Korea, one of South Korea’s oldest home-grown firms, won
the two-month project in a seven-way pitch.
The project brief is to overhaul some of the communications methods
currently being used by GIO. Seven agencies pitched in the first round,
which was whittled down to a shortlist of four.
The consulting alliance scheme, which is the first of its kind in the
country, was set up after the former National PR Office changed its name
to the GIO. The rebranding came about after the previous name was deemed
to be too dictatorial.
By introducing private sector PR strategies, the government body hopes
to make itself more accessible to the general public, according to
Jay-woong Yoo, head of publicity and co-ordination and bureau director
general for the GIO.
’The age when public relations follows government policy making is
over,’ added Yoo. ’Now is the time that policy making should go
hand-in-hand with public relations.’
This break with tradition seems to have started a trend, as other
governmental organisations are reportedly now seeking the same or
similar kinds of agreements with South Korea’s PR agencies.
GIO has started a free e-mail club service, featuring daily news clips
on events held by South Korea’s 51 local governmental organisations,
both at home and overseas.
Burson-Marsteller has completed the acquisition of its South Korean
joint-venture partner, Merit Communications. Burson-Marsteller has owned
a 25 per cent stake in South Korea’s largest PR firm since 1996. The
group will operate under the name Merit/Burson-Marsteller. Merit
co-founder Bill Rylance takes on a new role with B-M in Hong Kong;
fellow founder Bryan Matthews remains with Merit/Burson-Marsteller.