Global Newsmaker: Ken Hong

The LG Electronics global comms director tells PRWeek Global about his lifelong dream to get rid of advertising value equivalency (AVE).

LG Electronics' Ken Hong
LG Electronics' Ken Hong

Seoul-based Ken Hong hit the headlines earlier this year when he awarded the LG Electronics' mammoth PR business to a WPP combination of agencies called ‘LG-One'.

How is your week going?

Today (Friday, 27 November) has been quite a challenge, as has the week, because it's all about preparations for next year. As part of the realignment with the agencies, we've entirely revamped our measurement system which takes a lot of training and briefing and we're trying to roll that out in the New Year. We're moving away from AVEs towards more qualitative measurement. It's something I've dreamed of doing my whole life.

What do you expect from 2010?

I'm very positive. In terms of people's expectations as well as the business. Our biggest PR challenge is to standardise our operations globally. That is my only focus. Our PR spend will stay the same for the most part because we are still looking to find efficiencies.

How worried were you about setting up a totally new structure like LG-One?

It was a bit of blind faith, but good blind faith. I was very confident that it was something that could be done successfully. It is taking time but we have a three-year goal. Within those three years, we think it's very do-able. Being a Korean company, I had a lot more insight into what LG was capable of and, after WPP came out the winner, I was confident that based on their past experience, we could do it together.

How does your background as a Korean-American help you in your current role?

I'm probably much more Korean than I am American after having lived abroad for 15 years. Then again, I'm also a foreigner when it comes to Korea. It's very beneficial from the point of view of, having done PR in four different countries, there's a lot of similarities but there are also nuances and differences I understand pretty well. Obviously, working at HQ in Seoul, you need to be able to speak the language - and people treat me as a local.

What is the biggest challenge facing the PR industry?

It's about rebuilding reputations that have fallen over the course of the recession. We need to rebuild some of that confidence and credibility with the general public.

What is the one media channel you could not live without?

I love Twitter. I don't know how useful it will be for a business but from the perspective of a PR practitioner, being able to share perspectives and thoughts with a wide spectrum of people, its much more helpful. I wonder how I survived without it before. I encourage everybody to get on it.

Last retweet?

RT @LouHoffman My 3 cents on the curriculum to ready tomorrow's comms professionals - #pr (I couldn't agree more, Lou!)



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