Jandi Kim, Senior Account Executive, The Hoffman Agency Korea


Korean Version

Established at Silicon Valley in 1987, The Hoffman Agency has provided comprehensive PR support to a variety of clients all over the world, and is now celebrating its 20th anniversary in Asia. Throughout its history, the Agency has actively responded to various industry changes to develop a client-centric business model.

One notable change we focus on is “digitalization.” As with any other industry, PR’s transition to a digital environment has completely changed the advertising platform for both media and companies. To celebrate the 20th anniversary in Asia, let’s take a look at “Three Strategies in Digital PR” we have been emphasizing in reaction to the digital transition, the biggest and ongoing change of the past 20 years.

#1. Organic Search, the First and Foremost Step for PR in the Digital Environment

Suppose you are looking for a fine restaurant you have never been to in an unfamiliar place. How can you find one that brings you a “flavorgasm”? The first thought that comes to mind would be “internet searching.” It is not just about the restaurant. If you are a contemporary consumer armed with a laptop, smartphone or wearable device, the first thing you do before buying a product, looking for a service or traveling is to type in the keywords you want in the internet search engine.

search engine optimization graphic

Therefore, “organic search” has become the most significant strategy for all companies. Organic search refers to the results that are exposed naturally in the information flood when an individual searches for a specific keyword. It is in contrast to “search advertisement,” which is to pay a certain fee to the search engine to generate a particular result to a search. While the cost-effectiveness of search advertising is declining, the importance and effects of organic research are increasing.

In order to expose your brand and service most effectively by organic search, you must understand the search habits of consumers. By looking at what and how target consumers search before their purchase, you can tailor the content relevant to those keywords and make it naturally show up when searching. It is also important to provide customized information and optimized “User Experience” by understanding the consumer’s search purpose. The more valuable information you provide and the more user-friendly interface you support, the more successfully you will lead the consumers to the company website or purchasing page from the search results.

#2. Storytelling, Clicking on Consumer Empathy Through Social Media

Countless, unlimited information is being generated and shared every day. However, most of it just passes through our minds and disappears. Rocket-science product details full of numbers and all sorts of rhetorical self-adoring ad phrases exhaust consumers. Of course, certain stories click with people. These stories are not only memorable, but bring a lot of empathy. They’re shared with other consumers and ultimately bring out the desired consumer behavior.

Typewriter with "what's your story" written

With the advent of social media, where companies can communicate directly with the consumers on sites such as YouTube and Facebook, the significance of storytelling has shown a tremendous increase. Through social media channels, companies are now able to deliver their stories to consumers in a more friendly and constant manner. Although the basic information might be the same, there exists huge difference between just reading a company’s ad phrase and watching a character actually delivering the ad to you. In the same context, rather than just reading the numerical information of 2.7 billion children suffering from hunger in Africa, a tough life story of an African boy named Didier will elicit much more sympathy.

It’s the same in today’s digitalized PR environment. By bringing out a story on top of your services and products, it can make your brand powerful, valuable and unique. This is why we need to concentrate more on storytelling.

#3. Visual Communication, Seeing is Believing

You’ve heard the phrase, “Seeing is believing.” It means that no matter how many times you hear about something, one look is way better. There is also the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” which emphasizes the real power of a picture.

For “contemporary” people who need catch up on the daily information flood by smartphone on their way to work, even 140 words of tweeting can become boring. In fact in Korea, 70 percent of mobile data is used in watching videos. One exquisite image or one touching video delivers the message more intuitively, therefore grabbing the consumer’s attention.

Big Bang Timeline

Visual communication is not just for PR either. Recently, the use of visualized infographics of various data has soared in the news. In 2015 the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral after celebrities uploaded videos of dumping buckets of ice on themselves. Videos of celebrities cleaning off their makeup or putting on makeup in front of the camera have become the most recent popular ad strategy of cosmetic companies. Furthermore, outdoor brands creating VR videos to give consumers the simulated experience of climbing the Himalayas is also a part of visual communication. Now, such visual communication is evolving into a new phase to deliver vibrant experiences to consumers.

Are these strategies helpful to you? At The Hoffman Agency, we constantly hold internal training sessions to discuss the current changes in the media environment and develop new strategies. Just as it has for the past 20 years, The Hoffman Agency will continue to keep up the good work to become the best PR consulting agency that provides the best client service.