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Monday, January 4, 2010

Wherefore art thou, Weber Shandwick Korea?


A few months ago, Weber Shandwick (not sandwich, SHANDWICK) made a "pledge" to open an office in Korea before they end of the year (2009). You can read about their promise (now broken) here. For whatever reason, they have never had a presence in one of Asia's biggest markets. Realizing their misguided strategy, they poached a guy named Tyler Kim from Edelman Korea. Tyler's a good PR guy but maybe this assignment was too much for him? Or was it too difficult for Weber Shandwick to handle? They have NOT been doing too well in Asia recently, that's for sure.

Anyway, they made this pledge more four months ago and yet, they still have no Korea office listed on their website, only an "affiliate" (In marketing-speak this is a local office that you farm work out to because you are too cheap or poorly managed to have an office there. You tell your clients, "sure, we have a great local team" when you've probably never even met them and have no idea of their competency or lack thereof). Based on experience, it is REALLY not that hard to get at least a small presence up and running within a few months. Perhaps this doesn't bode well for them.

In the marketing game we believe in something (maybe there are other things, but this one I'm sure of): under-promise, over-deliver. It means, for example, you say "we'll have our Korea office open within 6 months or so" and then you have it open in 5 months and everyone is like "wow, they did better than expected." This is why Amazon.com (et al) tells you the stuff you ordered will arrive in 7 days and they get it to you in 3 days. They know it will impress you, it will make you happy. There is only backlash if you do the opposite: over-promise, under-deliver. If Amazon.com had said you'll get it in 3 days but it takes 7 days, you'll be pissed off. If a PR company says they'll be open by the end of they year, and they're not, people start to question their integrity and their ability to deliver.

HOW is a prospective client of Weber Shandwick Korea to believe ANYTHING they say? Looks like they need some lessons in the basics. Remember guys, UNDER-promise, OK?

Thanks for reading.
-Jonathan

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