Hiding at the bottom of the goody-bag we were handed at the Korea Tourism Organisation’s “Korea, Sparkling” launch ten days ago was a little booklet which you could almost have missed. But for those who are puzzled as to what “Korea, Sparkling” is all about, the booklet contains some of the answers. It is published by the Korean Tourism Organisation, but reading the language of the booklet, it looks like much of the material was provided by the branding consultants who came up with the “Korea, Sparkling” concept. One thing which the booklet makes clear is that “Korea, Sparkling” is a tourism brand and is not intended to replace the “Dynamic Korea” national brand (if that makes sense).
For those prepared to give the concept a chance, here’s the text of the booklet in full. Apologies for the slightly faint images: my scanner is very cheap.
1 Background Information
A distinct brand to convey Korea’s allure as a tourist destination was needed. Tourism is predicted to become the major economic growth engine for the next-generation and by 2008, the sector is expected to contribute 20% to global GDP. Aggressive marketing and destination branding are becoming common in all corners of the globe. Korea’s tourism brand, “Korea, Sparkling” will be a powerful medium that captures the hearts of consumers with the essence and charm unique to Korea.
2 Connection to National Brand
“Korea, Sparkling” is a strategic brand to promote Korea’s tourism sector. Korea has a national brand that exemplifies its economic, social and cultural facets – Dynamic Korea. What was needed was a strategic brand to nurture the tourism industry. The tourism brand had to be connected with the national brand while piquing interest in Korea among global travelers. As a symbol of the local travel industry, “Korea, Sparkling” will effectively deliver the benefits Korean tourism has to offer to people around the world.
3 Development Process
“Korea, Sparkling” was conceived after exploring the best way to verbally and visually express Korea’s unique traits. The key to brand development was in finding the words and images that best portray Korea. A survey of 8,000 people in 17 countries showed that Korea’s key tourism assets are: its
- unique culture,
- friendly people,
- pristine nature and
- vibrant cities.
The survey findings served as the basis for the brand concept and the subsequent formation of brand elements and communications program.
4 Brand Concept
The underlying spirit of “Korea, Sparkling” is “Emotional Dynamism”. “Emotional Dynamism” is the fountainhead and energy behind the passion of the Korean people, Korea’s colorful personality and its creative culture. “Korea, Sparkling” embodies the vitality and enthusiasm that can only be experienced in Korea, and it evokes the powerful emotions and dynamism of Korean people and culture.
5 Brand Value
The vitality offered by Korean tourism will be conveyed through its vibrant culture. The messages we hope to convey are based on the following values:
- Lively – Dynamism springing from Korea’s colorful culture and four distinct seasons
- Passionate – Passion and energy that shape Korea
- Progressive – Constant generation of new trends and technologies
- Creative – Originality and foresight that sparked the “Korean Wave”
- Friendly – Hospitality and warmth of th Korean people
6 Visual Communications
The symbol of “Korea, Sparkling” is a “window” into Korea’s tradition and future that portrays the vibrant images of the nation.
The visual identity of “Korea, Sparkling” combines the past with the future. It expresses Korea’s traditional legacy and progressive spirit using a “window” as a motif. The window conveys the vibrant “inner emotion” of Korea while providing “inner space” that allows global travelers to imagine and experience their own version of “Korea, Sparkling”.
Consonants from the Korean alphabet, the sleeve of Korea’s traditional dress (hanbok), the pinwheel-like emblem on traditional Korean shields, and two hands forming a window were used to create the symbol.
Through the “window,” people can meet the “sparkling” Korea of their imagination. The soft curves of hanbok were blended with refined and simple lines to form the outer lines.
The colors red and blue, the central colors of the Korean national flag, were used as a basis for the initial color scheme. Colors adapted from Joseon Dynasty royal attire were then added for a uniquely Korean hue and an image of flapping silk gives the entire design a dynamic and three-dimensional appearance. The meeting of cold and warm colors connotes the yin and yang in Oriental philosophy and it also hints at the “sparkling” taste of Korean food, which is flavored by a fusion of seasonings.
The logotype strikes an optimal balance through a vertical representation of the strong and the weak, along with beauty that is neither too sedate nor too bold. The arrangement of the letters in the work “Sparkling” expresses freedom and dynamism while reemphasizing balance and order.
7 Brand Applications
A great deal of effort and support is needed to cultivate “Korea, Sparkling” as a global tourism brand. Consistent delivery of the values behind the brand will be vital to distinguish Korea from the countless destinations worldwide. For the brand to fully serve its purpose, it must have sustainability and the power to inspire. To make “Korea, Sparkling” a success, every Korean citizen will work together.
- Korea lacks ‘sparkle’ for tourists, JoongAng Daily, 17 August 2007