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[Best Brand] Innovative marketing enhances brand power

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 27, 2023 - 16:10

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Brand power refers to the influence the name holds over the spending behavior of consumers, which can also be used to predict future spending patterns.

Merely offering a good-quality product based on decades of expertise no longer entices the fickle consumers. This, on the other hand, also means there is more opportunity for lesser-known products with innovative marketing strategies to quickly advance into markets once dominated by conventional brands.

Since 1994, The Korea Herald has been releasing a list of the most-loved brands to acknowledge their market presence. By selecting brands that are representative of South Korea by category, this annual feature touts the companies that have excelled in their respective fields.

Coway solidifies top position in bidet market

HOME APPLIANCE

COWAY

South Korean home appliance maker Coway has been a leader in the bidet market since the launch of its world's first bidet with a sterilization function in 2009.

The firm is maintaining its dominant position in the domestic bidet market with its new products that have enhanced self-sterilizing functions.

While more than 40 percent of households in Korea have secured bidets as their core home appliances, Coway’s latest product, the BAS40-A, has garnered much popularity among bidet users due to its differentiated hygiene and cleaning power.

The premium bidet's self-sterilizing features take care of the inner parts of the products' hygiene meticulously. Electrolyzed water made from a 99 percent sterilization certified module regularly maintains the product and the sterilizing water spray with a wider angle powerfully cleans even the top of the pottery.

The nozzle made of stainless steel is resistant to contamination and is sterilized twice more before and after use to relieve users' concerns about hygiene. The nozzle tip, which can come into direct contact with contaminants, can be separated and replaced, improving management convenience.

For consumers who are unsatisfied with the weak water pressure of existing bidets, the home appliance maker equipped a three-stage water flow system to the device, allowing users to choose various cleaning modes depending on their condition.

Coway also unveiled the BAS39A, a product tailored for old buildings and restrooms located on high-rise buildings that struggle to install bidets due to weak water pressure.

"We're enhancing our technological competitiveness by actively reflecting consumers' feedback on the overall products, including powerful automatic sterilization technology, customized cleaning functions and installation environment," a Coway official said.

Coway is set to strengthen its position as a market leader with its flagship product, Lulu, which has become the standard for bidets, the official added.

Dong-A Otsuka unveils new Narangd Cider

ZERO-CALORIE BEVERAGE

NARANGD CIDER

Dong-A Otsuka, Korea’s leading beverage maker, has launched white grape kombucha-flavored Narangd Cider, to respond to demand for a variety of healthy carbonated drinks that can be enjoyed at home.

Officially titled "Narangd Cider White Kombucha," the latest product marks the third edition of the company’s zero-calorie, zero-sugar carbonated beverage brand, following the launch of pineapple and green apple in August last year.

To enhance the flavor, kombucha and white grape juice have been added to Narangd Cider Zero.

“We released this new product to fulfill the needs of consumers who increasingly seek diverse options in zero-calorie beverages," said the brand official.

"We hope that this new product, combining the fizziness of Nareung Cider Zero with the unique tangy sweetness of kombucha and white grape juice, will garner much attention and love from our customers.”

To celebrate the launch of the product, the beverage maker recently held a tasting event at the company’s headquarters, actively promoting the new drink among its employees as well.

Available in both 250-milliliter cans and 400-milliliter bottles, the new drink can be purchased both online and offline, the company added.

As the nation’s leading beverage maker, Dong-A Otsuka, has been producing various healthy drinks including its flagship electrolyte drink, Pocari Sweat, and fruit-flavored vitamin drink, Confidence, among others.

Zyx Technology leads homegrown design software

CAD SOFTWARE

ZYXCAD

South Korean design software developer Zyx Technology is increasing its market share in the architectural industry with its own computer-aided design and artificial intelligence-based interior design software.

ZyxCAD was launched in 2022 as an affordable alternative to a widely used subscription-based overseas CAD. Users only have to pay once to get permanent access to the homegrown design program, helping to reduce costs.

Its user interface and functions are designed to be almost compatible with the overseas CAD, enhancing user convenience. The company also adopted an application program titled “Works” to help automate some 200 repeatable works in civil, architecture and utility design.

This year, Zyx Technology also developed the Zyx AI Designer, an interior design software that minimizes simple repetitive tasks via AI-based process automation to boost efficiency. With the software, the designers can simply analyze basic data such as building performance and focus on more creative parts of the design process.

Zyx AI Designer also suggests diverse plans for the arrangement and placement of furniture or facilities within a space, based on architectural data collected in the early stages of design. The users then can visualize the data into a three-dimensional model via computer graphics.

Zyx Technology is planning to build an Application Programming Interface to integrate the interior design software with ZyxCAD and allow third parties to freely develop diverse software applications on the platform.

Targeting budget-conscious, small-sized architectural firms, Zyx Technology is ramping up its presence in the nation’s architectural market. The company is also aiming to reach out to potential clients abroad and promote the competitiveness of Korean software, with an aim to sell 3,000 copies of its software overseas.

Dongwoo secures firmer footing in construction market

CONSTRUCTION

DONGWOO

With flexible management as its core value, Dongwoo Construction has managed to respond to various needs in the rapidly evolving construction environment, securing a strong foothold in the sector.

Over the past three decades, the company has won major construction projects through consortium procurement with top-tier construction companies at home, demonstrating solid track records in nationwide social overhead capital projects including railways, airports, roads and ports.

One notable example is its contribution to the successful completion of Incheon Airport's second pier terminal.

It has also been involved in several railway projects including the Great Train Express-A and B lines which link central Seoul with towns in Gyeonggi Province, the Honam high-speed railway project in the Jeolla Provinces, as well as the Dongtan–Indeogwon subway line.

It is also involved in road projects such as the expansion of the Yeongdong Expressway that links Seoul with Gangwon Province.

Currently, the company is also involved in three public residential projects commissioned by the state-run Korea Land and Housing Corp.

The company has also continued its efforts to elevate its construction capabilities.

By joining the cooperation program between small and large companies run by the nation's procurement agency, it has entered a three-year agreement with GS Construction to share expertise in various fields, including construction technology and safety.

Additionally, to remain competitive in the future, it has also actively tapped into the private construction and housing markets over the past two years.

After completing an accommodation facility in the city of Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, it is eyeing one or two more private construction deals by the first half of next year.

More recently, the company has also launched a brand called Elcore. As its first project, it completed an "officetel," a multipurpose building combining commercial and residential units, in Daegu. Its latest high-end officetel in the Gimpo area has also been put up for sale.

AA Archigroup takes leap forward as total solution provider

ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN

AA ARCHIGROUP

South Korean high-tech architectural design company AA Archigroup is ramping up its presence in the global architecture industry with a diversified business portfolio and is seeking to reach an international standard in ensuring reliable services.

Established last year, AA Archigroup was originally rooted in Hyundai Architects and Engineers Associates, an expert in high-tech and industrial facilities. Under the auto giant, the company has created designs for domestic and overseas automotive manufacturing plants and has undertaken projects across several sectors, including semiconductors, displays, batteries, bio, and nuclear power.

AA Archigroup is now diversifying its business portfolio to urban planning, real estate development, interior design and residential architecture. This year, the company established its independent “full package” service that covers the design, construction and management of a built asset, leaping forward as a “total” solution provider.

As a part of its efforts, AA Archigroup is hoping to win a certificate for ISO 19650:2018, an international standard set by the British Standards Institution to provide guidelines for using building information modeling, standardizing BIM projects and fostering collaborative working among industry players.

BIM is the foundation of digital transformation in the architectural design industry, which enables the developer to create a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a construction project. It also manages valuable data of the built asset over its whole life cycle.

By the end of this year, AA Archigroup is pushing to win the certificate on the “delivery phase of the assets,” the second part of ISO 19650:2018, for the first time in Korea. This will highlight that the company’s entire process -- from bidding to design to construction and management -- is working on an optimal international-level BIM management system.

AA Archigroup aims to top the nation’s architectural design industry in terms of sales by 2027, under its "Vision 2027," the firm added.

A Twosome Place's signature cake hits record sales

COFFEE FRANCHISE

A TWOSOME PLACE

South Korean coffeehouse chain A Twosome Place's flagship dessert, the strawberry chocolate fresh cream cake, has continued to enjoy a surge in popularity by posting record sales this holiday season.

In the first half of December from Dec. 1 to 17, the bestseller cake saw a 60 percent jump in sales compared to the same period a year ago, according to the coffee chain on Monday.

The number of reservations for the cake during the pre-order season -- from Nov. 24 to Dec. 17 -- also tripled that of last year.

Since its launch in 2014, the strawberry chocolate fresh cream cake has retained its title as the coffee franchise's bestselling product. As a combination of fresh strawberries and rich chocolate ganache cream along with crunchy chocolate balls, the cake has won immense popularity over the years. A total of 10 million cakes were sold this year.

A Twosome Place attributed the craze over the cake to quality ingredients that determine its flavor. Only fresh, locally grown strawberries are used as toppings, while the chocolate balls inside the cake are made with Valrhona chocolate, a high-end French chocolate brand, the coffee franchise said.

In late November, A Twosome Place launched a new advertising campaign for its flagship cake with actor Lim Ji-yeon, who played the iconic villain in the hit Netflix original series “The Glory.”

Buoyed by the bestseller cake craze, the sales of other seven seasonal cakes released in November also nearly doubled on-year, according to the coffee franchise.

IB Korea eyes lead in Korean market with premium Spanish brandy

LIQUOR

THE IB KOREA

The IB Korea, a beer and liquor importer, has established itself as a leading retailer in the Korean spirits market with its premium Spanish brandy, The Emperador Deluxe Special Reserve.

Named after the Spanish word for "emperor" in Spanish, the brandy is made in a select vineyard in Toledo in the southwest Andalusia region, widely popular for sherry wine.

Matured for several years in carefully selected old sherry casks, the brandy has been infused with rich historical flavors and captures the sweet fruity aroma of Spanish grapes, the main ingredient in the brandy.

The depth and smoothness of the brandy have been heightened by aging it in sherry casks, the company explained.

As it offers an aroma of toffee and notes of roasted almonds, the brandy also provides a sweet and slightly sweet finish similar to that of honey, setting it apart from other brandies.

To further savor its smoothness and unique aroma, the brandy can also be added to highball cocktails, which have been gaining popularity among young Koreans in their 20s and 30s.

In recent years, the company has rapidly expanded its presence in the domestic cocktail market.

It has been exclusively importing Uptown Margarita, the leading cocktail brand in the US. Made with a 100 percent agave wine base, it is known to provide a deeper flavor than vodka-based drinks, making it popular among younger Koreans.

Last year, it also began sales of mini cocktails named BuzzBallz. Packaged in unique fruit-shaped bottles, it offers four flavors including lime, mango, strawberry, and chocolate. Available in 187-milliliter bottles, it is suitable to carry around during travel and camping, given its portability.

All the products are available at discount retailers, convenience stores, and liquor shops nationwide.

The company also plans to launch Caribbean Punch, available in 1.5-liter and 750-ml containers next year, to further secure its foothold in the burgeoning domestic cocktail market, it added.

Seoul Cyber University leads in majors focused on AI

ONLINE UNIVERSITY

SEOUL CYBER UNIVERSITY

As the era of the "fourth industrial revolution" dawns, Seoul Cyber University is working to create diverse majors and education programs with a focus on artificial intelligence.

Established in 2000, Seoul Cyber University is an online university in Korea with the largest number of enrolled students as of 2023, according to data from the government. The university has seven campuses across the nation, including in cities such as Seoul, Incheon and Busan. Composed of 11 departments and 43 majors, the school holds the record for having the most education programs among virtual universities in the country.

Recognizing the importance of drones and the robotics industry -- key pillars of the fourth industrial revolution -- Seoul Cyber University launched this year a major aimed at the convergence of studies in drones and robotics to nurture experts in both fields. The school has also set the year 2024 as the first year to innovate education in engineering through AI.

In addition, the virtual university aims to expand its global skillsets by co-developing content for courses and conducting joint research with universities worldwide, such as Gnessin State Musical College and Moscow State Academic Music College in Russia and California State University San Bernardino in the US.

Seoul Cyber University has been given a grade of "A" for three consecutive years in the assessment of virtual universities conducted by South Korea's Education Ministry since 2020.

100 Classics nurtures student skills for digital age

EDUCATION

100 CLASSICS

Using AI learning tools to unlock students’ abilities, such as creativity and critical thinking, has become more pivotal than ever at a time when AI becoming more influential in the educational landscape.

In line with these developments, “100 Classics,” an English education service brand for children and teenagers, offers an integrated English curriculum through debate sessions, interactive presentation activities and essay writing using materials recommended by prestigious schools in the US and the Association of American Educators.

It boasts a detailed 12-step curriculum, allowing students to learn the language naturally and think outside the box at their own pace by reading books, doing quizzes and playing games. The brand also developed an English essay workbook that helps cultivate students’ abilities.

In 2024, 100 Classics plans to launch a Tribune Student Press Corps team, through which students can select and write English articles and receive guidance from professional teachers.

In addition, 100 Classics has consistently produced batches of high scorers on the TOEFL, SSAT and SAT as well as students who have been accepted to prestigious private boarding schools, like St. Paul’s School and Choate Rosemary Hall. This year, the language brand sent its students to the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, UCLA, Dartmouth College and Northwestern University.

“We’re pleased to see that 100 Classics can enhance (students’) academic performance and prepare them for the future. We’ll continue to nurture global talent equipped with excellent communication skills and thinking abilities in the AI era,” said an official at 100 Classics.

Freshly roasted seaweed King of Kim whets global appetite

SEAWEED PRODUCT

YANGMYEONG

South Korean food company Yangmyeong has launched a dried seaweed product named King of Kim in Asian markets including Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, offering customers freshly grilled dried seaweed on the spot.

Dried seaweed -- called “gim” in Korean -- is mostly presented in a prepackaged form for exports. But King of Kim, launched in February, is a unique gim item that stimulates all five senses, the company said.

Based on the CEO’s previous experience selling gim at a department store food stall, the company aims to provide freshly made products to international customers as well. Regardless of location, warm and crispy dried seaweed is made on the spot, right in front of customers.

“In line with the craze for Korean culture and food, we have decided to showcase the process of fresh seaweed turning into a crispy snack right in front of customers, making one’s mouth water with the savory smell of roasted gim,” said Yangmyeong CEO Kim Shin.

King of Kim stores are currently open at global hypermarkets and discount stores including Japan’s Don Quijote, Vietnam’s Big C, and the Philippines’ SM Supermalls.

Among them, the SM City Marikina branch in Manila boasts the highest sales after just a month of opening. Witnessing King of Kim’s popularity in the Philippines, the company is currently planning to open another branch in SM Supermalls.

Yangmyeong aims to establish 20 company-owned stores in the Philippines by 2024, later multiplying the number by 50. It is also planning to open some 100 franchise stores in the future, the firm added.

According to Yangmyeong, King of Kim will make its debut in Korea starting next year.

Hyundae Rose Garden leads Korea's rose industry

ROSE CULTIVATION

HYUNDAE ROSE GARDEN

Since beginning to cultivate roses in 1995, Hyundae Rose Garden has led the rose industry in South Korea, introducing numerous species of roses and developing unique roses to boost the country's flower industry.

Hyundae Rose Garden CEO Kim Song-rae has led the domestic flower market by signing technology contracts with international companies that produce quality rose varieties.

The company currently has about 600 species of roses and produces 400,000 to 500,000 seedlings annually to distribute roses throughout Korea including Jeju Island. In particular, the company started introducing standard roses to differentiate itself from other domestic rose cultivators. Standard roses, also called stem roses, grow 60 to 90 centimeters in height like a small tree and roses bloom at the top.

The company has participated in major flower-related festivals in Korea over the years, including the annual International Horticultural Goyang Korea and the Seoul Garden Show, to present beautiful roses. The rose breeder brought a two-meter-tall standard rose to the 2020 Seoul Garden Expo and introduced 370 rose seedlings, including Pink Peace, Lampion Rose and Amber Queen Rose.

The company is also working to develop new rose species and expand the South Korean flower industry.

Currently, Hyundae Rose Garden supplies roses to parks, trails and flower-related events across the country.