For success, apart from creating products and services that benefit customers, companies need to work on how they are perceived. A company’s work and image is always under industry and public scrutiny. As the company’s influence grows, so does the responsibilities on it to maintain its image. A good Public Relations (PR) campaign helps companies to get noticed by existing and potential clients and business partners. It helps them to boost digital traffic, enhance client and community engagement and improve ties within the industry. A PR campaign, as such, can do wonders when done right. And if a company wants to enter or improve their PR in the Korean market, their best bet, as per the industry, is Mina Jeong led M&K PR.
Mina Jeong, the Managing Director of M&K PR, founded the company in 2002. M&K PR is a full-fledged marketing platform company. Herein, traditional PR communication expertise at the core, advertising (ATL), customer promotions (BTL) and digital capabilities were brought together to create the very best client solution at a one-stop-shop.
Mina has two decades of experience in the Public Relations field since she started her career as a PR consultant in 1997. Her clients were initially global B2B tech companies that needed to raise public/industry awareness and keep a positive reputation in the Korean market.
She is considered as a reliable communications advisor by the Clients. She has provided her expertise to senior executives, journalists and influencers regarding the local industry. Particularly multinational companies who want to enter the Korean market have benefited from her expertise and experience to guide their successful entry to the Korean market.
As her and M&K’s reputation in the industry grew, opportunities built up to work with aspiring tech startups, like Airbnb, Shutterstock, Pure Storage, Dassault Systems and other companies that have been able to globally expand successfully. Once the team developed a positive relationship with many foreign clients, introductions to other types of clients started to flow in.
Since then, the business has expanded from tech area to consumer brands, government & public organizations. Naturally with the digital transformation led by an age of mobile-first began to change the industry, M&K’s business practices and services have grown alongside.
The following interview showcases the rise of Mina and M&K PR.
Tell us more about M&K PR and your passion towards it.
I pride my company on the strength of people doing the work – striving to provide the best client service, forging lasting media relationships, swift and efficient execution based on brilliant strategies and great planning. We now have approximately 50 staff members working with 30 numbers of clients worldwide.
Our past and current client roster includes B2B, tech (various software, hardware + new innovations like AI, blockchain, etc.), manufacturing (semiconductors, specialty glass, telecoms equipment, etc.), gaming, consumer brands (lifestyle, F&B, appliances, automobiles) and government/public sector (patent, history preservation).
As the kick-starter in most of the client work, our company has a unique approach to the digital consumer journey. We provide the most effective campaigns with a focus on finding the right customer profile and increasing consumer engagement. Our creatives incorporate data-analysis based insights and latest market trends to make compelling stories that resonate with the audience. Whether it is B2B or B2C, we create the most impactful conversations between the product and customer to develop lead generation to support sales. Recently our company has incorporated AI based tools to its digital campaigns which goes a step beyond data-driven marketing, helping businesses identify and track potential customers at a level unmatched by human experience.
How do you keep yourself motivated? Please tell us about what inspires you and who do you look up to.
Personally, I have a drive for constant learning and growth. I look up to the clients I work with, many from Silicon Valley, seeing how they create business out of ideas and how they grow globally in an almost systemic process, it never ceases to amaze me. As I help them gain footing and grow success in Korea, I get to learn how they go global. Companies with unique corporate culture, companies with ambitious visions have gone through terrific journeys.
I’m always inspired by dynamics of the communications world. The curiosity and drive to adapt the latest trends, strategies, methodology or technology in the work we do for clients makes the work ever-changing and constantly evolving. I think that the work done by peers and challenges tasked by clients are always surprising and full of learnings and takeaways to make our work better.
Share with us the most memorable and remarkable moment of your life, in a professional scenario. Also, share with us the lowest phase of your life or the toughest deal to crack.
May 2018, when blockchain was at the peak of world attention, I had a chance to participate in New York Blockchain Week as a speaker at Women On the Block, I met many wonderful women leading work, thought and conversation in the latest technology world. I had the opportunity to publically introduce my own knowledge and experience – this was unlike any client work before. It was a moment to share my voice and thoughts on the latest technology and the change it can bring. Especially earlier in March, I had co-authored and published [BLOCKCHAIN to Master in One Night], a beginner’s guide to blockchain technology in Korean.
The book had been written on weekends at coffee shops while I was working and managing my company during week days. It was an accomplishment to be personally proud of. It had also enabled me to be very much involved in the Korean blockchain scene as advisor of communication and marketing strategies to many startups. Even foreign startups have seeked my advice and M&K PR became a prominent name in local market entry.
Business-wise, winning new clients are always rewarding. After long negotiations and many revisions, once a long-term contract is signed, it gives me a moment of exhilaration. Those moments are hard to forget, even if they are repeated throughout the course of my career. Each client is special and the new journey we embark together is another adventure – finding common grounds on goals and paths, seeking the critical results to impact business, making meaningful strides in the mutual course is a growing moment for both parties.
As an agency, the worst moments would be when we have to part with clients due to reasons beyond our control. Yet time has told me that, once positive connections are made, the people we have worked with come back when the time is just right.
State us your major achievements and your company’s achievements under your leadership.
First, the growth of the company is one of my best achievements – from one person to 50+ staff, 20 years of accumulated experience and also sales volume is outstanding considering it was all self-made from scratch.
B2B tech, tourism, automobiles, consumer devices, consumer F&B, startups, semiconductors, platforms, materials, beauty, gaming, blockchain to AI marketing the client list is ever growing.
How do you ensure that there’s a healthy culture at the work space?
As the leader of the company, I try to become a life coach for each employee. I aim to help every individual find a balanced life while making the best achievements at work.
Regular one-on-one meetings between myself and staff not only helps to keep a close relationship but also assures them to be confident to reach out to me directly for any issue.
What would you advise to the budding and aspiring entrepreneurs?
Challenge yourself, although attempts come with risk and you may experience failure. There is value in the trial and error process. At the end continuous tries can make the final success.
As an agency we participate in multiple biddings – even though success is unlikely. Sometimes we enter against internal staff opinions. In the process we learn in-depth knowledge about new industries and when similar opportunities arise, we find the previous experience become stepping stones to success, not isolated failures. It’s like connecting the dots to create a complete drawing.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career and would like to share?
Learning has no limits. I taught myself about cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain through hours of self-study. It helped me challenge myself and overcome the technological barriers when helping tech companies enter Korea and vice versa.
I think that contributing to the industry is also very important, not just trying to grow in isolation. Since 2016, I was the digital committee head of the Korea Public Relation Company Association and also the vice president before becoming the current president. I am trying to contribute to the mutual development of our fellow members, always looking for ways to improve and better serve.
A personal accomplishment is becoming the co-author of two books. The books are, Blockchain to Master in One Night (March 2018) and 30 REWIND: Historical Moments with PR Insights (November 2019). I have written an analysis of the 2010 G20 Seoul Summit, a pinnacle in Korea’s PR history as one of 30 influential PR profesionals.