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A popular figure on the global PR circuit, Ken Hong has overseen a transformation in LG Electronics’ public profile since taking on global communications leadership more than a decade ago. That has included the launch of the LG-One WPP unit, which handles the Korean giant’s global PR duties, and has helped to drive particularly strong results for the company at key trade shows such as CES and Mobile World Congress. Recent years have seen Hong support the launch of LG’s first ever premium brand in North America and Europe, the critical reorganization of LG’s offices in Europe and — of course — this year’s shutdown of the company’s mobile business.
Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
It's very difficult to specifically link PR to performance because PR is rarely conducted in a vacuum where other forms of promotion are not involved. But recently there was an opportunity where I engaged a video content creator directly which resulted in a very negative video generating very positive comments from hundreds of viewers based on our quick action. These small examples say more about the future of our industry than big award-winning campaigns.
What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead?
Many businesses are reporting solid earnings despite the lack of big PR events and campaigns.
What have you most admired about this industry over the past year?
I have been impressed by agencies' ability to quickly pivot with clients' changing scope of work during the pandemic.
What has most disappointed you about this industry over the past year?
Lack of creative options beyond the traditional video press announcement.
How have you switched off from work and maintained wellness in lockdown?
Cycling. And I don't mean Peloton.
Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
Sam Harris’ ‘Making Sense’ podcast.
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
Restoring classic cars and fixing old bicycles.
Sum up 2021 in one word.
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