Hoh Kim | The Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2019

Hoh Kim

Founder & Head Coach


“Link with other disciplines, not just marketing but even with jazz ensembles or comedians (improvisers)”

Hoh Kim’s resume might include senior stints at Edelman and Burson-Marsteller, but his focus on re-imagining the way executives communicate sets him apart from Korea’s PR industry. Kim has become a sought after executive communication coach, drawing on considerable training and experience including titles such as Cool Survival Kit and Reputation Society that he has authored. 

How do you define innovation?
Listen to other disciplines to re-define what you've been doing from a different perspective and start to implement a small experiment.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Trevari, bookclub platform in Korea.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
In Situ (a restaurant in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; In 2016, NYT wrote "By avoiding originality, In Situ is the most original new restaurant in the country.”) In this restaurant, Corey Lee, the chef, collaborates with other innovating chefs around the world to replicate dishes created by other innovators.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
After both quantitative and qualitative research on one of my client's organizational culture and communication, rather than presenting the results via a typical presentation, I created a dialogue on stage with one of my collaborators called "talking behind the client's back" session, where my colleague and I hold a meeting pretending that there are no clients to talk about the research results in a very straightforward way (both positive and negative results). I also hired professional actors/actresses during the talk to show what we imagined out of the research results. It blew our client's mind and they truly appreciated our straightforward and innovative approach.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation? 
Improvisation of jazz musicians (Keith Jarrett).

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Travel to different countries, attend conferences to meet and talk to people with different backgrounds and experiences; playing piano or woodworking.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Zoom out; see what's happening in business/society with a broader lens called 'communication' or 'interaction' rather than 'PR'; link with other disciplines, not just marketing but even with jazz ensembles or comedians (improvisers).

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Furniture maker or architect.

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
The Person and the Situation by Lee Ross and Richard Nisbett; Sideways (movie, directed by Alexander Payne, 2004)

What's your favourite time of day and why?
Tea times alone late at nights or in early mornings to think about a big picture in my life and to pose important questions to myself.