Christine Park | The Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2020

Christine Park

Head of Brand & Digital

Edelman Korea


“Although the ability to change is crucial, agility is a must-have factor.”

As head of brand and digital at Edelman Korea, Park has overseen dramatic growth since arriving in 2015, and has since added regional duties to her remit. In addition to expanding the client roster to include such names as Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom, GS Caltex, Starbucks and Sunkist, Park has also established the in-house digital trend research unit EDK Lab, and produces an annual Trends Watch report along with regular seminars. A former marketer at a local Korean fashion brand, Park has also worked at Text100, H+K Strategies and TBWA. In addition, she has completed Ph.D. coursework (A.B.D) in Advertising and PR and currently teaches courses in brand marketing communications strategy as an adjunct professor.

How do you define innovation?
Innovation starts with curiosity. When you change your current situation by addressing critical questions, you could move forward and discover new things—being innovative means thinking and acting ahead while the rest of the competitors maintain their status quo and play safe.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Although there were many impressive innovative communication and marketing attempts, I believe that the most significant change right now is the transition from the era of 'integration' to 'deconstruction.' Action and behavior are the key drivers to being innovative. Although the ability to change is crucial, agility is a must-have factor.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Samsung is one of the key innovative companies that capitalize on the latest trends, take risks, and create new values. Although long-term self-innovation and change are not easy to achieve, I have seen Samsung challenge themselves. They never stop transforming and innovating, which are quintessential factors to becoming disruptive.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
I started my career as a marketer then changed category from PR, advertising to digital. However, I consider myself to be the most innovative right now because I am integrating my previous experiences to plan, develop, and execute disruptive brand communications across all verticals. I know there is a lot of room for growth in branding. I try to protect, promote, and evolve brands' values through different practices to achieve an overall balance.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Bang Si-hyuk, the founder and co-CEO of Big Hit Entertainment, is better known as the mastermind behind BTS. He wanted to do more with BTS's brand value and looked for a change. He created a 'culture of innovation,' and that makes him a first-class innovator.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you see and interpret data. However, it's the storytelling, backed up by solid data, that does the selling. I always try to identify and plan a brand narrative while looking at the numbers at the same time. Always be on a look out for patterns and big waves, build a story, and act.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
I believe that everyone has to believe in his/her own abilities first. That confidence would allow an individual to pursue innovative thinking and executions. By setting an example, one could serve as a role model for others to follow.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
I believe that what I do opens doors for many people. Earlier this year, I took the role of Brand Development & Operation Lead for Asia-Pacific. It was the first time anyone from the Korea office took on a regional role, and it's a responsibility I don't take lightly. Even if I am not working, I'd still be writing and teaching to spread knowledge and insights to others because my dream is to inspire change.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
Personally, the following contents have helped me get through the year: Unlocking the Customer Value Chain: How Decoupling Drives Consumer Disruption by Thales S. Teixeira, The Amazon Management System: The Ultimate Digital Business Engine That Creates Extraordinary Value for Both Customers and Shareholders by Ram Charan & Julia Yang, and "Dynamite" by BTS.

What's your favourite time of day and why?
I prefer either late nights from 1-3 a.m. or early mornings from 4-6 a.m. That's when I like to make plans and write down ideas. It really energizes my day.