Jinyong Lee


SK group has been a pioneer in overall brand management and, more recently, in CSR-imbedded brand management. SK vision of “improving itself to give greater happiness to all of its customers” and the symbol mark of “Wings of Happiness” are some good examples of integrating distinct brand identities of various member companies. After impressive growth and expansions into diverse business areas, SK group is ranked as the third largest company based on asset amounts according to the Fair Trade Commission of Korea, only after Samsung and Hyundai Motor groups.
SK brand management can be analyzed, using the framework of 4 stages – ‘infrastructure’, ‘planning’, ‘doing’, and ‘seeing’ stages. In order to secure ‘infrastructure’ of brand management system, SK has invested huge resources to the ‘SK BMS’ (SK Brand Management System). At the ‘planning’ stage, the most important task of SK like other Korean business groups is perhaps to adopt a well-organized ‘brand identity (BI) system’ which may consolidate brand values of individual member companies. In actuality, SK BI consists of Customer Happiness located at the center and 3 other elements of Pride, Professionalism, and Customer-orientation.
At the ‘doing’ stage, the slogan of ‘OK! SK’ and the logo of ‘Wings of Happiness’ have been placed at the core of the SK group brand building programs. SK adopts the principle of ‘independent yet united’, pinpointing that each member company independently works for its business performance but it is, at the same time, encouraged to integrate its capabilities for the SK group brand. In addition, SK has sought ‘shared growth’ with business partners for happiness for all the members in the society. ‘Social Contribution Philosophy’ based on SK value of ‘creation of greater happiness’ is again one of the most important guidelines for CSR (corporate social responsibility) at the doing stage.
At the seeing stage, SK regularly evaluates its branding programs. SK has shown some very impressive achievements in brand management: (1) a core identity of ‘Customer Happiness’ participating member companies may share, (2) harmonious relationships between the group brand management office and brand management divisions of member companies, and (3) consistencykeeping in brand management over time. However, there remain two major challenges: (1) globalization of SK and (2) reinforcing sustainable superiority over not only Korean rivals but also global ones.

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