Sungbong Lee | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2017
Charting the future of public relations

2017 Innovator 25 AP - Sungbong LeeThe Innovator 25:

Sungbong Lee

Vice Chairman

Prain Global 
Seoul

“Ideas can only become new when put into action”

Since taking charge of Korea’s largest independent PR firm in 2008, Sungbong Lee has oversee a remarkable expansion of Prain Global’s positioning and global profile. That has included a considerable broadening of its traditional PR portfolio into such areas as digital, publishing and entertainment, along with a focus on global clients that has helped turn it into one of the world’s most compelling PR agencies. 

How do you define innovation?
Making yourself different from others.

Most innovative PR/comms campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
Kakao Bank, the second internet-only bank in Korea, launch campaign with the slogan ‘the same but different bank.’ The number of customers who signed up the online service reached 3m in its first month. 

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
SOMA, a Greek word meaning body, is the comprehensive intranet of Prain. Prain executives cannot live a moment in the office without searching, posting, and sharing information, and analyzing updated account results via SOMA. On SOMA, the most frequently retrieved file is the office layout showing where each of the 150 employees is located in the five-story building. Originally, executives had to make at least four clicks to bring up such information, hidden under layer after layer. I asked in-house IT manager to bring the file to the main menu so that the information can be accessed with only one click. Innovation does not have to come on a grand scale. Small things matter to make big innovations.

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Content & creative.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry’s level of innovation?
More innovative than other marketing disciplines.

Where do you see the greatest opportunity for marketing & PR to become more innovative?
Content & creative.

Who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR is?
CEO

Who is your mentor and why?
Kim Woo-choong, founder of Daewoo Group. He brought me global perspective and taught me how to do business in a mutually-beneficial way.

How do you find inspiration?
Concentrate, concentrate, and concentrate. 

What is your advice for people seeking to bring new ideas and ways of doing things to their organizations?
Ideas can only become new when put into action.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world?
Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul, Korea. The candlelight rally held there eventually led to the peaceful change of regime this year. 

What’s your favorite time of day and why?
The moment when a Prain executive reports the winning of an open competitive bid, which is a driving force for sustainable growth.