How it came to him: Learning from a corporate disappointment
How it's changing his business: Tripled brand recognition and increased revenue by more than 60%
Few markets are as volatile as consumer electronics: Time to market is everything. Yet Joon Jun, senior VP-North American brand marketing at LG Electronics, has learned that often the best road to success is to hurry up-and wait.
The company spends much time and money developing new technologies for such core product areas as mobile devices, TVs and household appliances. It takes as much care, though, understanding consumers and economic and societal factors so it can introduce products and services when they have the greatest chance for success. The approach has worked marvelously in the last few years as LG has expanded its North American brand presence in stages: mobile phones in 1998, premier home appliances in 2000 and display products in 2003. "In 2003, our unaided brand awareness was slightly under 6%," Mr. Jun says. "Last year, it was slightly over 20%." Aided awareness last year was over 65%, while revenue jumped from $5.6 billion in 2003 to about $9 billion last year.
Mr. Jun learned an important lesson in patience 15 years ago in Korea. LG introduced a refrigerator with a special compartment that could help age kimchi-a staple of hot pickled and fermented cabbage-to its best flavor. "The consumer didn't appreciate the product," he says. Most people lived in small apartments and simply didn't have room for it. The company learned that proper timing means introducing things to consumers when they are ready to buy, not when a company is ready to sell. And by waiting for the consumer, the company doesn't have to wait for growth.