March 16, 2020
BY FRANK AHRENS
At its core PR is about relating information to the public. Few governments are doing that better than South Korea as it battles coronavirus.
South Korea wouldn’t think of its transparency and rapid communication of information as public relations. But PR pros recognize South Korea’s use of openness and transparency. They would admire its tactics, speed and technology.
Outside of China and Italy, coronavirus has hit no country harder than South Korea. More than 82,00 cases are reported (as of March 16, 2020). Fortunately, new cases have been trending down in recent days.
The nation’s success against the virus is attributable in part to the varied, transparent and innovative ways the government has been communicating. Importantly, the communication is aimed at citizens and foreigners living in the country. Some highlights:
The Korean Centers for Disease Control conducts twice-daily briefings in English. In addition, it is offering daily updates in English. Seoul-based international media has lauded these briefings.
Every campaign needs a slogan. The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs created one based on the acronym TRUST. Some of the language is clunky (as in any document a committee creates), but it effectively outlines five pillars of the government’s response.
Testing and Convenience
Testing also has played a major role. The nation of 51 million has conducted more than 222,000 tests, far more than any other country – including China – per capita. South Korea has made testing free for anyone who wants a test and has made it convenient.