Wishing for Reborn of Sookmyung Renaissance
Wishing for Reborn of Sookmyung Renaissance
  • Yoon Han Eunjung Yoo Kim Juhee
  • 승인 2012.06.10 12:41
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What do you think about Sookmyung’s vision?  Do you think you are very much aware of it?  If so, try to answer this question.  Which one is present slogan of Sookmyung Women’s University (SMU), ‘Soft power to change the world’ or ‘creative leaders with the power of thinking’?  The correct answer is the latter, but much of you might be confused between them.  That’s because the change of slogan occurred fairly recently, and it has not achieved enough announcement to students.  This is so important problem because slogan and vision is directly connected with the identity of SMU.  Also, for promoting something, it is the first stage to set clear direction and vision. However, these days in SMU, it does not seem to be doing well.

The Renaissance of Sookmyung
SMU’s advertising has really success from late 1990’s.  Lots of media reported that Sookmyung’s way of advertising was so innovative and became a sample for other universities.  Do you know that SMU is the first university which uses student models on its school poster?  This innovative trial won success for promoting the school’s image and became a common way for other universities.  Before using student models, entertainers or celebrities were used.  Also, SMU was the first university implementing digital method into entire system of school.  Electronic attendance machine was one of the examples and it was first among entire universities.  It was so nice trial for developing way of teaching and degree of lectures.  After then, SMU launched various and innovative techniques a lot at the very first.  Lots of media started out calling this innovations ‘Sookmyung’s Renaissance’, and these well-made model for advertising became popular. From 1997, SMU’s catchphrase (phrase which draws public attention) has changed a lot.  “Let’s Jump Like Green Frog” is the first one which was used on promoting poster.  Then, “Come Out!  Woman President!” and “Cry!  Hen!” were shown.  With these catchphrases, SMU’s educational vision has also changed slightly.  “Let’s change and make the world soft” is the first vision and some visions which are related with ‘soft’ power were appeared continuously.  Finally, after 2000, the phrase which is promoting ‘S leadership’ has been shown such as “Sookmyung is establishing the new definition of leadership.” Over continue years, S leadership was the main object of SMU before ‘Power of Thinking’ appeared now.  “Power of Thinking” is present vision of SMU and with ‘Blue Ribbon’ project which plans SMU’s entire educational project.  This means school’s image is easily affected by the visions and catchphrase.

Students in Chaos
After passing the 100th anniversary of SMU, the characteristics of its advertisement began to alter.  The tendency to place leadership in the primary value began to change.  Therefore, the word “leadership” started to disappear in the catchphrases gradually and student models who were shrewd and emitted strong ambitions softened.  Also, the main slogan of SMU changed to ‘Thinking power, Sookmyung’ from ‘World changing Soft power.’ It was a try to reach a higher summit, yet the time was not right.  That period was the time to gain ground on what we already had achieved.  Because of the prior slogans and success we gained in the past were so impressive, the change only gave confusion to students and public.  Lee Eun-ji, Department of Business Administration ’12 said, “All of my colleges and I thought ‘World changing Soft power’ was our main slogan because it is so memorable and is the phrase we encounter most when we type Sookmyung in the search engine!  We considered “Thinking power” as just some kind of advertising expression that came out from it.  Apart from these, there are also more things like S leadership and Blue Reborn that give us a headache.  Too many words and phrases that come in to our mind when we hear Sookmyung, renders us to be in chaos.  While the confusion between students in SMU is this severe, what would it be like to the public?  That is what I am worried about, since being remembered is important in the education marketplace.”In the 1990s, SMU had practical outcomes to match the catchphrase.  To show the softness, the soft media infrastructure was established all throughout SMU as the first university ever.  Moreover, to realize the vision, S leadership was invented and the university was designated as the first domestic leadership specialized university by the department of education in 2004.  With these achievements that matched the catchphrase, the slogan gained power and was imprinted strongly to people’s mind.  Furthermore, in the past, images of SMU’s student models were shrewd and with strong ambitions, which went well with slogans back then, so it formed a powerful advertisement.  Therefore, as images of publicity models started to change while the new catchphrase was still unstable, students who belonged to the transition period are wondering why models have become submissive and education curricula associated with leadership have downsized.  Jang Heun-jeong, Department of Mathematics ’12 said, “Before I entered SMU, I thought it was specialized in leadership.  Yet, as being an actual student in SMU, it was not.  It gave me a little confusion at first because the main image most people think of Sookmyung is leadership.  The change in the vision might cause weakening of its power to be memorable.”

Everyone Has a Thinking Power
Another problem SMU’s catchphrase has is that it has no originality.  SMU’s current catchphrase, “Thinking power, Sookmyung,” has no uniqueness.  Every human being on Earth has the power to think, whilenot everyone has the soft power.  The novelty was superior in the past slogan than today’s and this is one of the reasons why people remember the former, but not the latter.  Yet, other universities are managing their slogans well.  For example, Sungkyunkwan university’s phrase, “Unique origin, unique future!” contains its history and because only the ones who try hard can reach the unique future, it has uniqueness.  Moreover, Chung-Ang University’s slogan “Live in the truth, live for justice” also contains its original value that no other university has.  The transition of SMU should have been considered more deeply since the “World changing soft power” contained novelty and value of SMU.  Let’s Advertise Our Power to the Public It is a tough job to set the right catchphrase, so SMU is having some trouble establishing one right goal and promoting the appropriate image of Sookmyung’s vision.  Yet, however difficult it is, other universities are managing this hardship well.  For example, Seoul Women’s University’s catchphrase “Right education, masterpiece of education” and “Learn to share!  Share to learn!” is well represented on the homepage.  The catchphrase is on the first page of the Internet and they even have part of the page indicating what their slogan is.  On the flags of Seoul Women’s University, the catchphrase is written well in its center.  In addition, Sungshin Women’s University has their slogan “Bright Sungshin” everywhere on the very top of their homepage and their publicity models fit this bright image they are pursuing.  However, on the main Internethomepage of Sookmyung, we cannot easily find the catchphrase “Thinking power, Sookmyung.” The very first phrase we can see is “Korean’s soul - light of Sookmyung.” And after 5 other phrases, we can finally meet the slogan of SMU.  Also, the flags hung in Sookmyung, instead of the main catchphrase, have “Sookmyung’s Blue Reborn” written on them.  Hence, it is hard to understand which one is the main catchphrase and the effectiveness the slogan bears is weakened.  If SMU changed the vision and slogan, it should have advertised and imprinted its new plan well.  It is not only about the catchphrase, but advertisements of many things about Sookmyung are not being made. Sookmyung Women’s University was the first leadership specialized university.  It is also the first women’s university to adopt ROTC, the first to establish digital infrastructure in the university and the first university inusing student models.  SMU has great potential and values, but these are not publicized well.  As a result, many other universities began to implement these systems as if it was theirs.’ It is an unfortunate fact that while we have many things to appeal with, the public does not know it all started from Sookmyung. 

Importance of Slogan; Identity
Every institute, school, corporation and any other groups has its vision and goal.  To realize it, they use various method and advertising tool.  Slogan or catchphrase is one of them.  It is the most powerful way of introducing to public, so it has to connote the identity of the group.  For general public, except people who is really interested in that group, only visible advertising is effective.  Hence, the two things are needed.  How many times peoples are exposed to the slogan and how impressive and fresh the slogan is.  Also, it is not good to change slogan frequently.  The change of slogan or vision can make member of the group as well as general public confused.  So, it is not weird that lots of Sookmyungians are confused about SMU’s slogan and vision. 

Expecting the Reborn of Sookmyung Renaissance
Sookmyung is going through hardships temporarily.  The press is noisy about Sookmyung and last month, a student assembly was held.  SMU shouldn’t just stay still and be tied up, but rather step up from this crisis.  The first step to overcome this critical situation should be establishing a special catchphrase that can appeal effectively to the public.  Going on with an unsuccessful slogan is inefficient.  SMU cannot go back to the past or carry on with the current slogan, therefore it must form a new catchphrase, which should be a combination of powerful slogans of the past and a novel one.  By that, Sookmyung would be able to renovate its ambiguous image right now and save students and the public from chaos by setting a solely stable and impactful phrase.  Furthermore, SMU should devise ways to upgrade the advertising’s effectiveness, considering the fact that people are having confusion on the main vision and slogan of SMU presently.  SMU has great potential and values.  This means, if we can solve these problems, it is only a matter of time before SMU will shine out much more.  It is not the era of Sookmyung’s decline, but the period to prepare for the “Reborn of the Sookmyung Renaissance.”

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