A Prescription for Pantech
3월 25, 2014


Pantech is saved from bankruptcy again and is instituting the second debt workout plan in the past 8 years. Pantech is the #3 Korean mobile phone manufacturer.

The loss of Pantech in the Korean market would have been a loss in critical competition.

What it needs?

It needs creativity and innovation and a better financial manager. As a current Pantech phone user, it is actually a good quality phone. The problem is the lack of brand. Typically speaking, Pantech or its phones names "Vega" and "Sky" are not known. Ask anyone they will say " Apple, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Nexus , Blackberry," and on down the list before you hear Pantech's name.

Pantech is basically a start-up. It needs to think of a lean way to test the market and make a unique product campaign. Taking a page from car manufacturers and hiring a foreigner would bring much needed distinction to the brand. Until this happened, Korean cars did not sale well overseas. The cars were not "edgy" enough to be attractive.

What it should do

Pantech executives should buy a lean startup book and read it. It's time to stop thinking like an established brand and think like they are back at square one. They should stop thinking in Korean hierarchy and ask that entry level worker has he or she observed something in the company that could be changed. It should hold an open discussion and source their talent.

Pantech needs design and marketing help. They need innovation. They need cheap foreign interns. Korean universities are full of graduate and undergraduate students from all over the world. You don't need a bachelor's degree to be creative or innovative. After all, their offices are full of highly, qualified professionals. Pantech needs to stop thinking of the now and start thinking of the future. If the company keeps thinking what to sale now they will never sale anything tomorrow. If you can't afford a highly, trained foreign professional, you take a creative intern and you make yourself the next highly trained foreign professional.

In 2007, the company did a collaboration with the California College of the Arts. A semester long project were students design cell phones for the company. The problem with this is the company doesn't need new cell phone designers. They need design thinkers. Someone who can see the future of the company and brand it in a new way. From where I sit, this collaboration did nothing to benefit the company's stability. Their phones are smart phones just like every other smart phone. But my question to the executives is "What makes a Pantech smartphone?"

As a personal quam with Korean cellphone makers, stop developing bloatware. Nobody wants second rate apps. Improving a useless portion of the company is a waste of money and company time.



The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Pantech could have a bright future in the global market. To Pantech executives please buy a lean startup book and get a design thinker. To aspiring Korean cell phone makers, you can get into the market. If Pantech fails take a look at them, and do the opposite.


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