Matthew in Action



Promotional Product Strategy

K-Pop Marketing

K-Pop Sensation
Korean Pop or K-Pop as it is more commonly known is not only taking over the Korean music scene but also the music scene world wide. Far from a fad, K-Pop is a billion dollar industry with groups such as Super Junior and Girls Generation regarded as pop royalty. Chances are you have never heard of these groups yet they have outsold many major-label acts in the UK and US. Channel Seven’s Weekend Sunrise recently featured a segment on the rise of K-Pop in Australia and they stopped by the 4Promote office to get my insights on what makes K-Pop so successful.  

Firstly, K-Pop is not just about the music, rather it is a sub-culture and an art form. It is known for it's unique and hip style of music, fashion, dance and lifestyle. It is part of a bigger movement referred to as "Hallyu" or the Korean Wave, the spread of South Korean popular culture across the globe. It initially started with the introduction of Korean dramas into other Asian markets but now includes the exporting of fashion, music and dance globally.

The power of K-Pop is spreading around the world with flash mob demonstrations becoming a common tactic for fans trying to bring K-pop concerts to their hometowns. The trend began with a flash mob in Paris to convince one of Korea’s leading entertainment agencies, SM Entertainment to add a second concert to their European tour schedule after the first concert sold out in only a few minutes. In response, SM brought in its K-Pop talent for a second concert, which attracted more than 13,000 fans from across Europe. Fans in Toronto, Los Angeles, New York and London later organized flash mobs of their own to demonstrate their support and passion.

If you can't view the video - click here -

This popularity and success is rivalled by few others and it is on the rise. Korea’s cultural exports are predicted to rise by 14 per cent to $3.8 billion by the end of  2011. There are a number of key factors that have determined K-Pops international success.

1. Artists are well trained - The groups are highly manufactured, and often require a team of managers, choreographers and wardrobe assistants. Young teenagers who are deemed gifted and attractive enough are admitted to Culture Technology training such as SM Entertainment's talent academy, where they get regular education as well as singing and dancing lessons, and are trained in how to be an artist. These talent agencies resemble the old Hollywood studios in terms of their size, organization, contractual relationship with their stars, and control of their private lives. Once trained artists are quadruple threats: they can sing, dance, act and speak foreign languages.

2. Utilisation of the Internet and social media - The Internet has been the main driver in the success of K-Pop. Previously K-Pop was only accessible to those in South Korea however, now anyone around the world can access it whenever and where-ever they like. Many songs are able to be downloaded online for free and there is a focus on sharing on social media sites such as Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. This online exposure helps to build a bigger international fan base, who love their music before it even reaches their shores.  This also utilises a really effective strategy which is to allow the consumer to discover the phenomenon (we all prefer to buy them be sold) which leads to greater viral spread.

3. Popular and entertaining style of music - K-Pop takes most of it’s cues from Western music, meaning a lot of European electro house and American R&B touches among other influences. The music is highly electronic, pop based and melodic and is likened to the extremely popular style of artists such as Lady Gaga.

4. Positive and upbeat lyrical themes - In “western music” the lyrics and themes commonly revolve around drugs, sex and alcohol. In K-Pop music the main themes are love, empowerment and joy.

5. Collaboration with international artists and producers - K-Pop bands are even touring with popular 'western' bands such as the Jonas Brothers and collaborating with high profile performers like Kanye West and Will.I.Am. The intended result is that the look, sound, and feel of the songs are "local" regardless of where they are played. Thus, K-Pop transforms into universally popular music. They have also created off-shoots for local markets, for example, Super Junior has an off-shoot - Junior M which is targeted at the Mandarin market.

These strategies have paid off with K-Pop artists experiencing commercial success, fame and fortune. Large corporations such as Google and Samsung have even started to take notice using K-Pop stars in new marketing and advertising campaigns. While K-Pop may not be something that you know much about or are interested in, it is definitely worth analysing their keys to success and considering the impact they have on your target audience.

Below I have attached the entire Weekend Sunrise segment on K-Pop and also TVXQ’s 2011 hit ‘Keep your head down

If you can't view the video - click here -

If you can't view the video - click here -