K-pop took the world by storm. It is practically everywhere and millions of people enjoy it. This includes me. I can safely say that I am now a part of the BTS Army and even a Blink (practically fan of Blackpink). Ever since I heard the first few songs I was hooked.
Now, if you are a marketer, you should really care about this. The new trends that come from Asia are influencing so much more than what many believe. As marketers, we can learn so much from k-pop and if we take a closer look at what is happening there, we can actually figure out where the world is going towards. This is especially the case when thinking about teenagers and even young adults.
I do not want to waste too much of your time, so let’s get straight to the point. Here are some reasons why you should really care about k-pop and why it is now so popular.
Costumes And Color
K-pop is really good at creatively using color and costumes in their music videos. This should come as no surprise since color has been a big part of Asia even hundreds of years ago. Asian culture is almost always well-thought and refined. This is something that we can learn as marketers.
In every single music video you see creative use of make up, effects, dances, outfits and so much more. All of these usually follow a theme and look great in a video. Marketers need to do something similar in all their campaigns. They have to creatively use color, costumes and more in order to reach the audience.
If your audience is made up of teenagers, you can be sure that color is vital. You need to figure out how to use it as teenagers love color, not the corporate simplicity we are trained to use.
Storytelling needs to be a priority in marketing. Unfortunately, it is not. Most marketers out there talk about storytelling but have no idea how to actually use it. K-pop uses it so effectively. Through storytelling k-pop groups managed to build a huge following. You often see stories in their videos and storytelling in k-pop actually moves way further than that.
You see band members and singers participate in those weird Asian TV shows where they do really strange things. For Westerners, this looks stupid. For teenagers and Asia, everything is normal. These shows allow people to see the stars they love in a different light. Interviews, ads and TV shows are always carefully planned to follow a story that the group or singer wants to present.
When it comes to personality, Korean culture is different than what you are used to. Everything is based on hierarchy and traditionalism is such a huge part of everything. This is definitely problematic. I invite you to watch this incredible TED talk by Sohi Yoon from 2014:
This was in 2014 and now in 2019 things are definitely changing, all because of the young generation that is connected to the internet and understands things differently. K-pop is actually a very big part of this. By showcasing the personality of the singers, these pop stars, known as “idols” in Asia, stand out. They do take self-expression to a brand new level. Their creativity is showcased and they act as role models.
In marketing, you do need personality. It does not matter if you sell refrigerators or recycled tin cans. You have to show the brand’s personality as you promote anything.
When it comes to choreography, k-pop artists simply dominate the industry. The groups sing, dance and perform highly challenging and complicated routines. You just have to look at a clip like this one and know the basics of dancing to understand how complicated:
Why is this important for a marketer?
In order to pull off such a choreography, you need to work incredibly hard. You need to practice, have discipline, skill and so much more. It is the same in marketing. You have to know the new “dance moves” of marketing and you have to use them. In order to do this, you have to work really hard, stay up-to-date with everything and actually build campaigns that utilize what you learned.
So many marketers out there make the mistake of doing the exact same thing over and over again. This is a huge mistake. In reality, in order to get the best results for your clients, you have to create completely different marketing campaigns.
The diversity that you see in k-pop is seen in everything, from fashion to the actual songs. The k-pop artists act, sing and dance. They practically work on everything.
In the rest of the world, most of the acts that are presented as highly complex are just a marketing ploy. In Korea this is never the case. Let’s take a look at this live performance for BTS’ latest single:
Let’s ignore the wonderful fans. Let’s look at everything with the eyes of a marketer. You do not see the singers wearing the same costume, as it is common with other Western bands. They are similar but every single one of them adds his personality, following a theme. Then, they all sing differently, there is rap, there is singing and dancing, of course.
It is this diversity that makes people love BTS. Marketers have to understand that diversity is normal and it needs to be expressed. Do you sell ketchup? You do not have to sell ketchup like everyone else? You want to stand out!
If you are a marketer, you have to learn from everything that happens around you. It is important that you look at things through a lens and that you see things as they truly are and as they are presented. K-pop, if you decide to learn more about it, can teach you more about marketing than 10 courses you buy from Udemy. K-pop is not the only thing out there that offers such information.
Open your eyes and learn from everything!
Featured Image from: Trending All Day