Korean companies need to work on cultural productsThe futurists predicted that the 21st century would be an era of cultural products. Cultural products aspire to provide a new lifestyle and experience through products and ultimately realize the dreams of consumers. Most notable examples are Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the iPhone, Starbucks coffee, Nike, Facebook and Twitter. For example, Harley-Davidson does not sell products. Instead, it sells culture. Its mission is to help customers realize their dreams through the special experience of riding their motorcycles.
The companies that produce cultural products grow into global brands. Apple’s iPhones made the entire world go crazy over smartphones. Apple’s contents market, iTunes, vitalized the market of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. iPhone gave a boost to the struggling American economy. Sony’s Walkman was so popular that a plethora of people could be found listening to music using headphones on the street. And Japanese economy had its heyday at the time.
Until now, Korean companies have been busy copying first movers. Now, we need to create cultural products. Japanese companies accumulated technology through imitations and researched designs to create their own cultural products. The Nintendo game console was another cultural product that followed the Walkman. Korea already has the right technology. What we need is the creativity that makes cultural products.
IQ or EQ does not necessarily lead to creative thinking. Various values and philosophies, such as free communication based on the philosophy of a society and understanding of the members, possibility of realizing dreams and social beliefs for rewards, are needed. That’s why cultural products are mostly made in America and Europe, and it is precisely why we need to innovate our education system.
Emanuel Pastreich, a professor at Kyung Hee University and an East Asian culture expert, said that the horizontal communication of the guest house culture in the Joseon dynasty could be modernized in a form similar to Facebook. Korea’s unique culture of friendship can be a new cultural icon. Now, Korean companies need to work on cultural products.
By Kim Sun-kwon, CEO of Cafe Bene