Marketing the Korean Wave abroadLotte Duty Free, which had been successful in drawing fans all over with world with its Family Concert tour that boasted a lineup of popular K-pop stars and TV entertainers, worried about the annual April 18-May 29 event upon the tragic news of the sinking of the Sewol ferry, which killed almost 300 people. The country, in a state of shock, had joined in prayer as people waited for news of the passengers, mostly students on a field trip, who were still onboard. Still, the company could not break the promise to its customers and fans abroad, so Lotte Duty Free decided to tone down the event by turning it into a fan meet while dropping the singing, dancing and stage performances. Keeping promises and having the best customer service should be Korea Inc.’s corporate responsibility in order to sustain the fervor of Hallyu, also known as the Korean Wave.
Popularity of Korean pop culture has spread to Southeast Asia, China, Europe and North America. The content no longer applies to TV dramas and K-pop music and artists. Korean literature and mobile messenger services are in high demand. Companies have moved beyond simply hiring K-pop stars for advertising by creating their own content for revenue in the tourism sector.
But what are best marketing strategies for Hallyu?
First, the approach must be designed to connect and communicate better with overseas consumers. The producer should not use elements of Hallyu to market their products and services but as a means to please, entertain and repay consumers.
Second, the marketer must build a strong brand identity. It must be able grab attention through creative and individualistic brands based on Hallyu material.
Third, companies must be sincere and patient on their marketing policy. Hallyu marketing can reap fruit only when investment and know-how are incrementally built through consumer trust. The challenge to Hallyu marketing is its sustainability.
BY Han Yoo-seok, A special adviser to Daehong Communications