5 lessons in brand equity from K-Pop stans

With 22+ years experience in building startups, Jack Phan, CEO at Phanzu and CTO at AGEIST, shares some top tips marketers can take from the K-Pop industry.

BLACKPINK at a fan event

K-pop has created one of the most powerful marketing vehicles around – the K-pop stans. These enthusiastic fans have the incredible ability to self-organise and take control of trends for the love of their idols, from hashtags and fan art to group orders, birthday events and beyond. Jack Phan, CEO of PhanZu, shares how to apply those principles to your business fanbase, so they can lift your brand as K-pop stans do.

1. Create Shareable Content

K-Pop stans create fan accounts where they love to share anything and everything about their idols. They’ll create GIFs, memes, fan art, mashups videos and they constantly look for content to create and share.

So create content that customers can use such as video clips, behind the scenes activities, interviews or product demonstrations. Make it easy to access and easy to share. Encourage customers to use your content to be creative.

That’s the number one rule: if you have content and you create it and fans have access to it, they’ll use it.

2. Organise Social Events

K-Pop stans love to get involved, when attending a concert, with fan meetings and fan signings. But, more importantly, during those events they love to capture the activity at the events and share everything that’s happening. More so to let other fans have access to what’s happening, but also expressing their reactions and their excitement about what they’re seeing.

As a business, invite your customers to exclusive events and allow them to share through their eyes. Let them capture those moments. Create hashtag challenges to help unlock additional content or exclusive access. Reward those customers for being active and sharing at those events. This is a great way to spread the word and bring the buzz around your product or service and your company as a whole.

3. Build Up a Launch

Nothing sparks activity for K-Pop as a comeback or, basically, the launch of a new album or song. It’s pretty meticulously planned out with teaser videos, pics, visual concepts, all done to build excitement for the upcoming album or song. They use that anticipation to create even more hype.

When you’re about to launch a product or a service, think about these things. Plan activities pre-launch to build up a buzz and excitement. Share behind the scenes access to the making of, or bloopers of product testing. Fans love that. Capture reactions from the team who worked on the products. I think there’s an authenticity that comes from the pride of what went into creating the product and the reactions of your team that worked on that product can provide.

Let customers speculate and anticipate the product launch.

4. Harness the Passion

The passion of K-Pop stans has tremendous influence on the fate of their idol’s popularity. Fans strongly identify with their idols; they feel part of the family and protect them with all their might. The passion creates a strong bond that helps move merchandise, album and ticket sales, so build a close relationship with your customers. Have meetups and discussion groups and try to gain those additional insights from your customers.

Celebrate those milestones with your loyal customers. Let them share in the win, let them share in the success and really harness that passion of your customers that really makes them a fan of your business and your brand.

5. Empower the Fans

The K-Pop industry is fuelled, in part, by fan-made content. Fans’ abilities to self-organise their own events and activities is a pride that comes from a fan feeling proud to help shine the light on their idols. It comes in many forms, but the feeling of empowerment gives them freedom to create.

As a brand, as a business, empower your customers to become fans and let them do the heavy lifting. Recognise and reward your most loyal customers, but create a culture where your brand has a positive influence on your customers’ creativity, with endless imagination and opportunities.

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