BTS Marketing Strategies: 3 Things to Learn from the K-Pop Superstars
Love Them Or Hate Them, Their Meteoric Rise Says A Lot About Marketing!
By: Emma Sievert
Korean Pop has become an increasingly popular music genre in the western world. From the synchronized dancing and singing to the visuals, the structure of the K-Pop industry is like no other. One could argue that marketing within the K-Pop industry is the biggest factor in a rookie group’s success.
The popular group BTS (방탄소년단) is the face of K-Pop. Many agree that they have left their mark on pop culture by releasing songs about important issues such as mental health, self-love, and social issues. Rising to stardom after their first Televised American performance in 2017, BTS has only grown in achievements, fans, and marketing skills.
The loyal fanbase of BTS called the BTS ARMY would not be as strong as it is without the intense marketing that BigHit/HYBE Entertainment used when BTS first started.
Despite BTS’ debut in 2013, many K-pop fans knew of them beforehand from their ‘trainee’ days. This 'trainee' period provided a gradual introduction to each member allowing people to recognize each individual, and this familiarity became the biggest determinant of which group one would decide to follow. Many of BTS’ early days were filmed. Shows like “American Hustle Life” showed the hardships of them trying to get people to go to their free concert in Los Angeles when they released their first album. Collaborating with popular rapper, Coolio, in this series, a new type of viewer was unlocked. Other reality and variety shows like “Bon Voyage” and “Run BTS” made sure to never leave fans without something to watch.
Since then, BTS continued to grow by constantly posting, tweeting, and live-streaming to fans. A K-Pop-specific app called Weverse gave a sense of intimacy that fans craved to have with their favorite artists. Weverse became one of many apps that were exclusive to K-Pop Idols that fed into the parasocial relationships that fuel the industry.
Here are some things that you can learn about marketing from BTS
POST, TWEET, LIVE-STREAM, AND POST AGAIN
BTS is known for constantly posting. If a fan wants to go on a BTS binge, there is at least a year's worth of content to engage with.
Posting and interacting with fans, current clients, and potential clients can change the outcome of loyalty in a business. Being a constant reminder that you exist will help keep buyers and clients around.
TEASERS AND SNEAK PEEKS
Every fan knows that teasers are the start of something even greater.
If a brand decides to release a new item or redo a classic, the anticipation can only grow with help of a countdown or a sneak peek.
It is no different than a movie trailer or Instagram story countdown to create suspense and awareness.
This leads to a lot of engagement, whether it is from fans or people hopping on the bandwagon, the idea of waiting to see more of something expected to be amazing, is always a fun time.
PACKAGING AND USER-GENERATED CONTENT
The perfect item cannot be complete without the best packaging. This is not limited to physical packaging either.
The packaging of an item can make or break the experience, especially if a lot of money was spent on it.
User-generated content is a potential outcome of good packaging.
UGC has been one of the biggest forms of advertising for BTS. Fans would post "unboxing" videos on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, with some videos reaching up to 2 million+ views. These videos persuaded many viewers to buy an album because of their thorough review of the inclusions of the album.
As a company, building a loyal community of consumers is the foundation of UGC.
Having good packaging makes buyers feel like their product is worth purchasing, whether it was spending over budget or waiting a few extra weeks for arrival.
While this applies to physical products, the presentation of online-only purchases matters too!
BTS teaches many things to their fans, from self-love to how to be a good marketer! As a fangirl and aspiring marketer, it is a fun journey with BTS. I hope this has helped you learn some basic ways to elevate your marketing strategies for yourself or someone else by seeing one of the most successful modern boy bands putting them into practice.
As the leader of BTS, Kim Namjoon, once said, “I want to hear your voice…no matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, gender identity: Speak yourself.”