C.W Park

As a place to enjoy the "K-lifestyle," Koreatown offers K-pop, K-drama, K-beauty, and K-food. A K-product brand's emergence is a miracle.

I am fortunate to have witnessed two miracles in Korea. The miracle of the Han River is one, and the birth of K-product category brands is the other.

Why is it a marvel that brands in the K-product area have emerged? Even though I have studied brands extensively and am a brand specialist, this is the first I have heard of a country branding a particular product category by associating a capital letter with it. Of course, famous global brands from Korea include individual corporations like Samsung and LG. But it should come as no surprise that phrases like K-pop, K-movie, K-drama, K-beauty, and K-fashion are adored by consumers worldwide as brand names for product categories. Hard to imagine

To shape this great Korean wave craze as we desire, efficient management and development strategies for K-product category firms are essential. Brands in the K-product sector risk losing their reputation quickly if this is the case.

Regarding this, I'd like to recommend three steps. The first is to use K-product category brands for Korean foods that are already popular internationally or are likely to become so. For instance, many Americans already love kimchi and bulgogi. Additionally, several dishes have a wide range of options, like bibimbap, japchae, and red pepper paste. These competitive Korean meals are advertised and related to the K-food product category brand.

Let's use K-drama as an example to show why. K-drama is a brand of drama that was almost accidentally created due to global interest in Korean dramas. Regarding the definition of K-drama, viewers worldwide agree that it refers to "a well-made drama loaded with addictive episodes that are unique and thrillingly passionate." The global obsession with Korean dramas is likened to an incurable disease. The popularity of K-drama has sparked a lot of interest in both recently released dramas and dramas that have already been broadcast. The popularity and interest in Korean dramas have also improved the brand recognition of the K-drama genre.

K-Food, a food category brand, and Korean food will benefit from the synergistic effect of this positive cycle. The idea of K-Food must first be established to create this synergistic effect. For instance, it's essential to advertise Korean food aggressively and explain it clearly as a "healthy, extremely addicting meal with a unique taste."

Effectively advertising the idea of K-food arranged in this way can inspire love and enthusiasm for potential Korean delicacies like gochujang, japchae, and bibimbap, in addition to well-known meals like kimchi and bulgogi. This method of preparing Korean food can increase people's interest in and passion for K-food.

Finally, I suggest drinking alcohol from the K-drinks category. We also have other alcohol, such as makgeolli, and well-known alcoholic beverages like soju. It is worthwhile anticipating the synergistic effect of the K-liquor product category brand concept and the beneficial cycle of soju and makgeolli if the K-Food technique described above is employed.

The second objective is to present a superordinate concept that includes all K product category brands. K-life is a superordinate idea that enables the brands of K-pop, K-drama, K-movies, K-beauty, K-food, and K-liquor to complement one another and increase their appeal to consumers worldwide. The idea of lifestyle is one that I'd like to propose.

And K-lifestyle is "Korean food for health and intriguing taste (K-food), Korean beauty through outstanding skin protection (K-beauty), and original and touching Korean entertainment (K-pop)." It may also be characterized as "a lifestyle following K-drama, etc."

This K-Lifestyle idea will be easily understood by people everywhere. This empathy will simultaneously increase interest in and love for various K product category brand products.

The third step's task is how to complete the functions of the first and second phases. The Korean community and the government are already working in their ways. The Korea Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE) has debuted the K-Community Celebration (KCF), a celebration of Korean culture. Although the festival introduces Hallyu and traditional Korean culture, it is essential to concentrate on the idea of K-lifestyle and, more explicitly, promote K-category brands through this occasion.

The Korean community should also spread awareness of the K-Lifestyle concept and offer chances for members of other communities to experience it. The fact that LA Koreatown has shopping centers where you can experience the K-lifestyle is encouraging. However, it is still true that people from other communities hear the term "Koreatown" associate it with BBQ rather than K-lifestyle.

Therefore, several initiatives are required to draw additional clients from neighboring neighborhoods to Koreatown. Effective promotion is first needed to introduce the K-Lifestyle concept to the general public. Second, retailers in Koreatown should start carrying a range of high-quality Korean goods that fit the K-lifestyle. Of course, this needs to be done in conjunction with a display plan that will maximize the product's ability to promote itself. Third, K-lifestyle-appropriate customer service needs to be offered.

Through this, we anticipate a positive feedback loop between the development of the Koreatown business sector and K-Lifestyle.

Former USC Distinguished Professor Choonghwan Park

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