The Marketing Power of K-POP

The Marketing Power of K-POP

If you haven’t heard the term K-POP, then you’ve been living under a rock, and even there, you’ll hear it soon. K-POP, which stands for Korean Pop, has become a global phenomenon, and the fans of these K-POP Groups are fanatical at a level that even One Direction would have died for back in their heyday.

At the forefront of this cultural shift in the world of music is the boy band BTS. Over the last year they have won Twitter’s Golden Tweet Award and set a Guinness Record for most influential music group on Twitter, with 252,000 retweets per tweet. They have graced the cover of Billboard Magazine, have more youtube pageviews than Drake, Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez, and are winning awards at just about every award show in the Universe, including Best Fan Army art the iHeartRadio Music Awards. This last year they were the first K-POP group to perform live on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve showing their relevance in the West.  And so no surprise that the BTS Fan Army, who goes by the name ‘A.R.M.Y.’, is the number 1 Fan Army on Fanpage, becoming the first Fan Army to generate over 100 million stars for their fandom. And it’s not just one group making all the noise. On the Fanpage Battle of the Fan Armies, there are 13 K-POP groups in the top 25.

Running a close second is the boy band EXO, with their Fan Army EXO-L, but these are only 2 out of hundreds of K-POP groups who are stealing the hearts and emptying the wallets of fans all over the world. Here are a few standouts you should know about:

K-POP Girl Groups:      K-POP Boy Groups:                  

Red Velvet                         BTS

TWICE                                EXO

BlackPink                          Got7

Girl’s Generation             WannaOne

MAMAMOO                      Seventeen

2NE1                                  NCT

Sistar                                  MonstaX

Apink                                  Vixx

K-POP is now a $4.7 billion industry, and its more than the music world who is paying attention. Brands are realizing that getting the Fan Armies of these groups on their side can be a powerful, powerful thing (which is why Puma recently named BTS as their International Brand Ambassadors). These fans love their group of choice and are engaging on their behalf through social media at a rate that literally doesn’t compare to other fandoms. Check out these social engagement numbers of BTS and EXO in comparison to other mainstream pop acts like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber:


The engagement is stunning, and as K-POP continues to become more mainstream around the world, you can expect to see not only the K-POP groups themselves, but their Fan Armies promoting everything from clothes to cat food. Samsung, Chanel, Amazon, AT&T, and even McDonald’s have all dedicated significant marketing dollars to get in on the K-POP craze. For additional insights, check out The Strength of K-POP Fandom, By The Numbers by Emily Blake – a great read. 

Another way brands can harness the power of K-POP and other fandoms is through Fanpage (yes, this is our shameless plug). In addition to providing a connected and fun fandom experience for our users, we also continue to cultivate the Fan Army Communities within Fanpage where fans can be incentivized, recognized and rewarded for engaging and advocating for a brand, a cause, or the musical artist themselves. Because at the end of the day, who can make more noise…a single person of influence, or 100,000 screaming fans?

And for you naysayers that say K-POP is just a fad, just remember, that’s what they were saying about rap music 30 years ago.