Long gone are the days when translators and interpreters of different languages had to apply to many places to get some work. In this digital era, everything can be done by you at your ease!
With the help of Email Marketing and Drip Marketing, one can easily get translation/interpretation projects of various multinational companies based in Japan. Email marketing gives you the power of doing Deep Marketing (Personalized marketing) and Marketing Automation. This leads to nurture of the leads and ultimately getting good projects.
There is one more thing people forget while targeting their Digital Marketing strategies towards Japan – LINE Marketing and Yahoo! JAPAN. See, Japan is a very different nation compared to the rest of the world, and here’s why:
Japan is the third-largest economy in the world after the US and China. 62 of the ‘Fortune 500’ companies are Japanese. Japan has the fourth-highest R&D spend in the world. It is also a stable place to do business: commitments are upheld and things happen on time. Doing business holds fewer obstacles and errors due to the strict company protocols, excellent customer service, and well-protected payment options.
Japan is one of the countries with the highest rate of internet use! The size of the Japanese market is large, so it is an exceptionally attractive market for the Western, Indian, as well as Korean companies looking to start promoting there. The major search engine of Japan is ‘Yahoo! JAPAN’ and not Google. This surprises almost all of the people abroad. Yahoo! JAPAN is also seen as a ‘Portal’ and is very popular among the Japanese people. The reason why Yahoo! JAPAN tops the list is that it is not only a search engine but also a portal and has a shopping space. So do not neglect Yahoo when it comes to search ads.
One thing that might surprise you is that TV broadcasting is extremely big in Japan. The national channels are still very strong and TV ads had always been number one. The things have slightly changed over to Digital Platforms since the pandemic – but only ‘slightly’.
In India, there are many Japanese language institutes present in various corners of the country. Most of them face the sole issue – how to increase the number of students? They complain that there are few people in India who wish to study Japanese, but that is not the case at all! Japanese anime culture is huge in India, and flocks of people wish to study Japanese. But there is two-sided confusion – learners are confused about where to learn from and institutes/freelancers are confused about where to find them. All of this can be solved with the help of Digital Marketing.
Find out more about this topic in my upcoming blogs.
Rumy Joshi is a Japanese language teacher as well as a consultant for doing business in Japan. Ms. Rumy Joshi is founder of Fujiwara Japanese Consultant . She is born and brought up in Japan . She was born in Osaka and raised in Kobe and therefore acquainted to Local Japanese Culture and lifestyle and speaks fluent Japanese just like a native speaker . She along with Mr. Mahesh Joshi has also interpreted for our Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi at Vibrant Gujrat 5th Global Summit in 2011. She has successfully trained over 1500 students in Mumbai including Corporate Employees , Conducts Japan Educational and Culture Tours and organizes Japan related Seminars and Events.
Without a further do, let’s hear from her.
Konnichiwa Rumy San. Youkoso!
I am very curious about your institute and your work. Please tell share something about that with us!
Konnichiwa. Sure! Main objective of Fujiwara Japanese Consultant is to provide Japanese language assistance through Japanese interpretation and translations, Japanese language Trainings , Conduct Japan Educational and Culture Tours and also conduct various Japanese related Events and Seminars , and in short to become a bridge between Japan and India and to bring Japan -India Closer. We want to promote Unique culture of Japan in India . Watashi tachi ni Makashite kudasai !!!
Japanese teaching in India. Why? Any particular reason or motivation?
Japan and India have always been connected with each other since centuries. I was born and brought up in Japan. I have lived my life in the Japanese way. And yet, my heart belongs to India. I have a dream to strengthen the lovely ties between India and Japan, and I am destined to do it through my services of language teaching, interpretation and consultancy. More recently, Indians have started loving Japanese pop culture, mostly through Anime, Cartoons like Doraemon and Shinchan, and more recently, Japanese dramas and Jpop. On the other side, Japanese people have also started embracing Indian culture items, such as Indian food, dress, and obviously – Bollywood! And I am here to deepen this relationship.
By whom are you inspired by?
My main source of inspiration is my dad and my late mom. I admire the hard work both of them did. I want to take their legacy forward.
How is the Joshi family a fine blend of Indian ethnicity with Japanese origins?
We have been embraced by the Japanese society ever since my dad went to Japan for the first time. Mr. Mahesh Joshi and his late wife Mrs. Neelam Joshi had gone to Tenri University Nara city Japan as Culture Exchange students 33 years ago. They not only graduated from Tenri university specializing in Japanese language but lived and worked in Japan since last 33 years . In fact, they were the First Indian Couple to marry in Japanese Wedding style San San Kudo and their Article was also published in Japanese Newspaper at that time . Mr Mahesh Joshi and his wife is not only Graduate of Tenri university from Nara city Japan specializing in Japanese language but Only Indian Person in the entire India who has a Motor Mechanical Certificate from Japan and Japanese license to open a garage in Japan.
What is the best way to learn Japanese?
I would say, no book can ever teach you any language, let alone Japanese. The only way one can be fluent in Japanese is by ‘immersing’ yourself into the ocean of Japanese. In our classes, I recommend that alongside bookish lessons, watch plenty of anime and Jdramas, listen and sing a lot of Jpop songs, read a lot of manga. That way, you will become someone who can develop a native like accent, hard to differentiate from foreigners!
Arigatou gozaimasu Rumy san! Thank you for sparing some time for this interview, and I hope your dream of connecting two major societies of the world will definitely come true! Ganbatte!
Kochirakoso arigatou gozaimasu Deep san for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I want to say ganbatte to all the Japanese language learners, and surely visit our classes after this covid crisis get over! Also, I hope for the safety for you and your family and let us work together in future!
A lot of people think that learning Japanese is like a Mammoth’s Task. Tons of weird characters and whatnot. Because of this fear, they don’t even take the first few steps.
If you are also afraid about learning the Japanese language in spite of being a fan of Japanese culture or pop culture, don’t be.
Let me tell you – IT’S NOT AS DIFFICULT AS YOU THINK IT MIGHT BE!!!
Sit in my car and let me take you on the journey of the structure of the Japanese Language!
Sounds of Japanese
You see, every language in this world has its own unique sound. Even if you don’t know the language in its entirety and just know how it sounds, you can distinguish that language whenever you hear someone speaking it.
You have a reason to say “Yaay!”. Japanese only has 5 vowels.
A – あ
I – い
U – う
E – え
O – お
I know you will come to me and say that, “Deep, don’t make us fool. Even English has 5 vowels, namely a, e, i, o, u.”
Now here lies the difference. In English, the pronunciation of the vowels differs depending upon the words. Unlike English, Japanese vowels have only ONE way to pronounce them, no matter where the vowel lies in the words.
This makes Japanese words easier to pronounce compared to English words. This means that if a person does not know both English and Japanese, he will be able to learn to pronounce the Japanese words faster than English, because of the simplicity of the Japanese vowels.
Consider these following English words and read them out loud:
Noticed anything? The same vowel ‘A’ is pronounced differently in all these words!
Now see these Japanese words and try to speak them loud from the romanized readings:
あまい aa mai “Sweet”
あつい aa tsui “Hot”
ありがとう aa rigaatou “Thank you”
あんぜん aa nzen “Safe”
Now noticed? They are pronounced EXACTLY THE SAME in all these words.
Seems easy, right? 😉
Now, this is a unique characteristic of the Japanese language hardly any other language in the world might have.
In English or Hindi, let’s say, we have consonant sounds like ‘k’ or ‘kh’, such as in ‘park’.
In Japanese, the consonant is always paired with a vowel sound. So, Japanese does not have ‘k’ sound alone.
They have something like ‘ka, ki, ku, ke, ko’.
So, no word in Japanese ends or begins with a pure consonant sound, except the ‘n’ or ‘m’ sound.
This makes Japanese 100 times easier to pronounce compared to other East Asian languages like Chinese or Korean.
Following are some Japanese words:
かばん kaa baa n “Bag”
Here, except for the ‘n’ sound, both the ‘k’ and ‘b’ consonants are partnered with the ‘a’ vowel.
かんこく kaa n ko Ku “South Korea”
Here, the same consonant ‘k’ is paired with different vowels ‘a’, ‘u’, and ‘o’; while ‘n’ consonant being independent.
たてもの taa te mo no “Building”
Here too, all the consonants ‘t’, ‘m’, and ‘n’ are paired with vowel sounds ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘o’ respectively.
You might have got an idea how the Japanese consonants are pronounced – pair them with vowels!
Speaking Out Loud English Words in Japanese
Remember earlier we wrote the word ‘Park’?! Now this word can never be pronounced as Park in Japanese, because ‘r’ and ‘k’ in this word act as independent consonants while only ‘p’ is paired with the ‘a’ vowel.
So Park in Japanese will be……….. something like “Paa ru ku” or “Paa ku”.
This is a very funny and interesting topic.
So basically like every other language in the world, Japanese has also borrowed tons of English words into its vocabulary list.
But when saying the English loanwords in Japanese, the pronunciation is changed a little (and sometimes a lot :p).
This is because, just like native Japanese words, the consonants in those English words are changed into a combination of consonant and a vowel.
This makes it difficult for the native English speakers to understand these English words even though it has derived from their own language.
Some of the English loanwords are as below:
アイスクリーム aa i su ku ri mu “Ice Cream”
テーブル te bu ru “Table”
クリスマス ku ri su maa su “Christmas”
Here, the words are indeed English words, but their consonant pronunciation is changed to suit the sound of the Japanese language.
This is also one of the reasons why Japanese people find it comparatively difficult to learn English.
There is a wonderful video made by NameWee about the pronunciation of English loanwords by the Japanese people. He calls this “Japanglish”, meaning English spoken in the Japanese way. The song is also so catchy that I’m sure you won’t be able to stop yourself singing all day long. Here’s the video:
One interesting thing to notice in the sounds of the Japanese language is that, the Japanese language does not have the “L” sound, but rather a combination of “L” and “R”.
Thus, “Light” and “Right” are both pronounced as “raaito ライト” in Japanese.
Yes, the teacher is always light! Oops, right. XD
Vox has posted a nice video explaining this:
Overall, when it comes to sounds and pronunciation in Japanese, I would say it is pretty pretty easy, considering the few amounts of vowels and their unchanging pronunciation, as well as the absence of the consonant mess.
Having conversed with many language enthusiasts, they always say to me that Japanese is way easier to speak than Chinese, Korean, or even French!!
Thus, just remove the fear from your mind that learning Japanese is next to impossible. It’s not that difficult, especially when it comes to speaking Japanese.
I am sure either you might be a BTS fan, or you might have heard about them at one point of time in your life. I’m right, ain’t I? Ever wondered why all of a sudden you got lots of K-pop and more recently J-pop overflooded in your country? Check this article to know why.
Just a decade — yes, just ten years before, most of the people living outside the East Asian Circle (Japan, South Korea, China, etc.) did not know about Korean pop and Japanese pop (more commonly referred to as K-pop and J-pop respectively). But suddenly people saw a shift in the trend.
Earlier, in most of the countries, two types of music dominated the charts. These were 1.) The local music in the native language 2.) English Pop. Yes, English dominated and still dominates to some extent the world music charts. One reason for that is that English is the lingua franca of the world.
But now, it is not uncommon if you hear the news that the K-pop idols BTS dominated the Billboard Hot 100, or Japanese Anime theme songs dominating the Spotify Viral top 100 list. That has kind of become the norm.
Now, the main reason for these new genres getting popular globally and competing with their English counterpart is not particularly the language or culture. Yes, culture plays a role but the main reason here is — HOW THEY ARE MARKETED TO THE WORLD.
So, let’s get a look by comparing the East Asian Entertainment Industry with different modules:
A Small Throwback to the Korean and Japanese Music Markets:
A question might arise to you — Why do those countries need to export their entertainment to the world? Now, here’s the simple answer:
As you can see in this chart, undoubtedly the US is the world’s biggest music market. After it, Japan is the world’s second-largest music market, almost half the size of the US. Compared to its population, the Japanese music market is HUGE, and rather untapped by the international labels.
Compared to that, the South Korean music market is waaaaay smaller than both the US and Japan. Due to this, the Korean market became near-to-saturated early this decade. Thus, to maintain profitability, the Korean entertainment industries HAD to go out of their tiny nation and look elsewhere to get those green bills. The US has a 180-degree different culture than South Korea; so they made Japan their first target market. (you also see similarities in them, right?)
Now as we know that Japan is a huge market for music, the Japanese entertainment agencies never even thought to step out of Japan and market their music elsewhere.
K-pop is literally a fine blend of early Japanese music and American music along with a sprinkle of one thing — “Perfection”. Thus, firstly their need and later greed to dominate markets of other nations made K-pop companies famous all over the globe.
On the contrary, Japanese music, apart from few anime songs, never reached the shores of other nations, solely because of the reluctance of the entertainment companies to export it and as a result, Heavy Copyright Laws.
But, but! It is slowly changing. With the competition from the neighbor in its own home, the labels in Japan finally understood the need to go global and are now following “the K-pop way”.
The Basics of “Entertainment” Marketing:
You see, the marketing done in the entertainment industry is not different from the general concept of marketing. Rather than creativity, Marketing is based on Science. Many people think that marketing is to be done for the product already existing, but it is the other way round. One needs to do proper Research about what type of product or services people in a particular target market need, and accordingly, if a product is made, then “the product sells itself”. Let us see the 7 Ps of Marketing in the context of the Entertainment industry, particularly K-pop and J-pop:
In the entertainment industry, music is the product. However, in the East Asian world, it’s a little bit different. Over here, there are more ‘groups’ compared to individual artists, and let me tell you, these artists are the real products. Although it has some negative connotations to it, it is what it is. And these groups have “idols”, not artists. Over the years, these idols become BRANDS that fetch the agency a whole lot of money.
I mean, unlike western artists, these groups have their own logo and their own tagline. Here are the taglines and logos of various K-pop and J-pop groups:
NiziU: We Need U
Twice: One In a Million
JO1: Go To The Top
These logos and taglines make them different from other groups and fans can even chant that while they are at their concerts. This builds their image in a certain definite direction.
Research for making the products (here, idols):
Now before entering any market, these agencies (K-pop in particular) do a lot of research about the culture of that particular place and the language. They have to take into consideration the demand too.
For example, Twice is a Korean girl group with 3 Japanese members in it. Along with getting huge popularity internationally, this group kind of became THE girl group in Japan, selling millions of copies and outselling for their concerts in just ‘minutes’. Now, Twice belongs to JYP Entertainment (my most favorite agency, the reason I’ll tell you later in this article :p); and JYP sensed the extravagant demand for a home-grown all-Japanese idol group in Japan — and here he made NiziU, an all-Japanese girl group made for the first time by a Korean agency ever! And yeah — ‘NiziU topped the Billboard Japan Hot 100 charts in just a week of their debut’!!! Plus, this song is now 6 months old, and is still in the top 10 of the list!
The result of JYP’s success is his research of Japan after Twice’s success in the land of the rising sun. He (JYP — the CEO of JYP XD) even learned Japanese and went to talk to professionals all over Japan. What if the company just launched a girl group in Japan without doing research about what people like there?? I would doubt the success.
The agencies also research what kind of lyrics people would prefer. The US is a nation where individualistic values such as ‘Self Love’ play a major role; whereas Japan is a perfectionist society where people want to work and work. Let us again consider the lyrics of various groups targeted towards the West and Japan:
Itzy — a girl group targeted towards the American market:
“Whatever people say, I’m me
I just wanna be me
I wanna be me, me, me
There’s no need to be something
I’m the best when I’m myself
I wanna be me, me, me
I don’t wanna be somebody
Just wanna be me, be me
I wanna be me, me, me”— song “Wannabe”
Twice — a girl group targeted towards the East Asian Market:
辛い時は 無理しなくていいから, yeah
ナミダ 雨のあとは 虹が見えるはず” — song “Fanfare”
“You’ve gotta stop, because there’s a scenery that you haven’t noticed
Because when it’s tough, there’s no need to force yourself, yeah
It’s fine to cry too, don’t hold it in
After tears and rain, you’ll definitely be able to see a rainbow”
NiziU — a girl group targeted towards the Japanese Market:
“なんだか それ ズルくない？ 映りよすぎない？ Smile！ OK！
ねぇ この後どうする？ まだ時間早いし All right
Stand up！ 今がGoサインしたMove
What？ 初めての 刺激が欲しいの
小さな自分のHeart 時々Down 悩んで
Don’t be afraid” — song “Beyond the Rainbow”
“Isn’t it cheating somehow? Isn’t it too good? Smile！ OK！
Hey what do you do after this? It’s still early. All right
Stand up The time is now Move signed with GO
What? For the first time I want stimulation
My little Heart is sometimes Down and worried
I’m trying to brake
Don’t be afraid”
I’m sure you also got the difference between the content of lyrics for the West and East, particularly Japan, right?
Their immense research before making the groups is the major reason why these groups have millions of fan-following!
Apart from this, the subcategory of products includes merchandise for the groups, like light-stick (almost every group in Korea and Japan have one so that fans can light them during concerts), t-shirts, fan-cards, physical albums, and the list goes really long.
Now you might be thinking how can I apply the ‘place’ factor here in entertainment? Lemme tell you. Earlier, only physical albums (CDs) of artists were sold. But after the advent of the internet, every artwork has gone digital. So, the places for accessing the work of K-pop and J-pop idols are:
Physical CDs, in stores
Digital albums on Spotify, Apple Music, and the like
Music Videos on YouTube (this has a huge impact)
Talk Shows/Music Shows on TV
Music awards, etc.
VLive and 5G Lab
You might be having enough knowledge about everything except the last point. It is an innovation in the entertainment industry made by agencies of both nations to engage with fans (customers) in a better way so that they become ‘die-hard’ fans.
VLive is an application in which all the Korean artists interact with their fans through live sessions and many other daily/weekly content. It is like the Korean version of YouTube!
Until recently, the Japanese music world did not have any special platform like South Korea’s VLive, but they have innovated things to an entirely different level. This year, SoftBank Group Corp., Japan’s MNC, has developed an application called 5G Lab, wherein music and game lovers can have a real-time experience with the help of AR + VR using proper supportable devices. That means I can see the music videos of my favorite artists as if I were on the set myself!! You can also play them dancing and singing at any place, let’s say in front of Gateway of India, and record it; and it will feel as if they ACTUALLY performed there. I also tried by myself and I was stunned.
So basically every artist/idol group has their own ‘lab version’. Here’s a sneak peek of NiziU’s 5G Lab called NiziULab coming directly from SoftBank:
In this way, these companies not only maintain their equivalent presence in all the places that we now call conventional but also created their own space for further interaction with customers!
In the entertainment industry, this factor has changed a lot in recent times. Due to the digital disruption, the viewing of music videos and streaming audio online has made it almost free for the fans. Thus, the companies earn through advertisements and view-counts on these platforms.
For the offline market (CDs and merchandise) as well as concerts, the prices are kept taking the market’s purchasing capacity into mind. For example, the prices are kept slightly high in Japan, South Korea, the UK, etc, where the purchasing capacity of the people is high compared to countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc. Now you might think how come they will earn profit by selling at low prices? It’s due to the high population of the latter countries and their inclination/craze towards the East Asian Pop scene!! BlackPink’s concert tickets get sold in Thailand in minutes!
Moreover, the global economy is in constant flux; what was affordable to consumers yesterday may be out of reach tomorrow; and hence, constant research in this field is also necessary.
Promoting the artists/idol groups is where these East Asian companies stand out the most. Their way of posting teasers and collaboration is somewhat different from the other side of the globe.
Teasers play an important role in getting the hype of an upcoming song/album. It is said that the attention span of viewers is getting lesser and lesser. Particularly, when it comes to the younger consumers, you’re working with a shocking 8-second attention span. Now how to grab attention in such a state of time-scarcity??
Now don’t get mad at me for giving NiziU examples a lot XD. This girl group is quite new so it is more relatable. When announcing the group to the world for the first time, JYP Entertainment did a fabulous task of calling out the fans of other groups to see what NiziU is. Here’s the teaser:
So technically, the company gave a shout-out to all of the past girl groups under JYP since the formation of the company; so that their fans create an interest in NiziU and may become ‘prospective new fans’ of NiziU. This way, the acquisition cost for getting new fans reduces to some extent.
Idol Competition Shows have gotten much popular lately in Korea and Japan, wherein contestants from all over the nation, and sometimes the world, participate and compete with each other. The final winners are combined and a new group is formed. Now you might think, why waste too much money on creating the shows instead of directly making the group? The secret formula here is — people from all around the nation vote for their favorite contestant, and can see their growth all through the show. Thus, when the group is formed, they become more loyal. That means ‘more album purchases, more concert tickets getting sold’ — simple :p.
Some of the examples of such shows include: SIXTEEN from which Twice was born, NIZI PROJECT (guess which group might have been born?), PRODUCE 101 SERIES in Korea and Japan, etc.
Other forms of promotion include: Collaboration with a famous brand, wherein there becomes a win-win situation for both sides to promote each other well; and appearance on talk-shows/music shows for reaching a wider audience.
This P includes the values of the company, the founders, employees, as well as customer service. For building the brand of any product/service, the values of the company play a crucial role. More than showcasing what your company does or how your company does it, you need to know and showcase the core of your values. A brand value includes: the purpose, what differentiates you from those that are already out there in the market, the processes, etc.
I am again quoting the example of JYP Entertainment XD. Now, the values that this company has sets it apart from other companies in Japan and Korea. JYP, the founder, believes that any person working or being an idol at JYP, must have these three values carved into their hearts: honesty, sincerity, and humility; otherwise he/she should leave the company.
This can be clearly seen as Twice, a group under JYP, always behaves nicely towards the make-up artists and sweepers; 2PM, another group, always being nice to their fans no matter what, and so on. I was a fan of artists from some other company, but believe me, I got interested in JYP just because of the value system.
The employees at JYP have flexible timings to work and are not encouraged to overwork. Plus, they can eat organic food at the cafe — for free! They get free concert tickets for every JYP idols and are given creative freedom at some level. Isn’t it wonderful!!? This has made me think of applying to JYP after I complete my master’s! Truly the ‘Leader in Entertainment’ as it says.
Now let’s move out of JYP and look at the K/J-Pop industry for a while. Fan meets are not so common in the West but are really a game-changer in the Far East. Idols have personal meet and greet sessions with their fans, and fans get to talk to them directly, and get their autograph! You also would like to meet your favorite star, right?
This has led to more trust imbibed in the hearts of the fans (customers) all around the globe. And in this era where tons of groups get born every single day, winning trust is the most important factor!
Delivering a tangible product to the customers is relatively easy. But how to deliver your services, and that too, songs. You see, gone are the days when an artist can only sing and get a wider audience. In this era of cut-throat competition, one needs to do something else to win the hearts of the people.
Now here’s where the Korean and Japanese entertainment companies are ahead of the game — Music Videos. Western artists do have music videos and they are fantastic — no doubt. But they either have some storyline in the videos, or they themselves sit and sing. On the other hand, the music videos of the K-pop and J-pop groups have sleek dance moves and formations that their fans can copy and enjoy. I admit that our Bollywood has one of the most amazing dance moves, but believe me, this is on another level.
If you watch a single K-pop music video, the one thing you’ll say in awe is IT’S COLORFUL!!!! This definitely attracts people. Even my mom says that she does not understand a single word, but “this is pretty that I am just watching it on and on”.
To keep on engaging fans, there are dance videos, performance videos, solo versions, practice versions, fan guides, and the list goes to infinity, apart from the music video.
7. Physical Evidence:
This means that the customers can experience the product/service, be it tangible or intangible. Apart from the music videos and various promotional activities, the fans of K-pop and J-pop idols can have a great experience through music awards.
In Korea, the Mnet Asian Music Awards and in Japan, the MTV VMAJ (Video Music Awards Japan) are the shows that have a lot of content related to the idols.
Apart from that, every agency in Korea and Japan have their own ‘nation’ events, in which all the artists and idols of that particular company gather and just ‘enjoy’. For example, JYP Nation of JYP Entertainment, YG Nation of YG Entertainment, A-Nation for Avex Entertainment, and many more. Here, they are not only performing but having their own time with the CEO as well as fans.
To give exposure to the local people more about the company, JYP even lets outsiders come to its organic cafe in Seoul and Tokyo!! Just like you’re going to an McD!!
TRADITIONAL V/S DIGITAL MARKETING — how are these companies utilizing the best of both?
First of all, let me give you a gist of the difference in both the above-mentioned terms.
Traditional Marketing is a conventional mode of marketing that helps to reach out to a semi-targeted audience with various offline advertising and promotional methods.
On the other hand, Digital Marketing includes social media mentions, websites, banner ads, blogs, YouTube videos, and the like.
If a product is generic and has a wider range of audience, then TV advertisements can reach millions at a low cost. For example, TV or radio commercials will play multiple times and remind the audience of the business, whereas some digital marketing items may be skipped through or blocked (“I don’t want to see this” on social media ads, or skipping through ads in YouTube or the AD BLOCKERS).
On the contrary, through digital marketing, you can draw numerous insights from the data received, including which type of content works best for a specific audience set, which mediums are the most effective, and even what time of the day receives the best engagement. You can virtually do none of these things through the traditional marketing mediums.
If you wanna reach an older demographic, traditional marketing can be very effective. According to GlobeNewswire, audiences who are over 50 years of age spend around two times as much time reading the newspaper and watching TV as compared to those aged 21–34. This traditional marketing strategy usually is the best for businesses looking to build a larger local audience.
There is direct contact between the company and its audience through various mediums of digital marketing. Digital marketing works exceptionally well for more global or scattered audiences due to its broad scope. Also, one of the disadvantages of traditional marketing is that you cannot personalize the communication. There is little interaction, comparatively higher costs, limited customization options, and poor campaign measurement when it comes to traditional marketing. But, do not think that it is 100% obsolete.
Coming back to the East Asian Music scene, K/J-Pop companies are using a fine blend of both traditional and digital marketing, and changing it according to the specific market that they are targeting.
Believe me or not, even though Japan is considered as one of the technologically developed nations of the whole world, it is lagging behind when it comes to the usage of various digital platforms. On one side where the US and Korea are going digital in every aspect, TV broadcasts and newspapers STILL have a huge impact upon the Japanese audience, much similar to India.
In terms of digital streaming on platforms such as YouTube or Spotify, Japan is way behind. A considerably large chunk of the Japanese population (mostly people aged 25 and above) use TV and newspapers as a medium to get daily information (and yeah, remember Japan is one of the oldest countries in the world when it comes to demography!).
People in Japan still purchase physical albums way more than any country in the world. Even youngsters purchase physical albums because they want to ‘collect’ things from their favorite idols. Here is the data that proves that Japan is still the physical CD capital of the world:
Thus, it becomes certain that one cannot completely neglect the traditional marketing methods, especially in a market like Japan, where still many people rely on traditional mediums and the music market is exceptionally huge. K-pop companies, while marketing in South Korea or countries in the West, follow the digital approach more; and while they are promoting in Japan, they have a fine blend of both mediums. Twice has a large proportion of Japanese fans aged more than 50, so JYP cannot let them go away, right?
Thus, not only in entertainment but in any sector, one has to form a fine blend of both the digital and traditional marketing methods based on the demography and the usage of digital mediums in the market that the company is planning to enter.
For example, for an idol group to promote in Japan, huge banners across the streets of Tokyo and Osaka will be put; as well as a whole page of newspapers will be covered with their information — about the members, their hobbies, and the like. They will be HEAVILY promoted during the night TV shows so that the whole family gets to know more about them and if they like them, they might follow them.
Side by side, they are promoted through their group and personal accounts on social media sites such as Twitter, LINE, Instagram, Facebook, etc. I have mentioned Twitter and LINE because both of these apps have more users in Japan compared to the latter ones. Little strange, but that’s how Japan is :p. The idols post a lot of content on these apps related to their daily lives, upcoming events, and songs.
Hence, digital marketing is gradually overtaking traditional marketing, but it is a very dynamic field which changes a lot; unlike traditional marketing which is deeply rooted in the fundamentals of human psychology and the market, Thus, though the traditional marketing methods may seem “old”, the reality is that they have stuck around for a reason — they work!!!
The CATT Marketing Funnel and the J-K-Pop world!
We all know that Japan and Korea love cats, but I’m not talking about those meows here XD.
The CATT Marketing Funnel is prepared by my mentor, DigitalDeepak. I am going to relate the entertainment industry of East Asia with it. Let’s start:
The formula of this funnel is:
Wealth = n^CATT
[n] is Niche:
The success and wealth of a company depend on the niche it chooses. You shall choose a niche with a hungry market because there are people who have a problem and you can solve their problems with your products/services. Do NOT choose your niche either too wide or too narrow!!!! Remember, “If you try to be everything to everyone, then you will be nobody to everyone.”
When stepping out of the Korean market, the Korean agencies had to ponder upon deciding the niche for other markets. In Japan, the strategy they selected was ‘Be like the Japanese’ — that is speak in Japanese, sing in Japanese.
Whereas in the American/Western markets, they needed to change their style a little. With western-style of beats, they introduced groups with heavy choreography and perfectionist style. Their niche became ‘ those who want to dance and copy it’; ‘those who want perfection in music videos’. Soon the globe exploded with KPOP IN PUBLIC videos on YouTube, where everyone danced on streets to K-pop beats from Los Angeles to Paris to Nigeria.
But how did they enter India? See, India was not at all ready for the K-pop boom. I mean, our cultures are kind of different, and we did not admire east Asians when it was about beauty or fashion, or music. We have our own music industry which is pretty big — even by global standards. Here, the K agencies decided to showcase ‘people who listen to Western songs’ and considered that as a niche in India. So, starting with PSY’s “Gangnam Style” (I’m sure you know about it), and then with BTS and BlackPink, K-pop songs were being played on Vh1 — a TV channel for Western music, which was and is still very popular amongst Indian audience for English music. Soon, people started liking it, and now you can see a lot of BTS and BlackPink fans all over India!!
These companies observed that the people who listened to English songs in India had a much more tendency to accept music from other regions of the world as well. They were very apt in deciding their niche because the idols had talent, the companies were passionate about entering the Indian market, and there was a hidden market demand — in the form of listeners of international music. These companies started getting deep into one niche at a time, firstly in Japan and Southeast Asian nations and then the world. They did not start getting too wide.
Slowly, not only in India but also across the globe, this hidden demand got into a real one and people started accepting this new culture from the Far East. Japan has gradually understood it and is now building upon its Korean brother. Recently, while marketing Japanese girl groups like FAKY, the Japanese labels are considering ‘People who listen to K-pop’ as their target niche. And, they are experiencing success!
This n has got ^ mark in the formula, solely because the success and wealth of any business depends upon its selection of the niche.
[C] is Content:
Companies shall create useful content that attracts people from the selected niche. Blog posts, videos, lead magnets, live webinars, etc. are such examples.
Blogs are not so popular in the K/J-pop world, and that’s quite understandable. But compared to Western entertainment labels, these companies create a whole lot of new content weekly for the fans. Idol Vlogs, wherein the video series depict the daily lives of the idol groups are made; which makes the fans feel as if the idols are normal people just like them — and they can connect with them more!
These idols also come to live to talk with fans, as well as spill some tea regarding the upcoming song/album!
[A] is Attention:
After selecting a proper niche and creating valuable content, one should drive attention (traffic) to the content using SEO, Social Media, Paid Ads, and Referrals.
These entertainment companies spend a lot on online ads, especially on YouTube and social media platforms. And this definitely leads them to more profits. Once a person becomes aware of any group through ads, he/she might become a fan as here the product is really qualitative. And then, Word of Mouth takes that group to a new level. This is probably one of the best ways of marketing. At the end of the day, word of mouth will become the biggest asset of any company.
For example, BTS and BlackPink are the groups that have become so much popular all over the world that the agencies do not need to do specific marketing for them at all! Word of mouth does it all!
[T] is Trust:
Once the attention is grabbed, trust needs to be built with the audience using tripwires, marketing automation, and retargeting.
In the present times, it is important to create a marketing funnel, solely because of the scarce resource of ‘trust’. As a marketer, you should have the first goal of ‘building trust among your target audience.
DEEP MARKETING and the J-pop world:
Deep Marketing’ is the process of sending out communications that are very personalized based on who your target audience is so that each and every person feels like you are communicating to them directly to the point. This is one of the most effective strategies for building trust among the customers. The customers who have trust in you will come to you again whenever they will need any product/service.
Japan loves Deep Marketing. Unlike Korean agencies, Japanese agencies prefer their idols groups to “chat” with their fans. Normally, the information regarding upcoming events/concerts/songs is given through social-media posts, right? But a big no-no in Japan. They send this information via ‘personal messages’!!
As I already mentioned earlier, LINE is the most popular messaging app/social media in Japan, and its users outnumber that of any other app. These artists/idols have a LINE account that people can search for and connect to.
Once they get connected, they start receiving updates from their favorite groups as if they are personally telling them as a friend does! Interesting, right? I tried myself connecting to NiziU via LINE and here’s what I got:
I was on cloud nine when NiziU greeted me with my own name!!!!! I was even on a higher cloud nine when they READ my message!!!! Deep in my heart, I knew that it was the automation software and not actual NiziU members who replied and read my messages, but still, IT FEELS GOOD!!
Because of this, there’s a term called ‘girl/boy group NEXT DOOR’ in Japan which makes the fans trust their fans as if they are friends/neighbors. Wonderful!
[T] is Transaction:
At last, convert your leads into customers with natural sales methods. This means that you are not getting a bunch of leads and cold-calling people and trying to get them to buy. It means that you have a target customer, and he/she is already out there looking for your product/service, and having trust in you. If you as a marketer have done all the previous things right, then this will come out naturally.
As a result of the perfect application of the CATT model by the entertainment companies of Japan and South Korea, their sales occur naturally, and they get more prosperous.
Once the niche gets saturated, you can go ahead and use that profits to go into new niches as well. And that’s what these K-pop companies are doing — getting into untapped markets of south Asia.
INTEGRATED DIGITAL MARKETING
Digital Marketing is an amazing tool. In fact, in today’s time, it is one of the most effective tools for marketing a product/service. But some marketers complain of it not working in their example. Well, the more fault is theirs.
A lot of people approach digital marketing in a way that they try to get results from each and every segment separately. Now here’s where the problem lies. Each aspect of digital marketing such as Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, SEO, Email Marketing is powerful — but not alone. When all of these different modules get combined in a uniquely tailored way, the power and effectiveness go up drastically.
As you can see in the figure, convert your paid advertising to your content, not directly for your product. Forbes says “The bottom line is that there is only one true branding mechanism online and that is Content Marketing.” One of the reasons why it continues to deliver results is because it is a form of Inbound Marketing — meaning, instead of you going out there to find people, they find you.
But focusing only on content marketing would not be much fruitful. It will not always be useful unless you’re checking the other boxes as well. To make it effective, other digital marketing methods need to be used in conjunction with it.
And oh yeah! First ask for attention, rather than asking for payment.
The CATT Marketing Funnel discussed before is very linear, and it is executed via digital marketing. Lemme explains this in the context of the J-K-pop world.
These agencies not only integrate various digital marketing methods but also mix them with offline marketing modes too. This integrated marketing communication gives a unified seamless experience to a fan.
Oh god, I am again going to quote a NiziU example XD. They recently collaborated with the giant Coca-Cola. This was an offline collaboration, but on each bottle of Coca-Cola beverages, you get a QR Code, which takes you to a page where you can see all of their social media accounts, and get some gifts too! Now, this way they connected both ways of marketing and tried to engage their fans as much as possible.
These companies make sure that their content is available to their fans through each channel possible, and that’s what makes them successful.
J.Y. PARK — THE BIGGEST PERSONAL BRAND IN THE EAST ASIAN MUSIC WORLD
Now I am going to tell you why I admire JYP and want to work in JYP Entertainment :p
Personal Branding has great power. People would prefer to hear from people, not from brands. I mean, how can a logo talk to you? A person who has a strong personal brand out there in the market can give birth to various successful entities by becoming their brand ambassador/influencer. He motivates people to become like him.
Yet, one downside of personal branding is that a personal brand cannot be invested in or sold.
Let us talk about Park Jin Young, or more commonly known as J.Y. Park — the Asiansoul. He is probably one of the most influential K-pop CEOs of all time. The CEOs of other entertainment labels in Japan and South Korea do not interact a lot with the idols, but our JYP is different. He does some weird poses in literally every group’s music videos — be it dressing like a delivery boy in Twice’s song or skating on the road and falling down in NiziU’s ‘Make You Happy’ — he does it all! I mean, a boss can never be this cooler, right?
Being born in South Korea, having experience in the US, and inspired by Japanese music, this guy knows all about how to lead any market. He legitimately learned Japanese in just a year so that he can interact with his Japanese idols and go deep into the Japanese market and culture.
One thing I love about him is his core values — honesty, sincerity, and humility; which he makes sure are imbibed into the company and idols as well.
He is a BIG BRAND himself in Japan and South Korea. His songs still get millions of views and concerts outsold. According to recent research in Japan about the top CEOs Japanese youngsters prefer to work under after graduation, Mr. JYP was in the top 5 — being the only non-Japanese. And after the debut of NiziU, Japanese people’s love for JYP has doubled.
My mentor — DigitalDeepak, has created a MassTrust Blueprint for analyzing Personal Branding, showcasing that it is a gradual process and cannot occur overnight. JYP fits into all these categories so well.
Evolution of JYP as ‘the Leader in Entertainment’:
Learn: Having lived for almost three years in the US, JYP got exposure to different music genres and he learned a lot from both the world’s — from the West (US) and the East (he being born in South Korea and getting influenced by the Japanese music).
Work: During his college days, JYP made few songs that kickstarted his career as a singer. Surprisingly, his songs became massive hits in South Korea.
Blog: JYP often creates content. In his company, he has a separate site called ‘JYP Publishing’ where he along with other idols talk about music and songwriting. He has even published a book, named ‘Live For What’ which became the bestseller in South Korea.
Consult: JYP then started consulting idol groups in other companies in the earlier stages of his career. This gave him momentum as he collaborated with many artists.
Mentor: JYP appeared in many talent shows in South Korea — teaching trainees the invaluable knowledge regarding singing, dancing, and songwriting that he has gained through his vast experience.
Start-up: After gaining enough experience in various fields of the entertainment world, JYP then established JYP Entertainment, which soon became the biggest entertainment company in South Korea, and is now aspiring to take over the Japanese market.
He is such a genius. I wish to be Asiansoul like him. JYP is the reason why I got interested in the K-pop world. His rise could not have been achieved by him in a short span of time. This cycle of MassTrust needs to be completed, and this goes on and on till infinity — as a man shall never stop learning!
I finally am bringing this article to an end. I hope aspiring marketers, K-pop/J-pop lovers, and people, in general, found my article helpful 🙂 Your comments will be appreciated.
Deep — (in collaboration with my amazing friend Shubham Shrivastava aka Shubh the A.P.E.X.)
And oh yes, I have recently started my YouTube channel and have posted about the basic structure of the Japanese language. Here’s the link: