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  • Writer's pictureAle Tang

What BTS Tells You About Gen-Z Marketing

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

It’s not about K-pop, it’s about the how-tos of creating connections with your potential target audience.

Yup, it’s way more than music, dance, looks and promotional tricks. They say BTS is an undeniable global phenomenon, from meeting a president at the White House, giving a speech at the UN, becoming the first winner of the same kind in an array of westerner awards, contributing to half a percent of South Korea’s entire economy to making millions of people learn Korean. So what and how BTS did (and is doing) right to win the heart of Gen Zers?

1. Spin on Social Media

If you, as a brand, want to speak to them, speak their language.

Aged 25 or less this year, Gen Z is the first generation of true digital natives. Not surprisingly, the superstardom started from Twitter (their first group tweet in 2012) and Facebook (2013) and rose to worldwide attention around the time when BTS named as the Billboard Music Awards’ Top Social Artist in 2017. Then, countless YouTube videos (various versions, from stage to member focus), manifold gif or clips or remakes from those videos, official IG, member IGs... and the rest is history. From the virtual world, you can also tell the Gen Zers also crave face-to-face interactions - the four-day BTS live concert in LA, California in 2021 resulted in more than 68 million tweets about the boy band.

And it’s not only about the Gen Zers. According to a report, 71% of interviewees trust advertising/opinions about brands/product placements from influencers. Platforms most used by influencers are Instagram, TikTok and Youtube - now you know on where your campaigns or sponsored ads should land.

2. Mirror Their Values

Create authentic, mission-driven IPs that align with Gen-Z values and life priorities instead of some fancy marketing and sales stunts.

A recent survey shows ‘purpose’ continues to be a top value for Gen Zers – 42% say they want authenticity from brands. In 2016, BTS unveiled the BTS LOVE YOURSELF series and created a narrative by linking songs in each album into the captioned single theme – but this is more than a gimmick. Since 2017, BTS and UNICEF join hands to stage LOVE MYSELF campaigns against violence towards children and teens around the world. BTS has since raised USD3.6 million for UNICEF and gathering over 50 million interactions from Twitter users.

The diversity of BTS’ IPs is impressive, but they all share the same mission: to promote the Korean culture. Expected official BTS merchs aside, BTS has tailor-made a series of Korean learning book and voice pen kits for non-Korean speakers. There are also a myriad of brand collaborations, from e-sports, comics, fashion, homeware to book publisher, literally covering every aspect of life!

3. Love is the Keyword

Gen Zers care about social inclusion and world improvement, so it’s understandable that LOVE wins over language and geographic boundaries and becomes an obvious choice of the objective, theme, concept or however-you-name-it of any campaigns.

Just search on the net and there are innumerable articles about the relationship between BTS and A.R.M.Ys (‘Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth’, the official name of BTS fans) – or, to be precise, how BTS pioneers the formation of a fandom that cares about love, mutual respect and holistic well-being. When your potential customers support changing the world through love, it’s always a great idea to show them you are part of the process.


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