Park Eun-Jee? you ask. Who is she?
Well, she is the author of a current JoongAng Ilbo post on the Tourism Center in Apkujongdong (Gangnam) that was built next to the Hyundai Department Store. As Ms. Park points out, government-style thinking is much like Samsung’s often strange and misplaced advertising concept: it doesn’t work:
. . . A major reason for the center’s (tourism) disappointing reception appears to stem from an entrenched bureaucratic way of thinking, with officials offering tourists what they think foreigners should see, rather than responding to the interests of their visitors.
As the author points out, a tourist:
- can’t touch costumes
- can’t learn dance moves
- can’t buy tickets to shows (since most ticket sites offer no help to non-Koreans)
- can’t buy costumes or clothes that are hip
- can’t learn about all K-pop stars (just a few)
- can’t talk to medical clinic representatives on site
I would add visitors can’t sign up for interactive exhibits, for example, a live dance performance that tourists could participate in and take pictures or video of. I am surprised that there is not more of a theme-park approach to this center too. I guess someone thought it was enough to put in a coffee franchise in there and no, they don’t need to turn it into a for-profit enterprise by putting in a casino because that is a short-sighted view of how to use a cultural marketing opportunity.
When I read Park’s article and see the truly bizarre advertising that comes out of Samsung or Hyundai overseas, this really tells me that the wrong people make decisions about how to market things that are “Korean”. Maybe some of the people who are just now starting to be taken seriously in “big data” usage in Korea should be managing marketing efforts since their knowledge comes from data points from real people and not how “Kim middle-age-guy” grew up or learned from Korean corporate politics and culture. Why not ask for recommendations from K-pop fan sites and find out directly from the people that would spend money to come here?
I must quote from the one piece of paper I keep at my desk, the one that never disappears from my desk, thanks to Marcel Proust:
The real voyage of discovery
lies not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes
It is in this way that the old becomes new again or that I can see my mistakes and successes in a different way.
What is also really interesting is how much interest in Korean entertainment there really is in the rest of the world but how little understanding there is, from Koreans, on how to cultivate this interest, IMHO.