With a total of 16 billion YouTube views, 71.1 million subscribers and hundreds of broken records, there is no doubt that South Korean K-pop group Blackpink has taken the world by storm. However, despite their popularity, many fans have been criticizing the group for their rare comebacks as opposed to many other groups.
In fact, having debuted over 6 years ago, they only have 10 songs with a music video, averaging just 1.6 music videos per year. But the question remains: with so little content, how does Blackpink continue to break records after records? What are the secrets behind their popularity? Today, we will take a look into Blackpink’s Marketing strategy.
Disclaimer: As a Blackpink fan myself, I do love the group but I am also going to be fully honest in this article. It is only from my own Marketing perspective and for entertainment purposes – hopefully, I am not going to offend any Blink! Also, feel free to correct me in the comments in case I mess up a fact or any statistics.
And now, let’s go!
What’s Blackpink’s Marketing strategy?
While Blackpink’s Marketing strategy focuses mainly on differentiation through the concept of “girl crush”, it also relies heavily on scarcity in terms of content, which helps to build hype and tease the audience. In addition, their company YG Entertainment spends significantly more than other companies on high-quality music videos with real sets.
But now, let’s take a look at the details and find out what makes the girl group so popular:
1. Differentiation strategy
First on our list of secrets behind Blackpink’s Marketing is their incredible differentiation strategy. Interestingly enough, it’s rather challenging to point out a single thing that makes them stand out from other K-pop girl groups.
Blackpink Marketing strategy: Girl crush concept.
I would say that it is more like a combination of aspects, such as:
- An awesome “badass” concept as opposed to a cute one;
- Each member has very unique vibe, features and talents;
- A diverse group with an international background;
As one of the only girl groups that doesn’t have a leader, Blackpink stands out because each member individually shines very bright with her unique personality, visuals and talents.
Because the group has just 4 members and each one of them gets individual promotion, it is easier to get to know Lisa, Rosé, Jisoo and Jennie very well as opposed to groups with more members, which helps to establish an emotional connection with the brand.
2. The concept of scarcity
In my previous article on Hermés Marketing strategy, I talked about the concept of scarcity in Marketing. It is a tactic that creates a psychological need for people to acquire a certain product because it is exclusive or for limited-time only, which artificially increases the demand.
YG Entertainment is applying the same strategy for Blackpink as well. Instead of releasing regular content within a shorter period of time, the music videos that they release are very rare and there might be up to 1 year of time between comebacks.
Blackpink Marketing strategy: over 1 billion views per music video, with 1 year between comebacks
This lack of content creates hype and gets fans impatient for the next video, especially considering that they don’t know when it will be released.
With all of these tactics, the moment YG and Blackpink decide to release a video, everyone rushes to see what all this waiting was about. Which boosts the views to higher and higher records.
3. Impressive Marketing budget
Of course, no matter how much we romanticize the power of Blackpink (and this is by no means to underestimate their talents), we can’t ignore the fact that they are coming from a company with a much larger production and Marketing budget than most companies.
I couldn’t find specific numbers, but YG Entertainment is one of the “Big 3”, and they can afford to spend a lot more on promotion than other production companies. It’s enough to take a look at the luxury brands that Blackpink is ambassadors of:
- Jisoo is a brand ambassador for Dior;
- Jennie is a brand ambassador for Channel;
- Rosé is a brand ambassador for Yves Saint Laurent;
- Lisa is a brand ambassador for Celine and Bulgari.
Jisoo as a Brand ambassador for Dior. Blackpink Marketing strategy.
And of course, we are not only talking about individual promotions. The company has a huge Marketing budget for each of their music videos, concerts, shows, and all content that’s created around them in order to not only get maximum visibility in South Korea but also internationally.
Most companies simply can’t afford all of that for their k-pop groups.
4. High-quality production
YG Entertainment not only spends a lot on Marketing, but also on high-quality production as well. According to research, although the numbers are not official and I can’t confirm them personally, they spent $3.1 million for the music video of “How you like that”! They are spending more than $1 million per video.
But Blackpink’s Marketing strategy isn’t about spending money randomly either. YG definitely invests a lot on high-quality production, building real sets for the videos instead of using green screen.
Which definitely makes a difference in converting the end result into a masterpiece, and making the videos so aesthetically pleasing and nice to watch. For example, for the solo single of Rosé, they actually set a real car on fire:
Rosé solo single “On the Ground” with real sets. Blackpink Marketing strategy.
5. International audience reach
Another aspect of Blackpink’s Marketing strategy is that they are not limiting their promotions and efforts only to South Korea. The group was built with both national and international audience in mind from the very beginning. Let’s just take a look at their background:
- Rosé – born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, speaks fluent English;
- Lisa – born in Thailand, speaks 4 languages fluently, including Korean;
- Jennie – born in South Korea, but studied in New Zealand;
- Jisoo – born and raised in South Korea.
This diversity not only attracts fans from these countries but also from all over the world. In fact, another aspect of their international reach is that they are using a lot of English words in their songs, which makes it easier for non-Koreans to adopt these songs and sing to them.
Many of Blackpink’s songs have English names as well, which increases the exposure opportunities to a more international audience.
In fact, Blackpink is by far the most successful international K-pop girl group at the moment.
6. Focus on personal branding
Another aspect of Blackpink’s Marketing strategy, and something that not many other companies and bands are doing, is an extensive focus on personal branding. A part of the group success is thanks to the fact that each member is quite popular on its own as well, not only as a group.
YG is spending heavily on solo promotion, and Jennie, Lisa and Rosé already released their solo singles – with only Jisoo left to go.
Additionally, each girl gets her own shows, promotions, campaigns and initiatives (Jisoo is staring in a K-pop drama, Lisa is a dancing mentor, etc.). They are becoming very successful on their own as well, which only adds to the popularity of the group.
As opposed to other K-pop groups, each member has an individual Instagram account as well – with a lot of followers:
- Lisa has the whopping 71.3 million followers;
- Jennie has 60.3 million followers;
- Rosé has 53.5 million followers;
- Jisoo has 53.9 million followers;
7. A strong community
And last but not least, we can’t speak about Blackpink Marketing strategy without mentioning their strong fandom: the Blinks. We can’t deny that Blinks are extremely passionate about their favorite group, and they are working very hard to stream each new video as hard as possible.
While some of their practices can be considered a bit toxic, it is undeniable that their devotion is adding a lot to the group’s already insane popularity. Blackpink definitely has a strong community that not many companies have. Let’s take a look:
- 71.1 million subscribers on YouTube;
- 20 million followers on Spotify;
- 44.5 million followers on Instagram;
- 17 million followers on Facebook.
Just crazy, right?
And that was all from me for today! I hope you liked my article on Blackpink’s Marketing strategy, and I hope to see you in the next one! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below. Feel free to correct me on anything as well. See ya!