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The Death of Brands and Celebrities

In this morning’s paper, a Korean singer & actor celebrity named Jin-Young Choi committed suicide. He was the younger brother of his sister, Jin-Sil Choi, probably one of Korea’s most famous actresses who committed suicide just a couple of years ago. This marks yet another trend of celebrity suicide in Korea, what is seemingly becoming a chain reaction of such saddening events.

From a psychological point of view, such events are understandable. Given the highly competitive industry for celebrity professionals in Korea, under pressure from young rising stars, yet in a cluttered society with an extremely high population density, Korean celebrities cannot even step out of their doorstep without being confronted by a total stranger who would begin gossiping about the sighting of a celebrity. In a country where even the top celebrities live in an apartment complex amongst laypersons, it is highly likely that they have no freedom for privacy. I mean, think about it, most Korean celebrities date in their underground parking lot inside their cars. That’s something ain’t it?

As such trends continue, I fear that there will be more to come. But my point it, in this competitive world, the same goes for the top brands out there. One second, they are at the top of their market. The next second, through digital and viral marketing and a new sense of taste of its customers, brands will lose their share in a split second. This could mean the death of brands, or the survival of the fittest. Perhaps a smarter move towards survival in this competitive world is to ensure that:

1. The brands stays on top of every micro-level moment, making sure that every move, every little thing that relates to the brand does not reflect a negative PR in even the most unexpected situations

2. Make sure to go beyond a market that is cluttered, dense, and fully mature. Whether its horizontal, vertical, or cross integration (expansion), brands must ensure that they do more than simply meeting the needs of its 100+ year old audience.

Today’s consumers are no longer the same. They are no longer loyal to a single brand. They switch from brand to brand, and just because their next purchase is your brand does not ensure that they’ll do the same again. It is more important than ever before to ensure that brands look from a bigger perspective, but in smaller steps.

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