After topping charts and selling out concerts around the world, BTS’s popularity and commercial success do not go unnoticed. From journalistic articles to academia, including a case study conducted by a Harvard University professor, to which Big Hit Entertainment have personally contributed with interviews, there have been many analyses of BTS’s marketing endeavours.
However, on October 31st, marketing and business experts interested in BTS had the chance to hear from those who best know the reason for the group’s appeal: their fans, ARMY.
“BTS: A Paradigm Changer in Martech and/or Innovation” was the theme of a special track co-hosted by Asia Marketing Journal (AMJ) and The Rhizomatic Revolution Review  (R³), at the 2020 ICAMA-KAS International Conference.
The online conference, which was free to attend, also hosted tracks for special issues of the Journal of Business Research, International Journal of Advertising, Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, and International Journal of Research in Marketing. Each journal had its own Call for Papers (CFP) with various themes around the main Conference theme: “Marketing and Advertising in an Age of Radical Change.”
By choosing BTS as the theme of their Conference track, AMJ and R³ aimed to receive works that would go beyond the widespread thesis that simply credits BTS’s success uniquely to their presence in social media by highlighting the band’s disruptive place in the music industry and popular culture in Korea and worldwide, justified (although not exclusively) by their innovative branding, marketing, and technology practices.
Between professionals, scholars and ARMY, 24 individuals submitted abstracts for AMJ and R³’s joint CFP, and 20 presented them at the Conference that took place online.
The special track was presented in 4 sessions:
- The Business of BTS: Branding and Product Development;
- Bring the Stories: Narrative Building and Participatory Culture;
- The Making of an ARMY: Online and Offline Engagement and Community;
- Connecting BTS: The Role and Impact of Social Media.
Comprehensive analysis of BTS’s storytelling, transmedia content, ARMY’s engagement and labor, and Big Hit’s management and Intellectual Property strategies explained BTS’s success as a combination of their strong ability to connect with fans in addition to the group and their creative team’s ability to make intricate music and content that keeps fans intellectually engaged.
Meanwhile, presentations based on specific BTS works and career moments (such as the 2020 online concert “BangBangCon The Live”; the album “Wings”; and the promotion strategy of the song “Waste it on Me” released in collaboration with Steve Aoki) showcased the complexity of the band, whose every work is worthy of its own analysis.
At the end of the last session, Professor Sangman Han, President of the Korean Marketing Association (one of ICAMA-KAS hosts along with the Korean Advertising Society and Thammasat Business School) commented on the noticeable intimacy in tone shared by all the ARMY presenters and attendees, proving the point made in the presentations about how BTS inspires community building.
R³ was honored to co-host this track and be a part of ICAMA-KAS 2020, happy to provide opportunities for worldwide ARMY and scholars to showcase their research, and see some of our Managing Editors, Editorial Board, reviewers and marketing staff members presenting.
Selected presentations delivered at the 2020 ICAMA-KAS International Conference will be invited to submit for one of two special issues to be published by AMJ and R³ in early 2021.
Click here to check the full program and abstracts for “BTS: A Paradigm Changer in Martech and/or Innovation”.
- ICAMA-KAS 2020 and Asia Marketing Journal staff
- Dr. KyungHee Bu, from R³ and AMJ, track organizer
- Katie Hulme, R³ Editorial Board member, track organizer and ICAMA-KAS session chair
- Dr. Chelsea Murdock, R³ Editorial Board member and ICAMA-KAS session chair
- R³ Marketing and Communication staff (Marri, Monika, Nicole, MacKenzie)
- All submitters and presenters
- All attendees, ARMY, and R³ supporters