‘CAST’ Is The Rising Business Model Utilizing Synergy Between K-Pop Stars & Local Korean Enterprises

From the BTS Meal at McDonald’s to BLACKPINK members representing multiple luxury fashion houses, global brands are leveraging the popularity and social media savvy of K-pop stars more than ever before. But the artists are also using their influence to help develop and support start-ups from their home country of South Korea in an emerging business model that has received important government support.

The special affairs unit at Korea’s Munhwa Broadcasting Company (better known as MBC) recently shared its findings and future plans developed based on a new business model called “Connect, Accompany to make Synergy and Transformation,” or “CAST” for short. . . After three years of research and testing, MBC says that even with K-pop artists and rising celebrity profiles, they are willing to work with Korean small and medium-sized businesses (also known as SMEs) and share their millions of enthusiastic fans. meaningful and collaborative partnerships.

In the CAST system, Korean wave stars and small and medium enterprises are compared one-on-one, with celebrities participating not only as models, but also as creative directors involved in product planning, development and testing. The South Korean government-sponsored Korea Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE) designed the matchmaking system after recognizing the difficulty of smaller Korean businesses in recruiting top stars.

“Stars using their influence on the growth and expansion of SMEs abroad is considered a new form of giving,” MBC said in a press release. “The fact that global stars attended the event for free attracted a lot of attention [and] the CAST project deserves attention as a gift unprecedented anywhere in the world in maintaining a true partnership for more than a year.”

Artists actively involved in the program’s 2022 iteration included long-loved girl group Apink, chart-topping boy group SF9, solo superstar Chung Ha, rising girl group Weeekly, beauty YouTuber PONY, as well as model Irene Kim , Jung Hyuk and Song of Haena. With eight SMEs selected by KOFICE to create the best possible synergy between the two parties, the eight stars worked as creative directors to ultimately move forward with their endorsements and marketing after product approval.

The first overseas test of the business model was last year’s HallyuPopFest in London, which featured around 60 MSPs from Korea on the same festival grounds with popular artists such as Kai, Chen, Hwa Sa, SF9, ASTRO, Weeekly, Ke1per and more. These overseas trade shows and product showcases are another part of CAST’s system to strengthen local awareness for businesses and develop international demand through star visibility and product endorsement.

Looking ahead, KOFICE president Jung Kilhwa said that after three years of testing, the CAST model can effectively build “strong competitiveness” among start-ups in 2023.

The CAST system not only shows how Korean businesses can gain a foothold in the global market, but it shows that K-pop stars are very aware of what it takes for their country’s economy to grow in a healthy and meaningful way.


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