Samsung Goes Gangnam Style
After reaching #2 on the Billboard music chart last week and #1 on the UK Official Singles Chart, some may think we have had enough of the Korean rapper PSY’s Gangnam Style video and its countless parodies. After all, the viral video has reached the Guinness World Record as the Most Liked YouTube video of all time, with over 345 million views and 3.3 million “Likes.” Yet, there is one more angle that deserves attention: Samsung goes Gangnam Style.
A few weeks ago, Samsung Electronics Live, an internal communications channel, held a global employee competition to "Create a Gangnam Style Parody Video." Below are two noteworthy submissions: one from Samsung Austin Semiconductor which produces the A5 and A6 chips for Apple and the other is from Samsung Smart City in Gumi, Korea, where Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones are manufactured.
- Samsung Austin Style (Gangnam Style Parody) video;
- Gumi (Samsung Smart City) Gangnam Style Parody video.
While cultural differences of the two sites are easy to notice in the videos, there is a common goal of re-branding Samsung’s image from a corporate perspective. Samsung’s headquarters, known as Samsung Town, is located in the Gangnam area in Seoul, one of the trendiest districts in Korea. So it’s not surprising that Samsung wants to ride the wave of Gangnam Style’s success to target the young, hip and creative users, especially those in the 18 to 34 age group. They even hired PSY for promoting Samsung’s Kimchi Refrigerator (see video here). Yet Samsung is striving for something more than being the top seller of consumer electronics. After its recent loss to Apple in the US courts, Samsung is transforming itself to be a company with ATTITUDE.
PSY attributes his global popularity to his “Attitude.” In an interview on NBC’s Today Show, PSY commented about himself, “I’m not handsome, I’m not tall, I’m not muscular, I’m not skinny. But I’m sitting here,” (thanks to Attitude).
Continued on the next page
Dr. Eun Y. Kim, a global leadership and cross-cultural communication coach at CEO International and author of "The Yin and Yang of American Culture: A Paradox," believes that this is an opportunity for Samsung to show a different side to its stakeholders across the globe. Kim says, “With more than a half of its global workforce hired outside of Korea, Samsung is keenly aware of the importance of its company image for global talent recruitment and retention. Samsung wants to be seen as a place where people not only work hard, but play hard with a corporate culture that promotes fun, creativity and innovation. Those who have done business with Samsung often describe Samsung as aggressive, authoritative, hard-working, demanding, tough, and even paranoid. Samsung can reposition itself as a cool global company and soften its image as a trusted partner among its stakeholders if it leverages the Gangnam Style.”