Pamela Wilson

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The PSY Guide to Getting the World To Sing Along

If you’d told me a year ago that the hottest pop song in the US would be sung in Korean, I would have laughed in your face.

Marketing sing along

And yet here I am (with lots of others), thinking, “I wish I spoke Korean so I’d know what he’s saying.”

The “Gangnam Style” video by PSY has over 770 million views on YouTube.

That’s right. Not 7 million. Not 70 million.

770 million.

That’s crazy. I mean, it’s just a music video, right?

Not really. There’s a lot more going on here that PSY and his team have done right. Let’s take a look and see what we can learn that will apply to our own marketing.

Have a Unique Vision

According to an interview on CNN, PSY’s goal was to offer a song that would “make people laugh like crazy even in the midst of all this global economic slowdown.”

And that is the perfect way to approach your vision, after all. Ask yourself, “How do I want people to feel after they interact with my business?”

Once you know your desired end result, you can work backwards so that all your marketing points toward that feeling.

Don’t be Afraid to be Outrageous

The “Gangnam Style” video features wild colors, blowing trash, and a dance style that looks unabashedly goofy.

To make your marketing memorable, there’s no need to run out and buy sequined jackets, or invest in pyrotechnics.

What’s your industry’s version of outrageous? I’ll bet you could get away with something a lot less flashy than what a pop star has to do to get attention.

Say It with Conviction

Every time PSY performs “Gangnam Style,” it’s like it’s the first time. His enthusiasm, energy and focus are hard to resist.

He interacts with the audience, bringing them in on the chorus, and inviting you to join him in his comical dance moves. It’s a celebration, and he takes it seriously.

How can you bring this kind of conviction to your marketing messages?

Share the Stage with Your Talented Friends

“Gangnam Style” features one of Korea’s top comedians, Nong Chul, as the guy in the elevator. And one of Korea’s top female pop stars, Hyun-A, is PSY’s muse on the subway.

He even recruited a 5-year-old boy who appeared on “Korea’s Got Talent” the night before they shot the scene he was in, which opens the video.

Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with massively talented people. Stand in the glow of their success: it will reflect on your business and help spread your message.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

A big part of the reason “Gangnam Style” has taken off is because of the parodies it has inspired, like this one on Saturday Night Live where PSY parodies himself.

You have a message, and you want to get it out there. Once in a while, though, don’t be afraid to show that you’re not perfect. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.

Your ideal customer will love you more for it, because they’ll know you’re just like them.

Spread the Word

The international phenomenon that is “Gangnam Style” would not have happened without the power of social media.

Here’s “Gangnam Style.” Notice how they all look like they’re having a blast: that has a lot to do with why this works.

(Contains suggestive images. If that’s going to bother you, don’t click play. Also, if you don’t like songs that get stuck in your head for days, you really shouldn’t click play. ;-))

Pamela Wilson

I want to help you take the next step. Pick your free workshop topic and let’s do this!

8 thoughts on “The PSY Guide to Getting the World To Sing Along”

  1. Great post Pamela! I really enjoyed it. This is the first time I actually got to think about what has made Gangnam style so successful. I agree with all of the points you made, especially the one about sharing the stage with other talented people. Lots of bloggers get them selves out there by doing guest posts on other talented blogger’s blogs.

    • Thanks, Ryley. I’ve always heard that to really grow your business, you should hire and surround yourself with people who are more talented than you are, not less. You have to put your ego aside, but it makes sense to use this approach.

      That’s what I had in mind in that section of the post, but the guest posting idea makes perfect sense, too.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Pamela,

    I’ve been reading Big Brand for awhile and have gone through a lot of your newsletters and I really like what you do.

    I have been thinking about Gangnam Style for awhile now and was attributing the success to a random luck and a really catchy tune and hilarious video.

    Your article has really opened my eyes to what is possible from a simple vision. PSY started with the feeling and it just so happens, laughter and happiness are things that almost everyone can use right now. That is what I should have attributed the success to, and of course PSY’s hard work and the tool he used to promote it, social media.

    I also underestimate the power of having talented friends and need the constant reminder to reach out to others with much more talent than myself.

    @Ryley, great point about Guest Posting. As Copyblogger would say, the guest poster is the opening act for the main event, much like the child from the PSY video opened up the video for PSY and Hyun-a

    Thank you!

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Dustin. It’s pretty amazing what has happened with this video just since I wrote this post last week: it’s now the most-viewed video on YouTube.

      Amazing, but not surprising. 🙂

  3. Pamela,
    I am a huge fan of PSY and the fact that he want people to have a good time with his music and allows the parodies to be made freely. I would have never thought to tie in marketing techniques with an idea like PSY. He is super-popular and outrageously funny! Now, knowing this, I need to figure out a way to apply it to our business…. Hmmm, Oppa Gangnam Style!

  4. Interesting take on both the Gangnam Style phenomenon AND marketing techniques. Thanks, Pamela, always enjoy your insights. Looking forward to checking out Pinterest, Facebook & Beyond…

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