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What Gangnam Style Teaches Us About Branding

It’s the music video that’s taken the world by storm. The Oregon Duck danced his tail off, Britney and Ellen got a personal tutorial, and Nelly Furtado whipped it out for concert goers. In just a little over two months, international hit Gangnam Style has garnered well over 200 million views and a slew of parodies. While Carly Rae Jepsen may be asking whether we’ll remember her maybe, the rest of us are left wondering just how Koren Pop sensation Psy managed to do it. The following three ingredients have played a huge part in his recipe for success.

  1. Make it memorable – Sure, there are plenty of pop songs out there with addictive rhythms and catchy lyrics, but sometimes it’s not easy to tell one from the other. Once you watch the Gangnam style video, however, you’ll never forget it or confuse it with anything else. The video is the perfect combination of humorous, random, ridiculous and eye catching. And to drive it all home? An easy dance move repeated throughout the video that everyone will be dying to mimic.
  2. Define your style – Korean pop star Psy sealed the deal on his public image when he declared, “Dress classy, dance cheesy.” Simple message, big impact. His signature persona is instantly recognizable and exclusively his.
  3. Be Yourself – Regardless of your message or look, make sure your brand is built squarely on the foundation of your company’s  personality. People will buy into personable and authentic. What they won’t buy into is a business trying to portray itself as something it is not. Psy may be in black tie attire, but his goofiness shines through. Imagine his video with a more serious approach – say as a serious 007 agent racing boats and picking up women. Not nearly as lovable, is it?

Which viral hit is the better branding example in your opinion? Call Me Maybe or Gangnam Style?