Huzzyspeaks: Understanding Public Relations in K Pop

One of the most fascinating things I have seen in K Pop so far is how they manage to get away with shit that should put a business out. There is no way in the states had the information about the “supposed” (I believe it to be true) mistreatment been released that full scale coverage about said places would not have been an option.

Disclaimer: I’m going to say PR a lot. I have some opinions in here. This is very basic and bare to the bones. It is going to take three post to write so…enjoy!

What is PR?

Public relations (PR) is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

-From Public Relations Society Association (

Alright so this is easy enough…however let’s break it down.

A strategic communication process…

That isn’t hard. You are trying to say something. But Godbless you have to realize that it may not be easy to get out there. First you need to know what you are communicating. Is there a new product? A new person coming into office? Something bad happened? You have an event? All of this is information you kind of want people to know about so they don’t have doubts in you.

But once again, it is not as easy as putting it out there…okay some of it is, but that just means it is situation based, and that you can’t apply the same exact tactics for every case. That is where the strategic part comes in. You are not going to do the same PR for a product release as you would a crisis. They have different needs, and require different actions.

Mutually beneficial relationships just means you both get something positive out of this. For your organization…money, recognition, publicity. FOr your publics, a solid product, a good event, news, whatever…it is.

Organizations and Publics

An organization is who you are working for. They are the ones that need PR.  Companies, corporations, non-profits, governmental organizations and some forms of organizations. Of course it is not just limited to massive entities. An organization can also just be a single person (also called an individual).

I feel like that is easy.

In K Pop, our Organizations are usually the companies, and studios (KBS, MBC, SBS, etc). Individuals are the idols (and actors), and CEO’s (if they have visibility).

(Sidenote: These are not the only entities that exist in K Pop. But these are the ones we usually see and hear from the most)

Now for another interesting part. The public. The immediate thought would to be think anyone who isn’t the organization. That’s not wrong. However it really depends on what message you want to send to people. Anyone who isn’t the organization can be the public, but for whatever PR campaign you are doing, you may/probably will get more specific.

In K pop, we as fans are a very important public. We give them money, show up to fansigns and events related to the groups, some will fly halfway across the world to be in the vicinity of their favorite. Companies have gotten savvy and learned they can profit off of that. So they do their best to relay the usual messages for us.

  • Someone is releasing new music? Tell the fans.
  • Someone is leaving the group? Tell the fans
  • Someone is being brought into the group? Tell the fans
  • People are dating? Tell the fans
Trust me, you never want to leave fans in the dark.

In whatever form, K pop companies have kept relaying information about what their idols are doing. Is it always the best? No. The most creative? Not really. But it exist. Fans are not the only publics in K Pop. You have the “general” public, which includes casual listeners and people who just really don’t care. These are the people who supposedly keep the digital music field afloat…but like…once again, I don’t know. 

The general public and fan community (not always exclusive to one another), are informed through a variety of ways (we will get to that later), but right now it’s just best to hit the other publics.

Now we are not the only “publics” that these money makers care about. In fact there is a lot of PR based around GARNERING/MAINTAINING financial support. We fans bring them a lot of money, but said money is not just going back to them. It’s going back to share holders, investors, employees, etc. And to keep these very people from leaving, doing something that could jeopardize the business, of course there are some PR based things.

There is a lot of things that we don’t get to see because it has nothing to do with us. However we occasionally get to hear about some of it. JYPE had a dinner in 2013 devoted to their investors just to tell them that things were not bad, and they weren’t losing money, and all that. There had to be a lot of planning, a lot of work, and lot of thought that went into making this dinner happen. And I guarantee you that JYPE is not the only one doing this. It would be dumb for them to not try to appease the people practically paying for them to exist in the first place.

There are various forms of PR…but I won’t get into that here.

So that’s it for Part 1. Part 2 will look at uses of PR (particularly ones that are relevant in K Pop).


Sources: Hancinema, PRSA



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