From K-pop to Korean products: An investigation into the mediating effects of imitation and attitudes toward Korean culture and products

Ruonan Zhang, Visiting Assistant Professor, Rollins College, Nicky Chang Bi, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska, Papaa Kodzi, Undergraduate, Alana Goodwin, Undergraduate, Klaudia Wasilewski, Undergraduate and Eiko McCurdy, Undergraduate, Rollins

Click the button below to download the full text of the article.



Abstract: This study investigates how the consumption of South Korean popular culture (K-pop) media content influences the behavioural intention of international audiences with respect to the purchase of South Korean products. Based on a survey of international K-pop audiences, the authors examine the mediating effects of imitation intention, attitude towards Korean culture and attitude towards Korean products. The results reveal that both frequency and the number of hours of K-pop consumption significantly predicted participants’ intention to imitate their favourite K-pop celebrity, while attitude towards Korean culture and products was significantly predicted by frequency of K-pop consumption but not the number of hours of consumption. At the same time, attitude towards Korean products was found to be a strong predictor of international audiences’ purchase intention, while attitude towards Korean culture was found to be a weak predictor and imitation intention was found to be an ineffective predictor of intention to purchase Korean products. This study clarifies, at the international level, the influence of K-pop media content consumption on the intention to purchase Korean products. In this way, it confirms and explains how K-pop acts as a key cultural marketing strategy for South Korea in international markets.


Keywords: Korean popular culture (K-pop), imitation intention, Korean culture, Korean products, international cultural marketing


Ruonan Zhang is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Rollins College. Her research interests centre on social media, public relations, media psychology and audience analysis. Specifically, her work focuses on cultural marketing through Korean popular culture and corporate practices on emerging media platforms and with digital content. She has a PhD from Bowling Green State University


Nicky Chang Bi is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her research interests include why and how people engage in electronic word-of-mouth communication on social media. Specifically, her work explores message diffusion and its effects in social media. She has a PhD from Bowling Green State University


Papaa Kodzi will graduate from Rollins College with dual majors in biology and communication studies with a concentration in organisational leadership. His research interests centre on the intersection between biology, communications and business.


Alana Goodwin is a junior at Rollins College majoring in psychology and communication studies. Her research interests include the study of competitiveness and its relationship to different personality traits.


Klaudia Wasilewski attends Rollins College where she majors in health communications and minors in sociology. Her interests include communication and the influences behind human behaviours.


Eiko McCurdy is a junior in the Honors College at Rollins College. She majors in psychology and minors in communication with a focus on public relations. Her main research interests include the intersection between consumer psychology, marketing and public relations.

Read this featured article now.
To read this article and receive further updates on Henry Stewart Publications content please register using the form below.