Social Media Conversion without a Word of English

Get the message right and win the customer

This viral YouTube sensation shows how to communicate and engage with an audience without using English.

Interestingly it also helps demonstrates some of the issues facing business and marketing today.


Short, pudgy and middle aged, this Korean rapper is the antithesis of everything big western business tries to feed its consumers.

Psy (as he’s known) is what corporately manufactured pop stars like Justin Bieber aren’t,

Bieber was created by the mainstream music industry as a response to what they thought the public wanted.

Psy, on the other hand is what the global public responded to.

At twice the age and twice the size of Bieber, he is the anti Bieber, which seems strangely appropriate as his song ‘Gangnam Style’ is having a crack at the exorbitant lifestyle of Korean mega yuppies.

Viewed over 230 million times on YouTube and making it into the US Top 10 iTunes list, ‘Gangnam Style’ is a sensation setting a new Guinness World record.

All the more surprising when there’s hardly a word of English in it.

Your Customers Think and Respond Globally- Do You?

What’s more surprising is if you watch this other video of American teenagers responding to it, they clearly get it, dig it and most want more if it even though they haven’t got a clue what he’s saying or what the song is about.


And that’s partly the point: You never know where your completion is going to come from, in what form or how your potential market is going to respond.

Today’s consumers are globally connected and think and respond as such – instantly.

Outdated business and marketing structures are ill equipped to engage with modern customers because they move too slowly.

Corporate music shows like Idol, Xfactor and The Voice are another example. They take a quarter of a year to produce a new star (hopefully), and even then their success is only local.

‘Gangnam Style’ went global in a matter of weeks.

As online marketing and social media strategist David Meerman Scott keeps saying. You can’t spend months or even weeks putting together marketing strategies. You have to do it in an afternoon.

Fan (Customer) Driven Success

In one final example of how “marketing” has changed, it was the fans and social media that drove the massive success of “Gangnam Style’ outside of Korea. Psy never intended to promote the song globally, but his fans had other ideas.

For those of you still wondering about the ROI of social media and if it works, your quest is over.

As I said a while back in Social Media:The Long Kiss Goodbye, social media is the media these days.

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