Korea Festival 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008 10:02 PM

1. Introduction

1.1 Objectives
By illustrating observations made on how effective the marketing mix adopted in Korea Festival 2008 has been and to see if these have been used to their advantage, this report will also show suggestions on ways to improve on any ineffectiveness. In addition, the report will show how Korea Festival 2008 has brought benefits to Singapore and its tourism economy. Lastly, it shows an overall evaluation on how the marketing mix has contributed to the overall success of the event.

1.2 Methods of research
First-hand observation is done by personally making a trip down to the venues and being a participant at the Korea Festival 2008, as well as surveying other visitors who are at the Korean Flavour Fiesta. In addition, confirmation of information is done by checking brochures and websites, as well as videos from the news.

1.3 Korea Festival 2008
The festival was held over a period of 18 days, covering not just a single aspect of the Korean culture, but instead bringing to us a wide range from food to music, dances and martial arts. With the respective programmes being held at various locations in Singapore accordingly to its nature, the festival caters to not just one target market. Programmes such as the K-pop Contest and Korean Pop Night aims to capture the interest of the younger generation, whereas the Free Kim-Chi Class aims to teach homemakers or other interested viewers the preparation of authentic Korean Kim-Chi. The main goal of the event is in attempts to get Singaporeans and Koreans to better understand one another through the participation of the various events.

The Korean Flavour Fiesta was held on 1&2 November 2008, where there was a line-up of performances and activities such as the Free Kim-Chi Class and the trying on of the Han-bok (the traditional Korean Dress).

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2. Effective use of Marketing Mix

2.1 Product

As part of educating Singaporeans about the Korean lifestyle and entertainment, there were various activities involved in the learning experience.

At the Korean Flavour Fiesta, there were free classes on Kim-Chi making. Size of classes was small and it allowed for more personalised teaching. After being taught the skills of making their own Kim-Chi, visitors were allowed to bring home their hand-made products for free. Performances held at the same venue were also open to the public, bringing to locals the authentic culture of Korea.

Korean food and drink products were also on sale, giving locals the chance to taste some of Korea’s convenience foods. It was a refreshing experience for locals to try out novel products other than their regular supermarket purchases.

Complimentary food sampling of assorted cuisines was prepared for the public. In addition, booths at the side had dishes with information displays, illustrating the history and origins of the foods and their benefits to health. When asked about the food served, the helpers were also able to explain about the dish and ingredients used.

The experience visitors desired turned out to be inspiring as they got to taste and learn about Korean cuisine first-hand. With live performances of traditional and modern music and dance of Korea, the event reached its primary goal of getting locals to know more about Korea and its culture.

Another booth was set up to allow visitors to try on the Korean traditional dress – the Han-bok. In addition to the experience of donning the costume, there was an added appeal – a photo of each individual wearing the Han-bok was taken against a backdrop showing a Korean palace which was immediately printed and given as a souvenir for visitors. The memory was thus shaped physically into a photo for all visitors to keep.

A wonderful experience as not only were there many interesting activities keeping visitors occupied, it was also able to give audiences what they wanted – the taste of delicious authentic Korean cuisine, fascinating performances and new experiences. Aside from that, there were also unexpected services received.

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2.2 Programming

In efforts to bring across their music and dances to the Singapore locals, there was a fusion drum performance by DoDo, as well as break-dance by “Last For One”. These groups are well-known domestically in Korea, and “Last For One” has also won awards internationally. Staged publicly at the shopping mall, it is an experience that hardly comes by for free, and it is probably a first time when locals could get to enjoy the Korean blend of both traditional and modern music and dance. It was spectacular to be able to see the combination of traditional Korean dance and drums in addition to their modern dance.

The Singapore Taekwondo Federation also had a martial arts demonstration, performing the major sport that has had over 2,000 years of history. By getting the locals to join in the performance, they were able to bring the community even closer to the Korean culture as performers were the locals themselves.

The Trio Haan Recital, Korean Traditional Dance Performance, Korean Contemporary Art Exhibition were held at the Esplanade Recital Studio, UCC Hall of NUS and the Singapore Art Museum respectively. These performances were exceptional, showcasing the ancient and classical culture of Korea, giving the locals a more specific insight into Korean dances and arts.

By providing entertainment and amazement to the audiences, the performances were able to capture the attention of the locals. However, if they had engaged the services of other performing groups as well, instead of just a limited few who had repeated performances during the course of the entire day, there might have been more visitors.

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2.3 People

Helpers involved in the Korean Flavour Fiesta included staff from the Korea Tourism Organization. Professional in their tones, they were friendly, polite and all smiles. Being native Koreans, they were able to answer queries posed by the locals although there were still a few communication difficulties. In addition, they were able to share other interesting information as well, thus the event having a means in reaching their aim of promoting cultural interactions between locals and Koreans.

Many visitors were disappointed when informed that there were no more slots for the Free Kim-Chi Class due to overwhelming responses, but the staff were quick to suggest joining the waiting list in case of last-minute withdrawals from the classes.

The effort displayed gave the impression that they valued and appreciated the visitors whom had taken the effort to make their way to the venue to participate in the fiesta. Their sincerity would have made visitors feel treasured and satisfied.

The same staff were also dispatched to various parts of the venue to help out in ensuring that human traffic at the amphitheatre was smooth, as well as safety of the visitors during the Taekwondo demonstration.

The fact that these helpers were amiable if not trained, did contribute to the success of the event because their friendly and cheerful services were probably one of the reasons why there were visitors who were willing to return for the second day of the fiesta.

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2.4 Place

The entire Korea Festival 2008 was held at various locations; venues were not clustered in just one part of the island. Instead, consideration was taken to ensure that the location was suitable for the nature of the different aspects of the festival.

For the Korean Flavour Fiesta, a location with few barriers was needed. VivoCity Skypark had been a suitable choice for the activities, aside the fact that it suffered a major setback – the warm and humid afternoon when many visitors retreated back into the comfort of the air-conditioned shopping mall. Not many sets had been used to help create an atmosphere and the ambience was also lacking.

Amphitheatre seats that were already a part of the shopping mall were put to good use as seats for audiences when performers used the space in front of it as their stage.

With VivoCity being the largest shopping mall that is also conveniently connected to the train system, there was endless human traffic to the fiesta due to higher possibilities of passers-by. Event organisers made use of this point to ensure steady flow of visitors, targeting even the shoppers at VivoCity, as seen by poster advertisements in the mall itself.

Few interviewees had complained that the location was small, but the size relative to the scale of the fiesta was indeed suitable, as it was just small-scale and did not require much space.

For improvements, they could have accommodated an air-conditioned space similar in size instead, which can at least guarantee visitors to booths even with bad weather conditions such as heat or rain. In addition, they should have put in more effort in creating more backdrops that remind visitors of Korea, so that it is able to provide a more appropriate setting. This way, the ambience might have attracted even more visitors to the event, as compared to merely providing visitors with the learning experience and tangible products such as food and drinks.

As for the Korean Pop Night, the concert was held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, an arena commonly used for larger-scale music events in Singapore. Known domestically for its hosted events, the venue was chosen practically as it was able to cater to the number of audience.

One of the places of ticket distribution for the concert was at Square2, where shoppers had to spend $60 within 2 receipts to get the concert tickets for free. The organisation however had poor management, and procedures of tickets distribution was in disorder – the receptionist gave back-seat tickets to those at the front of the queue, vice versa. There was major unhappiness for fans who queued early in hopes of getting better seats.

If there had been immediate corrective action taken once the receptionist realised her mistake during the day, the fans would have been more appeased and may have enjoyed the concert even more thoroughly. Instead, there had not been any appropriate recovery action and the problem persisted when she continued to give out the tickets in the wrong order.

For the other offerings of the event, suitable venues were allocated, such as the Singapore Art Museum for the art exhibition, and the Toa Payoh Sports Hall for another Taekwondo demonstration.

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2.5 Partnerships

The government was involved in the organisation of the festival, planned with aims to promote the cultural relations between Singaporeans and Koreans. During the opening ceremony of the fiesta, both Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo and Ambassador Kim of the Republic of Korea were present for the welcome greetings. The government’s physical presence in the event helped draw more crowd as there was sufficient local support.

The Korea Tourism Organization was a main partner of the event, and they aimed to spark visitors’ interests in going to Korea. There was a mascot roaming the premises of VivoCity Skypark during the fiesta, entertaining the visitors and taking photos with them. On its body were the words “Korea Sparkling”, a walking advertisement promoting Korea as a lively cultural country. This was a tool used to remind visitors about the booth featuring tours to Korea, in hopes of attracting visitors for tourism to Korea.

Far East Organization and VivoCity were partners as well, and they provided the space of Square2 as a venue for the concert tickets’ distribution and the fiesta respectively.

Asiana Airlines was also a sponsor for the 2Nov lucky draw prize of two business class tickets to Korea, and together with the Korean Tourism Organization at the booths, they also offered travel packages to Korea.

The media was also involved, such as the public press and the news on television which helped publicise the event.

The event was only able to be successful due to the help of all these partners and sponsors. Without the government’s involvement, there would not have been such widespread publicity and visitors who were willing to go for the event. The sponsors were also important as they played a huge part in providing benefits and services that may have played a huge part in attracting visitors – the prize for lucky draws, the location, etc.

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2.6 Packaging & Distribution

Korea Festival 2008 encompasses different activities including sale and sampling of local foods and beverages, performances by Korean artistes, martial arts demonstrations and an art exhibition. It conveniently bundles all walks of Korean life into a few locations in Singapore. They were able to offer such a variety of cultural activities and put it all together within the same time frame.

The event also managed to tap into the opportunity to package with external support facilities and services such as the Lido Cineplex at Shaw House, for the Korean Film Festival. However, while admission to the Korean Flavour Fiesta is free, tickets for the Korean Film Festival are a separate S$10. This shows that the entire Korea Festival is not a direct package together as it is not distributed together; instead prices for different aspects of the event vary.

The event organisers could have packaged a few of the different aspects together for a standard price, such as admission to the Trio Haan Recital, Korean Contemporary Art Exhibition and Korean Film Festival. Through this way, they could be able to ensure higher viewership and number of visitors as visitors may be more willing to attend the different activities since they have already paid a standard price that includes the stated activities. In this sense, their packaging had not been successful although they did bring many different activities across to the audiences.

Also, they made use of intermediaries such as the Korean Embassy, which thus allowed them to attract many Koreans living in Singapore, to the event. This aided the spread of the news of the event to these Koreans as well as their families and friends, some of whom were locals. Their distribution network thus did enable them to reach out to even more different people.

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2.7 Price

Admission to the fiesta was free, as well as most activities within such as sampling of food and drinks, and trying on of the Han-bok. Charges were applicable only for purchase of products on sale.

The “hidden” costs of the event for visitors were relatively low, as the venue used was quite conveniently located in a shopping mall connected to the local train system, and transport time and cost was considerably lesser than if a bus ride was required as well.

However, overall the cost for visitors were made even lower as they not only did not have to pay for entrance and activities, but they also received many benefits such as watching performances, learning new activities and receiving free food and drinks. Net value to most customers was high as value of experiences were much more compared to the costs they had spent - the time and effort to travel and the activities they had to miss in order to attend the event. Furthermore, the fiesta took place on a weekend, which meant there were lesser opportunity costs for visitors as chances of them missing important schedules were lesser.

The free admission was probably one of the main reasons why there were many visitors – they were willing to go even if it did take them time and money to get there from their homes. The event thus made use of this point to ensure they had at least a minimal number of visitors who were willing to sacrifice merely transport time and money.

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2.8 Promotions

People were made aware of the festival through various means. According to the surveys, there were visitors who knew about the event through banners on the roadside in Tampines and other neighbourhoods, as well as from news and media, such as Channel NewsAsia and other internet sources.

On October 26, there was also an article informing people about the upcoming festival, including the feature that Korean stars would be in town for the Korean Pop Night. On the first night of the Korean Flavour Fiesta, the news featured the opening ceremony where both Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo and Ambassador Kim had been present to mix the giant bowl of traditional Bibimbap to represent the cultural harmony between the two countries. These media scoops may have enticed the public to attend the festival, as the respective chances of watching these popular Korean artistes and trying out authentic Korean cuisine in Singapore are rare.

There was widespread news about the Korean Pop Night, ranging from radio contests on MediaCorp 96.3FM and Y.E.S FM93.3, the online quiz on the 93.3FM website, contests on MTV Asia, as well as promotions organised by sponsors LG Electronics and Korean Air. Featuring many popular Korean artistes, the concert attracted many local and overseas fans. Other than the mainstream sources, fans also knew of the concert through forums and other official sites.

Friends and members of the Korean Embassy also got news of the event and through word of mouth, there were even more visitors.

The advertisements were well communicated to the audiences as they were fairly distributed in Singapore through the local media, as well as online sources available to both Singaporeans and foreigners. There is also an official website for the festival, with an easy-to-remember domain of http://koreafestival2008.com/. It was able to successfully reach out to people from different locations through the use of different channels, thus securing quite a flow of visitors to the event.

The different aspects of the event however, did not cross-promote extensively. Although brochures covered all the different activities at the various locations, there were few substantial posters or signs advertising about the other activities in the Korea Festival. They could have improved on this by adding more banners and posters at the different venues, so as to let more people be aware of the different activities held in the other parts of Singapore.

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3. Tourism Roles

Amidst the various aspects of Korea Festival 2008, the Korean Pop Night was quite a tourist attraction on its own. Being larger-scale, it featured popular Korean artistes and it appealed to both local and overseas fans. Many overseas fans were also willing to travel to Singapore to watch the concert, thus the ability to cause an increase in tourism arrivals. Furthermore, the fan base is made up mostly of younger generation of females, and the fact that this group market also stayed in Singapore for at least a few days, could have caused tourism receipts and visitor spending to increase as accommodation was necessary, and shopping was also most likely their main secondary activity. Other major aspects of the festival such as the Korean Contemporary Art Exhibition were also able to attract art lovers from neighbouring countries.

The event may also have achieved its role of an animator – artistes invited to guest star in performances for the events may have visited various places in Singapore, and may thus consider coming again in the future. When this happens, visitor spending will increase once again. In addition, if they are satisfied and wish to return to Singapore again to hold more concerts and such, there may be even more benefits in the long run as more tourists such as fans, will be attracted to come.

The event acted as an image maker, where Singapore's image has been enhanced as a destination welcoming different cultures. People from all over the world may be more willing to visit Singapore as they are aware that they would be treated respectfully despite cultural differences. It increases tourists’ confidence and they feel safe as they do not feel the hostility towards them. There may thus be more tourism arrivals, especially from Korea. The festival had been recorded and broadcasted in Korea as part of their media programs, and it does to an extent, show about the Singapore lifestyle and people. Attitudes and behaviours shown by Singaporeans on the broadcast would also give an insight to the country, and portray Singapore in a positive light.

The venues in which different aspects of the event was held - VivoCity, Singapore Indoor Stadium, National University of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, Esplanade Recital Studio, may also be featured in news broadcasts involving the activities. This enhanced image of the country's facilities may attract Koreans to visit Singapore in the future, with motives including shopping, education and music and arts interests; thus increasing tourism arrivals.

The event also acts as catalysts where tourism between Singapore and Korea is stimulated. With packages by Korea Tourism Organization and Asiana Airlines at booths at the Korean Flavour Fiesta, choices of travel to and fro the two countries are made readily available. Although directly influencing Korea’s tourism arrivals from Singapore, the latter also benefits in the long run, when locals travel to Korea and share about the Singaporean lifestyle and culture. This way, after the cultural exchange, Koreans may be enticed to visit Singapore in the future as well.

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4. Conclusion

The event was held with the aims to educate Singaporeans about the Korean culture so as to improve cultural ties between the countries. Their main product for visitors - the learning experience, was achieved through various activities; locals enjoy hands-on experiences and benefits such as bringing home their own hand-made Kim-Chi and trying on traditional Han-bok costumes. Together with aid from native Korean speakers helping in the event, the learning experience was made even more enriching. Rare chances of watching popular Korean artistes perform were also made readily available to them. With different aspects of the overall event held simultaneously at various locations all over the island, there was fair distribution of the activities. The location of Korean Flavour Fiesta - Singapore’s largest shopping mall – was also put to good use as it brought the event more visitors than targeted. However, the event would have been even more popular if the location wasn’t open-spaced. Major partners included the government as well as the Korea Tourism Organization where they aimed to promote cultural interactions and spark the locals’ interest in Korea respectively. Overall, the festival was not packaged entirely as a whole for a single price and instead, the admission for the Korean Flavour Fiesta was free while some components of the event were not. Furthermore, the widespread promotion was able to relatively make the event a success.

Overall, the marketing mix had been quite effective as it has brought success to the event. The marketing components were able to complement each other - the staff did a good job of helping in the event and personally teaching the visitors the different skills, which was necessary for the learning experience. Also, only with the help of the government, different sponsors and media was the event able to attract the huge crowd. With music, arts and dances, the event was made into an entertaining holistic program for the generations in Singapore.

The festival also had its tourism roles such as being a tourist attraction by its own, an animator where it might encourage repeat visits to Singapore, an image marker where the image of Singapore has been enhanced in the course of this festival, and where it is a catalyst whereby tourism between Singapore and Korea is stimulated.

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5. Appendices

5.1 Brochures

5.2 References
CHANNEL NEWSASIA (2008). Korean festival to be held in Singapore from Nov 1-18. Retrieved from:
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/385151/1/.html. Last accessed: 19/11/2008

CHANNEL NEWSASIA (2008). Singapore's inaugural Korea Festival kicks off with feast for the senses. Retrieved from:
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/387040/1/.html. Last accessed: 19/11/2008

Korea Festival 2008 (2008). Explore Korean Festival in Singapore. Retrieved from:
http://www.koreafestival2008.com/. Last accessed: 21/11/2008

Korea Tourism Organization (2008). Korea, Sparkling. Retrieved from:
http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/AK/AK_EN_1_2_1.jsp. Last accessed: 23/11/2008

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