What the ‘Squid Game’ craze has taught us about content marketing- Netflix

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The majority of Netflix’s original scripted TV shows have been produced in languages other than English since 2018. Between 2020 and 2021, that percentage increased to 55%. Its popularity has soared, thanks to its seamless offering of foreign TV shows and films, which are released simultaneously around the world with easily accessible subtitles and dubs.

Squid Game has infiltrated every corner of the internet, living rent-free in our minds. Squid Game is not your average soft-glow Korean television drama. It’s about a group of impoverished people who compete in lethal games to win money. Viewers are treated to a twisting, technicolour story of violence, betrayal, and desperation in this biting commentary on life in South Korea today. 

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Netflix’s emphasis on global content has paid off handsomely with Squid Game, which has established itself as the number one show in its home country of Korea, as well as Netflix’s home country the US, and at least 90 other countries around the world, including Sri Lanka. According to Netflix, Squid Game is on track to become the company’s most popular series of all time, surpassing Bridgerton, Lupin, and The Witcher.

The show has wholly dominated social media, with hundreds of thousands of pieces of content and memes trending every day. Given that all you need is a simple coloured tracksuit, a number, and possibly a cookie in a specific shape for people to get the reference, it would be the most popular Halloween costume this year. The Squid Game business cards are one of the best sellers in stationery shops globally. Squid Game season two is almost a foregone conclusion at this point, given the series finale, which strongly suggests the games will continue.

Studying great storytellers, of which there are many, is an excellent way to get ideas to polish up your digital marketing efforts in Sri Lanka – content marketing to be specific. Netflix is one of the best storytellers of our time. They have incredible access to an international pool of talented writers and directors. They are constantly putting out new content that piques our interest. The world is an ocean of stories waiting to be told, and if you can tell them in the best, most exciting ways, you’ll be able to amass a legion of devoted followers. We, as brand custodians, can use these same storytelling techniques on our yearly content strategies to develop an engaged audience.

The success of this virally trending South Korean version of The Hunger Games has many valuable marketing lessons that any brand can use to raise awareness. The South Korean survival drama can teach you some key content marketing lessons that you can apply to your brand or business to boost sales and organic publicity. The script has been in the works since around 2009, and the writer has tried for years to get it picked up, but no one was interested in producing such an unrealistic and violent story. However, the show’s popularity is due to a combination of luck and perfect timing, just like any other marketing success.

Here are a few key content marketing lessons to take away from its example:

Motivate and persuade the people you’re speaking to

Using storytelling to inspire and influence your audience is one of the most effective marketing strategies you can use right now. One way to provide a variety of motivational benefits that lead to the development of trusting and loyal relationships with your brand is to create inspiring content that speaks to your viewers’ unique desires, motivations, and individual situations. Content that inspires others about something important or meaningful will motivate those who consume it. They will also be encouraged to engage in conversations with you after they have consumed the content. 

Basic human emotions are universal

The series engages viewers on a basic human emotional level, allowing everyone to relate to the characters’ dilemmas and connect with them. Cultural differences don’t matter if that’s the case. As a result, brands sell the emotions associated with the product rather than the product itself. And, regardless of ethnicity, human emotions are universal. In comparison to the other major Netflix shows, Squid Game received almost no press or marketing in the US before its debut, but it still managed to become the topic of the year.

Organic vs. paid promotion

Marketing firms can’t buy or secure word of mouth; it usually happens organically. Still, with social media being so accessible to brands, businesses can now attempt to trigger a wave of trends or buzz to get word-of-mouth going. 

I heard about Squid Game from friends who couldn’t stop talking about it, but that wasn’t enough to persuade me to watch it. When I opened my phone and saw countless memes flooding my news feeds on every social media app, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and, of course, TikTok, I had to give the TV show a try. A TV show accompanied by trends and memes results in one thing: it almost forces you to want to watch the show to relate to the community around you and understand the jokes being shared.

Squid Game amassed an intriguing amount of traction on TikTok, almost forming an army of viewers who advocated for and shared the inside jokes. The great advantage of Squid Game is that because the jokes are so specific, the only way to understand them is to watch the show. This can be an excellent marketing strategy. Make your campaign so distinct and clear that your audience becomes an advocate for the story. TikTokers are now making short videos reenacting the film’s games. In fact, the hashtag #SquidGame has received over 11 billion views on the video-sharing app, which is full of fan edits, memes, and clips.

Conclusion

In the event of a social phenomenon such as Squid Game, brands are forced to act quickly. The world of content marketing is fast-paced. With thousands of brands producing content every day, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Much of the time, marketers are consumed by massive data sets, this can cause them to lose sight of the importance of maintaining contact with the human side of things and being a part of a larger narrative. Know your audience, pay attention to what they’re watching, and try to see things from their perspective. Then, engage them! Improved observation leads to increased participation.

(The writer is the Vice President at Isobar. He is the highest globally and locally awarded digital marketer in Sri Lanka. During the past five years, he has bagged over 80 global and local awards for his campaigns. His lecturing efforts have helped over 5,000 students and business owners embrace digital marketing.)

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