Monday, November 24, 2008

Korea Festival 2008

Festival and Events Management
Field Trip Report

Korea Festival 2008

1. Introduction

With the inauguration of Korea Festival 2008, we would be able to welcome the exchange of the Korean culture here in Singapore. With such a large-scale cultural event, the Korea festival is a first in Singapore.

In this report, some of the objectives would be to identify how the event had manipulated the components of the marketing mix and use it to its own benefit, as well as how it contributed to the success of the festival. In addition, this report would also look into how the Korea festival would aid in Singapore’s tourism economy.

The method of research conducted was through observation of the people immersing themselves in the activities, as well as a survey conducted where we interviewed some of the people at the festival. This is done to ensure that the results would be as accurate as possible as all this is done through what we are seeing on the surface. The survey would provide us with more information on what the opinions of the people at the festival are.

The Korea Festival 2008 aims to promote cultural exchanges between Singapore and Korea. This festival brings with it various activities starting from 29th October to 22nd November. The activities include Korean Flavour Fiesta, Korean Pop Night, Trio Haan Recital, Korean Contemporary Art Exhibition, Korean Traditional Dance Performance, Taekwondo Demonstration, Korean Film Festival, Charity Golf and Fund-Raising Dinner and the Korea Speech Contest.

With hands-on activity like making kimchi, watching traditional performances passed through the generation, watching the K-pop concert for free where you will get to see the various K-pop idols, the festival promises a fulfilling experience for everyone as they indulge themselves in the activities.

Each of the activity hosted brings with it a significant impact on the cultural exchanges taking place within the Singapore community. As the inauguration of the event will be broadcasted over the Korean network, it also enables them to learn more about Singapore. All these would inevitably lead to the improvement in Singapore-Korea ties.

2. The Marketing Mix, 8P’s

2.1 Product
This cultural event aims to promote the interaction of cultures through the activities installed during the festival. Free kimchi classes are provided during the Korean Flavour Fiesta, in which the people can learn the authentic way of making kimchi. Korean food products are also being sold to give us an idea of what the Koreans normally indulge in. There are also free food samples of some of the famous delicacies of the Koreans, to let us experience the taste of Korea.

With free tryouts of the Korean traditional clothes, hanbok, it gives one a refreshing feeling, as it is different from the cultural costumes in Singapore. With free photos printed just for you as souvenir while wearing the hanbok, we can experience personalized service provided by the staff. This is done with sincerity from the staff, where they do not expect to make any profit from the services they provide.

There were also guest appearances by B-Boys Last For One and DoDo, where they showcased their spectacular dancing moves on stage. From the modern break-dance movements displayed by the B-Boys and the traditionally fused drums performance by the DoDo, it showed how entertainment evolved as it transcends in time. The taekwondo demonstration by little kids to teenagers displayed the preservation of Korean martial arts through time.

By fusing the various activities together in a single event, it enables the people to experience vibrant Korea. A survey done by my friends and I showed that quite a number came for the event on both of the days. Also, it is stated that a large number of them has cultivated a keen interest in the Korean culture after attending the event. As the Korean Flavour Fiesta managed to encompass the various aspects of product, from food to performance, it enables locals and foreigners to experience Korea on a small-scale.

2.2 Place
Being held at the Vivocity Skypark, the event takes on the open-space concept. With ample space to set up booth and conduct the various activities, survey results reveals that the place is easily accessible and with the banners guiding the people to the stimulated place, instructions were relatively clear on the whole.

However, the downside is that if it pours, activities might be suspended due to limited shelters available. Demonstrations by the Taekwondo federation and B-Boys might be called off as a result. If the weather is too hot, people’s mood might be affected and thus may not be enjoying the festival as much as they should be.

Despite the wide space available at the amphitheatre, it was still not big enough to house the huge crowd that turned up for the event. Spectators resorted to standing round the stage where performances and demonstrations will be held. This was a little dangerous as stunts that would result in things flying across the stage may hit a looking spectator. Although there are staff to prevent people from getting too close to the stage, coordination was still a little messy. The plus point of the amphitheatre is that the seats facing the stage are good as everyone would be able to have a good view no matter where they are sitting at.

If barricades could be placed around the stage area, it would prevent people from going pass the position they are allowed at. More shelters could be set up so that activities would be able to carry on in lieu of wet weather. The shelters would also provide shade for the people if it gets too hot.

In the case of the other events like the K-Pop concert, tickets to it were given out at various locations. With one of the location being at Square2 in Novena, a minimum of $60 must be spent in order for the people to be able to exchange them for a ticket to the K-Pop concert. This was also limited to the first 300 participants.

However, during the distribution of tickets, there were some commotions as the receptionist who was distributing the tickets gave it out wrongly. The people who came first did not get the better seats, but they were instead given out to the people towards the back. This led to unhappiness rising among those who felt that it was unfair.

To prevent this from happening, the receptionist could have double-checked the order of the tickets to ensure incidences such as the above mentioned could be avoided.

2.3 Partnerships
The event was wholly organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea. The sponsors for the event are Samsung, Far East Organization, KIA Motors, Asiana Airlines, Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corporation, Korea Tourism Organization and INNOFORM Media.

Some of the main objectives of the Embassy are to promote the Korean culture and enhancing ties between Singapore and Korea. This was done through hands-on activities where the local culture of Singapore was able to interact directly with the Korean culture, giving them a whole new learning experience to it.

The objective of the Korea Tourism Organization would mainly be to attract more people to Korea. This is done by selling Korea as a vibrant country with thousands of years of history and tradition, but encompassing modern day trends. The mascot, by the Korean Tourism Organization, in the form of a snowman went around mingling with the people creating an awareness of the booth selling holiday packages to Korea.

The embassy and sponsors were able to realize their objectives as many people developed a keen interest towards the Korean culture. Also, booths at the fiesta selling packages to Korea were packed with people inquiring about the packages, planning trips for their next holiday.

2.4 Promotion (Communications)
Before the inauguration of the Korea Festival 2008, various advertisements in the form of banners were put up on roadsides to inform the public of the upcoming event. The news channel on television also did Media coverage. However, the fastest form of news spreading about the festival was through word-of-mouth.

This is true to the survey we held, where most of the people said that it was through someone that they came to know of it. People knowing of the festival through banners and the news are almost on par with each other.

Live footage of the event was also captured and featured on the Korean television network. This provides the Koreans back home an idea of what is being done to promote the Korean culture. They would also be informed of the various exchanges that are going on between the different cultural groups in Singapore.

During the event, some activities require one to queue up or to register your name on a piece of paper. The trying of the hanbok required one to queue, and this would usually become quite messy, as people would crowd together. However, with the staff of the event there to line the people up, there was no incident of people skipping the queue. The kimchi making class requires one to register their name as soon as possible as places are limited. Time slots are then given to those who registered. As most of them did not keep to their time slots, there are incidences of those who came later and took the timeslots of those not present. Those who missed their slot are not able to join the other classes as it is completely full. It is not possible to conduct extra classes due to the limited time available. But to be able to cater to a larger group, they could start the kimchi making classes earlier instead.

For the K-Pop Concert tickets, there were various ways where one can get hold of them. One of them is to spend at least $60 within two receipts at Square2 in Novena, and a concert ticket can be exchanged for free. Another is to enter the contest by LG and stand to win those tickets.

Overall, promotion for the event is not very successful, as although there was a large crowd that turned up for the event, most of them knew of this event through word-of-mouth. This shows the ineffectiveness of the various banners posted along roadsides as well as through the news on television to promote the festival. In order to further promote the festival and to create a greater awareness within the people in Singapore, it would be better to post up and advertise it on the newspaper. The percentage of people going to the event may increase by a significant number as the newspaper is easily accessible to everybody.

2.5 Programming
The Korean Flavour Fiesta not only comprised of hands-on activities like making kimchi and trying on the hanbok, but also various performance and demonstrations. They are the taekwondo demonstration, a Korean martial art with over 2,000 years of history, B-Boy Showdown, where the boys would marvel us with spectacular break dance moves, fusion drums by a famous group making up of five ladies in Korea. Also, there was the traditional Sa-Mool-No-Ri ensemble comprising of four different musical instruments, the drum, double-headed drum, gong and small gong. Without forgetting the K-pop contest held, the different categories of entertainment attracted the eyes of the crowd.

With the programs installed ranging from traditional Korea to a modernized one, it enabled the people to see how Korea had transcended through the passage of time. The performers had worked their hardest to bring out the message they would like to relay to the people through their performance. In my opinion, they were able to achieve it as the depth of the performance done was really exhilarating and was able to leave an impact in us.

I am sure the people who were able to witness the traditional performances would be able to bring back a little piece of Korea’s history they gained from it. This is due to the profound moves exhibited, bringing with it stories to tell, leaving significant impacts on each of the viewing individual.

2.6 Packaging & Distribution
With a variety of events comprised together in the Korea Festival 2008, we would not only be restricted to attending just the Korean Flavour Fiesta which focuses mainly on the taste of Korea, but also the others like the Trio Haan Recital which would enable us to engage ourselves in the works of present-day Korean composers. This musical showcase will definitely appeal to classical music enthusiasts, as well as being the focal point in introducing the beauty of classical music to first-timers.

Also, the Korean Contemporary Art Exhibition held at the Singapore Art Museum was effective in getting the people to appreciate Korean’s modern-day art pieces. This is to show how Korea’s art works had evolved over the years to become what it is today.

For the Korean Flavour Fiesta, it did not only encompass the food of Korea, but there were various performance incorporated in it too. Some of it included fusion drum performance by the DoDo girls who displayed their astounding skills in playing the traditional Korean drums, spectacular break dance moves by the B-Boys, and demonstrations by the Singapore Taekwondo Federation. All these enabled the audience to not only indulge in the traditional food of Korea, but also creating the awareness of some of the activities that the country does place high importance in.

The Packaging mix was excellent in incorporating the different elements of the Korean culture in one festival. This was accomplished with the different events catering to the different themes like musical, food and arts. With the Korean Flavour Fiesta acting as the catalyst prior to the other events that would take place during the Korea festival 2008, attendees who would like to know more behind the Korean culture can engage themselves in the following events.

2.7 People
The staffs of the event were mostly Koreans from the embassy of the Republic of Korea. Despite the communication barrier, they were hospitable in attending to us and tried their hardest to ensure our queries are being clarified. They too showed concern for the well being of the people at the festival. During the taekwondo demonstration, they moved the crowd further back as it was to prevent anyone from getting hurt. They used themselves to cover any one in direct danger of getting hit by the broken planks of wood during the performance.

Many people from the different countries as well as locals in Singapore came for the event. Although for foreigners it was most likely due to coincidence that they attended the event because they were around the premise of the shopping mall, most came down specifically to join in the fun as aroused during the event. For Singaporeans, most came down to support their friends who took part in the K-pop contest. The contest was actually quite a big event as special guests like the DJ from Singapore’s Chinese radio station, and people from the embassy of Korea were invited down to judge the event.

The mix of people who made up the event varied in range, with the Koreans being the main ones in charge of running and ensuring that the event goes smoothly. The festival succeeded in attracting people of all age group to come down for the event, as this is due to the wide range of activities hosted that caters to their needs.

2.8 Price
Since there is no admission fee to the Korean Flavour Fiesta, we would be able to save cost and spend more money on the products that the festival had to offer. Also, it dismisses the worry that people might have, such as paying to see something that might not actually be worth their money for.

Also, the survey we conducted showed that if admission fee is chargeable, a large percentage of them stated that it depends on the itinerary for them to make the decision of whether to go for the event. Although most say they will still attend the event, they only make up the smaller percentage of it. This all adds up to the conclusion that people would be more calculative to anything involving money.

Thus the admission fee being waived is to ensure that people would not have any second thoughts to attending the event. This also assures the event would be attracting the crowd they foresee to having as well as potential people that might just come across and be oblivion to the Korean culture. And after attending the event, it is hoped that they would be able to cultivate an awareness as well as interest to the Korean culture.

As the location for the event is relatively centralized and there is direct transportation to the place, such as MRT and buses, it further adds to the plus point of being cost-saving. Public transport do not cost very much as opposed to taxis.

With most of the activities conducted being free-of-charge and transport to the location of the event are cost-saving, these are all factors leading to the attraction of people to it. This festival has thus made use of the price factor efficiently to use it to their advantage, as they would end up reaping the results they would want to achieve at the end of the day.

3. Tourism Roles and Economic Value of the Festival

Under place marketing, the Korea Festival 2008 managed to create a positive image among the people, as the Korean Flavour Fiesta alone yielded a large number of good feedbacks. The activities conducted were able to enrich the people with the Korean culture, giving them a better understanding of it. This increases awareness of the difference between cultures. With the Embassy of the Republic of Korea heading the event and the many sponsors supporting it, the festival was a huge success.

The Korea festival itself is a tourist attraction; as other than the locals who attended the event, many foreigners came down to participate in it as well. Although most just came across the Korean Flavour Fiesta as it is located in the midst of a shopping mall, some were actually aware of the event and came down especially for it. Coming down for the fiesta alone created awareness in the tourists that there are other events held in the various location in Singapore that are in conjunction with the Korea Festival 2008. This would thus allow the tourist to stay in Singapore longer so that they would be able to check out the other events too. This would in return increase the tourist length of stay in Singapore.

The festival was also successful in stimulating people’s wants of going to Korea to experience the country with its thousands years of history for themselves. It motivated them to apply for holiday packages to Korea for their next holiday trip. And with the festival also being broadcasted in Korea, it would instigate the Koreans to come to Singapore for a holiday and experience what the country is like too. This would thus result in an increase in tourist arrivals to Singapore. Also, the Korea Festival 2008 could act as a catalyst to increase trades between Korea and Singapore. As people’s demand for Korean products would increase after the festival, it enables higher facilitation of trade goods between both countries.

As the Korea festival is the first being held in Singapore, the huge respond from the crowd might result in another festival just like this to be held again next year. The numerous positive feedbacks from both locals and foreigners would heighten the decision of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to augment another such event in the future. With this event as an animator for future cultural events to be held, it would promote the relationship ties between countries.

4. Conclusion

This cultural event aims to promote the interaction of cultures so that one would become more aware of the other’s culture. The Korea Festival 2008 allows ties between Singapore and Korea to be built. With all the activities going on, it motivated the people to want to go to Korea to see the country for themselves, as well as creating an interest in the people who are not too familiar with the Korean culture.

The various events that tie in with the Korea festival 2008 are tools to enable the people to know more about Korea and their culture. With one of the event, Korean Flavour Fiesta, being such a big success, the other events would too do their share of promoting the Korean culture.

The marketing mix used do interlink with one another, as each component require the support of the other to be able to contribute to the success of the festival. Without the appropriate products, it would not be able to signify what the festival would be about. The event would not be able to go on if not for the staff helping out with it. With facilitation by the staff, activities could be carried out smoothly. The sufficient promotion of the event resulted in the large crowd that turned up for it. In addition, with a list of programs lined out, it would be able to keep the crowd occupied throughout the whole event.

Overall, the festival has brought great economic values to Singapore’s economy. With an increase in trade between both Singapore and Korea, it would better promote the Korean culture through its products. The festival too helps to increase facilitation of tourist arrivals to Singapore. As the festival is being broadcasted in Korea, it would instigate the Koreans to come to Singapore for a holiday and experience what the country is like.

5. Appendices

Korea Festival 2008 (2008). Explore Korean Festival in Singapore. Retrieved from: Last accessed: 19/11/2008

Kwintessential Cross Cultural Solitions (2008). South Korea - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette. Retrieved from: Last accessed: 19/11/2008