A hybrid society: between collectivism and individualism
Remarkably homogenous in terms of ethnicity and language, Koreans are becoming more and more diverse and are eager for new things. Collectivist values from the Confucian heritage coexist with traits of individualism. This is what professor Dae Ryun Chung describes as the “we/me” paradigm. These seemingly unsympathetic values are reflected in the market and mutually influence the purchase decisions of consumers, hence creating a particular dynamic. According to Chung, certain decisions like choosing a specific house or car over another are often motivated by a desire to conform to a group. This is why, for example, the majority of luxury cars sold there are black and apartments tend to look fairly similar. Yet, the choice of beer, coffee or hair colour is dictated more by the desire to express one’s individuality. These particularities have strong implications on a product’s lifecycle, making it difficult to predict what brands and colours will be adopted by the group. It is important to take this paradigm into consideration when developing branding and marketing strategies targeted at this country.