October 15, 2011
Lifestyle Branding: A Contemporary Strategy for Taekwondo Schools in the 21st Century
The past forty years have been a transformative period for Tae Kwon Do (TKD) in the United States. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization act of 1965 brought a number of Korean immigrants to the U.S. in search of opportunities. As many settled in metropolitan cities, Korean instructors set up TKD schools as a form of livelihood and as a vehicle to spread their culture. Schools at the time benefited from country-of-origin (COO) effect using the Korean master in the forefront to establish their brand identity. However, as the complexion of the TKD School changed from a Korean-centric to a multi-cultural activity, TKD schools naturally surrendered their attachment to a COO branding advantage. Despite the change in brand strategy or lack there of, the martial arts industry has never been more prosperous. According to Ferguson (1995), the martial arts industry is estimated at $1.5 billion. As a consequence, increased financial opportunity has created a competitive business environment that TKD schools are ill-equipped to handle. Most schools lack a brand strategy to guide them in the market and instead rely on core functional offerings while adopting fads and trends to generate revenue. As a result TKD schools face the problem of distinguishing themselves from both direct and indirect competition. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to present lifestyle branding as a strategy for TKD schools to differentiate themselves from the competition and create higher barriers to entry. A 4-step framework originally developed by Hill (2008) but adapted to the particular needs of a TKD organization is presented as guide to creating a lifestyle branding strategy, thus enabling schools to have a contemporary approach as they operate in the 21st century.
Introduction: Coming to America
Koreans have been immigrating to the United States...