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WKF: S. Korea Becoming a Global Trend-Setter Amid Pandemic Pall: Instagram COO


South Korea has become a “trend-setter” for homebound people around world amid pandemic from its unique coffee recipe “Dalgona” to latest fashion and beauty tips and news on K-pop stars, according to an Instagram executive. 

As the world has entered into an “unprecedented period” after the pandemic outbreak, Instagram has been bridging individuals and businesses with their existing customers and also aiding each global person eager to discover their next favorite business, said Justin Osofsky, Chief Operating Officer of Instagram. 

Korea is “uniquely shaped” in terms of global impact as evidenced by K-pop and Dalgona coffee, so the market is very important to the platform as a global trend setter, he said as he took questions from audience hooked up to his presentation at the 21st World Knowledge Forum held from Seoul on Thursday. 

The pandemic crisis has redefined and enhanced the role of social media with greater responsibilities to meet the changing demands and keep the mankind safer, 

“By tapping into shared interest in culture, businesses can foster deeper, more meaningful connections with existing and new customers, which can directly into business growth,” he said. 

Osofsky leads Instagram operations and business development with a mission to help the company scale globally. Prior to his role at Instagram, he served as Vice President of Facebook where he led global operations and corporate development. 

Instagram’s mission to “keep people safe, bring people together, support businesses and creators” has been highlighted by the pandemic, he said, while the social networking platform keeps changing their focus and strategies to serve the world’s rapidly changing needs. 

Since the pandemic makes it difficult for people to connect with each other, Instagram has been serving as an important channel to bring people together, he said. Global users can meet K-pop stars including Henry and Nafla and world-known famous pianists Cho Seong-jin in their living room via Instagram Live in real time, and Korean born Dalgona coffee, the creamy latte drink made with instant coffee and sugar, also gained world recognition as recipes went viral on Instagram. 

Instagram supports businesses and creators more than ever, he said, as the platform “became indispensable tools to businesses of all sizes and small businesses, in particular” to help them reach out to more consumers. Citing a recent survey that showed people are spending more time on their devices and shop more online, he insisted that companies more than ever have to establish a “digital presence.” 

He said Instagram partnered with regional food delivery businesses such as Baemin, Yogiyo and Honeybees to give consumers ways to support the businesses they love through the new tools such as gift cards and food order stickers that the platform has recently introduced. 

Companies are advised to aggressively use technologies such as augmented reality (AR) to “bring fun into their business”, he said, citing Pinkfong that launched AR camera filter called baby shark handwash challenge in which more than 72,000 people have participated. 

As the world has entered into an “unprecedented period” after the pandemic outbreak, Instagram wants to become “an invaluable tool that can not only connect with their existing customers, but each a global audience of people eager to discover their next favorite business.” 

As the Covid-19 accelerates changes in the business landscape, he emphasized firms should be able to constantly innovate and predict changing trends in the next three to five years to prepare themselves to meet the new demands. 

By Choi Mira

[Photo by Kim Jae-hoon]

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