Open Access
Shi, Xiang (Wendy)
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jennifer Chang Coupland, Thesis Supervisor
  • Lisa Elizabeth Bolton, Faculty Reader
  • nation branding
  • Korean Wave
  • South Korean Dramas
  • brand association
Nations just like products have a brand image and are susceptible to the likes or dislikes of consumers. If likeable, nations are in better standings with stronger economies due to consumers’ higher consumption of that nation’s goods. The popularity can also have position affect on the nations’ citizen or the view on the nationality in general and can even positively affect businesses and political activities. Although continuously happening and changing, a nation’s brand image can also be molded and influenced by the nation’s own nation branding attempts. One great example is South Korea, which has gained economic success and culture popularity in the past 20 years. Although there are many factors which could have contributed to South Korea’s success, this studies looks at one particular factor – the “Korean Wave” and South Korea’s active nation branding utilizing the “Korean Wave” as a nation branding campaign. The Korean Wave is the phenomenon of a sudden growth in interest in South Korea and increased demand for South Korean products, culture, and people among the international markets. The Korean Wave is believed to be driven by increased interest in South Korean entertainment media, particularly dramas. This study looks at why there is such strong interest in South Korean dramas and how that interest can push up demand for South Korean products, culture, people, etc. and create economic success for South Korea. Basing off Conrad’s theory of perceived relevance, where “perceived relevance increases consumption of related goods”, this thesis theorizes that Conrad’s theory can explain the Korean Wave and that the international viewers do perceive relevance with South Korean dramas. With personal interjections from observations and support from previous studies and researches, this thesis will show that the connection between perceived relevance and increased South Korean goods consumption is built from viewers interacting with the dramas and developing a relationship that later gets transformed into a relationship between the viewers as consumers and South Korea.