Courtney Lazore


Good storytelling is at the heart of BTS as both a brand and a band. Modern brands know that story is no longer an option, but a requirement for keeping audiences engaged. With their consistent and creative reliance on story, BTS has transformed the K-Pop landscape, providing a framework for others in the industry that relies on open-structure narratives, sincerity, and active audience engagement, among other components. To investigate BTS’s storytelling strategies, this article breaks down how stories permeate BTS’s content, from music and videos to the Bangtan Universe and documentary films. The importance of transmedia storytelling and participatory audiences is also examined. The analysis resulted in a proposed framework that suggests the following components: 1) story as central to the brand; 2) authenticity and sincerity; 3) idol participation in creative output; 4) use of transmedia storytelling and story gaps; 5) intertextuality and cohesion; 6) opportunities for audience engagement; and 7) dedicated creative staff. Utilizing this framework can help K-Pop groups elevate their brands, better use storytelling elements, and gain larger, more engaged audiences.

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