Stefanie Kim

Stefanie Kim is founder of KIMKOM, a unique music PR, strategy & management agency based in Berlin. Stefanie has attained recognition in the global music industry with her dedicated passion and a distinctive approach that leads to amazing performances.
Werner Aisslinger is an acclaimed industrial designer working and living in Berlin, Germany. With the latest technologies and the newest materials, Werner provides new impulses in the product design world.

"I just love the way how people discover music, and how artists put their hearts into creating music."

Your clients come from all over the world. Why do you think they choose to market themselves with a PR company that’s based in Berlin? Are there any advantages of this location?

Many artists are located in Berlin, this makes it more convenient especially when it comes to meetings. Sometimes you save many emails by meeting them in person. Sometimes, PR became more important than marketing. KIMKOM has always been trying to be ahead of the curve. We also know our workflow and what fits best for the artist. And I’ve been working with artists for so many years, I know exactly what they need. Social media has become a huge burden for some artists. Everyone wants them to share their every moment, but the biggest aim for many artists is to stay private. Not only for artists, I think also for us in general, our privacy becomes our biggest luxury of all.

PR is important. But sometimes, even though the marketing strategy is great, the whole project might not work out because of the content itself. How do you foresee whether the content has potential or not?

It’s so funny, I just realized I never had that situation. I think it’s because we’re doing so much research ahead, and asking so many inconvenient questions to artists. By then, we know if this is going to be successful or not. For example, we turned down to work with Johnny Depp & Alice Cooper a year ago, because he still had this ongoing court case about domestic violence that could have backfired on us. At the same time, my agency was supporting Google #womenswill on women empowerment. That would have interfered. We ended up turning it down. We try to stay ahead of bad results by scanning and analyzing before taking over a new project.

What are different strategies you have to communicate with clients from different backgrounds?

There’s no strategy. For example, you have a global superstar DJ. He is everywhere. He doesn’t sleep, he’s always in the plane. It’s impossible to set up a GQ cover shooting for him. So how do you make PR with him? We would focus on content and talk to his team to produce more content that we can spread, instead of doing it the old-fashioned way of traveling to radio & TV stations. Then, let’s say you have this TikTok mega star who wants to expose everything about himself, because he’s in his early 20s. Also, there’s a huge difference between artists who are millennials or not. With millennials, it becomes so much easier as they are aware of the importance of social media. Sometimes we even have to tell them not to show everything until the next release. There is always a solution for everything. I think the bottom line of all strategies is to remain calm and mindful.

What are some difficulties you have faced working in the field, especially being an Asian woman?

I always thought I am really safe in this creative industry. But 20 years ago, I was going to be introduced to a well-respected German artist. I stood in the line next to a CEO who was at least double of my age at that time. When the artists came to me he asked the CEO (not me) if I was his new wife. I was so shocked at first, and he was so embarrassed after I cleared the situation that I was his video plugger. You just learn not to be mad with your cultural background. I had to force myself to speak up. And a few months ago, I just realized that I’m the first Asian who founded an agency in Germany because I’m the second generation of immigrants. You have to come out of your shyness and stand up for yourself, because there is no one else who’s doing this for you. I decided to speak up, otherwise the society won’t change. I think it’s a big burden to stay nice instead of being inconvenient for five minutes and just tell people the truth.

I see. But would you say the society is slightly changing?

Absolutely. You have so many more tools, you have networks, you can connect much easier, and you have women who inspire people. You feel less alienated when you can share your story that other people could relate. Nowadays, you have so much more power.

COVID-19 has affected the creative industry worldwide, yet Berlin creatives have come up with new ways present their craft and to interact. Berlin has always been known for its resourcefulness, and creatives have applied this ingenuity here, innovating in the digital social scene by using existing tools in new ways to create new experiences.

Below are some unique ways Berlin creatives are tackling the issues brought by the virus:

The Collective Action Nightlife Emergency Fun

Locals have come together to collect emergency funding for at-risk nightlife workers in Berlin. The shutting down of nightclubs means these people are out of jobs, and this emergency funding helps mitigate the economic damage that COVID-19 is creating.

Questions for you:

What changes once we make these social spaces digital?

Will the digital event become a more normalized way to socialize?

Are people more open to attending these digital events?

Special Thanks to
Stefanie Kim

Editor: Mindy Kim
Interviewer: Mindy Kim
Camera: Bonnie Zhang

Additional Images: