Jin Kim Podcast Transcript

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Headshot of Chief Marketing Officer Jin Kim

Jin Kim Podcast Transcript

Jin Kim joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of The Digital Executive podcast.

Brian Thomas: Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Jin Kim. Jin Kim is the Dynamic Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Prone Cushion. A brand at the forefront of ergonomic solutions with a Bachelor of Science and communications and media from New York University and over 13 years of life experience in China.

Jin’s international background and bilingual abilities are central to his role. At the heart of Jin’s contribution to Prone Cushion is his exceptional talent and articulating the company’s vision. His hands on approach in every facet of the business from product design to the intricacies of the website showcases his commitment to the brand’s ethos.

Every visual element of Prone Cushion has been meticulously crafted by Jin, reflecting his pivotal role in shaping the company’s identity and message.

Well, good afternoon, Jin. Welcome to the show!

Jin Kim: Good afternoon, Brian. Thank you for having me.

Brian Thomas: Absolutely. This is so fun. Thank you again for making the time, jumping on a podcast.

I know podcast seems to be the word of the day everywhere in the world. I think there’s something like a thousand podcasts that start every single week across the globe. So yeah, it’s just crazy, but glad to have you on and we’re going to jump right into the questions, Jen. You’ve got quite the career in communications, in media.

As an entrepreneur, you’re a senior executive and now you’re the chief marketing officer and co-founder of Prone Cushion. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?

Jin Kim: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve always been interested in people and stories. I originally come from a background in communications and the reason I pursued that was because fundamentally I’ve always been fascinated by the ways people communicate their complex thoughts and emotions.

And this does mean words, but in all kinds of mediums, so art, music, dance, movies, and even physical products. In Japanese culture, there’s a word called monotsukuri. Mono, meaning thing and tsukuri, meaning the act of making I really like this idea. It’s a word that speaks about the craftsmanship spirit in Japan, where the artisans put tremendous amount of effort in the things that they create.

And most of the time the end user or the customer never really gets to meet the creator of a product, right? So, the interaction between the creator and the customer has always been thought of as being one directional from the producer to the create to the consumer. And due to that creators often dismiss how the product will be used, presented or perceived by the customer.

And I think that’s really where 99 percent of the product failures or let’s say poor decisions really come from. And that’s why I believe that in everything you create your intentions, right, your thoughts and emotions can be. Indicated the customers, those real living feeling people at the end of the product journey, well, I think they can feel if you put, if you’ve really put into effort or not, and they can tell if a product has been, you know, truly crafted with care and attention to detail.

And really if the product exists to solve their problem, or if you’re just out there to, you know, make a quick buck. And this is really why I obsess over every attention to detail. So, I think all the footsteps that I have taken to get to where I’m today can be traced back to really a search for a better way to express my own thoughts and to communicate with others.

The most obvious, of course, in pursuing a career in marketing, but really beyond that, I have a deep passion for design, like product design, graphic design, which has proven to be really helpful in our earlier stages of venture where everything you see from the product, the website every video image, Instagram posts was created with my own hands.

And this was also a skillset I had to pick up on the way, you know, I wasn’t ever trained this background or anything. It was really self-taught out of a need. And with all of these various mediums, I think I was really able to tell a cohesive story that was compelling for the audience. And the culmination of all this was, I think, what led me down this path.

Which at a glance could look very erratic jumping from one thing to the other, you know, marketing, product development, branding, all that. But I think that’s why ultimately the word I’ve kind of settled down on the only word that can fully encapsulate all of this chaos is entrepreneur. So, under the umbrella of being an entrepreneur, if there is anything I can do to better accomplish this, to better communicate what’s in my head, I’ll jump at it, whether it be new technology or a skillset.

So, to never settle for good enough. And to really obsess over every last detail to best communicate with the people and the world, really, I think that’s what I would say have been my primary source of drive and inspiration. That’s awesome.

Brian Thomas: I love that. And we have a lot of entrepreneurs on that podcast. And again, the same message comes through resonates, I think with just about every podcast is finding that purpose and, you know, when you do something and you do it, Fully you do it right the first time as you were mentioning the quality people can see whether you’ve really put the effort in makes a huge difference and at the end of the day, you can actually sleep at night knowing that you have made somebody’s life better and actually fulfilled or found that purpose in your life.

So, thank you Jin. In your view, I’d like to ask in this next question, how has the landscape of digital storytelling evolved in recent years and what role does it play in effective marketing today?

Jin Kim: Well, I think you really can’t have a conversation about digital storytelling today’s day without bringing up the topic of AI, and I’m sure you’ve spoken with a lot of other entrepreneurs and more experts inside this field, but I think really the role that AI has played, it really transformed the digital world.

Thank you. Landscape dramatically, because now the job that was traditionally done with five to ten people can now suddenly be done by a single person. And the amount of breadth or the breadth that you can go to has become so wide. So that for a single individual to be able to take advantage of these technologies, they can accomplish just so much more.

And I think that has also really. Transformed landscape in both for good and for worse, and to elaborate a little bit more. I think it has provided the breath like I’ve earlier explained, where now a lot of the prior previously more difficult or laborious or time-consuming tasks have become easier, but at the same time I think.

At the cost of that ease, there’s also been a little bit of a tradeoff for the amount of depth that the content that has been, been putting out really goes down into. So, I think in a more easily understood way that I think a lot of people would kind of empathize with is that The kind of content that we consume has also become a lot shorter, right?

We’re now more used to these very short reels that went from, you know, traditional 10-minute YouTube videos, which I remember back then where people were already saying was very short to then to five, then to one. And now we’re really fighting for that people’s attention and the seconds really, right?

The 10 seconds, 15 seconds. There are studies that say that You know, if you are unable to grab the viewer’s attention, the first three seconds, then, you know, they just scroll away. So I think in stuff like that, you can really see just how much the advance of technology has transformed the digital landscape for content and the stories that are being put out, right.The storytelling method, the techniques and the content as well.

Brian Thomas: You’re absolutely right. And just another story along with that, as you know, we are just a soundbite of a podcast and that again, grew out three years ago because of the lack of attention span, if you want to call it that from people that want something quick and soundbites.

And so, this podcast has been successful for that reason. So, thank you. I appreciate sharing that. And Jen, could you discuss some of your most innovative or successful campaigns you’ve led at Prone Cushion?

Jin Kim: Well, we’ve had some big successes last year, especially we just hit our seven-figure revenue at our just first year of being in business, but when talking about the single most successful campaign, I would have to say our initial Kickstarter campaign, it really holds a special place in my heart when Prone Cushion just started off.

We were just a small team of three kids straight out of college, full of ambition and a vision of a changed world. We wanted to bring Prone Cushion to life, right? Prone Cushion, the world’s first ergonomic cushion designed for lying on your stomach. Bring an innovative, never before seen product to the market and hit it like a star.

Seek instant success. Well, easy on paper, right? Well, as you may also know, life isn’t always rosy like that. To create a product and to bring it to market requires a tremendous amount of time, effort, and most importantly, that’s exactly what we didn’t have. Well, so how do you solve this problem? Right.

Just fresh out of college with no scales, no house connections or capital. How do you, how do you bring your vision to life? That’s where we turn to Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform for innovative products like ours. It’s a place where you can showcase your vision and believers of that idea. Backers can put down money to fund the stream together, you know, and we launched our campaign at may.

2022 after a extensive period of preparations of going through a series of pre-launch main launch campaign, you know, setting up a landing page to collect emails and whatnot. And through laborious procedure, we finally launched our Kickstarter campaign on May of 2022, and it lasted for 50 days. And in just over 50 days, we had raced over 350, 000 with over 2, 000 backers all around the world.

And it was, it was unbelievable. You know, it was our first and major huge success. And that’s really Where the story for Promotion takes off, you know, that’s kind of where it was able to put us on the starting line. And of course, the story doesn’t end there, right? After the Kickstarter campaign, we still had mountains over mountains of obstacles.

We had to overcome to get to where we are today, you know, production, health, logistic issues, shipping just goes on and on and on. And for anyone who’s in the entrepreneurial game as well, they, I’m sure they’ll agree, but the gig just never seems to be over, you know. New problems and new challenges always appear.

But I guess that’s really the fun part of it. But looking back, it was our first and again, major success that we’ve been we were able to see. And it was this fund that really got everything started, you know. This was what was able to get us through the initial production stage, the pre-production stage to get the goods, right.

Pay for all the goods to be shipped over here and fulfill all our orders to our very thankful backers who believed and saw the same vision that we did. And with that, we were able to exceed, you know, come out of the crowdfunding stage and launch our product through our own main website at permacushion.com. And the story has have been kind of the ball really has been snowballing from there on. And like I said earlier at the start of this question just last year, And we started our product with our, we really launched our main product through our website. At the start of January of 2022, we’ve only really just recently started you know, finished one full cycle of one full year and this business, but we were already able to do a seven-figure sale, which I know is not very easy and it was a very difficult, but yeah, with looking back.

And kind of, if I had to pinpoint the specific one incident or success that was able to get us where, to where we are today, it just has to be that Kickstarter campaign. So I would say definitely that one.

Brian Thomas: I love it. And then, the name of that platform, Kickstarter. Just resonates with your story, right? It really kick starting this project, which was a huge success. And I’m so excited to hear it. And I can tell in your voice gin the way you’re excited, the enthusiasm. That you’re, you’re on fire and I understand businesses come with challenges, but I appreciate the share and continued success on that particular front.

And Jin, last question of the day, we are a tech podcast and platform, and we’d like to ask every guest, regardless if you’re a technologist, if you’re leveraging any of that new or emerging tech in your business, and if not, maybe there’s a cool tool or app you found you could share with us.

Jin Kim: Yeah, well, personally, I’m a huge tech enthusiast myself, you know, personally, and I like to utilize and bring it to business as well.

So, it really is more difficult to try to think of a place where tech is not involved. So, everywhere from the product, all the way to the marketing, everywhere I utilize tech and I always are in the process to try to explore for new products that can streamline the process for us. A lot of people don’t notice.

And I think it’s something that can be quite easily overlooked due to the nature of the product. The prone cushion being a cushion designed for lying on your stomach. We currently are using high quality state of the art premium memory foam, right? And a lot of people will kind of have, have this false belief, or I would say a distorted idea that memory foam, everything’s not, you know, just the same.

That’s actually not quite accurate. Memory foam was originally created by NASA. So that they can be used at the spacecraft so that they provide more comfortable seating for the astronauts. And it has gone through various generations of iterations from there onwards. There has been gel infused gel infused memory foam.

Then future generations have activated charcoal memory foam. And both of them are currently being used in our prone cushion. So, like I said earlier in the first question. I’m an avid believer that the product can really tell an entire story in and of itself, right? And the kind of thought and the attention that you put behind the product really shows.

So, at Prone Cushion, we’re always trying our best to try to bring the best possible product in our abilities to the customer. So whenever there are new methods of manufacturing new materials that can be used. We’re always in the process of looking out for their tech is a big play. Tech plays a big role over there.

Then obviously when it comes to marketing, like we discussed earlier in the questions, when it comes to the current outlook, AI just can’t take that away. No conversation can go onwards there. And particularly when it comes to that, I have a lot to kind of, share my thoughts over there where. For anyone who’s kind of dabbled in the realm of digital marketing, especially with the tools, like with the new AI tools coming out, they don’t understand that these new AI tools make marketing.

Super effective, right? It becomes effortless to, you know, target specific people tell you exact keywords of what people are resonating with, what people want to see and all that. And all of these tools make it easy and make your marketing effective. But I think at the same time with the convenience of that, we marketers need to be more aware and mindful about the implications.

of our actions utilizing those as well. And a quote I like to use is from the movie Jurassic Park, where there’s a quote that says the scientists, they were so concerned about whether they could, they didn’t stop to think about whether they should. And I think Because of how new AI is, it’s, we’re, we’re kind of facing a very similar situation where these incredible AI tools, like if for, for anyone who devil would have, they’ll understand it’s unbelievable of just how much data that they process and provides you, right?

The D the, the amount of detail that you can go down into targeting, where it can be shown, what keywords down to every last frame, it’s unbelievable, but at the same time. I personally have a fear of those kinds of immense powers being misused at the same time, where you can target very marginalized people, you can target very, you know, people who are very highly susceptible to certain messages.

And all of those, I think, need to be viewed through a lens of moral and ethical implications as well. So, I think it’s great that technology has transformed the outlook again for us, specific, especially for all the way from the product to our presence on the digital landscape. But at the same time, I think it is also in our, it is also our duty, really, and responsibility to think about how our actions utilizing these tech can also affect people.

And once again, out there with really living, feeling Real people out there as well.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. And you’re, you’re right on that, Jin. We’ve, we’ve got to be we need to proceed and embrace the technology. But at the same time, as things get really advanced, especially as we step into this fourth industrial revolution, and we have.

AI at the forefront, we need to be again, very cautious as we move forward and being very ethical and holding to some sort of standard. So, I appreciate your insights on that. And Jen, it’s been such a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

Jin Kim: Pleasure is all mine. Thank you so much, Brian.

Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Jin Kim Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.

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