Monday, December 10, 2012

Ryan Steinmetz Final

Ryan Steinmetz
Independent Study
            Marketing in the new 21st century China is a unique process, mixing global branding techniques with Sino-specific approaches.  China is well known for the large amounts of brands that flow in and out of it making Advertising essential for this type of environment.  The popular brands stand out based on how “bright they are”, and smaller companies start by thriving in the darkness and build up to a bright light.  My goal in life is just to be seen from the distance.
             All of these thoughts on lights and darkness in advertising relates to something I read in the book China Road.  “The louder, the brighter, the better as far as Chinese businesses are concerned”.  This quote was referencing the neon lights in the city, but I decided to take this as literal as possible.  “The brighter the better”, this is describes how I want my life to be.  I would like my lights to shine as far as possible to get the most amount of attention.  After reading this, I was much more enthusiastic about my line of work.  I was able to put a description on my purpose.
            The way I see things, there is no difference in a person or a brand.  Essentially they are the same.  A brand is an extension to your name and in the end is only as good as your name.  The perfect example is Steve Jobs.  His name is just as popular as the brand Apple.  Not only is Steve Jobs known for what he creates, but the way he presents it to his audience as well.  Another example is creator of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg.  Both of these men have successfully extended their names to be “Steve Jobs of Apple” and “Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook”.  But how far can one person represent.
            China being as different of a country as it is, strives to brand themselves. The need for social power is an end goal whether that is either a quiet life of not needing full attention or craving the maximum amount of social power possible in order to be seen from the stars.  The need for China is to complete these lifelong goals whatever they may be all while using assets belonging to their own country. 
            In America we use more than one social network.  For example, Facebook may be our main networking site, but sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, and LinkedIn are used for all very specific reasons.  For example, it is known that LinkedIn is mainly used for professional workplace communication, and Twitter is used for Micro-blogging.  China does the same thing using only their products.  The list for China’s social Networks is as follows:
“The aforementioned QQ/QZone (owned by Tencent), with 700 million+ monthly active users, is the largest social gaming platform, and is the company’s main revenue source.
The Twitter-like Sina Weibo (literally, “Sina microblog”) with some 400 million users, is largely a mobile-focused social network and mass communication platform often leveraged by celebrities, brands and industry experts through a Twitter-esque usage model.
Tencent Weibo is very similar to Sina Weibo in terms of functionality and demographics, and has about 200-250 million users.
WeiXin, a voicemail-based social networking service akin to WhatsApp, reported 100 million registered users this April.
Douban is sort of a Chinese MySpace, popular with special interest groups and communities, and for networking around specific topics and has over 100 million users.
Renren, formerly Xiaonei (literally, “schoolyard”), was born as a network for re-connecting friends from school years, and reported 100 million active users this June. RenRen pretty much looks, feels and does exactly what Facebook does.  Like Facebook, RenRen is trying to stay relevant in the fast-growing mobile space.”
            As seen China has its fair share of social networking.  At first I was concerned with thinking that China was not on board with Facebook because they want to be censored.  But I have found that the truth is they do not wish to use a networking site that is run and overseen by someone that is not china.  After being put this way, if Facebook did not exist, I do not think I would want to use a social network that is run by a different country.  This conflicts with wanting to seen and heard as a main goal.  The idea behind it is to grow your light, not jump the gun and skip how you got there.   
            The reason people like Steve Jobs are heard around the world are because how fast the media can spread.   Facebook has allowed news from all over to be sent to another Facebook viewer in a blink of the eye.  With social media being as simple and easy as it is today and it’s only going to get easier, making it easier to get a name out into the open.  And it will only be as bright as it is made out to be.  The faster news can be spread, the more powerful a light can actually be. 
            In China Facebook is not allowed.  This is because Xinjiang independence activists were using Facebook as part of their communications network. In a way on Facebook, this is bad publicity to China itself.  If Facebook was in China everyone in the world that has a Facebook would be able to see and possibly join the possible debates happening in the country.  No country wants other countries to know how bad they are doing.
 With Facebook not being allowed in China, I do not think I would want to move my profession there.  Not because I wouldn't be able to live without Facebook, but because China is so focused of making the brand “China” the best it can be.  Being that I am not from China, the brand would not be based around me.  Therefore I would always be lost in a brand as large as a country trying to shine my light.
I was very excited to travel to China this Thanksgiving break.  I would like to witness these lights first hand as opposed to reading about it in books.  I have yet to hear the noise.  I have only seen it, but it’s a dim light for me.  In a way seeing lights is just as important as being bright, because lights combine.  That bright light is your connections and also spreads your name. 
The book Marketing Dictatorship has a chapter based on China fighting against propaganda wars.  This is basically China trying to extinguish the light from becoming too bright.  A way to cut them off from the world while still existing.  Unfortunately for China as long as there is word of mouth, that light will always exist.  Word of mouth is the originator of the light and can never be put out unless there is silence.  And even still, silence can be the loudest noise that there is. 
Out of all of the books I have read so far, the biggest point I was able to establish is that the amount of people in China is increasing rapidly, and there are many more jobs there then there are in America.  This will continue until somebody finds a new way to manufacture that is either faster, better, or more practical.
In the movie “Last Train Home”, the family being followed by cameras is trying to reach their grandparents home for the holiday season.  Unfortunately, so were millions others.  This movie clearly illustrates the overpopulation. It does this by shoving thousands of Chinese families into one cart of a train and forces them to live together for an entire trip which was most likely longer than a day.  With that many people alone going home and causing the traumatic damage that it did, I can only Imagine what a full army can do charging.
China in the U.S.A. is well known for all of its cheap manufacturing.  But why is it so well known?  The answer is numbers.  China simply outnumbers us which means that they can quickly mass produce a single product and sell it at a very cheap price.  When people hear that China manufactures for the cheapest, it’s a big game changer as far as getting a brand to fly.  In order to advertise, you need a brand in bulk.  This is how China itself spreads its Brand Name.
The book Brand New China by Jiang Wang, chapter 3 relates advertising to branding in a different sense.  The buzz of a name can always be heard, but what really matters is how loud that buzz actually is.  The book gives the example of a theme park.  A Theme park can be heard from a rather far distance, and it is usually not hard to tell what the noise is.  Being able to be seen in the distance is one thing, but to be heard as well can define what type of person you are.  I believe that again Steve Jobs is a perfect example for this.  He is seen everywhere and his presentations are heard around the globe.
Manufacturing dimming brightness- reveals cheapness which shows negativity.  For the most recent Olympics, U.S.A.’s uniforms were outsourced to be made in China.  It is well known that our country went through with this deal because it was cheaper to make the uniforms there.  But something as proudly worn as an Olympic uniform should not skimp out on how much money is spent.  Sometimes the product has the potential to shroud the negativity of outsourcing
Apple uses China to Manufacture.  Normally it is looked down upon for something this big of a name to outsource anything.  Especially something that cost so little to make and is priced so large with the finished product.   Steve Jobs stays ahead of the negativity by making the products ideal and arousing to the eye.  Being that he is a minimalist, he always thought that even though it cost nothing to make, that his product was so slim and sleek that it was impossible to fit the technology it had inside.  Therefore everyone had to have it, and the price was well worth it. 
There is a quote from the book Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang, that when thinking about the factory lifestyle of China, I can picture it perfectly.  It states “We start work at seven in the morning and get off work at nine at night.  Afterword we shower and wash our clothes.  At around ten, those with money go out for a midnight snack and those without money go to sleep.  We sleep until 6:30 in the morning”.  This is a typical day for so many people in China.  This allows for China to have plenty of jobs to allow for cheaper labor. 
Neon Lights in a city draw attention, but are the lights working.  Too much of a particular lighting can blind a person.  Have to find the perfect amount of confidence to make lights bright and visible rather than overpowering and annoying. The deeper meaning to this is describing what type of manager I would want to be.  As of now I am in Video Game Production, but I have learned that everything around us needs a project manager.  
Before I wrote this paper I had no idea what kind of country China was going to be.  After all of the research I still did not understand what the big deal of not being on Facebook was.  Visiting for the first time opened my eyes.  I saw why a country would not want to be involved with another countries technology.  China is a proud country and would stand for what is theirs as opposed to what is cheapest.  This is why today they remain the number one “Brand” in the world.
Being a student of a recent major switch, I had to do some soul searching in order to establish what I wish to do with my life.  Starting as a Video Game Programmer, I realized that I did not want to sit at a desk and type my whole life.  I decided to switch to Management of Creative Media with a specialization in Video Game Production.  This decision has changed my life, and I am looking forward to where it takes me.
In the film The Gate of Heavenly Peace, there is a group of students that organize a revolution in Tienanmen Square.  These leader students were Project Managers.  I would like to be a Great Project manager someday maybe not for Video Games, but I know that whatever it is that I do, it will be something I’m good at.  My lights will shine as far as they can, and as long as they shine I will be happy. 

Additional Sources

Last Train Home

The Gate of Heavenly Peace

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