U.S. and China Summit (A Bi-Lateral Relationship)

Throughout the various company visits and lecture panels we attended, a common theme that has come up over again is the importance of China and America’s bi-lateral relationship. It has even been called the most consequential relationship between any two countries. I too think that this bi-lateral relationship is vital for both the economy and world success and longevity.

IMG_0802During the summit we broke up into small groups and discussed the importance of building the bi-lateral relationship. However, in order to have a successful and strong relationship between America and China, both countries must be aware of their cultural intelligence as well as “what is typical.” I thought that this related back to my previous post on the Anglo-Saxon model and the relationship-based model. In the activity, as a group, we had to come up with a draft of a letter we would send to our staff members for a project. However, the staff members included two Chinese citizens (one from a big city and the other from a rural area) and two American citizens (one from a big city and the other from a rural area). I thought that this activity was especially hard because the characteristics of most Americans differed from many of the characteristics of most Chinese. These characteristics included: low and high context, egalitarian and hierarchical, consensual and top-down, and linear and flexible time. I think it is crucial to know the characteristics of the people you are doing business with because it can show how they may react throughout your relationship with them.

The next activity we did during the Summit was called “What is typical.” It made us really think of the stereotypes that one another had on each other’s culture. When doing business internationally, I think that it is also important to know the culture of the country you are working with. This is because something that may be a social norm in one country could not be in another. An example of this is that less than 25% of people in the world do not have a bank account. I think having this in mind is very important because it can change how they conduct their business and can also lead to unpredictable problems. One of the Chinese students in my group told me that a few years ago, a man who was driving home from work after being paid got into a car accident and because he did not have a bank account, he kept all of his earnings in his car. As a result of the accident, his car engulfed in flames and all of his hard earned money burned. However, this tragic story happened because it is not as “typical” to have a bank account in China.

After my experiences in China, especially the insight I gained from the U.S. China Summit, I have gained a new appreciation for how fortunate we Americans are as well as a newfound respect for the Chinese. While I do agree that the U.S. China Summit and initiatives created by 100K Strong are good first steps toward creating a stronger bi-lateral relationship, I believe that there is still a lot of work to be done. I am excited to see how the relationship evolves in the future especially because U.S. and China’s relationship is one of the most critical relationships.

Friends, Family, Disney Fans Everywhere…Lend Me Your EARS!

A trip to Disneyland, be it a long planned vacation or (if you’re like me) a weekly visit, is always an opportunity to embrace the Disney spirit.  A big part of the Disney branding plan is merchandising!  Shops and kiosks can be found along Main Street, on the Boardwalk or in any of magical lands, displaying T-shirts, jackets, scarves, costumes, trading pins and of course the most popular, Mouse Ears!

The original mouse ears (developed by Roy Williams) were first seen on the Mousketeer cast in the 1950’s hit television show, The Mickey Mouse Club.  The traditional black felt hat with two large ears on top can still be found in every Disney store and on several patrons throughout the parks and resorts.  Over the years, mouse ears have adopted new styles and updated looks to match popular themes, current movies, TV shows or attractions the Disney Company is wanting to promote.  The ear options have also been adapted from Mickey Mouse to include other beloved characters, both classic (Mini, Goofy, Donald, etc.) and new (Stich, Mader, Olaf, etc.)

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While young children (3 to 12) are praised and encouraged to dress like their favorite prince, princess or pirate; teens and adults are forbidden from doing so unless attending a sanctioned event such as the “Not So Scary Halloween Party” or “Hero’s versus Villains’ Day.”  Mouse ears however, can be worn by anyone and at any time.  Many die-hard fans express their love for the Mouse by making their own ears.  Several tutorials can be found online, to make your own “mouse ears” either through crafting or creative hair styles.

Blog 1 - pic 2In 2013, Disney launched the Show Your Ears Sweepstakes, with a grand prize of a vacation for 4 to a Disneyland resort and the 5 runners up receiving a $100 shopping spree at the Disney store.  Participants were required to submit a photo of themselves (no more than 1 a day) wearing (purchased or homemade) Mickey or Mini shaped mouse ears…a creative way to increase the sale and reinforce the popularity of the mouse ears!

Disney marketers have also expanded mouse ears to include special occasions, birthdays, holidays or park anniversaries (such as the upcoming Diamond Celebration) and milestone life moments like graduations or marriage.  Marketing the ears as a limited edition or for a limited time, makes them collectable and generally increases the demand.

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Do you have a pair of mouse ears?