We have witnessed lots of changes in the communication field over the past few years. Different types of communication media have been emerging and
Hollywood acts an important role in globalization and Americanization. Hollywood movies not only create the profit of economics, but also produce the “global fun” which is a form of Americanization. Meanwhile, Hollywood regards Chinese film industry as the most potential international film market. Obviously, Hollywood is drawing support from the strength of the US economics to extend market. After China has participated in WTO, Chinese film and the culture sovereign is confronted to the challenge. As a result, taking Hollywood an example would study the culture globalization and culture Americanization. Furthermore, it could benefit from successful Hollywood movies to find out the strategies of Americanization in order to develop the vitality of Chinese film industry.
Current situation of “Chinese style” movies in Hollywood
From Luise Rainer who patted locusts in movie “The Good Earth” in 1937 to Ingrid Bergman who put on bamboo hat in “The Inner of the Sixth Happiness” in 1958, and Tom Cruise had jumped down from a high building in Shanghai in “Mission Impossible â…¢”, Chinese culture has affected Hollywood for more than seventy years. In 2008, “Kung Fu Panda” was coming. Obviously, it utilized more Chinese styles, but the whole film was produced by western teams and Hollywood patterns. “Kung Fu Panda” occurred in China, where have high mountains and lofty hills, indeed, it is like a traditional Chinese landscape paintings. Moreover, the roles in this film are also attracted audiences, such as the leading character–a lovely panda Bo and others like monkey, snake, tiger and red-crowned crane. All of these elements constitute this film which possesses the romantic charm with WuShu. It happens that there is a similar case, “2012” has showed in 2009. Some of the scenes have taken place in China. Due to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and civilians, human beings in the world could be rescued. Even though it is a story, it is no doubt that Chinese style is increasingly significant than before.
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From this view, Chinese style has two meanings which contain nature sightseeing and human flavor. On one hand, the wilderness in the west and the views which is charming and graceful in south of the Yangtze River constitute the nature sightseeing in Hollywood movies. On the other hand, from some westerns’ view, swordsmen films represent the typical model of Chinese culture. Therefore, in terms of Chinese style, the human flavor is another central issue of Hollywood.
As some researcher has pointed out that film is like a specific culture product (Abercrombie and Longhurst, 2007), in fact, besides its material properties, films draw support from sounds, images, pictures and languages, these elements produce the symbolic signs and ideologies. Meanwhile, it connects with culture fields because films might shape to a sort of power which relates to collective values of society and the politic fields which includes culture intension. Obviously, the globalization in Hollywood has impacted Chinese domestic film industry. More importantly, it distributes American commercial, culture, politics, lifestyle and values to worldwide. Finally, Americanization will affect culture identity in order to achieve the future of world film industry. Due to that, the topic of Hollywood and Chinese film is emerging.
Globalization and Americanization
In the previous articles, the concept of “globalization” was explained by which meant the expansion of European countries, thereby, achieving the global economics integration (Modelski, 2008). At present, this concept is quoted steadily which states that globalization represents a new phenomenon (King, 1991). Indeed, economic globalization is the core of globalization, and it consists of the multi- concept such as politics, culture, technology, military, security, ideology, lifestyle and the values.
Americanization is not a new phenomenon. Even though Stead (1902) has stated that the concept of Americanization for more than hundred years, the real Americanization should be a kind of phenomenon in the middle of twentieth century. Storey (2005) brought up the features of Americanization is people who live all over the world drink Coco-cola every day, eat McDonald’s, wear American style or the clothes which are made by America, see Hollywood movies and watch NBA, save and make use of dollars, speak American English, pay more attention to America no matter politics, economics and entertainments. Besides that, Americans export their values, ideas, policy and weapons to worldwide. After all, these features are only existed in studies; in fact, most of people all over the world even interested in Americanization.
Above all, globalization is a kind of objective process; it describes the development of the world, as a result, it has undergone a deeply transformation. Although after 1990s, globalization has little changed by Americanization, the characters would not be altered. Americanization just limits the effect of communication in terms of American popular culture, in other words, it might transform the direction of culture in some countries which affected by American. However, Americanization could not completely influence. From this point of view, globalization and Americanization are two completely different notions. The former one is objective, and the latter one is a description of tendency which is in process.
Culture globalization and culture Americanization
Culture globalization is a kind of tendency which accompanied by the development of association. It seems that different culture exchange and culture identity has increased deeply, thereby, shaping the culture consistency which has the similar value and lifestyle. However, Crane (2002, p.2) stated that “the best known model of culture globalization is cultural imperialism theory”. Indeed, culture globalization has expressed two aspects (Gang, 2002). On one hand, at present, the content and the space of culture communication is increasingly widely, the acceptance of new culture and traditional one has risen gradually. From the previous development of human beings, due to the limitation of regions, communication of different groups were not active. However, accompanied by the technology and transportation, people in different places are more closed than before. In other word, people are not only confining the trade, but also developing religions and cultures. In general, the culture between different groups has already not restricted by region, meanwhile, the level of communication has enhanced. Therefore, globalization is concentrated on the phenomenon of cross-cultural exchange. On the other hand, every nation culture and region culture would reach an overlapping consensus. As I mentioned before, previous human culture had developed with geographical isolation, due to that, the culture difference is obviously. Firstly, globalization brings the circulation of capital, and then different nations would crash by different culture and values. These changes make people possess a wider horizon. As a result, people would adopt and improve their domestic culture, and they would tolerant with other different culture. In this process of seeking common ground while reserving differences, some advantages would be absorbed into the domestic culture system.
By contrast, culture Americanization is a sort of phenomenon which makes American mass communication spreads to different countries in order to converge on domestic culture to American culture. It seems that this phenomenon tries to transform a multicultural society to a single culture. Compare to the definition of culture globalization, culture Americanization has changed a tendency which shapes some universal cultural characters, such as the assimilation of values and lifestyles into some specific tendency of American.
However, the society of American has existed one kind of ideology. In general, due to the attraction of American culture, it has shaped a new former of global culture which concentrates on American values. Some researchers have upheld this point urgently and expect to achieve their wishes. Charles Krauthammer who is a columnist in Washington Post has written that it has no global mass culture before, therefore, the present culture is forming, and it is the specific American mass culture (Krauthammer, 2006). Hall (1991) argued that globalization is Americanization. It is determined by film and other culture terms. All of these points belong to mass culture, and American has the advantages rather than other countries.
In fact, except American, there is no countries would like to become the reproduction of American culture. Culture Americanization has hit the point of researchers who want to product their domestic culture out of America. Some of them have overstated the influence of Americanization so that people are boycotting the cultural Americanization. Especially, few people have distinguished the concept of culture globalization and culture Americanization. Therefore, only understanding the basic notions of globalization and Americanization could study the American phenomenon, such as Hollywood more deeply.
Successful reasons why “Chinese style” is so popular in Hollywood
Kung Fu Panda has won the successful achievement no matter in China or in America. Audiences are intoxicated with the Chinese styles. Due to the shape, spirit and meaning, plus the creation, Kung Fu Panda is so popular in China and all over the world. Consequently, Hollywood producers have concentrated on Chinese style in order to attract audiences to appreciate Hollywood films. People feel that the distance of different culture has cut down. More specifically, someone has pointed out that the Hollywood production has overstepped the understanding of domestic culture for Chinese. The reason why Hollywood captured the marrow of Chinese culture is that Hollywood has developed the strategies in China.
The Chinese film market in Hollywood eyes
Due to China has amount of populations and the economics has grown, China has acted an important role in current society. Indeed, China possesses a significant position in terms of politics, economics and culture. When China wanted to join in WTO in 1999¼Œfilm is an important topic. Because China always has limited foreign investment to enter the domestic film market, America expected Chinese government to admit more America film entering into China. Besides that, some America film company could invest and build new modern cinemas in China. On November 15th, 1999, China and America has reached the agreement which permits foreign company which invests 50 percent stocks engaging the cinema buildings and managements after three years.
In fact, from 1920s, Hollywood had entered into China. During 1930-40s, Hollywood film had occupied 75 percent of Chinese market. More apparently, Hollywood was opened by Cecil B.Demille, Ernes Lubitscht and Mickey Mouse. To be honest, the direct result is that Hollywood has cultivated amounts of audiences. Most audiences in these year liked Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks rather than Hu Die or Jin Yan. More interesting, some fans assorted Chinese and Hollywood stars in pairs. However, at that time, some directors also imitated the Hollywood. In 1934, Han Langen acted Song of the Fishermen, from that, he worked with Yin Xiucen so that copied Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Until 1949, because China has embarked on an “independent, self-reliance” road, Hollywood films were stooped. Therefore, Hollywood faded out gradually the entertainment in China. After 1980s, when the reform and open policy has suggested in China, meanwhile, with the relationship between China and the whole world has increasingly closed than before, Chinese culture industry brought the moment for Hollywood, and then Hollywood paid attention to China again.
With joined into WTO and one fifth percent of population in the world, even though there are some limitations of laws, cultures and ideology, the Hollywood producers are even addicted to China. As for America, the culture industry in China has not been developed at all. Because China culture industry has not enough investments, technology and regular companies, American producers are so interested in it. Consequently, as for Hollywood, Chinese film market is not only a gold ore, but an undeveloped diamond ore. Almost 1.3 billion potential audiences in China is a temptation for Hollywood. Indeed, when the Chinese film market opens, it will supply a fresh export film market for America, more importantly, China will probably be the second film market in the world, which beyond Europe and Japan. More specifically, in the future, every four Hollywood films would have one subject for China at least.
Due to develop the Chinese film market, Hollywood film companies started to research Chinese market in the middle of 1990s. Some of them had established Chinese department, others had employed Chinese students going back to China which assumed an important position. Every film company has got in touch with the organizations which managed films in China. In 1999, Twentieth Century of Fox Film Corporation received the Chinese film delegation. In 2000, Warner Bros. provided financial aids to China in order to hold “Chinese Culture in United States” in America. Moreover, all of film companies such as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayes (MGM), Paramount Pictures, Inc., Warner Bros., Universal Pictures Co., tried to imagine how to enter into Chinese film market. Larry Gleason who is the CEO of MGM said 55 percent of America film incomes were from out of America; meanwhile, China has the most population in the world, it is no doubt that Hollywood must enter into China. Developing the potential of Chinese market will be the aim of MGM. In fact, the points of Larry Gleason have represented most of Hollywood companies.
The strategies of Hollywood in China
As a developing country, on one hand, China insists on the policy of “reform and open”, on the other hand, China should retain the socialist system. Due to the political environment of China, Hollywood might confront some barriers if it will get into Chinese market. First of all, Chinese government even keeps the film administrative limitation. Second, there are some differences between Chinese unique culture and Hollywood culture. Thirdly, Chinese film market is in disorder status. Because of that, Hollywood has a clear awareness. Therefore, from these years, Hollywood adopted sorts of strategies to try to overcome and reduce these barriers, thereby, preparing getting into China for maximum effect. Firstly, Hollywood expected to utilize America political power to expand their survival space. Moreover, Hollywood tried to invest and manage the film production industry, distribution industry and project industry, so that it could establish the Chinese film market. Thirdly, Hollywood wanted to take pictures which are acted by Chinese producers or actors or utilize the Chinese style in order to cater to the Chinese audiences. Finally, with other media formers, Hollywood tried to cultivate audiences to possess wider interests in Hollywood, thereby, developing the potential Hollywood market. In general, these strategies had been used in Hollywood history, and it gained the success. As for Hollywood, China is the second Europe, and it would be the new world from their expectation.
From the views of promoting Hollywood, America government always acts the role of guard. As for a product, America government sales films to worldwide. Instead of how to make films, government would think about what should they do first in order to create condition for producing. In 1922, America film production has set up The Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA)¼Œthis association has cooperated with government, thereby, striving for abroad benefits. After World War â…¡, The Motion Pictures Exports Association of America (MPEAA) was built. This association was duty to address the external transactions. These organizations often kept in touch with the Department of Commerce. Obviously, political factors are always the reinforcements of Americanization. As a result, in the future, America government must strive for the rights through the politics. To some extent, Hollywood is a new force for Americanization.
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The second strategy of Hollywood globalization is investing other countries film industry in order to set up an organization which is duty to manage it, thereby, controlling foreign film market. In fact, when Hollywood occupied the Europe film market, the first step was co-production and distribution. At present, Hollywood tried to adopt the same method to enter Chinese film market. For instance, Hollywood needs make films with Chinese, on one hand, Chinese film produce system could be bring into Hollywood; on the other hand, it could make a similar pattern which based on Hollywood, and the audiences could be cultivated by the this new pattern film. Take Kodak for example, they once considered choosing one of five countries or districts where has the biggest potential of film industries, Chinese mainland is in it. Fortunately, they have chosen Chinese mainland because they believe film business opportunities in China are the best. Furthermore, Kodak has planned to build up 6 to 8 modern cinemas in Beijing, Guangzhou and other big cities. Besides that, Kodak initiated that they would show both foreign language films and domestic films in order to cater to the requirements of Chinese audiences. Consequently, the reason why Hollywood and other film companies would get involved with Chinese film industry is one of the strategies to enter into Chinese film industry.
Through the history of Hollywood, it is very fruitful that Hollywood used foreign directors, actors/actresses and subjects to conquer the hearts of foreign audiences. On one hand, all of these foreign sentiments have poured Hollywood into cultural nutrition; on the other hand, it would bring the culture sympathy from foreign countries. To illustrate, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li represent the Chinese style influences of Hollywood. This strategy has increasingly covered the brand of Hollywood. At the same time, it regards “global film” to enter into the Chinese film market.
The globalization of Hollywood has not only limited the export of films. Every year, there is a grand ceremony in Hollywood which is called Oscar. Meanwhile, Hollywood is utilizing the auxiliary product of film, such as DVD, books, toys to expand the infiltration of Hollywood.
In general, Hollywood has stared at the Chinese film market. For the strategies of globalization in America, Hollywood has not only opened up the second market which is inferior to America, but also weaved many America fables through the American love story and hero story. Therefore, Hollywood would conquer the foreign nations. Hollywood has altered the America to the world; meanwhile, the world is changing by America.
The strategies of Americanization and films
With the strategies of Americanization, culture industry, especially the film part is a significant chess for America. When culture has become an industry, the functions of economics and culture have overlapped. Indeed, the exports of cultural product have expanded the economic market, also gains the profits. At the same time, on one hand, these culture products could be sold by America lifestyle or values, on the other hand, culture is like a product and product would express culture, they are interaction. Due to culturae products have gained profits and they also create the meaning of advertisement, all of these elements which contain images, sounds, words, pictures and models have exploited the huge market of America politics and economics. As culturae products have its special meanings, America is making great efforts to be Americanization, especially the Americanization of Hollywood films.
Early in 1930s, America government realized that film and other formers of mass culture not only possessed the meaning of industry, but conducted America culture, economics and politics. These mass culture and film would possess a priority function. The export of culture might affect other countries, districts and the awareness of nations, religions, culture even languages, in order to weaken their traditional culture, thereby, creating the memory of nation culture and promoting the mixture of America values and beliefs. Consequently, from World Warâ… , America spread films, TV programmes, records and other mass cultural products to all over the world. During in World Warâ…¡, Hollywood became an important tool which helped the government conduct America.
Films which become the most international media industry play a significant role in culture industry. To some extent, from beginning, Hollywood has spread America to the world and America movies possessed an international horizon. The first ten years of twentieth century, Hollywood producers have begun to set up offices out of America. From World Warâ… , America films have replaced by France, British and Germany, became an international film market. From 1919, foreign film markets have brought into the budget of American films. After 1930s, the income of foreign film market already has accounted for one third to one half profits in total of American films. In other words, World Warâ… and World Warâ…¡placed American films into the leader of the world in terms of economics and produce. After that, this priority position has not been wavered. Although the sound film had emerged, and the language barriers also had brought some threatens for American films, Hollywood had adapted this method of art and technology changes, thereby, consolidating its powerful position. Until 1995, Hollywood films have possessed almost 75 percent of Europe box office income in total. Moreover, Hollywood even owns film market in Canada, Latin America, Oceania and Asia. Even though in Hong Kong where has been called “Eastern Hollywood”, American films have consolidated its domestic position. In the late of twentieth century, Hollywood has gained 7.5 billion dollars in America as well as over 6 billion dollars from overseas film markets. It became an important component in America new economics (Rao, 2009). After a half century of international efforts, nowadays, American films have been the world film and Hollywood is prevalent. Hollywood films no longer seemed only in America; instead, it became a byword for films. Consequently, America mass culture does not like an imports objective. Indeed, Hollywood has conquered the whole world, and we are becoming a Hollywood star.
In the past ten years, due to commerce and military, the debate of “information era” and “information society” has become the main struggle of international politics, economics and culture. In fact, the competition of countries depends on information creation and the speed of circulation. Therefore, dominating the media is controlling the benefits of politics and economics. In other words, creating the media industry is producing the benefits of politics and economics. Due to this global competition, in many developing countries, culture nationalism is emerging. Consequently, because of the conflicts of nationalism and global tendency, how Chinese films would maintain its national orientation under the impact of Hollywood is becoming an inevitable thinking. From a higher level, this is a question which deals with globalization of Chinese culture.
The vitality of domestic movies in China
Even though Hollywood is a huge threatens for the domestic films, Hollywood would not become the gravedigger of domestic films, especially for China which has oriental culture for thousand years of history as well as suffered from vast disaster. As a matter of fact, Hollywood is impossible to replace the domestic culture in China. Even if in 1990s, Hollywood films had entered into China, it was still a number of domestic films had a higher market allotment in Chinese film market. For instance, in 2000, the income of Mulan and Notting Hill has less than ten millions, but the income of Chinese film “Be There or Be Square” has over 39 million (Rao, 2009), which had exceeded any of Hollywood films in that years. It seems that the domestic films in China are also having a place to live in after Hollywood is getting into China. The key point of Chinese film industry needs to exploit, cultivate and expand its advantages as well as reduce the disadvantage, thereby, strengthening the vitality of domestic films. As for China, the Chinese films’ advantages could provide buffer of space, and they also require a kind of potential.
For Chinese films, the most obvious advantage is China has a long history as well as the specific culture tradition. Though from 19 century, western culture has affected China, it also has a large difference between western and China in terms of lifestyles, values and languages. Due to that, film Star Wars which made a great sensation in Europe and United States has not accepted by Chinese audiences. Furthermore, the film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” which was directed by Ang Lee was well liked by western audiences rather than China. These examples have showed that China and western countries even has existed the difference, it means Hollywood cannot replace the domestic films, in other words, Chinese films possess their special characters that Hollywood would never have. Therefore, if Chinese films may utilize Chinese traditional resources of culture creatively, the domestic films would occupy an important position in China even in Asia and Chinese culture space in the world. From another point of view, oriental culture tradition might provide a fresh cultural reference to western audiences, thereby, entering into the mainstream of Hollywood.
More importantly, China has special condition. Compare to western countries, China is experiencing the transitional era, which transforms traditional society to modern society. Any of the transitional eras are the golden eras of the domestic films, in other words, the transition promotes society relations, interpersonal relations and family relations, due to that, the destiny and values have been altered. Indeed, the true life has provided the materials which are full of dramatic rather than drama as well as it requires much fresher life legend instead of stories. Thus, as for Chinese audiences, on one hand, they need Hollywood produce momentary of imagines; on the other hand, they also use film which is like a mirror to reflect the variation of soul. It should be said that from 1990s, such as The Story of Qiu Ju, Lover’s Grief Over the Yellow River, The Treatment have fully utilized the domestic, actual cultural resources to reflect the situation at that moment. All of them are good at combing the social pictures, the ordinary civilians’ fate to the popular movie patterns. Not only expresses the experiences of transition eras, but also the desire of survival and wisdom, thereby, obtaining the audiences. Therefore, the domestic reality is the cultural superiority of Chinese films.
According to the process of globalization, Chinese films also have a significance domestic superiority which is the potential film consumption market. Take Beijing for example, if resident see five films per year, it will reach 6 million RMB in total. Indeed, China has more than 12 million populations, if everyone sees one film per year, though the price is 5 RMB, the income of the whole year should achieve 60 million RMB. This income would support Chinese producers make the excellent domestic films.
Moreover, China owns three hundred thousand employees and over hundred years film history, most importantly, there are amounts of talented person who are interested in films, all of these are the advantages of competition. Especially, because China has lower lever economics, the cost of films would less than Hollywood. Therefore, it would become an important strategy of contending for Hollywood.
Above all, as I mentioned before, all of them should based on the root, once they come true, the fate of Chinese films would tend to be a bright future. Even though film which is a culture industry would not adapted by all market principles, if Chinese films would not run into market, Chinese films will not be paid attention by the world. Therefore, due to adapt to the market requirements, Chinese film industry must carry on the reformation of industrialization.
Overall, Chinese films should make efforts from four aspects in order to open up the international space of Chinese films. First of all, China should establish film produce and distribution organizations which possess the international marketing, thereby, shaping a professional film enterprise. Furthermore, recruiting a number of film management persons who has professional quality of movie as well as carrying on the transitional economics. Thirdly, supporting film companies which produce films according to the requirement of international market, so that film companies could create the domestic film brands which are made in China. Finally, film companies should develop the products which are related to films, with TV, videos, DVD and networks to increase the added values.
It is no doubt that many people blamed the cultural invasion, even some pointed out that the whole world would be brought into the capitalism system which was hold by powerful capitalism countries. However, some researchers argued that globalization has affected domestic films. Obviously, with the development of globalization, the properties in different countries would not distinguish. When international films become an international culture, it is a risk of cultural environment.
Indeed, Chinese film is confronting some challenges and threatens not only from Hollywood. Nevertheless, WTO and Hollywood are just providing an opportunity to refer. As for China, the domestic films must reform to themselves rather than imitating. More precisely, reformation is the only way to live and develop, otherwise, whether Hollywood entered into China or not, Chinese film has no way to go. Consequently, China should explore a kind of film industry and market which is suitable for the condition of China in terms of adapting Chinese politics, economics and cultural principles. The future of globalization not only means the choices of hegemony, but also obtains the equal rights of weakness. To some extent, the diversity of culture is the prerequisite of cultural vitality.
making their way into the market and have made the communication needs of the customers cheaper owing to competition. Internet is one of those things that contributed to the revolutionary changes in the recent times. There have been many changes and different stages of evolution in the said field even with the use of internet. Different methods and technologies have been evolving to use the internet in a better way. Social networking is one of those that have and have been making the internet exciting by the day. The latest buzz “Social Networking” added to make users more interactive with their friends (Ivanauskas, 2009). Social Networking sites like Facebook, Orkut, MySpace, and Twitter are already in to the market and making their presence felt by having lot of members join their networks and communicate with their friends and buddy list through their websites. The above mentioned social networking websites have bridged a lot of gap between friends who are priory difficult to stay in touch. They also have many users friendly and value added features such as sharing media and playing online games etc.
The increasing demand for these websites meant the marketing companies have started focussing on these websites to attract the unique customer groups these websites represent. The latest buzz in marketing that reaches customer directly has been social networking.
Main aim of this dissertation is to know how the social networking influences the current generation through the extensive utilisation of social networking for marketing purposes and evaluating the social networking sites as a medium of advertisement.
To study the effect of social networking websites on the current generation.
Researching latest marketing strategies of business by using Internet Technologies including social networking sites
Conducting a consumer survey about the usefulness and effectiveness of advertisements in social media networks.
First online community created was SixDegrees.com in the year 1997. And it used allow users to create their own profile and make them available to their friend by adding to their friends list (Adrian, 2008). The first ever social networking website however did not stand the tide of time and was closed due to reasons which are out of scope of this dissertation.
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The time spent by the netizens on the social networking sites is increasing by the day and the recent studies only go on to show the same. The community websites hold major part of Internet traffic and it increased 230% since from 2007 (Diana, 2010). The time spent on the internet increased by around 65% by the users in UK from 2007 to 2010 (Burrows, 2010). The statistics also show that the average age of the users of the social networking sites is predominantly low like in the 20 to 30 and 30 to 40 groups due to various reasons. (Michael, 2008)
The projections also indicate a billion users for the social networking sites by the end of 2012. The increasing strength of these websites makes the marketing departments rethink their marketing strategies.
After going through lots of articles and statistics related to online communities, it has been observed that the latest market trend was revolving around these networking sites and making most of this to their business advantage. “Acknowledging the fact that teenagers do spend a lot of time online, it would be interesting to take advantage of this new trend and utilize it for the classroom more specific to the teaching and learning process.” (Pingdom, 2010)
“Experts predict that between 2007 and 2011, U.S. ad spending on social networks will grow 180% from $900 million to $2.5 billion, as illustrated below in Figure II, which is attributable to increased revenue projections of the popular social networking site Facebook and increased spending on niche social networks” (Zarina, 2009). It is indeed surprising to observe the share of internet marketing in the youth related companies. Modern marketing companies started making tools to make use of this trend and the same can be observed by studying these websites. In fact many companies adopted marketing in social networking websites as their major outlet of advertising and publicity. (RedBridge, 2008; MLC, 2008)
The companies are also undergoing a major change technologically like adopting technologies such as web 2.0 to use the marketing space and opportunity in the modern websites such as Facebook, twitter etc which are mentioned above. According to Bakardjieva (2004), technologies of communication media were instrumental factors in building up successful communities that exists today.
The increasing demand for the online communities and social networking websites is making new companies enter the arena. The investments of major IT companies in the already existing social networking websites (Google invested $900 million in MySpace and Microsoft $240 millions in Facebook) goes on to show the obvious which is the potential of these sites for the future (Ivanauskas, 2009). The investment is looked upon not as a business opportunity but rather as a marketing venue for these big companies to promote their already existing products.
Companies on the other hand besides grabbing big opportunities such as above also are not missing out on being on the user side of these websites and being part of the plan when it comes to their target population. Almost everyone these days seem to have their presence in almost all the social networking sites which are most common in those respective regions. An account in Facebook, MySpace and Twitter seem to be the most common thing to most companies to reach out to customers on a direct basis. The customers are rising their doubts and the interaction is what is making the use of these websites so unique compared to other marketing strategies (Grunert, 2009).
The above unique facts about the social networking and the new trends of marketing that are starting to spread making use of the same made the choice easier. It was decided that the area has lot of scope for research.
According to Linda Peters (1998), the “Web” presents a fundamentally different environment – both as a medium and as a market – from traditional communication channels perspective. Itcreates the Marketspace – a virtual realm where products and services exist as digital information and can be delivered through information-based channels (Rayport and Svikola, 1994). The companies and consumers quickly adopted the new concept of the new interactive world for their own benefits. These interactive channels allowed companies to reach new markets or have a grater influence in the existing oneâ€Ÿs (i.e. example media companies transferred their news papers in order reach new audiences) and the consumers had an opportunity to save time and money by communicating, looking for information or buying product and services online. The concept of interactivity has been extensively researched in advertising and marketing literature and was summarized by Johnson (Johnson et al, 2006)
According to Liu & Shrum (2002) emergence of new media (Internet), brought new models of interactivity: user-to-user and user-to-message. Contemplating about user-to-user interactivity Ha and James (1998) suggested that “the more communication in a computer-mediated environment resembles interpersonal communication, the more interactive the communication isâ€-. Steuer (1992) defined users-to-message interaction as follows: â€•the extent to which users can participate in modifying the form and content of a mediated environment in real timeâ€-. Lee (2005) summarized the main components of online interactivity
Commercial online services and the introduction of the Web have created the potential for a mass interactive dialogue between exchange parties (Peters, 1998). The world have witnessed the evolution of a universal interconnected network of audio, video, and electronic text communications that blurred the distinction between interpersonal and mass communication and between public and private communication (Neuman, 2003). The new market space changed the behavior of the people and the communication models. The shift is then from a “one (firm)-to-many (consumers)” model of communication to the “many-to-many” model where contribution to the medium and the message may come from both directions (Hoffman and Novak, 1996). Chaffey (Dave Chaffey et al., 2007) argues that such kind of communications allows mass customization and personalization and the messages send trough Internet can be targeted more effectively. Moreover, the Web is changing the traditional marketing communications concepts as the consumers can go all the way from awareness to interest to desire to action (AIDA Framework), all within the same medium and within the same session (Economist, 2008a).
Andrew L. Shapiro (1999) argues that the emergence of new, digital technologies signals ia a potentially radical shift of who is in control of information, experience and resources. One of the key features of the new electronic communication media is the ability of consumers to control both contact and content (Peters, 1998). Sohn and Lackenby (2002) suggest that individual’s participation in social communication processes is the crucial factor for increasing the perceived interactivity of the Internet (citied in Stafford and Ronald, 2005). Moreover, according to Normann and Ramirez (1994) the consumers become co-producers, because the value is constantly created in interaction with many different players, including consumers, suppliers, employees and managers. As a result, marketers are losing control over the communication messages their trying to deliver to their consumers. According to Gatarski and Lundkvist (1998) when communication, in the meaning of sharing information, meets interactivity, it creates not simple massages but forms two-way conversations. These conversations can be applied in production as implementation of mutual ideas (consumer’s and producersâ€Ÿ) in order to create new enjoyable products or services.
2.1 Introduction to changing media and communications landscape
The last century was a gold age for the media development. The new technologies as Telephone, Radio and Television have changed peopleâ€Ÿs lives forever. The new ways of communications have been successfully adopted and become a norm. The last decade of the century brought the new innovative technology – Internet. As predicted by Newman (1991) Internet: Altered the meaning of geographic distance. Allowed the huge increase in the volume of communication. Provided the possibility of increasing the speed of communication. Provided opportunities for interactive communication. Allowed forms of communication that was previously separate to overlap and interconnect.
Grieco and Holmes (1999) (citied in Combe et al, 2003) identifies three powerful features of Internet:
1. Disintermediation or the removal of brokers by allowing direct communication across spatial and sociometric distance;
2. Asynchronicyty of the removal of temporality as a barrier to communications;
3. Oculacy or the ability to communicate messages through images.
According to Hermeking (2006) The global spread of modern technology, including information and communication technology (ICT), is commonly regarded both as an indicator of the postmodern era of globalization and as the very precondition for that era of intensive worldwide interactions of people and exchanges of goods, services, information, and capital. Hoffman (Hoffman et al., 1995) argues that the popularity of the WWW as a commercial medium (in contrast to other networks on the Internet) is due to its ability to facilitate global sharing of information and resources, and its potential to provide an efficient channel for advertising, marketing, and even direct distribution of certain goods and information services.
In the recent years Internet witnessed amazing growth, according to Internet Consumption Report (Soumukil, 2008) the 21% (1,407,724,920) of the world population (6,676,120,288) are internet consumers. Most of them live in well developed regions as North America where internet penetration is as high as (73.1%), Australia (57.0%) and Europe (47.7%). Peters (1998) suggest that no other technological innovation has captured the imagination of users with the speed and impact of the Internet (Graph 1).
According to Linda Peters (1998), the “Web” presents a fundamentally different environment – both as a medium and as a market – from traditional communication channels perspective. It creates the Marketspace – a virtual realm where products and services exist as digital information and can be delivered through information-based channels (Rayport and Svikola, 1994). The companies and consumers quickly adopted the new concept of the new interactive world for their own benefits. These interactive channels allowed companies to reach new markets or have a grater influence in the existing oneâ€Ÿs (i.e. example media companies transferred their news papers in order reach new audiences) and the consumers had an opportunity to save time and money by communicating, looking for information or buying product and services online. The concept of interactivity has been extensively researched in advertising and marketing literature and was summarized by Johnson (Johnson et al, 2006) (Appendix 1.1). According to Liu & Shrum (2002) emergence of new media (Internet), brought new models of interactivity: user-to-user and user-to-message. Contemplating about user-to-user interactivity Ha and James (1998) suggested that “the more communication in a computer-mediated environment resembles interpersonal communication, the more interactive the communication isâ€-. Steuer (1992) defined users-to-message interaction as follows: â€•the extent to which users can participate in modifying the form and content of a mediated environment in real timeâ€-. Lee (2005) summarized the main components of online interactivity (Table 1).
Commercial online services and the introduction of the Web have created the potential for a mass interactive dialogue between exchange parties (Peters, 1998). The world have witnessed the evolution of a universal interconnected network of audio, video, and electronic text communications that blurred the distinction between interpersonal and mass communication and between public and private communication (Neuman, 2003). The new market space changed the behavior of the people and the communication models. The shift is then from a “one (firm)-to-many (consumers)” model of communication to the “many-to-many” model where contribution to the medium and the message may come from both directions (Hoffman and Novak, 1996). Chaffey (Dave Chaffey et al., 2007) argues that such kind of communications allows mass customization and personalization and the messages send trough Internet can be targeted more effectively. Moreover, the Web is changing the traditional marketing communications concepts as the consumers can go all the way from awareness to interest to desire to action (AIDA Framework), all within the same medium and within the same session (Economist, 2008a). Peters (1998) suggests four main changes in communication model compare the new and old media:
1. Communication style – tend to have little or no time lag between the giving, receiving and responding aspects of communication between the parties.
2. Social presence – or perceived personalness, the feeling that communication exchanges are sociable, warm, personal, sensitive and active.
3. Control of contact – Early research into the willingness of consumers to utilize technology in shopping behavior concludes that the ability to control the pace and presentation of product information has the strongest influence on willingness to engage in computer-mediated marketing activity (Carson et al., 1996).
4. Content – The content can be customised either by users or by senders. Where users are able to control the content, or presentation, of the message it is said to be interactive.
Andrew L. Shapiro (1999) argues that the emergence of new, digital technologies signals ia a potentially radical shift of who is in control of information, experience and resources. One of the key features of the new electronic communication media is the ability of consumers to control both contact and content (Peters, 1998). Sohn and Lackenby (2002) suggest that individualâ€Ÿs participation in social communication processes is the crucial factor for increasing the perceived interactivity of the Internet (citied in Stafford and Ronald, 2005). Moreover, according to constantly created in interaction with many different players, including consumers, suppliers, employees and managers. As a result, marketers are losing control over the communication messages their trying to deliver to their consumers. According to Gatarski and Lundkvist (1998) when communication, in the meaning of sharing information, meets interactivity, it creates not simple massages but forms two-way conversations. These conversations can be applied in production as implementation of mutual ideas (consumerâ€Ÿs and producersâ€Ÿ) in order to create new enjoyable products or services.
2.2 Social media and Web 2.0
2.2.1 Social media
The real power of people can be noticed in the new revolutionized media channel – social media. According to Mayfield (2008) social media is best understood as a group of new kinds of online media, which share most or all of the following characteristics: Participation & Engagement: social media encourages contributions and feedback from everyone who is interested. It blurs the line between media and audience. Openness: most social media services are open to feedback and participation. They encourage voting, comments and the sharing of information. There are rarely any barriers to accessing and making use of content – password-protected content is frowned on. Conversation: whereas traditional media is about â€žbroadcastâ€Ÿ (content transmitted or distributed to an audience) social media is better seen as a two-way conversation. Community: social media allows communities to form quickly and communicate effectively. Communities share common interests, such as a love of photography, a political issue or a favourite TV show. Connectedness: Most kinds of social media thrive on their connectedness, making use of links to other sites, resources and people Drury (2008) suggests that when analyzing social media marketers too often concentrates on the “media” factor, when “social” element is the key, because marketing within social media is about building a relationship and conversation with the audience, where the simple message delivery is changed by ongoing exchange of perceptions and ideas between company and the consumer. Haven (2008) suggests that social media key elements are not entirely new as features of sharing, connecting, opining, broadcasting and creating has been long in our lives, but there are several characteristics of new technologies and behaviors that set them apart from the past: Reach – Historically, audiences for the common person have been limited: a tribe, family, friends, neighbors, or the local community. Today’s technologies provide scale and enable anyone to reach a global audience.
Accessibility – The means of production for most media used to lie in the hands of enterprises with unlimited resources (financial or human). Today’s technologies for media creation are available to anyone at little or no cost.
Usability – The means of production typically required specialized skills and training, both technically and creatively. Today’s technologies simplify those processes, or in some cases reinvent them, so anyone can create and operate the means of production.
Transparency – People, especially Americans, historically kept personal information to themselves and had a general distrust of authority (enterprises, government, etc.). Today, people are willing to share anything about themselves (interests, location, family situations, health condition, etc.) in a public venue, and today’s technologies make that both possible and purposeful.
Recency – When people did have the means of production and distribution in the past (albeit limited), the time lag between communications was typically long (days, weeks, or even months). It was a limitation of the technology or system in which it operated. Today’s technologies enable instantaneous responses and dialog where only the participant determines the delay in response.
The interactivity gains a new meaning when it is applied through Web 2.0 platforms and Social media channels as dialogue between consumer and company becomes much more active and interactive. As summarized in the media landscape analysis the past decade was all about two-way communicationâ€Ÿs and interactionâ€Ÿs models. Most of the marketing academics (Kotler, 2003; Pettit and Brassington, 2005) recognized the importance of creating two-way marketing channels between consumer and company for brand building, CRM, sales (and etc). Social media, itself, does not change this idea, but redefines interactivity and takes it to another level. Armano (2008a) argues that social media goes beyond the interactive marketing which is facilitated by computer-human interaction, and introduces human-to-human interaction enabled by technology (Appendix 2.1). The main difference is that the companies instead of pushing the content (i.e. automated e-mailâ€Ÿs) through online channels empower people to engage and interact with other people and produce new content about the company (blogging, commenting, social networking and etc.). Free production of content and voluntary distribution is the key elements of the social media. Meadows-Klue (2008) suggests that in social media marketing engagement replaces interruption; diversity and self-expression replace conformism and unity; the media of the masses replace mass media; granular insights and rich data replaces generalization and conversations in marketing replace control. Another major change from the marketing perspective is the shift from persuasion to influence. Past decades marketing practitioners were using the communication mix in order to “attack” consumers with pervasive messages to make them buy goods and services offered, but in the age where 25 percent of search results on Google for the worldâ€Ÿs 20 largest brands links to consumer-generated content (Nielsen Buzz Metrics, 2007), to do this is too late, not practical or impossible, as the messages are already floating out there. According to Mitchell (2008) this process is facilitated by the change of information flows from “top down” (B2C) to “bottom up” (C2B) what redefines marketing environment as marketers do not own the message anymore (Figure 2.2, Apendix 2.2). Armano (2008) suggests that people can be divided in different grouping according their “strength” as the massagers (Apedix 2.3)
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The User Generated Content (UGC) can become influential message of the consumer to the consumer (C2C) about the company and therefore should be carefully monitored. In fact, the content is the new message in social media channels. According to Eikelmann (Eikelmann et al, 2008) the best marketers can do in this environment is to try to engage with the consumers through social media in order influence these messages. Drury (2008) suggests that instead of sending simple messages, marketers should provide the content which would be relevant for consumers and would generate conversations among them. Therefore, influence will become a standard measurement in Marketing 2.0 (Dowdell, 2008). As blogger and social media strategist Douma (2008) put it: “The age of persuasion is over. Welcome to the age of influence.”
Marketers are forced to look for alternative communication strategies to market in the social media environment, because advertising clutter, growing advertising literacy and changing consumer behaviour drives down the return on investment (Biegel, 2008; Constantinides and Fountain, 2008). These strategies have to consider the increasing fragmentation in the markets.
2.2.2 “Web 2.0”
Social media and Web 2.0 are two terms which are often used interchangeably in the marketing literature, even though they are not entirely the same. From the marketing perspective, the Web 2.0 should be perceived as the new tools for the marketing communication mix and facilitator and enabler of social media. The Web 2.0 term was introduced by Tim Oâ€ŸReilly in 2004, it has originated from talks about social software and the communities surrounding these applications. According Tim Oâ€ŸReilly (Tim Oâ€ŸReilly, 2007) “the companies that survived the dotcom boom had something in common;” these companies realized that the “Web” is much more useful for delivering service than being used just as a platform for “packaged” products (i.e. software). Constantinides and Fountain (2008) defined Web 2.0 as follows: â€•Web 2.0 is a collection of open-source, interactive and user-controlled online applications expanding the experiences, knowledge and market power of the users as participants in business and social processes. Web 2.0 applications support the creation of informal users ‘ networks facilitating the flow of ideas and knowledge by allowing the efficient generation, dissemination, sharing and editing / refining of informational content .” Hoegg (Hoegg et al, 2005) suggests that Web 2.0 is “the philosophy of mutually maximizing collective intelligence and added value for each participant by formalized and dynamic information sharing and creationâ€-.
Both definitions share similar concepts of maximizing the collective intelligence, self-regulating community, network effect, transparency of the information creation and sharing process, but the key element in these terms is the user. From technological perspective, there are not many changes in the Web 2.0 compared to Web 1.0 applications; the real value is created by people not only using this social software but participating in the creation process of it (by creating and editing the new content or even in some cases modifying the application itself). According to Constantinides and Fountain (2008), the key innovative elements typifying this new family of web applications can be summarized as three main principles:
1. Focus on simple, service-based open-source solutions in the form of online applications.
2. Continuous and incremental application development requiring the participation and interaction of users in new ways: not only â€-consuming’but also contributing, reviewing and editing content.
3. New service-based business models and new opportunities for reaching small individual customers with low-volume products.
As Web 2.0 applications are still in the development stage, the grouping of them varies according to the purpose and field of the research. Hoegg (Hoegg et al, 2005) groups web 2.0 applications according the services they provide (Figure 2.4).
Tim Oâ€ŸReilly (2005) argues that “Web 2.0 doesn’t have a hard boundary, but rather, a gravitational core which could be visualized as a set of principles and practices that tie together a veritable solar system of sites that demonstrate some or all of those principles, at a varying distance from that core” (Appendix 2.4). Therefore it is difficult to classify the Web 2.0 into the precise groupings, because the applications are interrelated and most of the time a few Web 2.0 features works on one platform. The mixture of Web 2.0 applications working under one site are known as “Mash-ups”. According to Mayfield (2008) â€•this combination of two or more pieces of content (or software, or websites) is one of the phenomena in social media that make it at once so exciting, fast-moving and sometimes bewilderingâ€-. But even more important feature of Web 2.0 applications is the adaptability in the different platforms. Social applications are becoming more and more popular on mobile devices (Phones, iPods (via podcasts)). In fact, according to BBC News (2008) one of the reasons the Internet usage on the mobile devices is increasing – Web 2.0 applications. According to Drury (2008) social media applications has an ability to bring “Head” (Professional) and “Tail” (UGC) content together in all the formats (audio, video , text). As more and more professionally edited websites incorporates social media content some companies (i.e. Joost) are trying to apply Web 2.0 principals (live participation) for even bigger media platforms as TV. These applications are being tested in the Internet TV and in the near future have a good chance to redefine TV experience completely. All theses changes open new opportunities for integrated marketing campaigns, where marketers are enabled to reach larger audiences of consumers at all their touch points with mediated world at one-stop shop.
Blogs and blogging
Web Logs (commonly knows as Blogs), according to Tredinnick (2006), are arguably the “oldest” Web 2.0 applications and have been in the web space since mid 1990â€Ÿs. Constantinides and Fountain (2008) states that it is the most know and fastest-growing category of Web 2.0 applications. According to McCann report (2008), 184 million people World Wide have started a blog and 346 million read blogs, which means that 77% of active Internet users read blogs. Furthermore, 17.8 m have read a blog and around 4.3 m have created their own blog in the UK (McCann, 2008). The most recent Technorati research (2008) confirms this phenomenon as they tracked blogs in 81 languages from 66 countries around the world, it suggest that blogging have made a major influence on media ecosystem as bloggers are collectively creating almost one million posts every day and have representation in all top-10 web site lists across all key categories. In general a “Blog” is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video where entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order and has permalinks (Daily Blog Tips, 2008), but Pomerantz and Stutzman (2006) argues that for every blog author and consumer, the precise understanding of a blogâ€Ÿs use is different, therefore it is difficult to define its true meaning. Dearstyne (2005) summarized the definitions and blogging opportunities provided by major companies: â€•Microsoft defines blogs as frequently updated personal web journals that can dramatically help both small and large companies communicate their product messages. They increase people’s ability to share ideas and information exponentiallv, and on a worldwide scale. Accenture says blogs are an interactive website that allows the owner to publish ideas and information. Users can read and evaluate material and add new content, creating a conversation that spans lime zones and continents.
Research Design and methodology:
We are left with mainly two options for the way and approach for gathering the research data- primary and secondary in the broadest sense. The primary research methodology involves direct interaction with the subjects where as the secondary research involves collection of data from sources such as literature, magazines etc. While the primary research methodology is more current, it includes interviews, questionnaires, targeted groups, personal interviews etc which is a time taking and tedious process. There needs to be a trade off regarding the extent of primary research data to be included in the research. The main empirical study will be carried out based on the primary data which was collected as per the study requirements. Based on the requirement and research find