Capitalizing On Patriotism
For good or bad, patriotism is a force to be reckoned with. It has propelled once failed nations such as Japan and China to worldwide prominence. Businesspeople frequently use patriotism to sell their products. You can also use patriotism to your advantage.
There Is Something About Patriotism That Stirs The Emotions
I have lived extended periods of time in both the Philippines and Australia and I can say that there is a strong trait of patriotism that exists in both countries. In both countries, I regularly see people proudly wearing clothes that resemble the flags of their country.
But I do not have to just depend on these two countries, all the proof I needed to prove that patriotism is a major force in many people’s lives is by watching television, especially the news. I see for example the Americans who prominently display the flag of America in the backgrounds of their pictures and videos.
If you regularly watch American television shows in fact, I can almost guarantee that you would see at least one American flag in the background. I may be wrong, but I think Americans are one of the most patriotic people in the world.
Patriotism Begins Early:
But why this behavior from the Americans and from people of other countries who are similarly patriotic? This is because for better or for worse, people are trained from an early age to like their culture which of course includes the country they were born in.
People are trained to love the places they were born in. This includes the food, manner of clothing, the tourist attractions, festivals, entertainment and so on despited the fact that there could be better ones out there.
And training people to love their culture works in a big way. People are attached to their childhood memories. These childhood memories are associated with the places and things a person grew up in. You might say that a person measures his identity to his childhood experiences.
Patriotism Is Attached To Identity:
And this is why patriotism stirs the emotions. Patriotism is attached to a person’s identity. It is even helpful if the culture and childhood experiences a person grows up in is a memorable one.
If there was a global sporting event where the participants are the players of each nation, it would be almost assumed that the people watching the event would root for their nation’s sports team.
This is not because their nation’s sports team is the best, but because these sports players came from their own home nation. It would even mostly be considered a betrayal if a person roots for a team that is not their own country.
The same goes for global beauty pageants like Miss Universe. Each nation has their standards for beauty and would assuredly root for their own country’s beauty contestant candidate.
Can We Profit From These Emotions?:
The simple answer to this questions is: ‘Yes we can.’ There are enough examples already out there that proves this. In America for example, there are a lot of sales of American flag themed merchandise like miniature flags, clothes, hat, costumes and so on.
In America at least, the sales of American flag as well as its associated merchandise surge whenever there is a historical event that happens. This could either be just for simple Independence Day celebrations.
But this could also be for other celebrations both joyous and grim. We see sales in American flag merchandise in joyous times like during the beginning of the term of a new American president or it could be grim occasions like a terrorist attacks which cause American deaths.
But this pattern is not unique to America only, this same pattern also happens in other countries. When a country’s national sports team for example wins over a rival nation, we see a surge in flag sales, or again during the beginning of the term of a new president.
Beyond Flags and Their Related Merchandise
Although the purchase of your country’s flag or its related merchandise is the most visual form of patriotism, it goes further and could lead to million dollar profits. I remember seeing campaigns both in Australia and the Philippines reminding people to buy local products over imported ones.
Having lived in Australia, I know that many Australians especially young people love to go to other countries for vacations. Many Australians go to such Asian countries like Thailand to enjoy the country’s beaches.
For a person like me, this is a paradox. Australia has the best beaches in the world and they are world famous, but many Australians instead go to other countries to enjoy that country’s beach which may or may not be as good as Australian beaches.
There could be a lot of reasons why these Australians behave this way, maybe they just want to see the people and culture of other countries or to just enjoy the cheaper price of goods in other countries they vacation in like food and accommodation.
The American Tourist and Tourism Industry:
It seems that there is nothing wrong with the way these Australians behave. However, I can compare these Australians to Americans. According to statistics, most Americans have never been outside their country for a vacation.
Americans tended to spend their vacations in their own country. Many Americans are so proud of their country that they think that their country is the best in everything including tourist sites. They may be right or wrong in their thinking that they are the best in tourist destinations, but this is beside the point.
It is rather important here to note that tourism is a major money earner for America accounting to several billions of dollars. The American Tourism Industry is in fact the largest in the world and this is because of the many Americans who choose America over other tourist destinations.
Comparing American Tourists To Chinese Tourists:
It is a well known fact that Chinese tourists account for a large part of tourism dollars in any country. The Chinese people who are enjoying their new found prosperity have become one of the most pampered groups of tourists in any country.
But there is a paradox in this as well. America has almost a population of 330 million as compared to China’s population of almost 1.4 billion. This is a paradox because despite the overwhelming numbers of the Chinese, America remains the number one tourism industry.
Imagine if the Chinese would behave the same way as American tourists and visit overwhelmingly their own country’s tourism destination. This means that China can beat America’s tourism industry using sheer numbers alone.
This could be the same thing for countries with huge populations. The people in these countries could be tourists in their own countries. The money they spend would go to their local economies instead of going to the pockets of other countries.
This is the reason why a country’s tourism agency should concentrate on making their own people tourists in their own country. Besides tourism, a country can also strongly promote their own products to their own people.
The Jollibee Example
McDonalds is the world’s largest fast-food restaurant chain and is one of the best known brand names. The company has more than 39,000 locations in about 100 countries worldwide. If you were trying to compete with McDonalds, your task might seem impossible.
But in the country of the Philippines, McDonalds have a competitor that not only bested it on the Philippine market, but is ambitious enough to challenge it on its home turf which is America.
The name of this competitor fast-food restaurant chain is Jollibee and it is owned by Filipino businesspeople. But let’s be honest at the onset, this competitor to McDonalds borrowed a lot of the techniques and business practices of McDonalds and gave them a local twist.
For example, their food staples are similar to the food staples of McDonalds. But they have given their food staples a unique twist in that they added local ingredients to appeal to the tastes of the Filipinos.
Where once they played catch up to McDonalds, they are now the leading fast-food restaurant chain in the Philippines. And as I have told you before, they have expanded into other countries including the home turf of McDonalds which is America.
But besides the initiatives of the owners and managers of Jollibee, many of the business experts who followed and studied the rise of the company attributed another factor to the rise of the company.
According to the business experts, patriotism was one of the deciding factors why Jollibee won over the fast-food restaurant wars with McDonalds in the Philippines. To many Filipinos, deciding between Jollibee and McDonalds was a simple thing. It would be first Jollibee.
I’m not saying all these thing because I’m promoting Jollibee or is partial to them, I’m saying all these thing about Jollibee because they are a company that other companies around the world can emulate if ever they wanted to compete with McDonalds on a local basis.
None other than the late Anthony Bourdain who is a world famous chef and television presenter endorsed this company and their products. Over the years, even some lifestyle channels in America featured this Filipino company who have also established themselves in America.
The Japanese Example
One of the most patriotic country in the world is Japan. While American apps, software, social media platforms and other technological products have dominated the world, the Japanese have managed to make a lot of their technological products homegrown.
While American made and owned social media apps dominate the world, the Japanese are more loyal to their own Japanese made and owned messaging app for example which is called Line.
Besides social media technology, the Japanese also have a very active video game market. I still see arcade video games made in Japan being sold in other countries with the Japanese words in them and not English, which is the popular norm today.
And let us not forget Anime and Manga which is a trademark of the country of Japan. Instead of making the language and illustrations of these type of entertainment very western, the Japanese have deliberately made it very Japanese.
The reason for this is simple. The Anime and Manga market in Japan is huge enough to support the industry. There are many Japanese who love collecting Anime and Manga and other merchandise related to both.
Imagine if your country invented a form of entertainment similar to Japanese Anime and Manga which is being duplicated and copied all over the world? Imagine if your country invented an illustration and storytelling style which is very unique to one’s country?
This would enable you to have a loyal fanbase of customers who would strongly support your company. The Americans have been doing this for a long time already in their entertainment industry.
American english, American songs, American settings and so on, Americans through the years have managed to make their culture a brand on its own. Of course, they have the help of patriotic Americans who keep supporting them through thick and thin.
There are people and companies who even at the onset decide to go after the global market even before establishing a foothold on the local market. They don’t realize that maybe all they need is the local market to have a thriving business.
Besides the very visual flag of a country and its associated products, there are still many things a country’s government and businesses can do to capitalize on the patriotism of people in their country. Patriotism begins at an early age and governments and business should realize this.
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