Mao and his influence

Everybody knows who Mao ZeDong is, even Andy Warhol. Warhol’s print with Mao reveals the amount of importance and fame of Chinese Communist leader. Though this print is censored in China, it shouldn’t be! I think to believe that this print by Andy Warhol reveals a lot about Mao ZeDong’s success as a leader for China and its fame and how it has spread to the eyes and minds of pop culture as well. It is interesting to analyze pop culture and the different icons that appear in Andy Warhol’s painting because Warhol does not simply choose a random icon to print. Knowing his Andy Warhol’s print could cost up to 100 million dollars, there must be a sense of value in his work and the icons he has chosen. Therefore, Mao is definitely a leader that is crucial to the Chinese, though had dispute with other countries, an icon is an icon.

Mao Ze Dong is the political reformists that altered China into a Communist state. Under his leadership, he is able to lead the people of China through trial and tribulations. Without touching into politics, Mao definitely is a leader that the people of China looked up to and loved. His ability to control China, with China’s great population, he is able to spread his teachings of communism throughout. Having been to China last summer, I realized that the people of China worshipped him and his success and time as leader. Therefore, this reveals about leadership and there are numerous types of leadership. With the history background of liberalism, conservatism, socialism, communism, all types of political views and authority are respected. Therefore, it is interesting to understand that each country has different cultures, therefore leadership ways are different as well. Comparing leaders in China to America, it reveals that leadership differs in different cultures.

Mao’s leadership in China definitely was influential because it has lead China to a great place until today. China being almost one of the top leading and advanced countries of the world, Mao was definitely the leader that made that happen. This reveals that leaders all have different leadership perspectives, that is why there are opposing leaders. However, you can determine a good leader from a bad one, by looking at the people and the reaction of the people. Therefore, with Andy Warhol’s painting, it shows that mao’s leadership has been spread to pop culture, therefore stating his importance to history of not just politics, but also art. It is interesting to analyze leadership by digging deeper into our lives and how leadership affects us in unexpected ways, even in pop culture.

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Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People” Analysis

There is always a different interpretation when you have a different factor in mind. When I was thinking of leadership related issues, it never occurred to me that through the interpretation of famous art, the history and the leadership qualities of leaders are depicted. I’m not much of an art historian, however, it is hard to not know the painting by Eugene Delacroix called “Liberty Leading the People.” It is painted in the 1830s with the art movement of Romanticism. The painting is a depiction of the French Revolution and the overcoming success of the French Government by the people. This painting was painted as a Revolution propaganda poster that intended to show the determination and victory of the fighters against the government, and it included people from different working classes. This painting intends to inspire the idea of hope and leadership of the people that fought in the French Revolution.

In the painting, the Parisians are fighting with the woman leading them with the French flag. The woman is the allegorical representation of Liberty. The Parisians in this picture is lead by the concept of a leader, the leader to liberty. With it depicted as a woman with her clothes ripped, it showed that their road to liberty is a tough one. The dead soldiers and people that the woman is stepping on, shows their overcoming of obstacles. Those that died in the fight also paved their way to their victory. The concept of leadership is reflected through the hierarchy of this painting. The people, the child with the gun, the worker, the man in the top hat all followed the Liberty (woman). No matter what working class, people all followed the leader. Though in history, the people were lead by idea of freedom, and this concept is transferred into a physical being. Therefore, it shows that people need a leader to lead them, but also the same purpose. It is the concept of freedom that lead the people, and this concept can also serve as a leader because it brought out the leadership qualities in each individuals. The child with the gun is depicted as strong and powerful, standing by liberty, a child is just as important as the man in the top hat. I think that each person painted in painting all shows the sense of leadership, their determination and power. The man in the top hat, holding the rifle with a serious face. Therefore, this picture reveals more than just the victory of the people because it revealed the leadership qualities and concepts.

It is very interesting to decode this picture when having the concept of “leadership” in mind. There is a pyramidal organization of this painting with liberty woman at the top and the rest below her. This pyramid organization reveals more like an hierarchy, but an hierarchy that shows that people follow a leader at top. At the same time, the leader in this painting is a woman representing liberty, as a result, it shows that the people were all equal. They followed a concept and the people were all part of this battle for liberty. This brings me to the concept that a great leader is one that does not put them in front of others, but a part of them. I think this painting is very interesting because it unravels a lot of concepts of leadership. Though it is not direct, however, it infers to the concept of leadership that dates back in history of the French Revolution.

This painting is also very interesting because Delacroix stated that he painted this painting because if he couldn’t fight with the others in the actual war, his duty was to fight with his painting. His concept suggests the  concept of leadership and that everyone should act as a part of the battle and everybody’s input is just as important and effective. His painting is a painting that represents more than 1000 words, but the concepts that cannot be described with words but only felt.
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Animation Movies and Leadership

There is a reason why children are encouraged to watch animation movies. Pixar, disney movies all have something in common, and it is the moral lessons and messages it spreads. As a movie that is given to children to watch and frenzy over, it must be carefully thought and planned as an educational lesson. Since children absorb the things that see and feel like a sponge, it is definitely a careful task when you give a children a movie to watch or a book to read. The movie/book must be carefully designed to fit to the children’s learning and inspires in a positive way. We cannot give a small child a movie of the realities of life where there are random killings of young teenagers if they don’t come home early because it can affect their sense of security and confidence. As a result, animation movies have child-driven plots that intends to inspire, teach and guide children in the right direction of positivity and leadership skills. Since most animation movies has the basic protagonist and antagonist, it teaches children the dichotomy in life, where you can either be good, or bad. This choice is clearly distinguished with the portrayal of characters in animation movies, therefore it doesn’t confuse children about the qualities they should look up to. From the movies that I have most in-depth analysis of is Toy Story.

The Triology of Toy Story reflect the important lessons in life in simplified and truncated version that fits people of all ages. Toy Story is one of those movies that children and adults both enjoy because the lessons that the toy story faces are those that all people can learn from. It is the depiction of the simplified real life problems in a form of animation. I think that society has different ways of teaching people leadership qualities. Through education, books, media, news all has different ways to impact the thinking of people of what is a good leader, and what is not a good leader, similar to the idea of the protagonist and the antagonist. Media has its ways to mold peoples thinkings, and animation is that small part that molds the minds of children. Therefore, when children grows up from watching animation movies, they will learn and understand the basic qualities of a good person/good leader and the bad person/bad leader. The society is structured in a way that utilizes media to spread its teachings, with animation movies, it teaches and influences a big mass of people of the qualities.

Toy story has numerous examples of what exemplifies a good leader. Though Woody is not a space character with powers, he is just a typical cowboy, he can be just as great a leader without the powers. It reveals the ordinary are extraordinary as well. It is very interesting to analyze the movie because every scene reveals the leadership qualities of Woody. With his ability to convince a group of toys reveals his persuasion and confidence as a leader. His ultimate goal of “getting back to Andy” shows his determination for a goal. His jealousy towards Buzz reveals that Woody is just an ordinary toy, he is not perfect and he does not always resemble the perfect leader. His ability to convince other toys to input their strengths to fight their way back to Andy shows that a leader knows how to guide his team, and use everybody’s strengths as a part of their goal. Woody organizes regular meetings with the rest of the toys to make sure that everybody is on the same page. All of the plot within Toy Story reveals the qualities of a leader, and it teaches children to understand the basics of leadership.

Toy Story is so influential to children today because it is a story that strengthens the thinking of children. It intends to reveal and inspire the leadership qualities in each individual. Every toy in the movie has a strong quality and speciality. Therefore, it strongly suggests that the individual qualities are crucial in a team. A good team is when everyone knows their input as a whole, and is able to communicate with each other. I think Woody and Buzz also reveals the consensus of both being leaders. The fact that they get along and became great friends, it shows that there can be more than 1 leader.  Everybody can be a leader and work together, as long as they have the same goals. I think this heartwarming movie really is a great influence to children and to adults as well. It constantly reminds me of the important qualities that we should have on a daily basis, and these basic leadership qualities can be applied to our daily lives. If someone is not a leader, it doesn’t mean they are a follower. I don’t think that there is a fine line that distinguishes one to the other. This movie definitely teaches us more than we know, though it is an animation movie. Never underestimate the power of animation movies, because those that are least unexpected, are the most influential.

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Too Much Choices is Not Exactly a Good Thing

If I was a girl, I would go crazy if I saw Forever 21. Not in a good way. I think that store really did not take into consideration the consumer behavior that choices should be limited. There is a reason why some clothes brands have selected styles for different seasons and only the current season clothing’s are on the racks in the stores. There is a reason why a specific style of t-shirts are only sold in a few colors. There is also a reason why some restaurants have a limited menu for that month or season. There is a reason to everything.

People like choices. This is a known fact. We like customization of mass produced products. We like to buy iPod in our favorite color. We like to purchase our converse in red. We like choices because it gives us the ability to show our individual identity. However, it is human nature that too much freedom is not necessarily a good thing. It sounds contradictory. People always wanted freedom to choice, speech, etc, however it is true that when we have too much freedom, things happen. Lets say, people’s freedom of speech causes riots, boycotts. There are numerous things that could go wrong with too much freedom and choice. Bringing this theory into application of consumer behavior, I could extract that consumer behavior is also heavily impacted by the excess of freedom.

Forever 21 is the most popular retail store for teenagers today that carries the newest styles for a reasonable price. Since their clothing are priced at an affordable range, their customers are always never-ending. However, there is one thing that I don’t like about that store and it is the fact that it is so packed with clothes. I walked into the store in New York City with my girlfriend and we both stood there gazing at the rushing crowds of girls. It is absolute chaotic in that store and I have never felt the space so compacted with people. Though I know girls love that store because there are so many varieties and styles that you can choose from but the choices are infinite! My girlfriend could not lay her eyes on any specific piece of clothing because there were too many choices. This inspired me to write this post on how choices affect consumer behavior and by examining her consumer behavior, it brought out a really interesting point.

There are too many choices that it causes consumers to be extremely confused. Consumers have troubles picking out what they like because there are too many choices and maybe those choices are rather similar, making decisions very difficult. I think one of the individual qualities also affect consumer behavior as well. To a person who can’t make a decision, forever 21 would be the worst place to shop at. Unlike shopping at a place with limited styles and changes every season, it is perfect for those consumers that like the limited choices. Consumer behavior is strongly affected by first impression and I think I stressed this fact numerous times in my posts. I think consumer’s first impression on the clothes unconsciously gives them the decision whether they like it or not. If the forever 21 store does not have a main focus in the store, consumers have troubles with first impressions and might just leave without any purchases. When i say main focus, i mean more like a concentration. Like a painting for example, if a painting does not have a main concentration of character that grabs the viewers attention, then the painting failed to engage the viewers within the few seconds they have layer their eyes on it. I think this goes the same for stores. Forever 21 does not have a main focus when I walk in. There are just piles of clothes and different styles of clothes lying everywhere. I think consumers constantly feel the need to know where to start, and forever 21 really doesn’t consider much about the flow of the store. The flow of the store affects consumer behavior as well because it takes the consumers through an intended path that lets them see all the choices of the store. However, forever 21 and its infinite choices really creates the ultimate confusion to people, especially me. I think forever 21 is a popular retail store today so they should put into more consideration the consumer behavior and how their store really does not take into account of that matter.

Customer Service does matter!

Customer service does make a difference in consumer behavior and this is a known fact. We don’t realize how easily we are affected by others and our impression on them and its affect on our behavior. There are various experiences I have with customer service that’s why I have came with the conclusion that my consumer behavior is heavily impacted on my experiences with the customer service. There are various types of customer service you could experience, and one of the worst customer service experience I had was actually in a restaurant in Lafayette. There is a restaurant in Lafayette called Bluefin Bistro. It is considered one of the proper, high-end restaurants downtown in Lafayette. Since it is a somewhat high-end restaurant, you would expect good customer service compared to the other restaurants on campus. However, I was wrong and that my experience led me to never walk into that restaurant again.

Every time I go there, the waiter/waitress always have a rather bad attitude. When you walk in, they would let you wait in the front desk to be seated for a long time while the waiters chat on the side. When they reluctantly led us to the table, they would ask what we wanted to drink. Last time i was there, the waitress accidentally spilled my water while handing to my friend her water. Usually, that would alright, knowing that these things happen. However, the waitress did not say anything at all, not even a simple apology. She simply left without a word. I had to use all the napkin on the table to wipe off the water on my clothes and shoes. I was drenched and she came after a while handing me a dirty towel she wiped the water on the floor with and expects me to wipe it on my clothes. It was ridiculous. I am not typically the rude customer, however, I believed an apology was somewhat respectful. The rest of the meal was unenjoyable mainly because I was looking if the waitress would say, or do anything but she didn’t. She simply acted as if she didn’t do anything and carried on with her conservation with the other waitress in the back. It is important that manager of restaurants or stores know that the people they choose to work there as customer service are the ultimate impression they give the customers. Customers are first in contact with the people there working in the store, eventually, these customers will react to the store according to the impression they get from the people working there.

The experience of when  you walk into a store and see a friendly lady asking if you to find anything, is definitely better than walking into a store where a mean looking lady stares at you wherever you go. These impressions we get unconsciously affect our decisions whether to come back to this store or not. If we always had a good experience with the customer service, then it is most likely that we will be back again. I was in Saks Fifth Avenue, a retail store in Chicago and the customer service there the absolute best. They are usually mid-aged women who are extremely friendly and they do not give the customers any feeling of pressure. Some stores, the customer service continuously ask the customers what they are looking for, the new products, etc. as a sign of friendliness, however sometimes this overly friendly becomes bothering the customers. I hate it when I walk into the store and the server continuously follows behind me and watches what I’m looking for. That type of pressure that the people give off makes me not want to go back to that store again.

The customer service at Saks Fifth Avenue is simply the best you could ever have. They are extremely nice and they do not follow you or give you too much advice that it makes it seem like they are advertising their products. They are there when you need and once in a while, they would come over and ask if we are finding everything alright. From my experiences, I really think that customer service affects consumer behavior because consumers only buy from places that they feel comfortable. You would feel held back to buy clothes from a store where the customer service is absolutely horrible. As a result, from the retail management point of view, I really think it is important that retail stores focus a lot on training their customer service because serving people is actually not an easy task. You have to hold back your personal feelings or thoughts and keep on a friendly smile. Your patience has to be absolutely good while facing difficult customers. It is not as easy as it seems but customer service does mean a lot!

What’s Your Favorite Color?

I never really had a favorite color so this post is going to be my curiosity on people’s favorite colors. I have a friend who loves purple, when I say purple, it could mean any shade of purple, they love it all. I never had this feeling towards any specific color because I usually go for a simple shade of grey or black when it comse to clothing or accessories etc. However, there are people who really have a specific color they like and that color could really mess with their consumer behavior when buying products. So that “purple craze” friend of mine would buy anything that is purple, even things that she doesn’t usually use or want when it isn’t purple. Apparently, color heavily influence the possibility of a consumer buying a product in the color they like, or even the possibility of a consumer buying a product they didn’t want before but do now. My friend doesnt usually wear G-Shock watches, she has more of a conservative plain style. However, after seeing that this brand of watch came out with a purple one, she decided to buy it. I asked her, ” Do you like it because its purple? Or do you like it because of the watch itself?” She couldn’t answer me, she only smiled and purchased the watch. It is amazing to see how colors do affect consumer behavior in the most surprising way. I think color choices gives consumer the ability to have a deeper connection with a product. Lets say you are at Target and you see a vase. You might not have any feelings at all when you see it at first glance. However, if it is purple, the color you are crazy about, you would notice it, and take into deeper consideration whether to comment on it or even give it a second chance in buying it.

This is just my theory. However, I do strongly believe personal qualities and favorites do affect consumer behavior. This is one reason why I think when Apple came out with the mini ipods and ipod nanos, they used a set of colors that are most common to be peoples favorite color and made them unique. People were crazy about the ipods because you could get it in the color that you like! Customization is definitely an issue that is discussed all the time when it comes to customer behavior. As a result, I strongly think that during the process of a consumer viewing a product to buying a product, a lot of thinking in the mind is going on. Ever since the first impression at a glance to considering buying a product, a lot of thought processes and connections are made between the consumer and the product that enhances their possbility of purchasing it. Consumers behave in a certain manner, and i think if people could pick out the certain qualities of their thought process, one could really better understand consumer behavior.

Everybody loves IKEA

I love IKEA for many reasons and not just because of the Swedish meatballs that they serve in the food court. Ikea is one of the best furniture company that provides people with the neweset designs and innovations for furniture / interior designs. I went to IKEA this weekend to buy some furniture with some friends and I really felt compelled to write this post on IKEA. I think IKEA is very popular and well-known because the designers and marketing group really put into thought the affordability of their products. When consumers who want to buy designed products or furniture, they would expect to buy an unique designer bar stool for about $500-1000+. Designer products and furniture are definitely not affordable and reasonable to most people. Like they say, designed products and brand names are priced for the 1% of the population that can afford luxurious items. IKEA really targeted the population because they made sure their prices are within the affordable range of the 99% that is ignored.

IKEA gives the 99% of the population the ability to own designed furnitures and this really captured the loyalty of consumers to buy from IKEA. Consumers buy from companies they trust and knows what they want. I think a lot of brands or companies design for the people without asking the people what they really need. However, IKEA knows exactly what the consumer needs and would pay for. As a result, IKEA is properous today because of their strategy of solving the real problem that people have when purchasing furnitures. IKEA furniture also allows people to do-it-yourself, mainly because it would make transporting furniture a lot easier. If a table for example, is easily assembled, it means it could be easily disassembled. When a product is designed so that it bring convenience to the user, the product becomes functional at the utmost level. If a designer table that costs $1000 could not be disassembled and is heavy, it creates more problems for the users. As a result, IKEA really put into thought the idea of convenience for their consumers as well.

Another thing that IKEA really puts into consideration of their furnitures would be the choices. IKEA makes sure the consumers have their own choices, so their individual tastes does not get lost. IKEA keeps the design of the furnitures simple so customers can mix and match their furnitures. Their catalogue makes sure there are various styles in furnitures and interior designs so it covers the taste of most people. This idea of customization within a mass produced products shows the broadened range of customers that buys from IKEA. Everything in IKEA are designed to give customers the ability to customize and modify for own purposes. Similiar to the shelving unit I purchased at IKEA, it gives the ability to change it into any orientation ( vertical, horizontal, diagonal) that I want, I could also mix and match different colors etc. There are blogs online that discusses different possibilities one can change and modify their IKEA furniture. This shows that IKEA is really sucessful in designing for the people. Consumers knows when a company is aware of what they want, just like IKEA.