All Eyes East
Lessons from the Front Lines of Marketing to China's Youth
By Mary Bergstrom
(Palgrave Macmillan, Hardcover, 9780230120624, 256pp.)
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
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The allure of the world's fastest growing economy and largest population is undeniable; global companies crowd into the mainland in search of salvation to offset markets that have peaked or are in decline. China's youth population is composed of 500 million under the age of 30 and is poised to play a vital role in the global economy. Until now, no one has focused on this powerful group and the strategies that succeed with them.
Born under the one-child policy into a newly opened economy, Chinese youth are consumer pioneers almost by birthright. Backed by two parents and four grandparents, they are positioned to consume new cars, luxury products, and real estate much earlier than their foreign peers. It is youth's accumulation of power that will catapult China to become the number one consumer market across too many categories to list.
In All Eyes East, author Mary Bergstrom shares years of experience studying youth and helping companies understand and better target young audiences in China. She guides readers through the stories behind the headlines to reveal the unique way that Chinese youth look at themselves and the world. Along the way, she deciphers key issues such as the phenomenon of assigning new generations every ten years (or less), the meaning and manifestations of subcultures, and the new order that has emerged as a result of the country's dramatic gender imbalance.
At each step, Bergstrom marries insight to action; explaining how and why changes have occurred, what companies have done to successfully (or not) leverage trends, and what will happen next. By interviewing leaders of brands that have operated successfully in China for decades such as Pepsi, GM, Li Ning, McDonald's, Converse, JWT, and Interbrand, Bergstrom goes behind the scenes to deliver personal accounts of best practices and lessons earned. Interviews with China-focused academics and journalists help to round out a thought-provoking analysis of the world's most powerful consumers.
Mary Bergstrom is the founder of the Bergstrom Group, a consumer insights and trends consultancy that helps global brands understand and connect with Chinese consumers. She has been featured by media including NPR's Marketplace; The Associated Press; Ad Age; Marketwatch; and Women's Wear Daily. Bergstrom leads consumer studies and provides executive trainings for organizations including Omnicom, Bosch, the American Chamber of Commerce, and LVMH.
"All Eyes East is the first work I have seen that identifies the fundamental motivations of China's 'new generation.' Rather than lapse into cliche about spending power or growing individualism, she uncovers the tension between modern values and Chinese tradition that make this age cohort such a fascinating subject of exploration." - Tom Doctoroff, author of Billions and What Chinese Want
"There is much to understand about Chinese youth. It is a complex and ever changing audience that requires more than the occasional focus group or standard market research. Bergstrom goes on the road, looks into the cupboards, shops, and talks to Chinese youth in a way that cuts through the red tape and the standard Q&A. Hanging out with influencers, she uncovers what will be the next big thing years ahead of others. If you want to know about Chinese youth, start here." - Frederique Covington Corbett, Chief Marketing Officer, Microsoft, AsiaPac
"A lot has happened since the world unearthed China's 'Little Emperors.' In All Eyes East, Bergstrom reveals new ways to segment this 500 million deep army of young consumers, along the way showing us how brands are successful (or not). We need to get closer to this unique group of confident, creative youth; they may well be steering our world into the future. This is the China must-read book of 2012." - Ian Stewart, Asia Pacific Marketing Director for Converse
"Chinese youth are the audience of today AND tomorrow. Any brand that wishes to market to them should not miss this book." - Arlene Ang, CEO, Digital, Omnicom Media Group China
"Mary Bergstrom's book has by far provided one of the most fully grounded and highly inspirational analyses for China's 'Bird's Nest Generation.' Through her lens of the changing 'identity politics' in the spheres of nation, class, gender, and popular culture in contemporary China, Bergstrom will re-orient the global vision of a newly-rising superpower and proves a solid and distinctive insight for any serious scholar of integrative marketing." - Dr. Anbin Shi, Professor and Associate Dean, School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University, Beijing