Newsletter Archive - Production
A New World Version of Public Relations
01/05/2005 - While the last of the streamers from the New Year's celebration have been cleaned up and most of you have already packed away the Christmas decorations, we thought we would share with you one more story of holiday cheer from a place you might least expect it - China.
A few weeks ago an old buddy Lyle Wolf, who is now Chairman of Yilong Media, Yilong Media Group, a new Yellow Pages start-up with its headquarters in Hangzhou (just west of Shanghai in east central China) shared with me some of their efforts to bring Yellow Pages into the mainstream of Chinese thinking.
Lyle and his team came up with a very creative effort to introduce their new company to the area - a Christmas tree.
For those of you not familiar with the Yellow Pages industry in China, let's just say it's still a relatively new, but fast growing business. Yilong Media Group's mission is to provide modern Yellow Pages and related local advertising media products to Chinese businesses and consumers. Yilong's China Headquarters is in Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province and one of China's foremost tourist destinations.
Since Yellow Pages in this part of China are still a pretty new concept the staff came up with the idea of sponsoring Hangzhou's first city Christmas Tree. Celebrating Christmas (such as it is in a country where most religions are not readily embraced) has become a big deal there, for a range of reasons -- a reason to party, have a good time and for the stores sell more stuff.
The Yilong team found time was too short to get a huge tree so they came up with the idea to build a 60 ft. artificial one. They convinced the City to let them put it up in a big park by the Lake (across from Starbucks - yes, modern civilization is available in China) where it would be very visible. Of course there was one crisis after another, but the team pulled it off. They even got China's premier fine art university involved in the design and general contracting.
First they bought 350 artificial trees and tons of decorations. It then took five days to complete it. First a 7-story frame was built with steel pipe, and then the Yilong staff (60-70 people) assembled and decorated 350 trees. Each tree was taken up the structure and lashed to the pipe. Lights were installed and finally plants and landscaping.
The tree construction as well as the finished tree became a major media event in the area, covered by both newspapers and local TV. It has now become a big attraction for residents and tourists. The impact on Yilong's identity has been enormous.
One other tidbit of interest about the Chinese people - they like to get pictures with Americans. Lyle readily joined in to help decorate the trees and in the process became a real celebrity. He was constantly getting asked to pose for pictures. The reason why wasn't initially apparent to him until one of his people told him why -- here in the middle of China was a Caucasian with white (well, real its gray) hair, wearing a bright red company jacket decorating the Christmas tree. Apparently, they thought he was Santa Claus.
The new company has reaped a significant amount of publicity for this as upon the trees completion they had an official lighting ceremony and formally make the tree a gift to the city. Speeches were made by local officials, Lyle and Yilong President, Cindy Wu followed by a dinner hosted by the company for about 100 business leaders and area politicians. After dinner, the company unleashed new sales people on them.
So next time you're looking for a new way to get your company involved in the local community, turn to Santa Claus for help.
About Yilong Media Group:
Yilong Media Group's mission is to provide modern Yellow Pages and related local advertising media products to Chinese businesses and consumers. Yilong's China Headquarters is in Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province and one of China's foremost tourist destinations. Lyle can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yilong Media Group