This week demonstrated that an area that I really need to work on is time management. I produced over 6000 words in relation my research and found, when I came to write my final piece, that it was quite difficult to find and pick out the most relevant points. I spent a long time trying to cover every area of symbolism and semiotics within the enormous global brand, KFC; it might have been better for me to choose a smaller brand and focus more sharply. Having said this, I was fascinated to learn about the ways in which a large global brand diversifies its branding strategies within three countries – Japan, the UK and the USA. Japan is country that is very close to my heart as my brother and sister-in-law live in Tokyo and, on visits to see them, have enjoyed observing the contrast between Japan and the western cultures with which I am more familiar. The idea of KFC being such a prominent part of the modern Japanese culture was a bit shocking to me to start with, but after I started researching why, I found the concept of creating Christmas very inventive and original. I think it was very clever for KFC to identify a gap in the market and decide to fill it (even though this involved an element of untruth). It also made me realize the power that branding, and marketing can have on a whole nation – even one that is removed from the originating country. To completely change a country’s tradition and convince then that only thing to do over the holiday weekend was to eat fried chicken is incredible. The nature of the symbolism – as centered around the famous figure of Colonel Sanders – used in Japan to generate a short period of very high sales, contrasts with the simple and nostalgic packaging re-design in western countries (with some notable differences between the UK and US), aimed at generating ever increasing year-round commercial success.
I really enjoyed this week’s research although I think I have learnt a valuable lesson: I need to make sure that I don’t go off track or write too much the next time I have a research topic, and I need to focus more on the key points so that it will be easier to distil my research into a 500 word final piece.