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 St. Valentine's Day - More than dates and roses St. Valentine's Day - More than dates and roses
by Prof. Michael R. Czinkota
2018-02-14 09:51:15
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For centuries St. Valentine has been the patron of love and lovers, providing individuals with the nudge to move a relationship forward. International shipments of red roses have enriched the economies of Colombia, Ecuador and Kenya by hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the time to revisit Valentine’s Day as to its meaning and make plans to restructure its impact.

valernt01_400Valentine’s Day has already undergone significant expansion. Its celebration has grown from a small parish to half of the globe. It has become, in some of the wealthier countries, an important gift giving occasion. Gifts have become differentiated by gender. Men consistently give more than women, perhaps because they wish for a foundation, while many women see decoration. The typical gifts are jewelry, roses or dinner. As reported by the National Retail Federation of America, more than $ 810 million worth of Valentines gifts are given to pets.

The timing of Valentine’s Day has expanded as well. In Korea and Japan, romantic gifts are given on March 14, one month later than in the USA. The product pallet has become more diverse: for example in Denmark, instead of roses, one exchanges pressed white flowers. In the Philippines, on February 14 small events are increasingly supplanted by large ceremonies and mass weddings. Italians, instead of smelling the roses, listen to the reading of poetry and eat chocolate hazelnut kisses also known as Baci. In South Africa the name of a beloved one is written on one’s shirt sleeves.

Some governments consider the Day as unreligious and ban its celebration. By contrast, increasingly, on Valentine’s Day one does not just recognize the one you love, but also family and friends. The Pope in Rome has been known to carry flowers with him on that special day.

In sum, Valentine’s Day has taken on a wider mission, diversified its outreach, and introduced more flexibility in terms of timing, product, message, and interaction with more people. Most importantly, it has propagated quite successfully the message of interaction, proximity, hugs and love.

As next step should encourage this expansion and integrate it more with our lives as business people, policy makers or consumers. Here are some suggestions how Valentine’s Day as a widening construct can serve to incorporate present day realities and future day’s outlook. To nudge things along, recommendations are included for appropriate commemorative gifts. 

For North Korea – a big cake with many candles as an “appreciate it” message for not blowing up nuclear devices;

For the U.S. Congress: A “like” card for constituents to send to their ow representative; to be accompanied by a ‘’you can do better’’ card for the rest of the institution;

For the global trade community: A “tough love” card which allocates specific responsibilities for tasks to be changed and performed, accompanied by jovial if not hearty messages indicating that “we understand”;

For Prime Minister May some non-tear tissues – to dry the eyes - we won’t break away;

For people both domestic and foreign who were struck by natural disasters or poverty: a red envelope with a check inside.

For tax payers no plastic but a paper bag: Their reductions are more than crumbs

For corporations a colorful map showing new investment opportunities with large benefits;

To the Twitter company: Some tightly packed characters showing concern

For media: some loose highly emotional news stories showing respect…

To the world at large: Messages and hugs represent how different cultures take different approaches to love: To get there, a relationship has to come first. Joint efforts will help.

To my own small world: Humongous love to wife Ilona and daughter Margaret. Your gift: Anything you want.

TO ALL:   Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

 

Michael R. Czinkota teaches international business and trade at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and the University of Kent, U.K. His key book (with Ilkka Ronkainen) is “International Marketing” (10th edition, CENGAGE)


     
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