Mobile phones are now one of the necessary communication tools for everyone. With the rapid development of information technology in recent years, the functions of mobile phones have evolved from simple call devices and short message devices to photography, photography, video, music, download, Bluetooth, business, GPS and other functions. Moreover, many people’s consumption of mobile phones is no longer limited to their function and quality, but the consumer mobile phone brand. Since Apple introduced a mobile phone with a variety of new media technologies in 2007 to the world, it has created a “iPhone heat” in the world. Followed by its entry in China in 2009, it has spread this kind of fever to the whole country. This essay will analyze the iPhone as a cultural product from the perspective of Chinese users. Telecommunications operators in China are competing for the iPhone resource marketing battle has been heated up. The new iPhone’s listing has received high attention, but also emerged overnight lining up to purchase. This article intends to analyze the cultural significance and segmentation effects of the fashion symbols represented by the iPhone product, the fashion industry built by the brand, and the hegemony of the product.
In the context of consumer culture, anything can become a cultural symbol, beauty, idol, and the human body. As the most fashionable goods in the society, mobile phones have also undergone a process of transition from use value to symbolic value. The ‘truth’ of contemporary goods no longer lies in its use, but in its use as a cultural symbol (Misra et al. 282). People prefer to choose expensive and artistically featured iPhone instead of the choice of low-cost, full-featured mobile phone is because of this. The consumption of iPhone is not limited to its own use value, but as a cultural symbol with special consumption meaning. In other words, the symbolic meaning of the iPhone as a culture is more important than its significance as a functional value. What it symbolizes is the symbolic meaning of buyer’s taste, style, and artistic sense. The smooth shell design, smooth full-touch no keyboard control, plus high-tech support applications, they are the synthesis of beauty and technology. The texture of the material color is very demanding attention, and the lines are also more modernized. This is the crystallization of taste and trend which makes the iPhone become the identity symbol. The iPhone’s expensive price also makes it inevitable that it will only become part of a population’s exclusive identity symbol.
The formation of “iPhone heat” is still a self-centered proof for the fans. The main purpose of the consumption of trend symbols is self-improvement, self-realization, transcendence of individual needs, and imitation or follow-up of individuals due to personalization, desire for self-expansion, and psychological factors such as surpassing the feeling of inferiority (Campbell, et al. 1195). The space of self-centered desire is greatly satisfied. The formation of “iPhone heat” is a manifestation of the individual’s desire for a sense of belonging. If you don’t know what the iPhone is, then you can’t communicate with others and you’ll be left out of the conversation. Some people want to gain recognition from others and want to integrate into a group. They use the behavior of buying iPhone to show their synchronization with fashion, and agree with the concept of group. In the final analysis, chasing fashion and unique taste is a manifestation of individualization. At the same time, it is also a reflection of seeking a sense of spiritual attachment in order to obtain the recognition of others. The two have become a reasonable contradiction. The way to get culture depends on the way of using culture, and the use of culture is engraved in the way of consumer culture. Consumers use cultural symbols to separate things. At the same time, cultural symbols also separate consumers. The division of social class and the differentiation of aesthetic taste brought about by the iPhone make its symbolic culture.
Following fashion trends is a short-term cultural phenomenon. When a product has been used by most people, it is no longer mainly associated with fashion. In other words, regarding the trend, it should be based on the participation of a few people. However, since the iPhone entered the Chinese market in 2009, the “iPhone fever” has not seen the signs of cooling, but it has intensified. Some people interpret it as Apple’s constant upgrading of the iPhone series. The sense of innovation, smart-portability, and “hungry marketing strategy” are constantly being instilled in it. This makes sense. Since the iPhone entered the Chinese market, it has updated four generations of products in less than two years. This speed is extremely competitive in the digital industry. Obviously, a company’s production efficiency is inseparable from its corporate culture, and a good corporate culture atmosphere will in turn create a trustworthy team and strengthen its brand effect (The Economist 55). Apple has constantly instilled in its employees the idea that Apple is not a product but a dream. This unique mode of operation, contributes to Apple and its products’ innovative, mysterious, free and arbitrary but slightly paranoid, maverick personality. Consumers see Apple as a personalized product. This idea coincides with the current young people’s emphasis on privacy and dreams.
The essence of the brand is the application of rights. The success of the iPhone in China is also largely due to the effectiveness of the brand. In short, the success of the iPhone in China should be said to be the result of a combination of factors, including the cultural significance of the fashion symbols represented by the product and the resulting segmentation effects. There is also the cultural significance of the consumer’s own activities in consumer behavior. On the one hand, the entry of the iPhone and other foreign products brings together foreign values and lifestyles. China is also showing an open attitude in this wave of globalization. People are satisfied with their own modernization of cultural technology. On the other hand, we also see that this kind of consumption is also a potential form of cultural hegemony. This hidden and powerful cultural hegemony under the coordination of the consumer culture, coupled with public education through mass media, etc. It has imperceptibly affected the general public.
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