消费者也接触到越来越多的国际化品牌。根据世界品牌实验室（World Brand Lab）的调查，很多消费者在购买决策前，除了看品牌，还看是哪个国家制造的。国别在消费者决策时有怎么样的作用？“中国制造”的商品和品牌，哪些种类还是值得信赖的？在执行病毒式营销时，是否要考虑品牌国籍和文化背景？《总裁》（MeetBoss）杂志专门就这些话题，访问了麻省理工学院斯隆管理学院营销系主任希南·艾瑞尔教授（Prof Sinan Aral）
Q1.Nowadays, Brand Management is very important to every company. You have continuously conducted in-depth study on social media and brand-related issues and always mentioned the term Social Contagion. This topic is relatively new and I believe many of us still have questions on it. Can you talk a little bit about Social Contagion, especially for brand? How will it affect the brand's establishment?
艾瑞尔: 那么，正如我将在发布会演讲中所描述的那样，上个世纪80年代是单一消息的时代，同样的电视广告给每一个人都播一遍； 20世纪90年代是分裂的时代，我们从18-24岁的游戏玩家中区分出足球老妈（中产阶级妇女，在美国选举中被视为强有力的利益团体，非常重视小孩休闲活动，亲自开车接送小孩参加运动、活动的母亲，又称为足球老妈），并以不同的方式与这个团体沟通； 21世纪开始后就是个性化时代，我们使用详细的数据将个性化消息定位到个人消费者；自2010年以来，我们一直处于网络消费者的时代，企业必须了解消费者之间的社会关系，以及他们如何影响和揭示彼此的偏好。如果您的公司业务仍然集中在分块阶段，那么您大概还活在三十年前。
A1: Well, as I will describe in my talk, the 1980’s was the era of the single message, the same TV ad made for everyone and broadcast to everyone; the 1990’s was the era of segmentation, when we differentiated soccer moms from 18-24-year-old gamers and communicated to these groups differently; the 2000’s was the era of personalization, when we used detailed data to target personalized messages to individual consumers; and since 2010 we have been in the era of the networked consumer, in which businesses must understand the social connections between consumers and how they affect and reveal each other’s preferences. If your business is still focused on segmentation, you are about three decades behind.
Q2. In this information age, various types of social media arise. And you have helped many social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter to achieve their economic value. In the process, information network seems to play a key role. And this remind us of information diffusion. To be more specific, how to use information and Internet to enhance the value of the company? Can you talk more about the things companies need to pay attention to when they do information diffusion?
A2：The key goal in managing information diffusion is to maximize brand value. The key tactic is to maximize the spread of positive information about the brand and to learn from and respond to the negative. Measuring and managing information diffusion can help companies achieve many-fold increases in the success of marketing campaigns, consumer demand, revenue and profit.
问题三：您一直认为不仅仅要Viral marketing，更重要的是Viral Product的设计。您也曾在论文中做过一个Viral Product设计的量化研究，发现这样的设计不仅具备高辨识度，带来更大的需求，同时能带来社会传染效应。能简要谈谈一般Viral Product 设计的特征，以及它将如何提升品牌的竞争力吗？
Q3. You always think that Viral marketing is not enough for marketing, what’s more important is the design of Viral Product. You have also done a quantitative study of Viral Product Design in one of your paper, and found that such design could not only generate high recognition, bring greater demand, but also bring Social Contagion effect. Can you briefly talk about the characteristics of the Viral Product Design, and how it will enhance the brand's competitiveness?
艾瑞尔: “病毒式产品设计（Viral Product Design）”是开发产品的过程，因此它们更有可能在人际网络中分享和讨论，无论是在Twitter、Snapchat、Facebook，还是在工作场所的饮水机旁。它强大的三个主要原因是：1）它是传播公司产品和服务最具成本效益的方式；2）它从受信任的朋友和同行那里创造了积极的口碑，这是一个比品牌本身更有效的信息传递渠道；3）它在社会中发挥社会乘数效应，并为每一个直接回应者创造需求溢出效应，这意味着它可以真正加速采用品牌意识。
A3： "Viral Product Design" is the process of developing products so they are more likely to be shared and talked about in human networks, whether on Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook or by the water cooler at work. Viral design is powerful for three main reasons: 1) it is one of the most cost effective ways of spreading the word about a company's products and services; 2) it creates positive word of mouth from trusted friends and peers which is a more effective messaging channel than advertisements from the brand itself; 3) it engages social multipliers in society and creates demand spillovers for every direct response adopter, meaning it can really accelerate adoption brand awareness.
Q4. What is the image of “Made in China” from a consumer point of view? There are lots of global brands and luxury goods thousands of years ago in China, such as silk, porcelain and so on. Foreigners regarded these as treasures in the great age of the Song and Tang Dynasty and their customer loyalty should be greater than today's Apple. According to your opinion, how long will it take for "Made in China" to restore and revive.
A4: I believe China has a dual image: there are brands and products that are revered the world over and industries in which it is seen in the west as being of lower quality. I think that in addition to luxury goods like silk and porcelain, the new group of Chinese internet services are leading the way with a very positive brand image.
问题五：据2016《财富》世界500强显示，中国上榜公司达110家；同年，世界品牌实验室(World Brand Lab)《世界品牌500强》研究报告，中国仅36家企业入选世界品牌500强。在你的周围，应该很少有人能说出10个中国品牌的名称。您认为，作为拥有14亿人口的大国和世界第二大经济体，中国品牌总体实力薄弱的原因是什么?
Q5. The 2016 Fortune Global 500 shows that 110 Chinese companies are in the list. At the same year, World Brand Lab shows that there are only 36 Chinese companies were selected into World Brand 500. Actually, few people could be able to say the names of 10 Chinese brands. As a huge country with a population of 1.4 billion and the world's second largest economy, why the overall strength of Chinese brands is so weak?
A5：I think you answered your own question. Chinese firms rely less on foreign trade to grow. There is such a large population and an increasing demand from Chinese domestic markets that Chinese brands have not needed to market themselves internationally as much as some of their competitors.
Q6. In the early developing days, the names of Chinese brands were generally based on the meaning of Chinese and then translated into English. Chinese and English are completely different two languages. Chinese emphasizes on pronunciation and pictograms, etc, which makes the translated brand names difficult for westerners to understand and memorize. The building and shaping of a brand must be based on a strong cultural precipitation. Consumers are willing to pay a higher price for this culture, but there are huge cultural differences between China and foreign countries. Do you think if there is any way to solve this puzzle?
A6：I think there are cultural differences, of varying degrees, between all countries. China has closer cultural proximity to other Asian countries, while the United States has a closer cultural affinity with Western Europe. I'm not sure whether there is a "solution" to this puzzle, but some companies are better at foreign branding than others. This is typically driven by their ability to assimilate culturally and their ability to work with foreign branding entities that can adapt their messaging to the local market.