DC’s National Cherry Blossom Festival pays tribute to Japan

This year, Cherry Blossom Festival organizers have partnered with charities to create giving opportunities for participants interested in offering support to disaster victims in Japan.
Before the two-week National Cherry Blossom Festival opens Saturday, organizers held a fundraising walk and vigil Thursday evening among the trees for victims of Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami. An estimated 18,000 people have been killed in the disaster.

The flowering trees that symbolize friendship between the United States and Japan are blooming for the 99th time in Washington in the wake of one of the world’s worst natural disasters.

Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki told the crowd that his country needs help.

“Everything started on what I call 3/11 — earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident — and we are still struggling,” he said. “This is a very tough fight, but the consolation is people around the world are trying to be with us.” Fujisaki said the U.S. sent one of the first rescue teams and military support.

“Really, we need your assistance, and you’re giving that to us,” he said. After a gathering and moment of silence, the ambassador joined a crowd in walking to the cherry blossom trees along the Tidal Basin, holding glow sticks. Donation bins lined the sidewalk to benefit American Red Cross relief efforts.
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Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District of Columbia in Congress, said the cherry blossoms will be a reminder of Japan’s resiliency. She said the Washington festival also will rally support.

“This year, the cherry blossoms will remind the world to stand for Japan,” Norton said. “It’s important that we’re taking time to reflect,” said festival director Diana Mayhew. The celebration is a symbol of spring each year and now of the rebirth and rebuilding for Japan, she said.

“Our relationship with Japan is at the heart,” she said. Fujisaki told The Associated Press he is grateful for such support from U.S. residents, though he declined to ask for further donations. It’s too soon to know how Japan will pay to rebuild the country as the government is still focused on search and rescue, basic human needs and its nuclear reactors, he said.

“I am very grateful that American people are voluntarily extending their hands,” Fujisaki said. “This is really an impressive show of goodwill.”

Price Competition

Non-price competition is where true marketing professionals earn their money.

The quality of the product, its unique selling proposition whether it is the quality of the product or the reliability of service when conveyed simply and with a compelling pitch can set a product apart from its competition.

Some automobiles are marketed using non-price competition. BMW and Mercedes are virtually the same price. These two compete globally by highlighting style, luxury engineering and features. They rarely compete on price or specials, as these tactics would lessen the premium perception of the products.

Price competitive products sell products that often cannot be differentiated. Some examples of products in pure price competition markets may include agriculture products, fish, and beef. I think however even this generalization is changing…you pay more for a Chiquita banana, a Dole pineapple, Washington State apple…why? because marketers have tried to add value to these products using brand differentiation.
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One example where both strategies are used to gain an advantage and where the non-price strategy can dominate is the diamond industry. I am working with the Diamond Trade Commission this year and it has been truly interesting.

Although the DTC can control diamond prices because they can control the amount of raw stones supplied each year and the firms that receive the stones, DTC is constantly looking for ways to add value to different grades of stones. Of course clarity and color will always have an affect on price, marketing is becoming the real determining factor.

This season previously less desireable “brown” stones have been repositioned as fashionable. New patented cuts making the stones more brilliant are commanding higher prices. One cut featured on “Sex in the City” pushed the patented new cut and it increased sales signifiantly. In conclusion although diamond prices are controlled by supply and grade they can also be marketed using non-price strategies.