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Subtopic 3: Find the Next Wave to Ride on – Green, Lean, and the New Social Machine David Lee The model I would like to introduce all of you is that… In the history of big ideas, some of the most powerful and lasting management methods were launched regardless of a tough economy and a lack of internal funding. The big ideas were launched because the companies realized there were changes coming in the way business was going to be conducted. Some prime examples were the following: in 1910, when the assembly line concept was conceived due to the soaring demand for Henry Ford’s Model T cars; in 1987, where Six Sigma was the standard process to increase quality due to large endorsements from Motorola and General Electric; and in 2000, where Procter & Gamble aimed to obtain half of its products through outside open innovation. (Mol 49) Today, the world we live in is an age with advanced technologies and new business processes coupled with a depressed economic environment seen only in the 1930’s. This current era is defined by fierce global market competition, fast information and communication exchange, increased business complexity, and a persistent growth in emerging markets. With all these expectations, comes the dramatic down turn of the economy. The pace of change has become so rapid that it takes a different type of business leader to be dominant in this new playing field. This business leader will have to analyze and adapt to the changing market trends and global issues to make sound business decisions that will ultimately impact profitability. I will discuss and demonstrate how businesses are changing past businesses models to adapt to the financial tsunami through eco-oriented ventures and social-network marketing. With the increased awareness of environmental issues such as global warming, recycling, energy conservation, and bio-fuels, it is difficult for businesses to ignore the importance of these issues. Many businesses are investing in “green technologies” for the sole purpose of bolstering their bottom line; yet in turn, the businesses are also preserving the environment. This action not only promotes business growth, but also heightens employee morale. A prime example of this trend is DuPont cutting its emissions and saving approximately $3 billion over the past decade by simply investing in cleaner technologies to make chemicals and textiles. Following suit, FedEx has also found a way to save money and ease the strain on the U.S. power grid by running its airport operations in Long Beach, California almost entirely on solar power. (Stark 1) The green trend is not only impacting the manufacturing and shipping industries; it is also a main focus of many Information Technology (IT) businesses. Studies show that from 2007 to 2010, energy consumption by IT firms alone will increase by a third due to increases in hardware. To put it into terms, the increase in energy consumption will increase energy expenditures by an average of 4% year over year. This percent increase might seem insignificant; however, the total energy bill estimated for U.S. in 2010 is $11.5 billion; that is up from $8.6 billion in 2007. Businesses such as IBM and NetApp are consolidating the number of servers required to help alleviate energy costs to help combat this problem. (Samson 2) This move from IT businesses is in direct contrast from the tech-boom in year 2000. In year 2000, IT firms only focused on fast development and expansion and did not emphasize environmental conservation. Lastly, even the performance driven BMW automaker is participating in the eco-friendly ventures. For years, BMW resisted building hybrid cars, believing that more efficient gasoline or diesel models were a smarter bet. But as the hybrid gives way to the all-electric vehicle, the German automaker plans to be at the front
of the pack. The only stipulation is that BMW is currently uncertain if battery prices will drop low enough to make economic sense. Even with the uncertainties, BMW is still heavily investing in an all-electric powered vehicle because to be a leader in the any market, one must foresee trends, take risks, and adapt to changes. These are just some of the examples of how world business leaders are investing in environment friendly projects because of the high valued return-of-investment. These investments serve a dual purpose by saving money for the company while preserving the environment. Businesses that have harnessed the opportunity and developed innovative solutions to make their operations greener are harvesting the benefits in an increased bottom line and recognition from environmentalists. Creativity and popularity are two main components when it comes to marketing. But in the case of social marketing, many companies are just now tapping into this unchartered arena. Marketing prior to the days of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter consisted of large billboards, catchy commercials, and flyers and mailings. The three above-mentioned applications have brought upon not only a change in business marketing, but also a change in human interaction and information exchange. People exchanged information mainly through cell phones and emails prior to the development of these three applications. People still use their cell phones and emails to get their points across, but now the difference is people are using their cell phones to access social-networking applications to send messages, write on blogs and upload videos. There are two potentially billion-dollar questions: How can businesses turn the Web’s socialnetwork users into consumers? Also, how can businesses turn idle browsing by consumers into something profitable? Businesses are emphasizing these questions to its marketing teams because of the social-networking boom. For example, Facebook has more than 175 million active users, with more than half of them outside of college. What is more staggering is that the fastest growing demographic of Facebook is those above 30 years old. (Facebook 1) Facebook has already captured the attention of the less than 30-year-old crowd and is now growing in popularity to the over 30-year-old crowd. On the same note, Twitter was recently announced as the third largest social network, with Facebook being the largest, followed by MySpace. Twitter has an estimated 6 million unique monthly visitors. (Wikipedia 1) These types of statistics are exactly what companies are focusing on when it comes to marketing. A successful marketing campaign needs to both capture the audience and have a large amount of population exposure. What better way to do that than through these social-networking tools that already have a large community of users. Another powerful aspect that these social-network applications apply is the idea of viral marketing. These successful applications do not limit themselves to mere banner-ad spaces; instead, they use the power of the web to segment the population by age, gender, market, surfing habits, and interests. By targeting specific population groups and honing in on certain interests, companies can quickly spread messages through interactive flash games, ebooks, and video clips: like a virus. This form of marketing has created an increase in brand awareness and product sales for global conglomerates such as BMW and Coca-Cola. For example, Coca-Cola collaborated with Mentos to create a video portraying a Bellagio-like water show from the chemical reaction caused by mixing cans of Coke with Mentos candy. Similarly, BMW created a video series vignette consisting of eight short films that featured popular filmmakers across the globe such as Ang Lee and Guy Ritche and starred Clive Owen as the “Driver”. Both of these concepts aimed to capture large audiences with focus on intrigue, science, comedy, film making, and art.
Global Initiatives Symposium in Taiwan 2009
Companies are re-allocating their marketing funds to focus on the fresh techniques that socialnetwork marketing has created. Businesses are even developing in-house applications and attempting to make it into a self-sustaining business that generates revenue through provided services. With the two pressing topics of environmental conservation and increased popularity of social-networking, businesses need to embrace these changes and utilize them as advantages. These issues should be catalysts in creating innovative solutions that can help businesses grow in different areas. I feel that business should change and adapt to the economy; however, businesses should not be like a ship lost at sea without an ore, simply reacting to all the waves. Instead businesses should not lose sight of its main goal of sustainability and profitability.
Cited Sources: Facebook Statistics. 2009 <http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics#/press/info.php?statistics>. (1)
Samson, Ted. “From Point A to Green.” ComputerWorld.com, 5 May 2008.< http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/214427/from_point_point_green> (2)
Stark, Betsy. “Big Companies Go Green To Ensure Business.” ABC News, Ed. Charles Gibson. 1 Sept. <2006http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/GlobalWarming/Story?id=2384541&page=1.> (1)
Mol, Michael, and Julian Birkinshaw, Data: Giant Steps in Management: Innovations that Change the Way We Work. Prentice Hall, 2007 (49)
Wikipedia, 2001. 28 March 2009 < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter>. (1)
Find the Next Wave to Ride On - New Business Strategies in the Changing World
Global Initiatives Symposium in Taiwan 2009