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EDITORIAL BOARD

Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine

Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Year: 2017 Scientific Review of the Romanian Distribution Committee

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Ion Ababii, Chişinău

Aurel Iancu, Bucharest

Constantin Roşca, Craiova

Nicolae Albu, Brasov

Mitsuhiko Iyoda, Osaka

Analisa Romani,Turin

Ruxandra Andreea Albu, Bucharest

Mohamed Latib, Gwynedd

James Rowell, Buckingham

Levent Altinay, Oxford UK

Dong II Lee, Seoul

John Saee, Virginia Beach VA

Kathleen Andrews, Colorado Springs

Min-Sang Lee, Gyeonggi-Do

Cătălin Sfrija, Bucharest

Virgil Balaure, Bucharest

Claude Magnan, Paris

Adrian Socol, Strasbourg

Dan Barbilian, Bucharest

Radu Titus Marinescu, Bucharest

Eliot Sorel, Washington D.C.

Riccardo Beltramo, Turin

James K. McCollum, Huntsville

Mihaela-Luminița Staicu, Bucharest

Richard Beresford, Oxford Uk

Nicolae Mihăiescu, Bucharest

Radu Patru Stanciu, Bucharest

Dumitru Borţun, Bucharest

Dumitru Miron, Bucharest

John L. Stanton, Jr., Philadelphia

Leonardo Borsacchi, Turin

Dan Mischianu, Bucharest

Peter Starchon, Bratislava

Mihail Cernavca, Chişinău

John Murray, Dublin

Felicia Stăncioiu, Bucharest

Ioana Chiţu, Brasov

Alexandru Nedelea, Suceava

Marcin Waldemar Staniewski, Warsaw

Doiniţa Ciocîrlan, Bucharest

Hélène Nikolopoulou, Lille

Vasile Stănescu, Bucharest

Tudorel Ciurea, Craiova

Olguța Anca Orzan, Bucharest

Filimon Stremţan, Alba-Iulia

Alexandru Vlad Ciurea, Bucharest

Gheorghe Orzan, Bucharest

David Stucki, Fribourg

Maria Negreponti-Delivanis, Thessaloniki

Elena Mihaela Pahonțu, Bucharest

Ion Voicu Sucala, Cluj-Napoca

Jean-Sébastien Desjonqueres, Colmar

Rodica Pamfilie, Bucharest

Kamil Pícha, Ceske Budejovice

Aurel Dobre, Călăraşi

Iulian Patriche, Bucharest

Laurenţiu Tăchiciu, Bucharest

Luigi Dumitrescu, Sibiu

Carmen Păunescu, Bucharest

Emil Toescu, Birmingham

Mariana Drăguşin, Bucharest

Mircea Penescu, Bucharest

Simona Ungureanu, Bucharest

Ovidiu Folcuţ, Bucharest

William Perttula, San Francisco

Vlad Budu, Bucharest

Luigi Frati, Roma, Italy

Virgil Popa, Targoviste

Eva Waginger, Wien

Petru FILIP, Bucharest

Marius D. Pop, Cluj-Napoca

Léon F. Wegnez, Brussels

Victor Greu, Bucharest

Ana-Maria Preda, Bucharest

Răzvan Zaharia, Bucharest

Bernd Hallier, Köln

Monica Purcărea, Bucharest

Gheorghe Zaman, Bucharest

Sang-Lin Han, Seoul

Cristinel Radu, Călăraşi

Dana Zadrazilova, Prague

Florinel Radu, Fribourg

Sinisa Zaric, Belgrade

Gabriela Radulian, Bucharest

Hans Zwaga, Tornio


YOUNG EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS REVIEWERS

SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL

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Andreea Apetrei, Iasi Adalbert Lucian Banyai, Bucharest George Bobîrnac, Bucharest Roxana Codita, München Stefano Duglio, Turin Larisa-Diana Dorobat, Geneve Marinela-Filofteia Hostiuc, Bucharest Darius Ilincaş, London

Adrian Lală, Bucharest Irina Purcărea, Bucharest Ivona Stoica, Bucharest Dan Smedescu, Bucharest Constantin C. Stanciu, New York Radu Pătru Stanciu, Bucharest George Cosmin Tănase, Bucharest Oana Patricia Zaharia, Bucharest

Alexandru Ionescu, Romanian-American University Adriana Bîrcă, “George Bariţiu” University Brasov Nelu Florea, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University Iasi Ana Ispas, Transilvania University Brasov Irena Jindrichowska, University of Economics and Management in Prague Costel Iliuţă Negricea, Romanian-American University Adina Negruşa, “Babes-Boyay” University Cluj-Napoca Anca Purcărea, Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest Monica Paula Raţiu, Romanian-American University Gabriela L. Sabau, Memorial University, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Andreea Săseanu, Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest

Vlad Barbu, Bucharest Gabriel Brătucu, Brasov Ion Bulborea, Bucharest Mircea Buruian, Targu Mures Iacob Cătoiu, Bucharest Jean Constantinescu, Bucharest Beniamin Cotigaru, Bucharest Radu Diaconescu, Iasi Valeriu Dulgheru, Chişinău Constantin Floricel, Bucharest Valeriu Ioan-Franc, Bucharest

Gheorghe Ionescu, Timisoara Christophe Magnan, Montréal Pompiliu Manea, Cluj Andrei Moldovan, Bucharest Dafin Fior Muresan, Cluj Neculae Năbârjoiu, Bucharest Constantin Oprean, Sibiu Dumitru Patriche, Bucharest Florian Popa, Bucharest Dumitru Tudorache, Bucharest Ion Smedescu, Bucharest Victor Părăuşanu, Bucharest


Hello, reader. Our Readers are invited to submit articles for the 2017 (3) Issue of the Scientific Review of the Romanian Distribution Committee – „Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine”.

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Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Year: 2017

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CONTENTS

P. 8. Strategic Thinking, Value Creation, Ecosystem Revolution, Growth Strategies, CX Value Chain and CX Policies

Theodor Valentin PURCĂREA

P. 12. Information and Communications Technologies Drive Digital Disruption from Business to Life on Earth -Part 1 Victor GREU

P. 20. Managing the Brand and Communication in Social Media George Cosmin TĂNASE

P.24. Distribution and the New Retail Imperative Theodor PURCĂREA

P.30. (by courtesy of) - “Commercial Planning” (in the Distributive Trade), initially published in the prestigious “Distribution d’aujourd’hui”, 58ème année, Février 2017,Brussels Léon F. WEGNEZ

P. 35. (by courtesy of) - G-Global, Global Education, Food for Thought, 10 years AEF, Innovation Accelerator, World Awards, and Silk Road Expansion. Bernd HALLIER


STRATEGIC THINKING, VALUE CREATION, ECOSYSTEM REVOLUTION, GROWTH STRATEGIES, CX VALUE CHAIN AND CX POLICIES Theodor Valentin Purcărea A year ago we wrote about how important it is in business to understand what is expected, prioritizing activities, delivering on the promise, and adapting to the future by reskilling. While two years ago we underlined the real need of investing for the future, and getting real value on the basis of a long-term road map. At the beginning of Autumn last year (nine years after what was signaled how increasingly dangerous is customer dissatisfaction because of customers’ empowerment) we read that we are just at the beginning of uncovering a profound relationship, that between emotion and revenue. Which made us recall the wise words of the famous Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi: “To see far is one thing, going there is another.” In Spring this year we find out, thanks to the European Business Review, that the new unit of analysis for strategic thinking is represented by the business ecosystems offering fertile grounds for innovation, managers being challenged to map, analyse and take advantage of them.1 In order to transform companies’ value proposition, their business models and secure new competitive advantages within the current continuously changing business landscape, reconfiguration of each ecosystem of clients, suppliers and partners (by identifying, testing and selecting the proper options, and forming new hypotheses and defining how they can be tested and implemented) is key. A McKinsey Global Survey from March 2017 that explored the finer points of linking resource allocation to value creation, identified five practices which correlate closely with outperformance: tying budgets to corporate strategy, making evidencebased decisions, setting bottom-up performance goals, formally ranking investments, and correlating portfolio composition and performance.2 The survey findings revealed that the easiest step for managers (challenged to approach all the above mentioned five factors) to implement in the short term the improvement of their resource allocation and investment decision making is to collaborate to set performance targets, to ensure comparable project valuation, and to explicitly review financial characteristics. While other McKinsey’s representatives highlighted in April 2017 that in order to craft a better strategy, and forge a brighter future, is important – as the oldest adage in investing (“The trend is your friend”) it applies to corporate performance, too – to confront the new dynamics: the shifting growth, the accelerating disruption, and the rising societal tensions.3 Within this approach, it was underlined among other aspects, that: technological advances (advances in analytics, automation, the Internet of Things, along with innovations in areas such as materials science; the transformation of the resource production by the technology; the combined in new ways technologies with potential to dramatically reduce resource intensity) change the resource equation in a variety of ways; technological solutions are coming, of course, with external consequences, but companies working through the implications of resource constraints for their business models will generate new ideas (by creating less resource-intensive processes, turning waste into raw materials, and building a more circular economy), being expected an accelerating resource-innovation cycle; one of the factors differentiating winners and losers appears to be ensuring alignment between a company’s digital and its corporate strategy; digitization is enabling competition that pressures revenue and profit growth, customers have more choices, while companies have more decisions to make (about their business models and how they create value), and we are in full “ecosystem revolution” (from the old linear value chains, and horizontal platforms cutting across value chains, to the emergent “any-to-any” ecosystems which are at the center of platform-based ecosystems, being distinctly asset-light). The founder of the innovation consulting firm Strategyn, pioneer of Jobs-to-beDone Theory, and creator of Outcome-Driven Innovation, Tony Ulwick,4 argued that by helping customers get a job done better and/or more cheaply, companies can create new products and services which will win in the marketplace, five distinct strategies

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being identified (addressing all the situations a company can face as it contemplates a product or service strategy), which were introduced in the so-called “jobsto-be-done growth strategy matrix”:

Figure 1: The Jobs-To-Be-Done Growth Strategy Matrix Source: Ulwick, T., The Jobs-to-be-Done Growth Strategy Matrix, Jan 5, 2017 This approach (introduced by Ulwick and illustrating when and how growth strategies can be adopted by companies in the quest to win in a market) began by categorizing the different possibilities for products and services (better and more expensive, better and less expensive, worse and less expensive, and worse and more expensive), and by considering what types of customers might be targeted with a product or service offering (five situations warranting its own distinct strategy: a better-performing, more expensive product will only appeal to underserved customers; a better-performing, less expensive product will appeal to all customers; a worse-performing, less expensive product will appeal to overserved customers; a worse-performing, more expensive product will only appeal to customers for whom limited or no alternatives are available; products so- called by Michael Porter “stuck in the middle). And this reference to Michael Porter made us think to his well-recognized “Value Chain Framework” (1985), and to correlate this article’s approach with the recently Michael Hinshaw’s “Customer Experience Value Chain” (describing the eight activities companies should undertake in order to drive value through CX, and the interrelationships and dependencies between them)5 inspired by Porter’s framework, as shown in the figure below:


Figure 2: The Customer Experience Value Chain Source: Michael Hinshaw, How Best-In-Class CX Leaders Get There: The Customer Experience Value Chain, CustomerThink, Mar 6, 2017 And this because as highlighted by the above mentioned president/CEO of McorpCX, who is also a mentor and teaching fellow at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, improving customer experience (CX) has been rightfully viewed for the last several years as one of the most important things any organization can do to drive value. Creating focused processes and environments on the customers’ journey’s quality is part of designing CX, and by appealing to customers’ human instinct companies can craft the adequate CX.6 As revealed by a Forrester’s empowered customer research, 40% of customers (segmented in types of emotional buyers: progressive pioneers, savvy seekers, convenience conformers, settled survivors, reserved resisters) have a high willingness and ability to shift rapidly their spending habits after an inadequate (poor experience) with a brand.7 That is why, as shown by Forrester’s 2017 Predictions,8 a vital ingredient for business success is understanding (as a descriptive and predictive measure guiding experience design and governing operations) and influencing emotion. And in order to implement capabilities that engender positive emotions (and, of course, to repair operations that provoke negative emotions) companies can use Forrester’s Customer Emotion Matrix,9 which allows examining the nature of the emotion (negative through positive), and the intensity of the emotion (the two primary factors determining if and how customers may alter behavior):

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Figure 3: Forrester’s Customer Emotion Matrix Source: Milligan, V., A Closer Look at the Monetary Value of Emotion, September 21, 2016, retrieved from: http://blogs.forrester.com/victor_milligan/16-09-20-a_closer_look_at_the_monetary_value_of_emotion As revealed by the above mentioned Forrester’s representative: if the experience does not meet customers’ (ever-increasing) expectations, for example, users can abandon digital sites and purchase paths within 50 milliseconds; we are just at the beginning of uncovering this profound relationship between emotion and revenue. And this after many years (2007) when in the prestigious Harvard Business Review10 there was a focus, among others, on the following aspects: until CX will become a top priority and a company’s work processes, systems, and structure change to reflect this kind of approach, it will not be possible to improve CX; customer satisfaction is more a slogan than an attainable goal, unless companies will know more about customer’s subjective experiences (the thoughts, emotions, and states of mind induced by the interactions of customers with products, services, and brands) and the role every function plays in shaping them. Not coincidentally, at the beginning of June this year, Lynn Hunsaker (who led CX & marketing at Applied Materials & Sonoco, and leads ClearAction, Marketing Operations Partners & the Marketing Future Forum to build your cross-functional collaboration and strategic value)11 pledged for company’s rules and practices having a director ripple-effect on customers’ realities and perceptions, in other words CX policies (considered to be the degree of ease for employees to do their jobs well), underlying that the company’s organic growth is empowered by creating ease for its customers. Of course, creating ease for company’s customers does not come from doing easy work, being well-known that only: “To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult” (to cite Plutarch). But we all know that: “Nothing worth having comes easy” (to cite Theodore Roosevelt); “Nothing is easy, but who wants nothing?” (to cite Donald Trump).

Theodor Valentin Purcărea Editor-in-Chief

References

1 Legenvre, H., and Herbet, I., Mapping and Strategising Across Business Ecosystems, March 10, 2017, retrieved on 19.04.2017, from: http://www.europeanbusinessreview.com/mapping-and-strategising-acrossbusiness-ecosystems/ 2 Koller, T., Williams, Z., Lovallo, D. (Contributors), The finer points of linking resource allocation to value creation, McKinsey Global Survey March 2017, retrieved on 30.03.2017, from: http://www.mckinsey.com/businessfunctions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/the-finer-points-of-linking-resource-allocation-to-value-creation? 3 Greenberg, E., Hirt, M., and Smit, S., The global forces inspiring a new narrative of progress Article McKinsey Quarterly April 2017, retrieved on 10.04.2-17, from: http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategyand-corporate-finance/our-insights/the-global-forces-inspiring-a-new-narrative-of-progress? 4 Ulwick, T., The Jobs-to-be-Done Growth Strategy Matrix, Jan 5, 2017, retrieved on 20.04.2017, from: Ulwick https://medium.com/@Ulwick/the-jobs-to-be-done-growth-strategy-matrix-426e3d5ff86e 5 Hinshaw, M., How Best-In-Class CX Leaders Get There: The Customer Experience Value Chain, Mar 6, 2017, http://customerthink.com/how-best-in-class-cx-leaders-get-there-the-customer-experience-valuechain/ 6 Krainert, S., Design the customer experience. Leverage the power of emotion, retrieved on 05.06.2017, from: https://blog.helpshift.com/blog/customer-experience-and-emotion 7 Lai, A. (cited by Krainert, S.), The Data Digest: Introducing Forrester’s Empowered Customer Segmentation, July 12, 2016, http://blogs.forrester.com/anjali_lai/16-07-12-the_data_digest_introducing_forresters_ empowered_customer_segmentation 8 *** Forrester’s 2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer, October 2016, retrieved on 05.06. 2017, from: https://go.forrester.com/wp-content/uploads/Forrester-2017Predictions.pdf 9 Milligan, V., A Closer Look at the Monetary Value of Emotion, September 21, 2016, retrieved from: http://blogs.forrester.com/victor_milligan/16-09-20-a_closer_look_at_the_monetary_value_of_emotion 10 Meyer, C., Schwager, A., Understanding Customer Experience, retrieved on 09.06.2017, from: https://hbr.org/2007/02/understanding-customer-experience?referral=03759&cm_vc=rr_item_page.bottom 11 Hunsaker, L., How Customer Experience Policies Empower Growth, Jun 8, 2017, retrieved from: http://customerthink.com/how-customer-experience-policies-empower-growth/?


INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES DRIVE DIGITAL DISRUPTION FROM BUSINESS TO LIFE ON EARTH -PART 1Prof. Eng.Ph.D. Victor Greu

Abstract

The paper presents the complex context of the consequences of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) evolution and its prominent phases, digitization, digital economy, digital transformation and digital disruption, focusing on later. The content of these phases are analyzed based on relevant references, considering also their time sensitive implications of ICT exponential pace. An essential conclusion of the analysis is that the understanding and the realistic approach of the multiple implications of DD could dramatically influence the future of any company/organization and beyond … of humankind. This conclusion could be considered a synthetic/generic answer for the generic question “Why DD?”, based on the above analysis which presented why, how and when DD appeared and subsequently why it deserves to be deeply analyzed. The analysis also approached the criteria which could differentiate these relevant milestones in the complex processes of ICT impact on digital economy and generally on Information society (IS) toward Knowledge Based Society (KBS), along with consequences on humankind life and evolution on Earth. The second section of the paper is focused on the necessary awareness and forecast capabilities in order to continuously improve the decision processes and the overall efficiency of digital economy. The paper presented the typical scenario for DD, where business is reimagined based on the innovation of (business) activities by introducing new digital technologies (innovations) and new model of business, using imagination and relevant refined information, which represent the main ingredients of the successful DD. It is also presented the specific solution for media industry: streaming their products and services using the advantage of performant ITC which offer wideband support and a lot of digital features for a better customer experience. In the same time it is remarked the double systemic role of ICT in IS/KBS, by technologies, products and services for all industries and activity fields, but on the other hand as replicated model of design, operation and development (precision multiplication).

PART 1

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The analysis revealed the fundamental consequences of the fact that ICT development exponential pace is faster than humankind could deeply analyze and real time react against all long term implications of such evolution, showing that the latency of the pace of transformation in organizations is one of the crucial evidences of author general estimation about the limited capacity to react before is too late. Another feature of the actual DD, linked with the “zero marginal cost” trend, is changing of business model from selling products to selling services by subscription, a trend typical for ITC, now extended to other fields. Romanian Distributtion Committee Magazine / July 2017 / www.distribution-magazine.eu


We consider that the pace of changing/dropping complex products and services (like smartphones), especially when they include important resources, is a negative consequence of ICT exponential pace that could not lead to a sustainable development of IS/KBS on Earth. The analysis also presented the importance of the approaches, studies and even methodologies intended for quantifying the global impact of digital transformations and DD on digital economy. A special conclusion refers to the importance of holistic approach and the attention paid to the continuous improvement of the model for assessing such complex and complicated processes of digital economy, like DD, but it is worth to extend that to ICT in general, in the context of their driving role in IS toward KBS.

Keywords: digitization, digital economy, digital transformation, digital disruption, business model, innovation, smartphone, data analytics, customer experience, agriculture, Internet of Things.

JEL Classification: L63; L86; M15; O31; O33

1. Why digital disruption?

The amazing evolution of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), as main driving factor of the progress of the Information society (IS) toward Knowledge Based Society (KBS), generates complex and dynamic processes at Earth scale, but on the other hand it requires a continuous analysis due to its crucial importance and exponential speed. Facing these challenges is more and more difficult and an inspired approach could be as shortly expressed by Nigel Moulton[1]: “Stuff that seems like science-fiction is here now ... If we think about it in the right way, it’s actually quite profound” We consider that this approach is very relevant for the main and profound idea of our paper, which is intended to analyse the complex long-term consequences of ICT exponential development for both business/economy and humankind on Earth. In this context, digitization, digital economy, digital transformation and digital disruption are not new terms, but their content is also time sensitive considering ICT exponential pace.

The above terms just show evolution steps for answering the complicate and generic question we debate: Why digital disruption? Naturally, the answer will be built step by step, considering both semantic and time sides of the question. Although in this aria there are many definitions, some generic references are useful to illustrate the dynamic differences of the terms. For digitization, beyond the basic technical significance meaning the transformation of analogue signal into digital one, a well-documented definition is given by [2]: << Digitization, however complex as a phenomenon, has multiple facets. First, digitization marks the diffusion of a wide range of digital technologies (such as the internet, web 2.0, internet of things, analytics, or still cloud technologies), into the core of organisations, for the benefit of improved performance (Koellinger, 2008). Second, “digitization” is claimed to belong to the set of disruptive innovations (Christensen, 1997), whereby a) entrants use digital technologies to build new business models as detriment to market incumbents, while b) incumbents would be better off, either by not reacting at all, or by aggressively embracing the disruption (Downes and Nunes, 2013; Wessel and Christensen, 2012). >> It is important to observe that the above opinions also expressed the evolution towards disruption by introducing the essential role of disruptive innovations which leads the steps close to digital disruption. Still, we have to observe that the main content of the definition is the mention of digital technologies (ICT) which are implemented in the organisations and the possible decisions incumbents could take. Based on the large picture of the above definition, the next step is to have a reference for the digital economy, as expressed in [3]: <<The digital economy is the share of total economic output derived from a number of broad “digital” inputs. These digital inputs include digital skills, digital equipment (hardware, software and communications equipment) and the intermediate digital goods and services used in production. Such broad measures reflect the foundations of the digital economy>> The main merit of this definition is that it includes, along with the digital details, a functional model based on clear output and input, which, nota bene, is taken from ... electronics/automation. Now we could consider that, generally, the digital economy is what we have seen growing in the last decades, but it is more and more important to identify the relevant phases/steps and results of this evolution. With other words, the analysis arrived in the most relative and difficult area, where we have to approach the metrics or criteria which could differentiate the relevant milestones in the complex processes of ICT impact on digital economy and generally IS/KBS, along


with consequences on humankind life and evolution on Earth. Obviously, the “relevant milestones” could lead to another analysis and selection so we will have to limit to the paper space and aim, considering the most relevant the mentioned digital transformation and digital disruption, as prominent steps of the digital age, i.e. where ICT drive IS toward KBS. Digital transformation is a generic term referring to the leveraging and systemic changes ICT induce in the entire economy and generally in the IS. One of the most accurate definitions of digital transformation is given in [7] as: “Digital transformation is the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way, with present and future shifts in mind.” A special attention must be given to another generic term, almost universal today, as “digital technologies” mainly include ICT but an accurate approach should also include many other activity fields. That is why, as we already presented [11] [18], we consider also important to reveal that the role of ICT in IS/KBS is multiplied by their subsequent applications and influence on all humankind activities and generally on life on Earth. A confirmation of this approach and the opportunity of paper title are also given in [7] as: “Digital technologies – and the ways we use them in our personal lives, work and society – have changed the face of business and will continue to do so. This has always been so but the pace at which it is happening is accelerating and faster than the pace of transformation in organizations” Another crucial opinion, we have presented in [11] [9], could be observed in the last quotation as revealing the above mentioned difference we are looking for among the analysed changes: the pace it is happening with. On the other hand we have to point out that our opinion [9] has considered more than the pace of transformation in organizations, revealing the fundamental consequences of the fact that ICT development exponential pace is faster than humankind could deeply analyze and real time react against all long term implications of such evolution. Still, it is also benefic the obvious fact that the latency of the pace of transformation in organizations is one of the crucial evidences of our general estimation about the limited capacity to react before is too late. Here we have just arrived, having the necessary basics, to the last and most relevant term/step of our

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analysis: the digital disruption (DD). DD is in fact the actual phase (step) of the digital age we live in and our paper is focussing on it just because it has dramatic consequences either positive (intended) or negative, generally on business/economy, but further we will analyse how these implications could extend beyond, to humankind life and evolution on Earth. It is worth to mention that DD is a milestone in the evolution of digital transformation, often considered the 3-th wave, after first of Internet and second of Web 2.0. As actual prominent wave, DD phase is considered a hyperscaling by its unusual impact, much above the level of companies performances, generally affecting the business models. Just like the other discussed terms, DD has a diversity of definitions with minimal differences, so one of the most detailed is next [8]: “Digital disruption is a transformation that is caused by emerging digital technologies and business models. These innovative new technologies and models can impact the value of existing products and services offered in the industry. This is why the term ‘disruption’ is used, as the emergence of these new digital products/ services/businesses disrupts the current market and causes the need for re-evaluation.’’ It is important to notice that the DD represent just the “apogee” of the evolution we above have presented, i.e. from the inherent impact of ICT (digitization) on digital economy to successive digital transformations which eventually reach the stage where the values of products/services and even the business models suffer radical changes, i.e. disruptions of the current market generating the need for re-evaluation of the business. Also, we have to point that the concrete consequences of DD could be positives (up to prominence on market) when the incumbents understand the need and adopt the appropriate changes, or negative (down to exit from market) on the opposite case. Perhaps not very clear, but very important, the need for re-evaluation must be further detailed because here is the most useful point of analyzing DD. In fact, re-evaluation is the essence of DD, because it includes the key to positive an evolution, but, like any key, it is difficult to get and this is what we are going to further discuss. Anyway, nothing could be too much when we have to underline the crucial importance of DD for digital economy, but above all for the IS toward KBS. Then comes a first essential conclusion, as the understanding and the realistic approach of the multiple implications of DD could dramatically influence the future of any company/organization and beyond … of humankind.

Romanian Distributtion Committee Magazine / July 2017 / www.distribution-magazine.eu


We think this conclusion could be considered a synthetic/generic answer to the generic question “Why DD?”, based on the above analysis which presented why, how and when DD appeared and subsequently why it deserves to be deeply analyzed.

have the flexibility and innovation, as we have already presented [18] the crucial role of imagination (which provides both flexibility and innovation). As a matter of fact, the innovation of (business) activities by introducing new digital

If our last estimations for DD importance and content could appear overdone, lets see how DD, after clearly defined, is perceived and approached in diverse cases, in order to have a further analysis of the most appropriated solutions for DD challenges and finally a realistic forecast of its global consequences.

technologies (innovations) and new model of business, using imagination and relevant refined information, which represent the main ingredients of the successful DD, as will be obvious by the next examples.

2. Watching digital disruption everywhere on Earth

<<Complete re-imagination is in Sinofsky’s view the “last stage of technology disruption…when a category or technology is reimagined from the ground up.”

The above analysis regarding the evolution of ICT and generally of the digital technologies and their impact on IS/KBS arrived to DD phase, which produces the actual prominent milestone, but further we have to focus on the necessary awareness and forecast capabilities in order to continuously improve the decision processes and the overall efficiency of digital economy. More than these, DD is a global challenge and an opportunity to optimize the evolution of humankind, beyond the economy criteria, as life on Earth is already facing dramatic premises generated by climate changes, resources fading and social/political imbalance. As we have already presented [9][11], the solutions for these challenges/premises are not simple to find, but we have to carefully and continuously watch the ICT exponential evolution implications in all IS/KBS fields, especially when these appear with high dynamic and amplitude, which is the actual case of DD. These are the coordinates of the next analysis, focused on the complex processes of DD and aiming the identification of the main principles of best practice providing optimal transformation, efficiency and efficacy for companies, organizations and humankind experience through this challenging phase of IS toward KBS, everywhere on Earth. A remarkable and detailed approach of this general objective for DD is presented in [7] as: “Present and future shifts and changes can be induced by several causes, often at the same time, on the levels of customer behavior and expectations, new economic realities, societal shifts (e.g. aging populations), ecosystem/industry disruption and (the accelerating adoption and innovation regarding) emerging or existing digital technologies. In practice, end-to-end customer experience optimization, operational flexibility and innovation, are key drivers of digital transformation, along with the development of new revenue sources and information-powered ecosystems of value, leading to business model transformations”. We consider here that a special importance

In [10] the role of imagination is more than prominent:

Think of how other industries are being disrupted. Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.>> We have to notice the direct link between the apogee of digital transformations and DD (last stage of technology disruption), before remark the most known actual examples of successful DD. It is also remarkable that these cases are also impressive by their common “unimaginable” performance of operating with success in businesses without owning the main asset of that business, this way making DD a real wonder. In reality, this is not always the case, nor the target of usual DD, but of course it is the ideal approach because its maximal efficiency. The typical scenario of DD for a business, product or technology is also very clear approached by the same Steven Sinofsky (a former Microsoft President) [10]: “Re-imagining a technology or product is a return to first principles. It is about looking at the underlying assumptions and essentially rethinking all of them at once.” Among different industries there are also differences and things could not happen in the same way, but media industry is one of the most dynamic and influenced by ITC, as it is confirmed by [2]: “The typical industry case of such digital turbulences is media. In music for example, P2P, then downloading and recently, streaming digital technologies have all been eroding the CD technology, with new business models such as all-you-can-eat subscription models being pushed by new entrants to disrupt the incumbent record companies (see Moreau, 2013). As a response to stop the pressure on their revenue shrinkage, most of the major record labels had to significantly reinvent themselves and jump on streaming


aggressively as their new major source of revenue. Warner among others was the first to announce that streaming was the primary revenue platform recently and that streaming revenue growth over-compensated for the fall of other music distributions.” The scenario is now completed with the specific solution for media industry: streaming their products and services using the advantage of performant ICT, which offer wideband support and a lot of digital facilities for a better customer experience. Another feature of the actual DD is changing of business model from selling products to selling services by subscription, a trend typical for ITC [15], now extended to other fields [10]: “Time and again, from cell phone minutes to cable TV, markets have shown that products with zero marginal cost (like digital copies of content) ultimately become subscription markets. This will be true of virtually all markets with digital services as products. People no longer want to buy digital goods, but they’ll subscribe to your service in order to get them.” It is interesting to observe the trend of “zero marginal cost”, where the photos is the earliest example as N. Moulton said [1]: “Take for example the 35mm camera and film. The number of pictures I could take used to be dependent on the amount of film I had - and film was expensive because it was a chemical process. You then ‘indexed’ them according to time, date and location. Now we carry high definition still and video cameras in our pockets. The marginal cost of taking a picture is now zero because the cost of taking one picture is the same as taking 1000 pictures” The trend is now extending and there are signals that this could affect one of the most profitable markets [10]: “... just wait for the Moore’s Law to kick in and see what happens to the prices of smartphones in two to four years” Although it is not sure if and when this opinion will be confirmed by reality (the trend is well known for ICT products just because of the Moore Law), it represents an issue leading to a challenge we have presented [9], but now the DD could generate new implications. Concretely, we consider that the pace of changing/dropping complex products and services (like smartphones), especially when they include important resources, is a negative consequence of ICT exponential pace that could not lead to a sustainable development of IS/KBS on Earth. As we have mentioned above, paper analysis can cover only the most relevant issues of DD, so everywhere on Earth could be a lot, but for sure food and agriculture will cover much of humankind challenges, including those affected by DD [12]:

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“The world doesn’t have enough food, so anything that can be done to increase the efficiency of farming is welcome. In addition, many believe that there will soon be a strong backlash against the mentality that “any quality of food is OK as long as it’s low cost.” Case in point, a number of countries have already introduced a “sugar tax” on food that is made more appealing through the addition of sugar. Increasing precision is a common theme with digitization. It will be used in medicine and in leasecharging, wherein consumers pay per use of a vehicle versus per amount of time (meaning, if you drive like a maniac, you will be charged accordingly). And it will be used in farming. High-resolution cameras on drones will film the farm while data analytics determine precisely where fertilizer, pesticide, seeds, slug control and water need to be applied. This precision application will likely be performed by robots.” Here we must detail at least two essential issues, confirming our previous analysis, but in the very dynamic context of DD. First, it is the general challenge of resource fading we repeatedly presented as prominent in development of ICT for IS/KBS [9] [11]. It is now the case to notice the positive contribution of ICT at the sustainable development of agriculture (without forgetting the opposite cases), by unprecedented performant technologies like precision cameras, communications drones, artificial intelligence/ robots and data analytics. Second is the double systemic role of ICT in IS/KBS, by technologies, products and services for all industries and activity fields, but on the other hand as replicated model of design, operation and development (precision multiplication). The technologies, products and services are now available to optimize the business/industrial/social processes/applications in all activity areas, including healthcare and education to name the most interesting for humankind life. Perhaps there are less visible implications of ICT as design, developing and operation models in a diversity of fields, including medicine, biotechnology, education and arts for example, where algorithms, multiplication of logic and precision are used just like in ICT systems, devices or services. If a concrete example is necessary, lets think at the sensors networks applications, exploding by IoT, which could control/optimize practically anything, anytime and everywhere on Earth, noticing that many of such applications were not only impossible in the recent past, but in addition they were inconceivable before ICT started similar applications and models of operation. As a matter of fact, this amazing set of performances is the result of integrating the actual ICT main components, first including artificial intelligence

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(AI), IoT, Cloud, Big Data. All these factors and especially AI and Big Data, without counting the potential support of future 5G mobile communications networks and IoT, provide new spectacular models of design and research, remarkable examples, among other, being the human genome decoding and interpretations or the monitoring of Earth ecosystems [4] [6][14]. The relevance of these aspects for our analysis is given by the fact that DD evolutions, implementing these performant technologies, could dramatically influence IS/KBS huge domains, from industry to education, healthcare and environment. On the same line, watching DD everywhere on Earth gives us the chance to have realistic forecasts and then optimal solutions for the generated challenges in the above mentioned domains and ... beyond. What we could consider beyond obviously includes many issues, but perhaps the most important is to observe how all the DD potential implications will affect humankind life and eventually evolution. If this aspect is not very concrete, an example will create a good start for the content and importance of this approach [10]: ”Talk about things that change fast: In just five years, we’ve gone from mobile phones as disruptive ‘second screens’ to being the first, and sometimes only, screen in users’ lives. It goes without saying that software products must work well on smartphones. For novels, that challenge is quite simple. But if you seek to entertain with media, to educate with interactivity or to empower with reference and search, the mobile screen is a tougher beast to satisfy. Alas, customer expectations do not yield to technical complexity.” Our opinion is that beyond this evidence we have to observe the disruption potential of DD and generally of ICT to change the people’s behaviour and step by step their creative potential and ... health [18]. Starting from “technical complexity’’ it is important to observe that the usual trend of offering to consumer a facile experience is not generally always the best solutions on long term, because now it is largely recognized that many of the benefits of AI and generally ICT that apparently ease the people’s lives have also a negative effect on long term, here including not only the dependence of TV or smartphone, the progressive lack of physical activity, but the lack of intellectual effort which are lowering the creative potential of humankind.

much as possible not only the immediate revenue but also the criteria for a sustainable development of their business and generally of IS/KBS [5][13][16]. In such decision processes, sometimes the last approach could appear unpractical, especially when, for short time, the customers have a positive reaction, but generally it is better to consider all long term consequences, including the humankind and Earth resources/ecosystems evolution. The complexity of estimation for “all long term consequences” is obviously increasing as ICT exponential pace and horizontal impact on IS/KBS are also increasing, but this must not discourage analysis and optimization approaches, as this paper is promoting. More than these, confirming our approach and paper opportunity, there are interesting and useful approaches, studies and even methodologies intended for quantifying the global impact of digital transformations and DD on digital economy [3]: “Typically, measures of the digital or Internet economy have focused largely on technology infrastructure, IT and communications sector investment, ecommerce, and broadband penetration rates. But this does not account for the whole scope of digital. Using a ground-breaking model that assesses how digital is adding value throughout the entire economy—by tracing the use of digital skills, equipment and intermediate goods and services in the production of all goods and services—we have been able to derive a more comprehensive and rounded view of what constitutes a digital economy” We consider that a special importance has the above holistic approach and the attention paid to the continuous improvement of the model for assessing such complex and complicated processes of digital economy, like DD, but it is worth to extend that to ICT in general, in the context of their driving role in IS toward KBS, as we already approached [9][15]. Reaching such significant and important points, regarding the large and complex picture of DD, it is necessary to further continue and develop the analyses of DD in the dynamic context of ICT exponential development, based on the only partial approaches of this paper.

3. Conclusions

The real danger is increasing in the context of the DD actual trends just because this kind of customer expectations is used by start-ups and companies in order to have an immediate advantage over competition.

The paper presents the complex context of the consequences of ICT evolution and its prominent phases, digitization, digital economy, digital transformation and digital disruption, with the main focus on DD.

Anyway it is obvious that the market rules have to be respected, but the essential idea is to carefully watch over the balance between positive and negative implications of their approaches for DD, considering as

The definitions and the content of these phases are analyzed based on relevant references, considering also their time sensitive implications of ICT exponential pace and approaching the criteria which could differentiate these relevant milestones in the


complex processes of ICT impact on digital economy and generally IS/KBS, along with consequences on humankind life and evolution on Earth. An essential conclusion of the analysis is that the understanding and the realistic approach of the multiple implications of DD could dramatically influence the future of any company/organization and beyond … of humankind. This conclusion could be considered a synthetic/generic answer for the generic question “Why DD?”, based on the above analysis which presented why, how and when DD appeared and subsequently why it deserves to be deeply analyzed. An aim of the paper is focused on the necessary awareness and forecast capabilities in order to continuously improve the decision processes and the overall efficiency of digital economy. This way the paper presented the typical scenario for DD, where business is reimagined based on the innovation of (business) activities by introducing new digital technologies (innovations) and new model of business, using imagination and relevant refined information, which represent the main ingredients of the successful DD. It is also presented the specific solution for media industry: streaming their products and services using the advantage of performant ITC which offer wideband support and a lot of digital ways for a better customer experience.

improvement of the model for assessing such complex and complicated processes of digital economy, like DD, but it is worth to extend that to ICT in general, in the context of their driving role in IS toward KBS.

REFERENCES

[1] Ilse van den Berg, The six rules of disruption (Nigel Moulton keynote address at the Dell

EMC Forum on Thursday, 9 March 2017), 10 March

2017, http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/379/158887.html.

[2] Jacques Bughin, Nicolas van Zeebroeck, The case for offensive strategies in response to

digital disruption , 2017.

[3] Mark Knickrehm, Bruno Berthon, Paul Daugherty, Digital disruption: The growth

multiplier Optimizing digital investments to realize higher productivity,

https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/PDF-4/Accenture-Strategy-Digital-

Disruption-Growth-Multiplier.pdf

[4]Victor Greu, Developing information and communications technologies with more artificial

intelligence, using artificial intelligence, when internet of things is ’’intelligence

everywhere’’-(Part 1), Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 7,

Issue 4, Year 2016.

[5]Kathy Pretz, A toolkit for building energy-efficient communications networks, IEEE The

Institute, May 2016.

[6]Victor Greu, The information society towards the knowledge based society driven by the

The analysis revealed the fundamental consequences of the fact that ICT development exponential pace is faster than humankind could deeply analyze and real time react against all long term implications of such evolution, showing that the latency of the pace of transformation in organizations is one of the crucial evidences of our general estimation about the limited capacity to react before is too late. Another feature of the actual DD, linked with the “zero marginal cost” trend, is changing of business model from selling products to selling services by subscription, a trend typical for ITC, now extended to other fields. We consider that the pace of changing/dropping complex products and services (like smartphones), especially when they include important resources, is a negative consequence of ICT exponential pace that could not lead to a sustainable development of IS/KBS on Earth. In the same time it is remarked the double systemic role of ICT in IS/KBS, by technologies, products and services for all industries and activity fields, but on the other hand as replicated model of design, operation and development (precision multiplication). The analysis also revealed the importance of the approaches, studies and even methodologies intended for quantifying the global impact of digital transformations and DD on digital economy. A special importance was given to the holistic approach and the attention paid to the continuous

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information and communications technologies - from the Internet of Things to the

Internet of …trees (Part 1), Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 6,

Issue1, Year 2015.[7] *** Digital transformation: online guide to digital business transformation,

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http://blog.oxfordcollegeofmarketing.com/2016/02/22/what-is-digital-disruption/

[9]Victor Greu, Searching the right tracks of new technologies in the earth race for a

balance between progress and survival, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine,

Volume 3, Issue1, Year 2012.

[10] Gareth Cuddy, Digital disruption and innovation in brief, 2015 Digital Book World.

[11]Victor Greu, The Exponential Development of the Information and Communications

Technologies – A Complex Process Which is Generating Progress Knowledge from

People to People, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 4, Issue2,

Year 2013.

[12] Mike Shaw, Digital disruption impacts every industry. Here’s how to win in an era of

constant change, enterprise.nxt, 2016 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP,

https://www.hpe.com/h20195/V2/GetPDF.aspx/4AA6-7153ENW.pdf

[13]Kathy Pretz, Environmentally friendly Information and Communications Technologies,

IEEE The Institute, Mar.2016.

[14] Mark Harris, The Internet of Trees, IEEE Spectrum, Mar.2014.

[15]Victor Greu, Context-aware communications and IT – a new paradigm for the

optimization of the information society towards the knowledge based society (Part 2),

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[16]Prechi Patel, Building a more eco-friendly telecom industry, IEEE The Institute,

Mar.2016.

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MANAGING THE BRAND AND COMMUNICATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA Costin Tănase

ABSTRACT Social Media is today among the best opportunities available to a brand for connecting with prospective consumers. Social media is the medium to socialize. These new media win the trust of consumers by connecting with them at a deeper level. Marketers are taking note of many different social media opportunities and beginning to implement new social initiatives at a higher rate than ever before. Social media marketing and the businesses that utilize it have become more sophisticated. One cannot afford to have no presence on the social channels if the competitor is making waves with its products and services. Global companies have recognized social media marketing as a potential marketing platform and used them with innovations to power their advertising campaign with social media marketing. Companies have realized the opportunities of social media as one way of marketing. By involving and being in direct contact with the customer the branding has reached a new level. Keywords: social media, social media marketing, growth and benefits of social media, marketing strategy, customer preferences, marketing communications JEL Classification: L20, L80; M31 Significantly different from conventional marketing strategies, Social Media Marketing (SMM) offers three distinct advantages. One, it provides a window to marketers to not only present products / services to customers but also to listen to customers’ grievances and suggestions. Two, it makes it easy for marketers to identify various peer groups or influencers among various groups, who in turn can become brand evangelist and help in organic growth of a brand. And, three, all this is done at nearly zero cost (as compared to conventional customer outreach programmes) as most of the social networking sites are free. The role of social media in marketing is to use it as a communication tool that makes the companies accessible to those interested in their product and makes them visible to those that don’t know their product. It should be used as a tool that creates a personality behind their brand and creates relationships that they otherwise may never gain. This creates not only repeat-buyers, but customer loyalty. Fact is social media is so diversified that it can be used in whatever way best suits the interest and the needs of the business. Kaplan and Haenlein provide a renowned definition of social media and describe it as a “group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content”. Web 2.0 is the way software developers and end-us-

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ers co-operate on different applications; the content is created, published and managed not only by individuals, but all users. The Web 2.0 has enabled people to contribute with their information and to share content easier than with 1.0. A reduction of technological barriers has enabled anyone to create profiles and web pages, which makes the Web a perfect platform for personal branding. The Web 2.0 includes blogs, social networking sites, content communities, collaborative projects (such as Wikipedia), virtual social worlds and virtual game worlds. Social media employ mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. If the Internet previously was used to watch, read and buy content, nowadays the social media functions as a platform to discuss, share and modify what can be found on the Internet. Social networking sites are applications that enable users to connect by creating personal information profiles, inviting friends and colleagues to have access to those profiles, and sending e-mails and instant messages between each other. The profiles can entail any form of information, such as photos, video, audio files and blogs, and one of the most well known social networks is Facebook. Social media is about creating, influencing, and sharing; and, importantly, it can have a powerful impact on performance. It seems that these interactive platforms change the ways of marketing enabling us to connect and collaborate around the clock. Developing the image and brand identity The company’s image is an asset due to its impact on how the customer perceives the company. If a brand image is good, it can protect the company and when minor, as well as more serious problems occur the problems can be overlooked. Often upcoming problems can though affect the brand negatively. Gronroos identifies four effects of image; “image communicates expectations, image is a filter influencing perceptions, image is a function of expectations as well as of experiences, image has an internal impact on employees as well as an external impact on customers”. The less clear and distinct the image is, the more this may affect employee attitudes. The image management cannot be applied on personal branding, but the layout of websites, advertisement, packages and other visibility can support the company’s image. It is the customers, not the seller, who builds the brand. The seller can create the right circumstances for the desired brand to develop, but it is through a brand formation process that the brand emerges for the customer. Hence, formation of a brand is complex, but the branding process can be illustrated. The branding process is based on the elements of Gronroos’ service branding process, but can be applied to any sort of branding.

Firstly, the brand image that the company, in this case the designer, wants the customers and stakeholders to have should be analyzed. The story the seller wants to communicate should be clear. The outcome of the analysis is the wanted brand identity. Looking from the seller’s perspective identification, differentiation and coherence motivate the creation and maintenance of a brand. Differentiation can be attained through brand identity. Basing the differentiation strategy on the marketing theory of price, place, product and impact competitive advantage is accessible. Everyone belongs to a group or network. After having launched the brand, awareness must be created. Brand awareness is generated through planned market communication. Communicating the symbol, product, personality and the brand creates value. Identification enhances repurchase and can establish loyalty among customers. The segments of possible heavy buyers and involved customers must be reached through marketing communications efforts. Online sales, specific tips, offers and events are examples of how forerunners can be treated in order to reach and satisfy buyers who are engaged with the brand. Usually a group has a leader which opinions are looked up to and respected. These persons influence the rest of the group and are called opinion leaders. The opinion leaders can be professionals or experts in some field, hobbyists or people most involved in a category, and these pre-organised groups should be targeted through direct contact and virtual intimacy. Branding means getting closer to the mediator of influence. The brand fulfilment is formed by customers’ experiences with the firm and the services and leads to perceived brand image developed in the customers’ minds. When the brand has established a clear positioning the buyer creates a trustful relation to the brand. If the brand cannot establish coherency the brand identity and -image can be dislodged. Managing the brand and communication in social media In social media the communication of a brand finds its perfect platform. In the age of Web 2.0, selfbranding tactics involve creating and maintaining social and networking profiles, personal Web sites, and blogs, as well as using search engine optimization techniques to encourage access to one’s information. When engaging in social media the designer has to be aware of the culture and rules of the entered networks. In order to show credibility the information on the different forums and networks where the brand is presented should be continuously updated. Through Web 2.0 anyone has access to add information or content to others profiles, which results in people not having total control of ones own profile. The key element of creating a brand image is through a proper profile, and others contributing to this element can lead to interference with the brand identity. Managing the brand is a balance between preservation,


renewal, extension and growth of the prototype on the one hand, and on the other the creation of new products and services to capture new circumstances of use and new customers, and to open new segments. This includes both the essentials of maintaining the brand as well as securing the future brand. Innovation is important in order for the brand to survive in the long run. Instead of putting all focus on developing technological competence and creating new products, the brands future, and what values and meaning the brand will symbolize in the future should be emphasized. Taking the customer into account can be of help not only when it comes to branding. If the designer takes the customer into account in the designing process the social media can be a tool for learning about the target market and what the customers preferences are. This can help preserve the brand’s success in the future. Integrated marketing communications Integrated marketing communications is a strategy that integrates traditional media marketing, direct marketing, public relations and other distinct marketing communications media as well as communications aspects of the delivery and consumption of goods and services and of customer service and other customer encounters. Thus, integrated marketing communications has a longterm perspective”. There are four kind of communication messages: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Planned messages Product messages Service messages Unplanned messages

The planned messages can be the result of a message sent online through social media. These messages are the least trustworthy as people know the messages are planned to influence customers. Messages about the company and its offerings, including the physical products design, its functions, materials etc. form the product messages. The communication between customer and seller, the way technology and systems function and the seller’s attitude and behavior are the service messages. The most trust worthy of the messages are the unplanned messages. These can be good or bad word-of-mouth communication, which can be spread through social networks. The word-of-mouth travels fast in social media and networks. Word-of-mouth can be positive, neutral or negative, but is usually either extremely positive or extremely negative. Total absence of communication, either deliberate or accidental, which can be not communicating with the customers or not answering questions sent through social networking sites, might impact negatively and confuse the total communication effect. Especially in critical situations if the product is defect the customer needs to be kept well informed about the process. Lack of updates on the chosen social media and networks can reduce interest of the brand and hence also damage the brand. When total communication is mastered

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properly a powerful market communication impact can be achieved which can lead to positive word-of-mouth, the message with the strongest influence on buyers. Conclusion Researchers believe in the consumer having the most influence on the branding process. It seems that it is traditionally considered that the seller forms the brand identity, which then is as such transferred to the consumer who perceive it as the brand image. The newer literature tries to prove that it is the consumer that holds the power of forming the brand and the seller should try to form the brand identity according to the consumer’s brand image. In the branding process it is preferable that the seller takes this in consideration. The brand can be shared through social media and the channels best suited for ones business should be chosen carefully. According to existing research the seller should update the channels chosen for the branding frequently. Effective branding and maintenance of the preferred brand identity can result in word-of-mouth in social media channels, social networks and content communities. All kind of buzz around the brand is positive, but unplanned messages with a negative tone should try to be avoided, due to the possibility of it harming the brand. The unplanned messages, including word-of-mouth, is what people rely most upon and thus affects the brand most effectively. References Michael A. Stelzner (2010), Social Media Marketing Industry Report, “How Marketers are using social media to grow their businesses”, Social Media Examiner Gronroos, C. (2010). Service Management and Marketing (Third Edition ed.). Chichester: John Wiley&Sons, Ltd. Hanna, R., Rohm, A., & Crittenden, V. L. (2011). We’re All Connected: The Power of the Social Media Ecosystem. Business Horizons , 265-273. Kapferer, J. (2008). The New Strategic Brand Management. London: Kogan Page Limited. Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons(53) , 59-68. Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, C., McCarthy, I., & Silvestre, B. S. (2011). Social Media? Get Serious! Understanding the Functional Building Blocks of Social Media. Business Horizons, 54, 241-251. Labrecque, L. I., Markos, E., & Milne, G. R. (2011). Online Branding: Processes, Challenges, and Implications. Journal of Interactive Marketing , 37-50. Lake, L. (2012). What is Branding and How Important is it to Your Marketing Strategy? Retrieved 03 21, 2012, from About Marketing: http://marketing. about.com/cs/brandmktg/a/whatisbranding.htm

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DISTRIBUTION AND THE NEW RETAIL IMPERATIVE Theodor Valentin Purcărea Abstract The transformation of managing and organizing distribution within the business context’s changing conditions is obvious, supply chains needing to master micro segmentation in order to excel in individualization and customization. And as a supply chain can be optimized within an Omni channel business, it is important to consider some relevant issues regarding supply chain planning and execution, Omni channel capabilities, and Omni channel customers’ clear advantages within a unified brand experience across channels, but not forgetting both that the chance to experience merchandise firsthand is offered by brick-and-mortar stores, and the new standard for a personalized crosschannel brand experience is brick-and-mobile. Brands are needing to focus more on overall experience, both online and in store, listening and pro-actively adapting to the customer’s expectations of fulfillment and delivery options, better understanding the difference between unified commerce and Omni channel, recognizing the need for a holistic customer experience that transcends channels, and creating a single commerce platform for all customer engagement points, and a single customer view across channels and devices, with the help of a two-speed architecture. Keywords: Distribution; End-to-End Value Chain; Supply Chain Planning and Execution; Omni Channel Experience; Unified Commerce JEL Classification: L81, L86, M31, Q55

The contemporary distribution landscape, End-to-End Value Chain, and Supply Chain 4.0

It’s in the challenging times that smart companies are growing, starting from the old and embracing the new, finding the motivation to get through these challenging times. Companies do know how important is to have an adequate framework for their marketing and supply chain strategy integration, and that coordination is the essence of the supply chain management, the major reason within being the solution of linking distribution channel’s members while finding and solving customers’ problems better, faster and closer, receiving their preferences and signals as early as possible, customers being an integral part of the supply chain. Lars-Erik Gadde, from the Department of Industrial Marketing, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, known for his approach of the today’s supply network strategies (Gadde, Hakanson, and Persson, 2010) and mainstream perspective on distribution (the inter-organisational coordination of distribution network constellations), (Gadde, 2012) published last year in the reputed IMP Journal (following the first of IMP’s workshops – having the theme “Managing in an interactive business world”– preceding the symposium celebrating the IMP’s 40 year anniversary) a very well documented paper (based methodologically on previous research), which analyzed three perspectives on managing and organizing distribution (the period preceding channel management, channel management era, today’s distribution arrangements), and explained the reason for the transformation from one perspective to the next. (Gadde, 2016) He concluded, among other aspects that: the principle of channel management was challenged by the business context’s changing conditions, and considerable performance improvements were enabled by the evolving

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relationships having as a prominent attribute extended involvement between the parties, while for the analysis and the understanding of the contemporary distribution landscape (of the prominent attributes of the evolving distribution arrangements) is more useful actually the reinterpretation of concepts like power, conflict and control (concepts considered “confrontational”). Within the same notable context, Gadde together with his colleague Anna Dubois and Luis Araujo from the Manchester Business School, Manchester, UK, (Araujo, Gadde, and Dubois, 2016) showed that the interactive capacity and capability of the buying firm can be expanded over time if is in place a systematic and integrated approach to three interrelated strategic issues: the consideration of what type of interface applies in the firm’s relationships with its suppliers, the consideration of the firm’s technology strategy in light of its current supplier interfaces and organizing principles, and the alignment of the firm’s internal and the external needs, one hand, with what the firm proposes to achieve from its supplier relationships and be congruent with the interfaces deployed to manage the mentioned relationships (considering the complex interplay to handle between type of interface, technology strategy, and organizing principle). These two approaches made us recall two things (among others): ▪ the so-called “Global Upstream Supply Initiative” (GUSI; End-To-End, Value Chain & Standards, 2016 Briefing Paper) of The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global, parity-based industry network driven by its members (400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, having combined sales of EUR 2.5 trillion and directly employing nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain) to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide; the GUSI project is targeting the development and implementation of a model and message standard (working also on defining a standard approach to the electronic certificate of analysis - eCOA), its focus being on gaining benefits (gaining efficiencies and reducing cost in every link in the upstream supply chains) from electronic communications between manufacturers and their suppliers of direct materials (e.g. ingredients, raw materials and packaging) on a global basis; collaboration benefits brought by this project are in the following areas: service (product availability, lead time); administration (forecasting, order processing, financial settlement, data management); operation (physical receipt, manufacturing, change-over, truck fill-rate,...); financial (working capital, inventory); it is also worth remembering within this framework that GCF’s “Consumer Engagement Principles” (My Companion Handbook. The origins and next steps; Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing , supported the process throughout and provided necessary industry insights as part of the development process) – agreed by the CGF’s Board of Directors on the 26th February, 2015 – are helping to guide and manage interaction with and among stakeholders across all digital channels, enhancing the industry’s reputation now and in the future; it is wellknown that: Ruediger Hagedorn, Senior Manager, Endto-End Value Chain, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) attended the Academic Partnership 2016 SCM4ECR Conference organized by the SCM-ECR Laboratory,

The Faculty of Economic Sciences, Valahia University of Târgovişte – in collaboration with Czestochowa University of Technology (Poland), Romanian Logistics Association – ARILOG, University Politehnica of Bucharest (Faculty of Transports), Bucharest University of Economic Studies (Faculty of Marketing & Faculty of Business and Tourism), and Romanian-American University (Faculty of Management-Marketing); the theme of 2016 SCM 4 ECR Conference was: Future Value Chain – Rethinking Networks through Omni-Channel for Consumer. New challenges of IoT in Supply Chain Management. (CRD, 2016)


Optimizing the supply chain planning and execution. Figure 1: Ruediger Hagedorn between Theodor Purcarea and Virgil Popa Source: http://www.crd-aida.ro/2016/12/latest-e2e-news-updatesfrom-the-consumer-goods-forum-paris/

▪ McKinsey’s representatives’ approach of Supply Chain 4.0 in consumer goods, in April 2017, showing, among other aspects: the shift in the focus of the supply-chain management function (well-integrating operations from suppliers through to customers, with decisions on cost, inventory, and customer service made from an end-toend perspective); the disruption created by digitization which requires companies to rethink the way they design their supply chain, and leads to a Supply Chain 4.0, which becomes faster, more flexible, more granular, more accurate, and more efficient; the evolution of the supply-chain planning, which will benefit tremendously from big data and advanced analytics, as well as from the automation of knowledge work; the huge step forward taken by logistics through better connectivity, advanced analytics, additive manufacturing, and advanced automation (upending traditional warehousing and inventory-management strategies); the tremendously change of the performance management, which is becoming a truly operational process geared to realtime exception handling and continuous improvement; the improvement of the order management; the next level of collaboration in the supply chain formed by the supply-chain cloud, which is a joint supply-chain platform between customers, the company, and suppliers (providing a shared logistics infrastructure or even joint planning solutions); supply chains need to master micro segmentation in order to excel in individualization and customization; a major lever to increase the operational effectiveness of supply chains is formed by the elimination of today’s digital waste and adopting new technologies together; three key enablers are required by the transformation into a digital supply chain: a clear definition, new capabilities, and a supportive environment. (Alicke, Rexhausen, and Seyfert, 2017)

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Ensuring Omni channel experience Challenged to keep pace with a changing market and changing customer expectations, more B2B players seek to develop their ecommerce capabilities, and that is why they are looking to big name retailers in B2C retail, using different criteria, but expecting the same levels of customer experience (CX) and convenience. And on the way of digital integration they are building on internal buy in, trying to capitalize on opportunities like Omni channel CX and unified back end data (integrated into a centralized database) informing their business strategy so as to accurately forecast and meet demand. (b2bmarketing.wbresearch.com, 2017) A supply chain can be optimized within an Omni channel business, by optimizing the assortment planning, leveraging data in the supply chain, forecasting product returns, balancing stock between online and stores, and forecasting for different online delivery methods. (Ylinen, 2017) On the other hand, retailers are challenged to obtain a comprehensive customer profile, by linking a customer’s in-store behavior with digital data, gaining insights into the entire customer journey and customer activities across channels, giving them the right information at the right time and on the right channel. (Euclid analytics, 2017) A research conducted by MARTEC International (a specialist retail consulting and training company and the market leader in this type of research, which assists retailers to improve their business performance and helps suppliers to retail to execute their go to market strategies more successfully; its clients include retailers, technology and merchandise vendors, ingredient manufacturers, CPG and FMCG companies, banks, telecommunications companies and venture capitalists), and commissioned by RELEX Solutions – representing the latest annual State of the Retail Supply Chain report, which this year focuses on Europe (covering European retailers with sales in excess of €100 million p.a. (State of the Retail Supply Chain 2017) There were interviewed 80 retailers across France, Germany, Italy, the Nordics, Spain and UK representing a total of €248 billion of sales) – identified top six issues regarding supply chain planning and execution: handling promotions effectively; better collaboration with suppliers; increasing availability without increasing stock holding; managing product

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introductions; reducing overall stock holding without impacting sales; automating key processes. Other relevant findings showed that: space data is not readily accessible in the business, what represents a huge weakness by not systemically coming together to support the right decisions and actions; there is a fair way to go before retailers have full supply chain visibility; the retail industry is moving towards a single stock pool quite quickly (single stock pool for all sales channels); in terms of reporting and analysis, the majority of respondents are unhappy with their current supply chain system, being much in demand with regard to: an accurate forecast of future out of stocks, building supply chain plans based on SKU / store forecast and alerting on future capacity challenges in the DC and stores, redistributing excess stocks to outlets with higher sales. According to an excerpt from Total Retail’s inaugural Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers report, Zumiez (the clothing, footwear, accessories and hard goods retailer for skate and snow enthusiasts) is coming in first place (tied with DSW, UGG and Urban Outfitters), receiving a maximum score of 100 points across the seven criteria (buy online, pick up in-store; search in-store products online; shared cart; loyalty points earned/redeemed across channels; return products across channels; three or more channels available for customer service; and pricing consistency across channels). Total Retail Staff underlines that Zumiez (over 500-plus retail locations in the U.S. turned into fulfillment centers) implemented in 2016 a new platform that provided it with a point-of-sale experience that includes full Omni channel capabilities (stores being an essential part of Zumiez’s Omni channel experience), its customers having clear advantages (to reserve/buy online and pick up in-store same day, to ship from any store to any location, to order online from the store, to have customer service ensured across phone, mail and email, and to redeem points both online and in-store thanks to the loyalty program Zumiez Stash with the help of an app with the same name). Giving customers the best in the Omni channel world. Unified commerce, the new retail imperative In May this year, the CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. stated that mobile accessibility is dictating consumer behaviors, and brands are challenged: to deliver answers or experiences on a timeline that works with users; to rethink customer service to support the new immediacy standards with the help of social media platforms, offering relevant, authentic branded content focus and authentic experiences that connect to customers in real time. (Agrawal, 2017) A white paper from FitForCommerce highlights the need of presenting a unified brand experience across channels, of optimizing the use of inventory and giving store associates the tools they need to serve Omni channel customers which are the most valuable customers for retailers in today’s world. (FitForCommerce, 2017) On the other hand, a Euclid Analytics commissioned consumer survey report from June 2017 attracted the attention on the fact that the chance to experience merchandise firsthand is offered by brick-and-mortar stores, this being something shoppers cannot get online, but the smartphone technology will be used by retailers to enhance the brick-and-mortar stores’ advantages, and to give their customers the best in the Omni channel world, while differentiating themselves by: using technology to enhance the human connection, focusing on the sensory shopping experience that isn’t possible online, and continuing to reward the in-store shopper. While according to the Vice President of Marketing Products & Capabilities of “Know more. Sell more.®” (a leading provider of tailored marketing and loyalty solutions for branded credit; part of the Alliance Data - NYSE: ADS - family of businesses), the new standard (which creates opportunities for retailers to enhance the in-store shopping experience based on what’s working well online – see for example Notable℠, launched by Alliance Data) for a personalized crosschannel brand experience is brick-and-mobile, brands needing to focus more on overall experience, both online and in store. (McKenzie, 2017) Let’s recall that: • two years ago a Deloitte point of view (Deloitte AB, 2015) underlined that the Omni channel customers expect their product delivered whenever and wherever they wish, the barriers between the various channels to meet the increased complexity of orders (coming from bricks-and-mortars, showrooms, online channels, and mobile among others) being broken down by the Omni channel fulfillment; in the current customer’s world there is a real need to listen and pro-actively adapt to the customer’s expectations of fulfillment and delivery options; • a month before the above mentioned Deloitte point of view, eMarketer’s Yory Wurmser interviewed Ken Morris, partner and co-founder of retail consulting firm Boston Retail Partners (BRP, specialized in technology and business challenges associated with Omni channel retail), who explained the difference between unified commerce (where it’s all connected in real time: the mobile side, the web side and the store side) and Omni channel (multiple channels, but no one piece of software, just many versions of the truth); Morris revealed among other aspects: the importance for retailers to have a mobile solution that’s cloud-based, as people are moving toward mobile, retailers needing not only to engage with consumers where they want, any time they want, but also to have a consistent message across the brand; a win for both the retailer, and the customer, is to ensure the expertise of the store associates, and give this selling experience via mobile device to the new associates; (eMarketer, 2015) • a year later, in 2016, the BRP Special report showed that within the recognized need by the retailers for a holistic customer experience that transcends channels, the importance of offering a true unified commerce (as the goal, the “faux” Omni channel being the reality) environment to retailers’ customers is realized, this kind of commerce going beyond Omni channel by putting CX first, breaking down the walls between internal channel silos and leveraging a single commerce platform (which combines POS, mobile, Web, call center and clienteling) for all


customer engagement points, what is becoming the new retail imperative; • a recent apparel Roadmap Report (EmsembleIQ and Apparel 2017) highlighted that unified commerce leaves no room for disconnects (allowing retailer’s operations playing like a symphony orchestra), and this thanks to its core characteristics: all data is accessible via one platform; key data is available in real time, including information about customers (orders, loyalty preferences), products, prices and inventory; data is accessible to all parties who need it (customers, management, buyers, supply chain, store operations, marketing, planning and allocation etc.). There is no doubt that there is also a real need of having a system not only to empower marketers to act on customer data across channels and devices in real-time so as to deliver relevant and effective campaigns, but also to measure their performance, all of these in the same platform, as revealed by Zaius, the first CRM built specifically for B2C marketers. (MarketingProfs, 2017) Having a single customer view (one definitive profile for each customer, every one of customers’ interactions with a brand across channels and devices) is considered to be key in this respect.

Instead of conclusions Three month ago we highlighted significant priorities for retailers facing both customers’ more pressing expectations and their unmet buyer journey needs (both retailers and their customers instantly connecting and sharing information), showing that retailers are forced to constantly innovate in providing a better shopping experience, faster adopt digital strategies while giving their customers a strong sense of value within the context of trying to choose the best experience of the digital and brick-and-mortar environment. (Purcarea, 2017) While in September 2014 we showed that: the wheel of distribution keeps turning, retail being in a proper position to confirm the trend of increase on competing with each other primarily on the basis of creating great customer experience; a requirement for today’s Omni-channel retailers (retail sector being reshaped by the digital interaction, consumers engaging any moment with brands in-store, online, mobile) is the ability to track and manage the customer journey, by intelligently predicting what a consumer is going to do at every step along this journey, considering both, personalization as the future of retail marketing, and customer data and analytics as the lifeblood of retail marketing; the key characteristic of tomorrow’s winning retailers will be the “hyper agility” that allows retailers to quickly and effectively respond and transform their operations, by simultaneously focusing on specific areas. In June this year we noted that, in the opinion of McKinsey’s representatives, (Bossert and Laartz, 2017) there is a real need for companies competing in the fast-changing digital world to group processes and systems (as a way to continually improve business capabilities without fear of disrupting entire systems) into two categories: digital business capabilities (the basis on which to compete in an online world) that are differentiating for the customer experience, and those that support transactional capabilities. This kind of grouping (which helps companies direct their resources appropriately) is called by McKinsey’s representatives two-speed architecture, being considered a critical element of the perpetual-evolution model which: emphasizes lightweight connections to improve transmission performance and address the problem of latency (the time it takes for companies to deliver web pages to online customers who demand instant responses at every click); allows companies, among other aspects, to upgrade core applications within CRM, ERP, PLM, and SCM systems (module by module/ service by service without having to make whole-system replacements), and the least but not the last – going on this way – to keep pace with digital-born competitors. And allow us to end by reiterating that beyond the new operating model chosen, what matters is the supply chain integration, completely integrating all relevant information for organizing principle, technology strategy, and relationships’ interface. References Alicke, K., Rexhausen, D. and Seyfert, A., Supply Chain 4.0 in consumer goods, April 2017, retrieved on 26.04.2017, from: http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/supply-chain-4-0-inconsumer-goods? Araujo, L., Gadde, L.-E., and Dubois, A., Purchasing and supply management and the role of supplier interfaces, IMP Journal, Vol. 10, No 1, 2016, DOI 10.1108/IMP-06-2015-0025, pp. 2-24 Gadde, L.-E., Hakanson, H., and Persson, G., Supply Network Strategies, Willey, Chichester, 2010 Gadde, L.-E., La dynamique de des réseaux de distribution: implications pour les intermédiaires, Revue Management & Avenir, Vol. 51, No 1, 2012, pp. 137-154 Gadde, L.-E., The rise and fall of channel management, IMP Journal, Vol. 10, No 1, 2016, DOI 10.1108/IMP-06-2015-0021, pp. 129-153 Ylinen, T., Supply chain planning in online retail. 5 steps to improve inventory management in your e-commerce operations, RELEX, retrieved on 24.05.2017, from: relex-supply-chain-planning-online-retail-ebook-web *** End-To-End, Value Chain & Standards, Global Upstream Supply Initiative, 07, 2016, Briefing Paper, retrieved on 30.12.2016, from: 2016-E2E-Briefing-Paper-GUSI.pdf, www.theconsumergoodsforum.com *** GCF’s “Consumer Engagement Principles”, Companion Manual, 2nd edition, August 2016, retrieved on 30.12.2016, from: theconsumergoodsforum.com

201609-CGF-Consumer_Engagement_Principles_Companion_Manual-2nd-edition.pdf, www.

*** Latest E2E News & Updates from the Consumer Goods Forum, Paris, December 30, 2016, http://www.crd-aida.ro/2016/12/latest-e2e-news-updates-from-the-consumer-goods-forum-paris/ *** Defining Omnichannel Excellence in B2B, retrieved on 20.04.2017, from: http://b2bmarketing.wbresearch.com/defining-omnichannel-excellence-in-b2b-ml *** Guide to Cross-Channel Marketing with In-Store Profiles, Euclid analytics, 2017, retrieved on 05.04.2017, from: Guide_to_Cross_Channel_Marketing.pdf

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LÉON F. WEGNEZ (BY COURTESY OF) – COMMERCIAL PLANNING (IN THE DISTRIBUTIVE TRADE), “DISTRIBUTION D’AUJOURD’HUI”, 58ÈME ANNÉE, FÉVRIER 2017, BRUSSELS Léon F. Wegnez

Sharing with our distinguished Readers a well-known source of usable and useful knowledge. Prof. Dr. h. c. Léon F. WEGNEZ is an Honorary Member of the Romanian Distribution Committee, and distinguished Member of the Editorial Board of our “Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine“. He was honored by the European Retail Academy (ERA) as the 2015 “Man of the Year” (the distinguished personalities who have been honored by ERA in the last six years were: Philip Alexander Nobel, John L. Stanton, Léon F. Wegnez, Romano Prodi, Klaus Toepfer, and Robert Aumann). Knowing our distinguished readers’ thirst for knowledge, we offer you, by courtesy of this remarkable personality, the above mentioned article published in the prestigious “Distribution d’aujourd’hui”.

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G-GLOBAL, GLOBAL EDUCATION, FOOD FOR THOUGHT, 10 YEARS AEF, INNOVATION ACCELERATOR, WORLD AWARDS, AND SILK ROAD EXPANSION Bernd Hallier

John Stanton, Bernd Hallier and Theodor Purcarea

Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier, President of the European Retail Academy (ERA), an Honorary Member of the Romanian Distribution Committee, and distinguished Member of the Editorial Board of “Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine” (he is also Honorary Member of the Romanian Scientific Society of Management - SSMAR) attracted our attention on great events happening in the second quarter of 2017, and allowed us to present them. It is also worth mentioning that immediately after visiting Romania for the first time on the occasion of the 24th International Congress of the International Association for the Distributive Trade (AIDA Brussels), Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier sent us, in May 2008, a memorable letter we have referred initially in the Journal of the Romanian Marketing Association (AROMAR), no. 5/1998, and also later, in 2010, in the first issue of the Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine.

G-Global On April 3, 2017, European Retail Academy (ERA) informed us that the G-Global communication platform was initiated by Kazakhstan’s President S. Nazarbayev as a strategic bridge between the big global players and the developing countries: it serves all countries of the globe! G-Global is also a tactical tool to promote the Green Economy like via the EXPO 2017 in Astana with the focus to save energy.


G-Global and ERA are connected by three links : the President of the Eurasian Club of Scientists, Murat Ratovich, who is a Board member of ERA; Prof. B. Hallier is member of the G-Global Developing Community; the Global Green University (www.european-retail-academy.org/GGU) was started as an idea of the World Economic Youth Forum in Astana in 2013 under the joint leadership of Prof. Dr. M. Fedorov and Prof. Dr. B. Hallier.

Global Education ERA let us know on April 15, 2017 that the European Retail Academy, G-Global Development Community , G-Global Business Portal and Sumato Education will organize/promote jointly a Global Education and Science Forum in September 2017 in Shymkent City/Kazakhstan. The Forum is planned to develop recommendations for the Government of Kazakhstan and the Central Asian Countries and intends to launch major projects in education, research and science (more info@innoker.org ). Part of that initiative is also the Almaty Eurasian University Complex (www.european-retail-academy.org/AEUC).

Food for Thought On April 30, 2017, ERA informed us that in Nairobi/Kenya a slum-project is entitled “Shangilia” - the translation stands for “Enjoy”! It all started in 1993 by the film “Don’t Cry, Child of Africa”, which reported about the fate of street-children. The main-actor Anne Wanjugu one year later created the Shangilia-project as a focus for vulnerable children beyond that film. In 2004 the Cap Anamur Club of German doctors bought some ground for a new school and sleeping accomodations for that project. In 2009 a special Shangilia Foundation was established in Germany to support the education under the supervision of Japheth Njenga. In 2017 Shangilia was visited by German IKV-members in context with the joint Food Waste Awareness Exhibition together with the HAWA Artists in the Creativity Gallery of the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi.


The Group intends to build up art-courses for Shangilia over the next three years and to connect Food & Food for Thought.

10 years AEF ERA let us know on May 5, 2017 that in June 2017 there will be the 10th Astana Economic Forum - initiated by Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbayev - supported by G-Global, the Eurasian Club of Scientists, the Astana Club of Nobel Laureates and the European Retail Academy. In the same week EXPO 2017 is opened in Astana: a lighthouse for saving energy to become a more Green Economy. For Prof. Dr. B. Hallier a “green economy” is a Global House of Harmony between Economics, Ecology and Ethics. Also the two terms “micro-credits” and “social business” play a major role in this concept: those two key-words had been also focused in the works of the Nobel Peace Laureates Prof. Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai from Africa (Laureate 2004) and Prof. Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh (Laureate 2006) - Prof. Yunus at the photo together


with Prof. M. Fedorov and Prof. B. Hallier at the Astana Economic Forum 2014. Africa and the Indian sub-continent have a lot in common, Hallier said - and they should be enabled by the World Community to feed themselves by stopping food losses and food waste.

Innovation Accelerator On May 15, 2017, ERA informed us that The World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator identifies, nurtures and scales bold solutions to fight hunger globally; it is identifying and testing solutions in an agile way. At the moment there are 22 projects listed across 14 countries (LINK).

The European Retail Academy supports the penetration of Anti-Food Losses/-Waste activities around the world like via its special site Global Green University (LINK), its e-learning Food Waste Management (Download eBook), participation at the 1st pan-African Postharvest Loss Congress (News at ABF) and at the 3rd World Save Food Conference at the Interpack Exhibition in Duesseldorf/Germany coming on 4.05.17 (LINK).

World Awards

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ERA let us know on May 25, 2017 that in 1887 the department store “Au Bon Marché” in Paris was designed by Gustave Eiffel; its 25.000 square meters sales area were described by the famous French writer Emile Zola as “The Paradise for Ladies”. It was the start of strong competition between Paris, London, Berlin and other big cities to attract high-level international consumers. Still today department stores are traffic builder for cities and for shopping centers. In 2017 the top of the top of the department stores will meet at the 5th World Department Store Forum (WDSF), this time in Toronto/Canada. In that event two Awards will be handed over: one honours outstanding performances by sales associates in serving and fulfilling customer expectations, commitment beyond duty, product knowledge, team work and commercial results: its three finalists are Al Tayer / Harvey Nichols - UAE; Brown Thomas - Ireland; Neiman Marcus - USA. The second Award recognizes the important role of in-store campaigns for department stores in creating footfall, increasing conversion rates and sales, as well as connecting with both loyal and new customers. Here the three finalists are: “Enjoy the Front Row” by LaRinascente - Italy; “The Give Registry” by Myer - Australia and “EveryBODY” by Selfridges & Co. - England.

Silk Road Expansion On June 2, 2017, ERA informed us that China will invest 900 billion US$ to modernize its railroad tracks as a revitalization of the traditional Silk Road. Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kirghistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Iran will benefit from the South Route - the North will increase traffic via Moscow, Warsaw, Prague and the harbor of Hamburg. One of the railroad tracks is ending at the moment at the Slovak city of Kosice. If that lane would be expanded by only 420 km to Vienna/Austria also this Gate of Central Europe could become a Silk Road Hub!


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Profile for Romanian Distribution Committee

Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 2, Year 2017  

Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 2, Year 2017  

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