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Existing Customers and Home Markets Drive Growth

Idea posted: June 2019
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

The biannual Duke Fuqua CMO survey highlights growth strategies that are inward-focused, as well as incorporating the strengthening of marketing capabilities, a significant increase in strategic channel partnerships, continued growth in social media spending, and the continuing emergence of AI.

Idea #741
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Global CFOs: Facing Growing Data Security Threats

Idea posted: October 2018
  • Operations

Companies are increasing their efforts to combat data security breaches, a growing problem around the world according to a recent global survey of CFOs. 

Idea #717
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Source: Pexels

CMO Survey: Value of Company Spending on Social Media

Idea posted: March 2018
  • Marketing

While digital age marketing channels such as social media marketing and mobile marketing has captured the public’s attention, the view from the Chief Marketing Officer’s desk is more measured, according to a new survey of marketing leaders in the U.S. Social media marketing continues to grab more and more of the marketing budget, for example, but measuring its impact on the bottom line remains elusive.

Idea #697
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Kalfafell Iceland. Photo by Gian Reto Tarntzer on Unsplash

How Linear Thinking in a Non-Linear World Leads to Wrong Decisions

Idea posted: December 2017
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Our brains prefer to think in straight lines: if one bag of oranges costs $5, then two bags cost $10 and three cost $15. However, this bias toward linear thinking often traps unwary business decision-makers who fail to recognize the non-linear relationships they are dealing with (e.g. increasing retention rates from 10% to 30% or from 60% to 80% does not have an equal 20% impact on customer lifetime value).

Idea #685
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Corporate Culture: A Key Drivers of a Firm’s Value

Idea posted: January 2017
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

A survey of more than 1300 executives confirms that for most leaders, corporate culture is one of the top five contributors to a firm’s value — and that current CEOs are most responsible for establishing an effective culture.

Idea #641
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Agricultural calendar, Le Maître du Boccace de Genève, c.1448-1475 (Courtesy: Musée Condé)

Variety Leads to Happiness — If There’s Enough Time!

Idea posted: December 2016
  • Learning & Behaviour

Does variety in activities make us happy? New research shows that time makes the difference. Variety is welcomed over the course of a day or for longer periods, when we’re trying to stay stimulated; however, it’s unwelcomed within short periods such as an hour, when multiple activities feel unproductive.

Idea #636
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Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz talks to the media (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

CEOs Can Galvanize Public Opinion – and Help Business

Idea posted: July 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

More CEOs are speaking out on social issues unrelated to their business. A new study shows that this activism can galvanize public opinion – and doesn’t hurt sales. 

Idea #611
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Wayuu bags, hand made by women from the Wayuu tribe in Colombia (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Reusable Grocery Bags: How Green Customers Help the Environment — and Your Business

Idea posted: September 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Shoppers bringing their own bags help reduce the adverse environmental impact of plastic bags. New research shows, however, that the environment is not the only winner. Environmentally conscious shoppers are inspired to buy more expensive organic products, and reward themselves with unplanned indulgent purchases — a boon to grocery stores.

Idea #542
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CFO Survey: Most Hit by Hackers Otherwise Optimistic

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

New research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business global survey of CFOs reveals that 80% of companies have been hacked. Small and medium-sized businesses have been the hardest hit. Other results from the CFO survey include expectations of wage hikes and the impact of the strong U.S. dollar on U.S. exports.

Idea #534
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The Golden Goose, cover illustration by Mary Lott Seaman, published in 1928 by the MacMillan Company

Will Corporations Leaving Basic Scientific Research Kill the Golden Goose?

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Who will invent the new Nylon? Unlike the DuPonts of the past, large corporations are focusing more on applied research, which can lead more quickly to products, than basic, longer-term scientific research that benefits society as a whole.

Idea #509
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A Meeting of the School Trustees, Robert Harris, 1885 (Courtesy: National Gallery of Canada) 

Corporate Governance: The Power of Outside Directors on CEO-Only Boards

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Once packed with company insiders, corporate boards are filling up with outside directors, theoretically resulting in greater independent oversight. New research shows, however, that paradoxically having the CEO as the only insider on the board actually enhances the CEO’s power and undermines outside oversight.

Idea #506
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Firms Are Not Adapting to the Millennial Workforce

Idea posted: February 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Millennials bring technological savvy to the workplace, but also require focused managerial attention. According to the latest CFO Survey from Duke Fuqua and CFO Magazine, many companies — especially American companies — are not adapting to attract or retain millennials.

Idea #481
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Margaret Thatcher, 1925-2013 (Courtesy: Associated Press)

A Lower Voice Can Take You Higher Up the Leadership Ladder

Idea posted: February 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

When it comes to success in business, a man’s voice can make a difference — especially if he hopes to become CEO. New research reveals that men with deeper voices manage larger companies, make more money and stay in their positions longer. (Women were not included in this research though Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power was supposedly helped by coaching that lowered the pitch of her voice.)

Idea #483
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Social Media Grabbing a Major Share of the Marketing Budget

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Marketing

Companies will be steadily increasing their spending on social media marketing in the next few years, even though most marketing executives cannot measure the financial impact of such spending. The shift in consumer buying patterns to online makes a shift to social media marketing a logical step, despite the current inability to demonstrate ROI. The pressing issue now is for companies to integrate social media activities into their general marketing campaigns. 

Idea #456
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Hierarchical or Egalitarian Organizations? The Advantages of Hierarchy

Idea posted: September 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

While hierarchies can be used by people in power to control others, new research indicates hierarchies also help people in lower positions to feel a sense of control and order in their lives. Change agents who are flattening hierarchies to create leaner, more effective organizations must make sure that they don’t unintentionally undermine this sense of order.

Idea #436
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Hedge Fund Activism Can Help, Not Hurt, in the Long Run

Idea posted: August 2014
  • CSR & Governance

New evidence disputes the general consensus that institutional shareholder activism has a long-term negative impact on the results of a corporation. A team of researchers from Harvard, Duke and Columbia argue, based on their empirical research, that on the contrary shareholder activism leads to improvement in both short-term and long-term results.

Idea #428
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 A typical "As seen on TV" logo present on many products in the US (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Brand Placement on TV: The Positive Impact of Fast-forwarding

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Marketing

Placing brands with different ‘personalities’ next to each other, as in a block of ads during a TV commercial break, impacts how consumers view the brands, new research shows. For example, a safe, efficient product seems like a more exciting choice simply because its ad followed the advertisement for another product that emphasizes excitement and adventure. But this brand-pairing effect only happens when consumers are not paying too much attention to either brand… as when they’re fast-forwarding through the commercials of a taped TV show.  

Idea #347
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The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs, Georges De La Tour, c. late 1620s, Louvre, Paris (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

When Financially Deprived Employees May Shift Moral Standards

Idea posted: October 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Although moral standards are valued unequivocally, moral behaviour is another story. Under certain conditions, people will let their moral standards shift. New research shows that financial deprivation is one of those conditions and this can have an impact in the workplace.

Idea #227
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People with children stand in queue to oceanarium at shopping mall RIO at Moscow Dmitrovsky highway

How Checkout Lines Affect Consumer Purchases

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

While retailers know that lines or queues are inevitable, new research shows just how much impact a long line can have on purchase behavior. The research, conducted by a team from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Columbia Business School, also demonstrates that, contrary to the accepted wisdom, short lines each served by one checkout clerk is better than one line served by several clerks.

Idea #169
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Ximending District, 2013, Taipei, Taiwan

Consumers/Brand Relationships and Fair Treatment

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Marketing

Different brands have different relationships with their customers, just as social relationships differ among people (casual friendships, committed relationships, etc.) Some relationships are strictly transactional; in the case of brands, customers expect value for money, and little else. Other relationships are more of a partnership; customers expect the brand to ‘care,’ just as caring is a component of certain social relationships. New research from the Rotman School of Management and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business advances the concept that brand relationships mirror social

Idea #129
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Costume Partee

Unseen Dangers of Positive Stereotyping

Idea posted: April 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Executives and human resource managers are always on the lookout for demeaning language and negative stereotyping, realizing that any pejorative phrase tinged with racist or other discriminatory connotation is offensive, creates a hostile work environment, undermines the culture of the company, and can eventually lead to expensive litigation.

But what of supposedly ‘inoffensive’ positive stereotypes — joking, for instance, that blacks are more athletic (an all-too common example)? Research by professor Aaron Kay of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business reveals that positive

Idea #116
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