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Marion A. Trozzolo (1925 –1992) was an innovator, inventor, entrepreneur and  the first manufacturer of teflon coated cookware (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Should Technology Innovators Participate in the Commercialization Process?

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Conventional wisdom has it that technology based entrepreneurs are better off commercializing their product by contracting with an incumbent (i.e. licensing). But this trade-off may not always be optimal, because if the innovator can learn from its own commercialization experience, albeit losing some profit initially, it could avoid making the same trade-off with future innovations, thus securing long-term profitability. Alternatively, joint commercialization may be the best approach.

Idea #448
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Gedränge vor dem Geschäft Thomas Prewein, by Josef Engelhart, 1941 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Surprising Benefit of Long Queues for Customers and Business

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

The accepted wisdom is that long lines are bad for business. In fact, they can be very good for business, as long as they are not too long. Research shows that long lines help customers learn what’s worth waiting for, and help businesses attract uninformed customers.

Idea #446
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Replica of Rushworh's music store in Liverpool, where the Beatles bought their first Gibson guitars (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

When Showrooms Help Online Companies

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Nearly every bricks-and-mortar company will have an online presence today. But a few intrepid companies are going in the opposite direction: online companies are starting to open offline showrooms — and research shows the result is a boost in sales… and happy customers.

Idea #434
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EU Energy Label

Why Differentiating Rating Scale Labelling is Important

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Marketing

Rating scales, such as those used in online review platforms or stores (for example, Amazon or Tripadvisor) or by government rating agencies (such as agencies rating energy savings), allow consumers to evaluate the performance of products or services. However, new research shows that when the scale levels of the rating scale are not distinguished visually (e.g. by colour) or linguistically (e.g. using the linguistically different A, B, C, D rather than A, A+, A++, A+++), consumers are more likely to ignore them — and this can hurt the sales. 

Idea #431
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The Mexican Stock Exchange (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Companies from Emerging Markets Are Putting the Heat on Multinationals

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

While multinational corporations typically establish their dominant competitive advantage thanks to their position in the industry and/or access to strategic resources, somehow firms from emerging markets who have neither of these advantages are beginning to dominate globally — or at least compete for domination — in their industries. The reason: while MNCs compete on position or possession, the emerging MNCs are competing on action. They have developed innovative business models, often as a direct result of conditions in their home markets, that give them the edge. 

Idea #427
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Three Product Innovation Strategies for Emerging Markets and How to Choose

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Emerging markets such as India or China represent lucrative new markets but also present a set of challenges, including lower income customers, poor infrastructure and poor service availability. There are three fundamentally different types of product and service innovation that can serve these markets: cost, frugal and good-enough innovation. Understanding the differences can help companies choose the right emerging market product innovation strategy for them.

Idea #430
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Naremon Thepchai Theatre production of Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman', 1971(Source: Wikimedia Commons)|

Do Your Managers’ Responses to Market Results Damage Profits?

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Self-serving biases can lead managers to make less than optimal decisions when faced with poor results. This can hurt profits as their biases lead to the wrong quality and price responses to market results. However, forward looking executives can take steps to pre-emptively counter those biases when they make their initial price and quality improvement decisions.

Idea #423
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Inclusive Leadership: Aligning the Different

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
Institutions: Mercer LLC

Globalization, advances in technology, and the impact of emerging markets have made the leadership of organizations increasingly complex. To address this complexity leaders need to embrace the ‘different’ and to become ‘inclusive’.  Inclusive leaders have the skill to engage with people with different backgrounds and outlooks, are willing to adapt personally, and are able to create a shared vision which brings diverse individuals to a collective focus on a coherent end-goal. Organizations should follow the advice from Apple and their strapline “Think Different.”

Idea #415
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How to Be a Customer-intimate Company

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Customer-intimacy is the ultimate customer-centric model, resulting in long-term relationships with the most valuable and profitable customers. It’s not easy to achieve, however. For most businesses, becoming customer-intimate is more of a transformation than a transition. The first step involves a reversal of the normal ‘logic’ of business — and the next a significant organizational change. 

Idea #413
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The Unexpected Impact of Click and Collect Retail Programs

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

When retailers started offering the ‘buy-online, pickup-in-store’ option, also known as BOPS, the assumption would be that online sales would increase. New research shows, however, that BOPS actually reduces online sales while increasing offline sales — a surprising but positive result.

Idea #527
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Third Floor Coffee Bar, London School of Economics, 1964 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Building Buy-In: The Value of Informal Relationships and Coalitions

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
Institutions: Baylor University

Being able to influence senior executives is desirable for most, if not all, members of an organization. According to this Idea, the key lies in internal relationships and informal coalitions. These relationships, used by executives positioned in lower levels of the organization, can help span internal boundaries across a company's various business units, thus enabling better communication and better strategic decision-making.

Idea #405
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The Intrigue, James Ensor, 1890 (Courtesy: The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp)

How Crowdfunding Affects Product and Pricing Decisions

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Seeking investors through crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter requires entrepreneurs to rethink their pricing and product line strategies, taking into account the mix of investor/buyers who will attach different levels of value to the new product or service.

Idea #402
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How to Win a Price War

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Price wars are usually won by companies with the widest profit margins and the best cost structures — i.e. those that can afford to fight them. It is, however, possible for a business with a cost disadvantage to achieve victory. Much depends on the way a ‘campaign’ is carried out and planned. Sometimes strategic capabilities, not cost structure, decides the outcome.

Idea #403
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Decision Support Systems: Under-rated and Under-used?

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Technology now provides a range of decision support systems to interrogate, process and analyse data on markets and customers and help companies answer ‘what-if’ questions. The best ones, however, could be being neglected by organizations. Recent empirical research finds a clear discrepancy between users’ perceptions of decision support systems and how these systems actually perform. 

Idea #387
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"Your reputation precedes you" Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton. Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in That Hamilton Woman, 1941, produced and directed by Alexander Korda, distributed by United Artists.

How to Measure and Manage Reputation

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: Henley Business School

Reputation management is a complex task and the measurement of it particularly so, concerned as it is with diverse stakeholder groups and their respective, sometimes differing, evaluations of an organization. Getting the right level of engagement with stakeholders is a critical factor in a firm achieving its objectives, because from that engagement business recommendation and take-up will flow.

This research focuses on the pharmaceutical industry, although the model it uses is transferable to other industries and therefore offers potential to the wider corporate communication and

Idea #378
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Emerging Market Strategy: Creating Order out of Chaos

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: Henley Business School

New and emerging markets present a wealth of opportunities but they also comprise highly complex business environments that can change rapidly. The key to success is understanding – understanding competitors and what they are up to; understanding consumers and what they want, now and into the future; and understanding the host governments of the countries you are targeting. It’s a complex process but recent research proposes a two-step approach to strategic thinking that can help make sense of these emerging economies.  

Idea #373
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The Creation of Adam, Sistine Chapel, fresco detail, 1509, by Michelangelo

Digit Ratio Predicts Men's Product Choices

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Marketers have long known that product choice cannot be predicted reliably by knowing someone’s sex. Multiple factors — ranging from age and income to lifestyle and family preferences — influence purchasing decisions. Now, there’s another variable to add to the list. Recent empirical research suggests that digit ratio — the relative lengths of the fore and third fingers — is linked to the product choices of men.

Idea #366
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Building a Brand Image Across Multiple Countries

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Marketing

Multi-country brands should position themselves consistently across markets only on image attributes that are very important in all of the various countries. For example, brand image attributes related to benevolence or self-direction, which are valued highly in most countries, can be used consistently. Better to be inconsistent (used in certain markets only) with a divisive value such as hedonism or power.

Idea #372
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1956 Ballantine Ale original vintage advertisement (Source: Brookston Beer Bulletin)

Ambiguous Ads: Hidden Messages, Hidden Risks?

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing

Companies sometimes use covert ‘cues’ and ambiguous images to advertise their products. This ‘purposeful polysemy’ enables them to target minority groups without alienating ‘mainstream’ consumers. It is not, however, a foolproof strategy. Research suggests that heterosexual men respond less positively to ‘gay window’ advertising.

Idea #360
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The Arctic Expedition - the Crow’s Nest. Cover illustration (detail) for The Graphic, May 1875, by Samuel Edmund Waller

Does Your Organization Need a Chief External Officer?

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Many large organizations face challenges in managing the demands of external non-market environments — political and social aspects of their working environment. This Idea suggests the creation of a chief external officer and gives some guidance on how to ensure their success.

Idea #362
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"Drink Coca-Cola 5¢", an 1890s advertising poster (Source: Wikimedia Commons) 

How Advert-Evoked Feelings Sway Attitudes to Brands

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Marketing

A new study, recreating real-world marketplace conditions, shows that positive feelings evoked by ads can create positive feelings toward brands, both directly and indirectly. This applies to all products, although hedonistic products show the greatest impact of ads on brand attitudes.

Idea #363
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‘Dans le Souk aux Cuivres’, Nicola Forcella, an Italian painter born before 1868 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Customer Participation Builds Loyalty

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Marketing

Companies focus on encouraging customer word-of-mouth while ignoring the benefit of customer participation — encouraging customer feedback and suggestions to the company. Yet, research shows that participation can increase customer loyalty even more than word-of-mouth. 

Idea #364
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Robert Hooke, at Christ Church Oxford, where he studied surrounded by some of his inventions. Painting by Rita Greer 2011 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Great Innovation! But What’s it for? Marketers Beware

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Product designers and marketers might be very excited about a new product with impressive new features and a bold new design. But consumers will not recognize the newness of the product if they cannot figure out what the product is in the first place — which can lead to a major disconnect between the reaction that companies expect from consumers (“Wow, what a great innovation!) and the actual reaction (“What is it?”).

Idea #355
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Online Customers Reviews: Loyalty and Deception

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Marketing

While it might seem easy for competitors to hurt a rival’s sales by posting negative reviews, research reveals that many of the most negative product reviews are written by loyal customers trying to influence company strategy. 

Idea #356
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Guests lounge at the pool at the Dolphin Village Hotel in Shavei Zion, 1954 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Overlooked Longevity of Experiential Goods

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Marketing

When consumers feel financially constrained, they are more likely to choose tangible material purchases over experiential purchases in the belief that those material purchases will ‘last’ longer. This longevity factor can be deceiving, however; material purchases can often be more frivolous (and thus less valuable) than experiential purchases — and experiential purchases can last longer, through memories or well-being for example, than material ones.

Idea #351
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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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Dr. Manmohan Singh in 1994, when finance minister. He subsequently became Prime Minister of India (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Modernizing without Westernizing: Social Ties and Indian Business

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations

The modernization of India’s economy, begun in the early 1990s when Manmohan Singh, then finance minister, introduced a series of reforms, has not reversed centuries-old traditions. Personal affiliations and kinship ties, long the bedrock of Indian society, continue to exert a powerful influence in the financial sector. India’s economy has been liberalized — but not, necessarily, Westernized.

Idea #341
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Cyberloafing: Lost Sleep and Lower Productivity

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

The nature and increased use of the Internet has led to a new workplace threat to productivity — ‘cyberloafing’. In this Idea, the impact of lost and low-quality sleep on employee cyberloafing, as well as conscientiousness is examined. 

Idea #343
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John Evelyn discovers sculptor Grinling Gibbons (1648 - 1721). Gibbons became Master Carver in Wood to the Court of King Charles II

Co-creating with Customers: More Pros than Cons?

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Involving customers in the design and delivery of products and services can be a cost-effective way to meet the demand for constant innovation and improved ‘customer experience’. It has, however, the power to destroy as well as create value. Much depends on the human and technological interfaces between customers and the company.

Idea #344
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The big queue at an ATM in Masalli, Azerbaijan, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Customer Loyalty: Easy Does It

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Marketing
Institutions: Henley Business School

A number of companies have begun to measure ‘customer effort’ (CE) – how easy (or difficult) it is for their customers to interact with them. The experience of these firms is that CE is worthwhile, offering a good indicator of customer loyalty. Whilst it should not replace other key measures, such as customer satisfaction and ‘net promoter score’ (NPS), it should be considered alongside them.

Idea #345
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