2014 January 22 by lori
I have been told I live in a bad neighborhood—mostly by those who have only visited my part of town once or twice. I can’t help but feel slightly offended every time someone tells me I need to move for my own safety. But I also can’t help but wonder why-without any concrete statistics-the few block radius I consider to be my neighborhood gets labeled “bad” and neighborhoods only a few blocks away “good” by (mostly) non-residents. I get weird looks sometimes when I tell people where I live. Normally, I respond in this way: Yes, this neighborhood is diverse. I live in the city for this reason. Yes, the minority population in my neighborhood is above national average. I hear Spanish often. I live in the city for this reason.
I don’t consider myself to be a particularly perceptive human when it comes to some things. I also realize there are many things I don’t know. I have spent years living in urban areas – but I also grew up in the suburbs. I understand why people feel the way they do about cities. Anyone who has lived in a city has had his car broken into at least once. But being part of a demographic-savvy research team, I couldn’t help but have a sneaking suspicion that this perception of my neighborhood had something to do with its demographic make-up. I mean, come on, people-telling me I live in the “worst neighborhood” in Lancaster, PA does not scare me. It throws up a red flag about the influence of demographic composition on neighborhood perception. So I decided to investigate a bit.
Here is my neighborhood-
The red box outlines my exact neighborhood and the little star is my house. Don’t stalk me.
I selected this exact geographical location on a site called citydata.com to see the demographic makeup of this few-block radius. I thought this might help give a background to why exactly my particular neighborhood gets a bad rap. Here’s what I found:
Median resident age: 28.5
Residents below poverty-14.7%
Median HH Income- $32,361/year
73.9% of households are considered family households
And check this out-15.5 percent of residents in my neighborhood were born in another country.
It’s a crime chart. The blue crosses are reported thefts and the other little shapes represent several other-mostly minor-crime categories. This gave me an idea of the actual reported crime in my area since I’ve lived here-which ended up being not abnormal at all. I didn’t research any of this before I moved in; we picked our place because the house is really cool inside and the rent is the right price. But I do realize that neighborhood has everything to do with many families’ home buying decisions. On that same token, I don’t think that I would have personally been deterred by what I found out about our neighborhood-so why the weird looks?
It should be obvious that research has been done on this exact phenomenon. In an article from the American Journal of Sociology called “Black Neighbors, Higher Crime? The Role of Racial Stereotypes in Evaluations of Neighborhood Crime” authors Quillian and Pager examine the affects of racial preconceptions and stereotypes on perceived crime rates. They found that “the percentage of a neighborhood’s black population, particularly the percentage of young black men, is significantly associated with perceptions of the severity of the neighborhood’s crime problem.” Whether or not we realize it, racial stereotypes are often so deeply rooted in our society that we don’t even realize we are making decisions based on these biases. It’s not like anyone has come right out and told me that my neighborhood is bad BECAUSE there is a minority population here. But what on-lookers don’t realize is that these assumptions and rumors of bad and good neighborhoods often spur from that exact mentality. The article goes on, “In addition to directly influencing judgments of the seriousness of neighborhood crime, then, stereotypes may also lead to selective attention and interpretation of media reports about crime in a way that reinforces the mental association between race and crime.” We see what we want to see, people.
I know there are other factors that go into the perceived and actual crime rates of a neighborhood-like poverty and economic class among other things. But the authors of the article further state that these other factors are also influenced by snap judgments made by visual perceptions of an area which in turn, will come down to the most obvious visual indicator-race. “Even if neighborhood evaluations and decisions to move are largely determined by nonracial considerations, such as perceptions of neighborhood crime, if these perceptions are themselves influenced by racial context, then they can no longer be thought of as race-neutral.”
This article was published in 2001 so I would like to believe some attitudes have changed since then. But to be honest I’m not putting too much stock in the idea that we have seen a significant attitude change on issues of race since the beginning of the millennium. So what to do from here? This knowledge alone can change a lot. Take stock in your community. Be aware and be educated. And most of all keep an open mind before you make snap judgments. This is OUR neighborhood.
2013 October 30 by lori
I admit I may watch more TV than the average human—and in doing so I have probably internalized my fair share of commercials. Everyone knows this should be the time to go to the bathroom, refresh your drink, check Facebook (again) – or just sit watching, eyes glazed over, knowing the advertising is most likely just going in one ear and out the other. When I think about the commercials I like most, generally it’s the sappy ones—like Extra commercial where the dad makes his daughter a paper crane every time she is sad. Then at the end, when she’s moving to college, her box full of dad’s origami cranes falls out. That one gets me every time.
But recently I have noticed a rash of strangely plain commercials—always the same backdrop and actors—advertising a variety of products. They are mostly products you would find in your grocery store and the commercials just give you “bare bones” information. When I started seeing them regularly, I wondered if they were some kind of cheap-o, bargain-brand advertising. Then an affection grew for the simplicity of it. I don’t really need a whole emotional, heart-felt commercial about baking soda – “bare bones” can do the trick! I wanted to investigate because I wondered where this kind of third party advertising came from and why I don’t remember seeing it before.
Most of these commercials are produced by a company called “Brand Power.” With the logo in the corner of the screen and an introduction with their slogan “Facts and Value” it seems to involve “double advertising.” So…let me get this straight—this is an ad for Cornflakes in an ad for Brand Power? What is this? The actors are corny, and it looks like it might have been made in the 1980’s. Upon further investigation, I discovered the Buchanan Group produces these commercials—the company behind Brand Power, Medifacts, Infotalk, Zoot and a variety of other worldwide advertising vehicles. Inspired by the infomercial—only shorter—the Buchanan group is an “advertising vehicle for manufacturers and their ad agencies.” Using nine different “platforms” they have cranked out over 2,000 campaigns, claiming to deliver a “highly predictable and effective piece of copy.”
I thought I was so smart questioning Brand Power and their bland commercials when all along they willingly admit their campaigns to be “highly predictable.” In fact, that is the point. That is how they sell their services.
I guess I should say that is ONE way they sell their services. Going along with their slogan of “Facts and Value” the Buchanan Group—which by the way is a MEGA company with offices in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and, of course, the Americas—launched an online community called Home Testers Club in Canada in 2012. This type of program originated—with much success—in their South African market and the company has plans to extend the program to Asia and the US. The CEO of the Buchanan group explains, “It’s a natural extension. For years, Brand Power has been helping Canadians buy better by telling them new product stories from the manufacturer’s perspective. Now we’re providing a forum for consumers to share new product insights with each other as a means to making purchase decisions that are even more informed. People have a natural inclination to share information; Home Tester Club is simply a conduit that supercharges the scale of those conversations.”
Buchanan Group organizes it all and even distributes products to the home testers with a rating system. Marketing teams are becoming more geared towards social media marketing and are learning that consumers often base their buying decisions off of what their peers are buying. In our increasingly virtual society, we no longer have to rely upon what advertisers are feeding us about their products; we can do the research ourselves. On that token, third party advertisers – like the Buchanan Group – are profiting. Their simple slogan says it all: “Facts and Value.” They present you with the simple facts about the product—shown in their no frills commercials—and then follow up with consumer reviews to allow consumers to make informed decisions about the products they buy. Isn’t that what we all want? Sorry Mad Men, but I can Google your product and see if it is right for me.
Contributing blogger, Kathryn Aulenbach, has traveled across the globe conducting ethnographic research in many cultures. She is currently a Senior Project Manager at FieldGoals.US. Contact her at Katie@fieldgoals.us
2013 July 23 by lori
Today I am obsessed with sensory research. It is a service provided by my company – FieldGoals.US – and which we take special interest in AND I PERSONALLY think is fascinating—mostly because it has to do with eating. Too often this facet of research is categorized as a kitschy type of “Pepsi Challenge,” but we are discovering just how valuable the sensory research industry is to food manufacturers and other industries alike.
Lori [Mader, the boss]and I were trying to think about other sensory research projects we have done in the past that were not specifically taste tests—we conducted a cigar study, a fragrance study, facial lotions, and more. This brings our other senses into the picture. Many times we associate sensory research with the food industry—how it tastes being the most influential factor in consumer decision making. It’s mostly true. If price isn’t part of the equation, most of the time when I go to the grocery store I buy the product that tastes the best to me.
But take this anecdote into consideration:
Steve graduated from college with a liberal arts degree, having no idea what to do next. So he went to India, where he stayed for four years, living in a cave. He knew it was time to come home when the local people started bringing him money and food. So he came back to the States and meditated for 65 days, trying to figure out what to do. Suddenly he had a flash. Vegetable protein!
Now the person who told me this story was driving me to the airport, and he turned to me in a conspiratorial tone and whispered, “You know how hard that is.” I had no idea what he was talking about. But Steve had figured out that the problem with soymilk was not the product but the container, which relegated it to the weird food section of the grocery store. So he changed the name, soy and milk becoming Silk, packaged it to look like milk cartons and placed it beside the milk in the dairy section. Five years later Steve sold his company for $295 million.
We all know packaging plays a role in consumer decision making—this is a large part of the research we conduct as well. In turn, the million dollar idea of this entrepreneur is genius. People think soymilk tastes weird because it looks weird. How are you going to get people to even taste your product if they don’t buy it because of the way it looks? I’ve had Silk before and I think it tastes better than regular soymilk. After reading this, I realize it is probably the same as any other soymilk, it just looks tastier. The marketing geniuses have outsmarted me once again.
Another interesting take on sensory research is the field of sensory ethnography—a facet with which our company has recently become involved. We conducted some secondary research on an ethnographic study that actually aims to prove a different theory on senses and decision making—taking taste and appearance out of the equation. Sensory ethnography is practiced basically the same as any other form of ethnography—using observation, interviews, etc. The article issues this explanation of this particular form of ethnography:
A specific feature of sensory ethnography – in the form that we discuss it here– is that it directs epistemic attention to practices instead of individual experiences. Hence, it directs epistemic attention to the ways in which the senses play a part in the performance and coordination of practices and in the subsequent interaction with the social and material world.
The study was conducted over three years to test the theory that, though audio-visual stimuli are often considered the most influential in decision-making, the other senses and the way they are experienced by a group play a larger role in the way we act and the decisions we make. The fishermen in this particular study were found to favor a fishing site more likely based on smell than sight. Most of the fishermen would sniff the air before deciding on a spot and added fragrance to their lures. I think any seasoned fisherman would agree, sometimes you can’t judge a fishing site based on how it looks. It’s the general feeling you get which spurs from the way we react to our other senses—whether this is voluntary or involuntary.
The fieldwork also offered insights into the fact that unpleasant body odors resulting from fishing were not masked; on the contrary, the aroma of fish was interpreted as a sign of success and helped develop a sense of communion – the smell is tolerable for those who are accustomed to it.
Sometimes being stinky proves a job well done.
So, what have we learned today folks? Sensory research is not just about taste tests. It can be useful in many industries and to many manufacturers. Essentially, it exists in all aspects of market research because at the end of the day, it is the way consumers make decisions.
Kathryn E. Aulenbach, Senior Project Manager
2013 April 2 by lori
The February, 2013 Quirks Marketing Research Review boasts a much-needed article written by Brett Hagins, Senior Partner at Research Innovations and ROI and Melanie Courtright, Vice President of Research Services at Research Now, which reveals the results of a survey of 450 corporate executives on the tangible examples of the impact of research. How does this affect the worker bees on the lower end of the field research totem pole? Take heed. C-level MR users offer researchers a self-improvement plan.
If you are like most researchers – entrepreneurs – HUMAN BEINGS! – who have survived the waves of the economic crises, you most likely have re-invented yourself to make sure you address urgent vs. immediate issues facing your target clients who are being tossed about in this climate like seashells in the ocean. In this eye of the storm, have we, along with our clients, lost sight of our long-term initiatives?
According to Hagins, in many companies where research was previously considered a fundamental step, it has now has descended into commodity status because of a failure to explicitly demonstrate its contribution to business outcomes. “As researchers, we know the value of what we do, but if senior management is not able to see the return on their research expenditures, it is difficult for them to view research as an investment and, in fact, it is more likely that they will view it as a sunk cost.” Plain and simple, our clients want us to show them how we can change ROI – a task formerly assigned to Actuarial Accountants, Risk Management Officers, CFO’s, CEO’s and our marketing and sales teams. ROI is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. To calculate ROI, the benefit (return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment; the result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio. As the marketing and advertising budgets shrink, the ownness falls upon the researcher to provide tangible evidence that allocated research budgets will truly bring “bang to the buck.”
The confusion in this lies in the fact that research is designed to prove the tangible worthiness and ROI of the product or service being investigated. This extra step in providing tangible evidence that RESEARCH is capable of increasing ROI in and of itself – has opened the doors to innumerable scenarios and methodologies we may never have developed in the past. Like I tell my adult children – every job has a business development requirement these days. If you can’t prove you are worth the investment or bring a “book of business” with you, you might as well take your marbles and go home.
To help develop strategies for raising the profile of research among C-level executives, a company called Research Innovation and ROI partnered with one of FieldGoals.US’ favorite e-sample vendors, Research Now to execute a study on senior executives’ perceptions of the research function. CEO’s, CMO’s, CIO’s and CFO’s and VPs and Directors of Marketing who had conducted at least one research project in the past year were targeted. Executives were asked, unaided, “What is the biggest impact your research department has had on your business that you can remember?” Some of the responses included:
“increased sales by 12%”
“provided research to change our packaging color which increased sales by 10%”
“advanced IT services by investigating the offerings of competitors. Increased server space which led to an increase in consumer traffic.”
The article went on to conclude that, based on the responses to the survey, research is, in fact, delivering a range of business-relevant outcomes. But how does this message carry through the ranks of those who could potentially be our advocates and support budgetary dollars be spent on a regular basis? Hagins/Courtright suggest:
- Increasing the knowledge of/integration with financials
- Improve reporting structures
- Internally market research/PR
Of course, our lot as researchers has always been a lack of visibility in the general ranks and we have been considered an academic luxury. To change this, we must get back in touch with our ability to be business developers as well as researchers – to present our service in a way that circles back to ROI and promises that if a client does his homework, the rewards will be statistically significant and long-lasting – as well as a solid investment.
2012 April 2 by lori
Marcel Holsheimer, a former Unica and SPSS executive now working in the enterprise marketing management division of IBM, describes the world today as one that offers up as many threats as opportunities for companies. Failing to adapt your business to the online world could mean eventual demise, he says, but embracing Facebook and Twitter and heavy-duty analytics tools offers new avenues for growth.
All this data is “a great asset for companies once they are able to use it properly,” says Holsheimer.
But reaching that level of capability is a challenge in itself. To succeed in what Holsheimer calles “the age of the smarter consumer” requires companies to have a much sharper focus on understanding their customers and prospects as individuals – not as markets.
In IBM’s survey, 14 out of the 19 sources of data used by CMOs to influence strategy provide a market-level understanding – things like market research, competitive benchmarking and campaign analysis. The sources IBM sees as important for understanding individuals – analyzing consumer generated reviews, blog posts and online communications – appear much further down the most-used list with only customer analytics ranking in the top five.
At FieldGoals.US, our principals have spent decades designing and developing custom benchmarking and tracking studies for financial institutions, retail grocery store chains, engineering firms, homebuilders, EVEN paper product manufacturers and many more…we understand the importance of collecting input from each of your department leaders-combining practical goals with futuristic desires to develop defined research objectives for your initial benchmark study. Next, our team and yours will work to develop a broad base of customers and potential customers (or do preliminary research to first determine who these consumers might be) with whom to address perceptions on competition, brand, image, actual product and service needs, price points, advertising touchpoints and message. A good tracking study will provide the flexibility to break out your data collection regionally, or by branch. Not only will this guide your marketing department’s advertising decisions, it will enable your team to see the effect each message has monthly or quarterly so you can continue to tweak your strategy to find that Silver Bullet.
2012 April 2 by lori
When a family member visits the Peace Corps website at www.peacecorps.gov, this is what he sees:
Family and Friends
When prospective Volunteers share their plans to apply to the Peace Corps, their family and friends often react with enthusiasm, support—even admiration. Parents, siblings, and friends are thrilled to see their loved ones follow their dreams. Sometimes, however, people who want to serve in the Peace Corps encounter concern and questions from others.
I love the Peace Corps. Ask anyone who knows me. Government orgs, not-for-profits, the Humane Society, the YMCA – I even shop at Salvation Army on occasion. I truly believe it is an part of the American culture to GIVE – time, money, leadership. Of course, most of our citizens CAN give – they can AFFORD to give of their time and money because mom and dad or the military or a program at church supports the efforts of those earnest young zealots who are going to make the world better, peace-filled, fed. But are they failing us in the most crucial of functions? The ability to protect our volunteers when they are not Stateside? Listen to my story.
For reasons of privacy, I will leave out names. A colleague very close to me recently experienced a mother’s worst nightmare – her daughter, a Peace Corps volunteer of one year, was brutally attacked and raped mere miles from a Peace Corps training center in Theiss, Senegal, West Africa. After a brief stay back in the States, she is being returned to this same country to fulfill the remainder of her service without any further security measures or apologies from the organization.
These types of events are so frequent and horrific in number that not only did CBS News conduct an exposé on the subject, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/11/eveningnews/main20062026.shtml?tag=currentVideoInfo;videoMetaInfo, but the Peace Corps actually has a PDF document on its website entitled “Peace Corps commitment to Sexual Assault Victims”! (No doubt as a result of the CBS piece.) http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.faf
It is certainly bad enough that so many of our young adults must die every year fighting in wars that may or may not be ours to fight. But to have bright, idealistic, beautiful young ladies sent into countries where the real safety and security issues have NOT been identified or addressed – with no money, little communication and an occasional visit from a bureaucrat to make sure the volunteer is still alive (once every SIX months in this victim’s case) – this it the antithesis of how solid, organized, structured, SMART outreach programs should operate.
1,074 Peace Corps Volunteers reported being sexually assaulted while in service from 2000 to 2009 – and this certainly does not include the number that feared so much for their lives they refused to report the assaults. My colleague’s daughter was flown back to Senegal a mere 8 days after the attack took place to unwillingly participate in a three-ring circus of humiliation and shame, while forced to sit in a Senegalese judge’s chambers for SIX hours without food or water and then seated less than a foot from her attacker, while she was berated into identifying him TO HIS FACE! His friends sat outside – waiting and listening to the other PC volunteers who had arrived for support – and plotting their revenge on her daughter and the others, if indeed their friend was identified as the rapist. She was sent back to the same site after only two months in the states to complete her service.
The New York Times speaks out:
“Jess Smochek arrived in Bangladesh in 2004 as a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer with dreams of teaching English and “helping the world.” She left six weeks later a rape victim after being brutalized in an alley by a knife-wielding gang.
When she returned to the United States, the reception she received from Peace Corps officials was as devastating, she said, as the rape itself. In Bangladesh, she had been given scant medical care; in Washington, a counselor implied that she was to blame for the attack. For years she kept quiet, feeling ‘ashamed and embarrassed and guilty.’
Today, Ms. Smochek is among a growing group of former Peace Corps volunteers who are speaking out about their sexual assaults, prompting scrutiny from Congress and a pledge from the agency for reform. In going public, they are exposing an ugly sliver of life in the Peace Corps: the dangers that volunteers face in far-flung corners of the world and the inconsistent — and, some say, callous — treatment they receive when they become crime victims.
Founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps has 8,655 volunteers and trainees, as young as 21 and as old as 86, serving in 77 countries. For most, service is, as the agency’s Web site boasts, ‘a life-defining leadership experience.’
But from 2000 to 2009, on average, 22 Peace Corps women each year reported being the victims of rape or attempted rape, the agency says. During that time, more than 1,000 Peace Corps volunteers reported sexual assaults, including 221 rapes or attempted rapes. Because sexual crimes often go unreported, experts say the incidence is likely to be higher, though they and the Peace Corps add that it is difficult to assess whether the volunteers face any greater risk overseas than women in the United States do.”
To follow is the letter my colleague sent to the Country Director only a few weeks prior to her daughter being returned to her site after the assault:
“I know you have been working with PC/DC and the State Department on the events which occurred on the morning of July 31, 2011 to my daughter, XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX in Theiss, Senegal, West Africa. These events have subsequently changed all of our lives forever.
As much as I appreciate your prompt attention and concern on the morning of XXXX’s attack and in the few days following, I would be remiss if I did not mention the [for better words] fiasco which took place only one week after XXXXX returned home to the United States – her required return to Senegal to identify her attacker. In the words of XXXXX’s therapist here in the States, this return visit “set XXXXX back months and possibly created greater harm to her emotional well-being and recovery efforts”. I am not sure you are aware of the chain of events, but if you check with your new ‘victim advocate,’ XXXXX XXXXXX, I am sure she will be happy to provide you the details. In short, XXXXX was forced to identify her attacker (when she was not 100% certain) while sitting less than THREE feet from five potential perpetrators – no glass, no protection – incredible! She was also not fed nor attended to for over 7 hours after an exhausting flight back and only a few days to recover prior to this, Stateside. The mishandling of this visit only solidified my certitude that the Peace Corps may not be providing the appropriate level of safety for a 24-year-old volunteer in Senegal, West Africa. I am saddened and frightened and need you to help provide a solution.
XXXXX tells me she asked not to be bothered when she first arrived home – as she felt there was an inordinate amount of unnecessary attention to her overall well-being which she interpreted as publicity disaster control, since we are all aware the PC has taken some hits in the media since the NBC expose. However, we all expected a little more proactivity with regard to process, including what would take place should it not be a good idea for her to return to Senegal (the man she reticently identified as her attacker had three of his friends with him at the police station – all of whom clearly saw XXXXX and her site mates, who were present to support her.) She would like to complete her service in the States, if possible, but if not – she deserves to experience the full benefit of having served in the Peace Corps and devoted most of her adult life to teaching and helping others for little or no compensation. She is a beautiful, delicate, magnificent woman and I would hate to think she had made this life-altering decision to leave her very close knit family and lifelong friends to create and promote business development in a developing country just to have her efforts thwarted, with no viable alternatives offered because of a crime that in no way her fault and which unfortunately represents a mother’s worst nightmare.
I would like to see XXXXX offered an opportunity to continue working with the Peace Corps in the US or to attend continuing education in International Studies, as was her plan upon completion of her Peace Corps service next July.
I realiize this decision is not yours alone to make but I am reaching out to you as Country Director to help us meet these challenges and move on with our lives. Please help me help my daughter, XXXXX. Thank you for your consideration.”
My colleague received no response to this email and her daughter has been returned to serve out her last year in the same village in West Africa.
This isn’t war people, this is some young kids helping others learn to create a sustainable agricultural and industrial environment in a developing country. It isn’t worth the price we are paying.
2012 April 2 by lori
PA legislators: TAKE YOUR PLATFORM TO A HIGHER LEVEL
Ever wonder how Barrack Obama came so far to win the highest political office in the country? It was through grassroots efforts based on POLLING – the simplest, most tried and true research technique targeted to gain credible insights into the daily temperature of YOUR voters.
Our FieldGoals.US commitment includes:
- Highly accurate results
- Fast turnaround time for analysis and reporting
- Educated, eloquent telephone interviewers specifically trained in conducting survey research polls
- Expert written and verbal presentations of survey feedback
FieldGoals.US has a full-service telephone call center and online programmers in-house, which means that all of our survey research programs are executed from our central offices, not outsourced to telemarketing call centers which can often jeopardize quality control, accuracy and the integrity of the survey interview process.
Best of all, FieldGoals.US is WBE Certified in the state of Pennsylvania. What does this mean to you? State and Federal agencies are required to use minority and women business certified vendors for a percentage of all research. The certification process is rigorous, in order to assure the highest quality deliverables. Not only has FieldGoals.US passed with flying colors, we have 25 years as research experts in the industry, to help you enhance or revisit your voter, your brand, address growth and target specific markets by exploring core voter values and modifying your message with businesses, blue and white collar workers and prospective voters. No other Pennsylvania polling service has this certification.
WE also have professional, educated field interviewers for consumer and business one-on-one interviews, mall intercepts and consultants to help you create and execute your research program for exacting results.
Our principal, Lori Aulenbach-Mader, has 25 years experience designing surveys, screeners, discussion guides and analyzing the information for you in concise, topline bullets in order to take action immediately. You can call her personally to chat about your upcoming needs – free of charge.
Go get ‘em. Let us help!
FieldGoals.US is a non-partisan research company committed to helping agencies provide the products and services Americans need.
2012 April 2 by lori
Kathryn Elizabeth Aulenbach releases another Anthropologic study today entitled Louga Lycee. Check it out!
2012 April 2 by lori
I was flipping through one of my favorite magazines yesterday (shout out to REAL SIMPLE magazine – keep up the great work!) when I came upon an advertisement entitled “Family is Everything” written by 5th generation SC Johnson CEO Fisk Johnson.
Fisk Johnson, 5th generation SC Johnson
“Family is everything, a thought that is with me every moment of the day. As a father – as a 5th generation Johnson. For years, we’ve said the SC Johnson is a family company – but I just want to take a minute to explain what that really means.”
Fisk went on to write,
“To start, it means that we don’t report to Wall Street. The decisions we make come down to caring for you and the world we share – not what analysts want to hear. And quite frankly, that doesn’t always mean doing what’s easy. But when I go to bed at night, I know what we’re trying to do is right. It also means that all those products you’ve come to trust over the years – you can trust that they’re made with your family’s interest in mind.”
He closed his comments with,
“To us, family is more than a relation. It’s our inspiration. Inspiration to care. To try to do what’s right. To always do better.”
After reading this, I visited the SC Johnson website where I was more than impressed to see an entire segment devoted to letters elicited from families all over the world, sharing their thoughts, traditions, and advice on the importance of family values. Wow!
Here at FieldGoals.US we have had deep spiritual discussions with our clients regarding the opportunity global interconnectivity, return to family values and environmental awareness has offered in the past several years. We have even conducted research regarding agricultural and manufacturing trends, suggesting that on the tails of corporate improprieties, food contamination and environmental scandals, consumers are looking for brands that are social, fiscal and environmental stewards. CPG brands will find that “what you represent” will become almost as important as taste and cost. SC Johnson is already aware of that….
Christina Arena, author of the High Purpose Company asks, “Does Your Company Pass the Test?”
Is purpose invaluable to your company?
“Although many companies claim to stand for a grandiose purpose that serves the common good, few companies actually absorb and reflect that purpose to the point where their own success depends on it, where it becomes a dominant force for corporate performance and development. In true High-Purpose Companies, the concept of a higher purpose—of somehow serving society or protecting the environment—is so integral to the fabric of the organization that if you removed that thread, the company would start to unravel. Without their purpose, these firms would have difficulty competing in the marketplace, or even surviving”
Christina goes on to provide a “Litmus Test” to document whether or not a corporate promise of social responsibility is actually integral to the success of its company brand.
Pass the Litmus Test
* GE – “Provide imaginative answers to the mounting challenges to our ecosystem.”
* DuPont – “Create sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere.”
* SC Johnson – “Promote global well-being.”
* Toyota – “Make sustainable mobility a reality.”
“True High-Purpose Companies like GE, DuPont, SC Johnson, Toyota and dozens more outlined in the book exist to serve fundamental needs, such as the need to stop environmental degradation; to end poverty; to promote equality; or to create health, security and happiness. In contrast to the superficial needs catered to by so many other companies, the needs serviced by High-Purpose Companies tend to be deeply rooted throughout society. Thus, they are substantial enough to spur business performance over time.
* At GE, the higher purpose of “providing imaginative answers to the mounting challenges to our ecosystem” or “ecomagination” exists in the form of products ranging from energy efficient dishwashers to hybrid locomotives and solar-powered water purifiers. Revenues generated from these products reached over $10 billion in 2006 and are expected to climb to $20 billion by 2007.
* At DuPont, cleaner processes and scientific breakthroughs like Bio-PDO, an eco-effective polymer, reduced overhead by $2 billion, prevented 11 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and also accounted for 17% of the company’s $26.6 billion in revenues. By 2010, DuPont aims to derive 25% of its total revenue through products that create a “better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere.”
* At SC Johnson, ongoing environmental management and Greenlist™ initiatives have thus far eliminated over 460 million pounds of manufacturing waste and removed more than 13.7 million pounds of volatile organic compounds from SC Johnson products. Going forward, the company plans to continue to ‘promote global well-being ‘ by supporting cultural, educational and public health projects that improve stakeholders’ quality of life and by removing all toxicity and non-biodegradability from its household cleaning products.
* At Toyota, while a lean manufacturing process reduces waste by 86% and saves billions in overhead, the company’s aim to “make sustainable mobility a reality” gives way to creative leaps and technological breakthroughs like Hybrid Synergy Drive. By 2010, Toyota plans to sell more than 1 million hybrids annually while rendering the internal combustion engine obsolete.
A higher purpose makes each one of these companies literally worth more to shareholders and also, worthy of succeeding. While these firms might not be perfect, they succeed because society would be worse off without them.”
To view the entire article, or to read either of Christina’s books on the subject: “Cause for Success: 10 Companies that Put Profits Second and Came in First” (New World Library, November 2004), and “The High-Purpose Company: The Truly Responsible (and Highly Profitable) Firms that are Changing Business Now” (Collins, January 2007), from which this essay is adopted visit http://christinearena.com
How do you know what attributes are significant in your industry? That’s where we come in. At FieldGoals.US we provide the answers to your local and global brand questions with responsible, affordable, academic quantitative and qualitative research initiatives, beginning internally and reaching out into your potential markets. Call or email us. We provide marketing with HEART.
2012 April 2 by lori
Not a good way to start out a productive day…
For anyone who has suffered at the hand of an unpredictable and belittling manager, this humorous blog from Steve Strauss strikes close to home.
You have seen my blogs on this issue in the past. I once experienced working with a colleague who was so hostile and whose behavior was so erratic, not only ONE company but TWO came crashing down under her disturbing leadership attempts. Good talent will not tolerate abusive behavior in the workplace. Our team at FieldGoals.US feels it is important we help our executive coaching clients recognize these dangerous personality types and make sure they get the proper guidance to turn aggression into an asset! There is hope.
Among some of the signs and practices Steve discusses in his blog “Are You the Boss from Hell” micromanaging, rude and unreasonable behavior, unrealistic expectations, “hogging” the credit and casting the blame, and playing favorites are among the top deadly behaviors a borderline psycho-manager can embrace. “It takes work to be a bad boss,” Steve says.
“Being a bad boss mandates that you really not trust anyone to do his job right. Instead, you must continually watch what employees do and how they do so as to discern the slightest variation from the ‘norm’. And then, when you do find them doing something “wrong” — jump on them for it!
Of course, the consequences of this management style are obvious. Always worried about upsetting the apple cart, the employee of the micro-manager lives in fear, resents the boss and treats customers accordingly.
So if you want to lose customers, instill fear in your staff — it works every time.”
“When someone does a good job, a bad boss takes credit. When someone else has a bright idea, he presents it as his own. When something goes wrong, he blames others. Enough said,” Steve writes. “The bad boss clearly has favorites, and everyone knows who they are. He or she also has those who are — how shall we say — less popular. Everyone knows who they are too. The upshot is a workplace where work, credit, kudos and benefits are spread out unevenly, with dissension bringing up the rear.” All of these pitfalls were present in my last place of employment, and the effect one manager had on a successful, thriving, happy business was devastating.
First off, creating a zero tolerance anti-bullying policy is essential. This policy should be part of the wider commitment to a safe and healthful working environment and should involve the appropriate Human Resources representative. Workplace management bullies exhibit behavior which includes:
- Unwarranted or invalid criticism
- Blame without factual justification
- Treating certain team members differently than the rest of the work group
- Excluding or socially isolating team members
- Shouting at or humiliating certain team members
- Making certain team members the target of practical jokes
- Excessive monitoring
The second step is to address all levels of employees from executive management down, providing professional workshop training to cover all areas of leadership and team building including:
- The characteristics of an effective leader
- Leadership flexibility
- Balancing work and life
- Time management
- 15 principles of management
- Leading with emotional intelligence (MY FAVORITE!)
At FieldGoals.US our core values include marketing with HEART. Learn how to help your team focus on productivity and quality and love every minute of your workday!