Some things in life are black and white.
Antarctica is one of them.
There is no large flora. No colours of red, blue, yellow or ochre. The active volcano at Deception Bay is strikingly magnificent. White sheets of ice are contrasted with the brilliance of the cold, black, molten rock.
It is only when one returns to the air-conditioned comfort of the ship’s cabin to edit the photographs that you are arrested by the absence of colour in the pictures.
Was the camera setting incorrect?
Life-changing experiences are rare, and should be valued. This was one of them.
Australia and Australians are the custodians of 42% of Antarctica. We do have a responsibility for the maintenance of the climate and ecology. .
Moreover, it is literally in our backyard. In the time that it takes to fly on a commercial jet from Sydney to Perth, one can fly from Perth to Antarctica.
The good news is that the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is closing, rapidly. It is estimated that by 2026 it will have returned to its “natural state”, which prevailed prior to the introduction by mankind of fluorocarbon products.
Ironically, one of the consequences is that the icepacks in eastern Antarctica are being adversely affected. They are melting.
However, one is left to marvel at the resilience of nature. It will persist long after men and women have disappeared from the face of the planet. We can and should all ensure that we leave minimal “footprints” on this home we call Earth.
Do enjoy the attached photographs posted at this link:
And be sure to visit Antarctica … on an expedition ship, so that you can enter the Antarctic Circle and walk on the continent.
PRICE-POINT MARKETING – INSIGHT
The recent decision by Cadburys to reduce the size and weight of its standard family-size chocolate block by 10%, in preference to instituting a price rise, was a fascinating case study of consumer behaviour.
Many marketers contend that there is an omnipotent presence of price-points, beyond which consumers respond negatively and sales fall.
Obviously the $4.95 retail price for a family-sized block of Cadbury chocolate represented such a key price-point.
Price increases in cocoa, packaging and operations were squeezing profit margins. Would consumers accept a price increase?
Interestingly, a recent transnational study established that some 42% of adult females concluded that the regular eating of chocolate was not an indulgence or a discretionary purchase decision. It was an essential part of the diet.
That suggests that for a key sector of the target audience there is little “price-elasticity of demand” for chocolate blocks. In short, many consumers would most probably tolerate and accept, albeit reluctantly, the introduction of a price increase.
This is a case where business people and marketers tend to be more price-sensitive than large percentages of consumers.
The marketing, pricing and selling of Australian sparkling wines provide an interesting, seemingly contradictory insight on price-point marketing.
As the quality of Australian Pinot-Noir sparkling wines has improved, retail prices have increased. Sales of these wines have not decreased. Rather, the demand has shifted.
The high value of the Australian dollar has made imported French champagne more competitive.
Increasingly, Australian consumers are willing to pay more for bottles of sparkling wine so that they can enjoy the “real thing” – imported French champagne. Interesting.
Locally produced Holden and Ford Falcon motor vehicles suffered from the same dilemma and set of market forces.
Price is seldom the single overriding force for demand.
Retail petrol prices in Australia, reportedly, encountered “price-point resistance” at $1.00, $1.20, $1.45 and $1.50 per litre.
Interestingly, in recent times the price of crude oil halved and Australian retail petrol prices fell from as much as $1.50, to as little as $1.00 a litre. There have been unforeseen consequences in consumer expenditure patterns.
With less monetary outlay in the filling up a petrol tank, commuters are not driving more, and the savings are not being spent in retail outlets.
Glenn Stevens, the Governor of the Australian Reserve Bank has stated the authority has less and less capacity to influence consumer expenditure by variations in official interest rates.
Consumers, it seems, are informed, discerning and independent. Damn … a new marketing model, please!
The professional life of a marketing strategist and facilitator of business development workshops is always interesting, changing and challenging.
There is increasing recognition by many executives of the need to make a “step-up” in the standards and style of customer service.
Our ongoing schedule of original research is providing invaluable insights and competitive advantage for those who are prepared to commit to the ideals of service excellence. It is rewarding, for all.
To achieve cash-flow acceleration, try the following 3 steps:
- Start with the eyes;
- Engage the mind;
- Enlist the heart.
Interested? Contact: Barry Urquhart (contact details at the foot of this page)
ON-LINE SALES COMPROMISED
Heightened sales conversions and increased revenues are not the natural product of increased traffic to websites.
Search Engine Optimisers can, and often do, generate more hits to sites by the adroit use of key words, which are recognised by the algorithms of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google and other hosts.
However, the power and influence of local language and words remain influential in stimulating interest, sales and revenue.
Clearly, there are two distinct audiences, which must be recognised, respected and addressed.
Key words which are recognised by algorithms are global in nature, often determined by the country of the host (read: the United States of America).
However, targeted clients and customers may be, and usually are, more local. Nuances, parochialism and for Australians, irreverence, are important characteristics of speech and language.
On-line sales will be and are compromised when localism is overlooked in texts.
SO YOU WANT TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR
“Windfall” wealth and profits do not an entrepreneur make.
Windfall events are welcomed and rewarding for those who are blessed with them. The nature, emotions – and probabilities of such windfalls are similar to winning lotteries, tote and lotto.
Entrepreneurism is an entirely different scenario. It is not a product of accidental or fortuitous good fortune – if you will pardon the unintended pun.
At this time Australia, New Zealand, Britain, North America – indeed, the world – needs more entrepreneurs.
Fostering, supporting and endorsing the endeavours of genuine entrepreneurs rewards many. Why? The very essence of an entrepreneur can best be expressed as:
With vision and commitment, to create wealth and generate employment, for the betterment of all.
GO FORTH, BOLDLY
Many business leaders and Boards of Directors are understandably timid, sensitive to and exhibiting a low tolerance for risk.
This pervading attitude is having widespread impact on new product development (and investment), growth, improvement and productivity enhancement.
Debt levels are being lowered, and reliance on bank funding is conspicuous.
The current state of the marketplace can be best and most accurately described as:
Decisions are being made and policies are being implemented, dependent upon positive cashflows, guaranteed pre-orders and approvals from lending sources.
True entrepreneurs, those who have established positive track records of success, exhibit a strikingly common characteristic, being:
They typically do not seek or are reliant upon the permission of those who are external to their entities.
Looking over one’s shoulder for permission, approval or endorsement takes the eyes and the focus off the customers, clients and opportunities.
Extensive and intensive study and analysis of the umbrella term, “entrepreneur”, has led one to conclude there are four strata, categories if you will, of these people. One sweeping general conclusion is that most individuals who describe themselves as entrepreneurs are, in reality, not.
The entry-level strata is numerically the largest, possibly around 70%.
These individuals are the Enthusiasts, who posses abundance of energy, exuberance and expectations.
They are excited about the term entrepreneur, the concept and the perceived benefits, advantages and rewards.
Like comets that enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they generate a lot of heat and light, before quietly burning out.
They typically leave little trace or legacy.
Creatives represent around 15% of the targeted population. They have a creative idea, but no actual product, service, application or entity.
Creatives are deficient in their capacity to transform ideas to an income-generating, needs-fulfilling reality.
The essentials of capital, operating capacity, logistics network and infrastructure are mere entries on rudimentary business plans and spreadsheets.
Above all, these individuals typically need input from experienced, qualified, caring, supportive and understanding professionals who have the capacity to provide a master-plan of sequential steps to the market.
Many creative ideas, probably more than half, do not develop beyond the cerebral energy of the creative visualisation.
Innovators are the survivors from the attrition process of many enthusiasts andcreatives.
They have usually invested considerable time and available (but often limited) funds into the production of a model, system or application.
The world awaits, together with the potential for profits, wealth, success and development.
However, there are barriers, filters and impediments to be negotiated, addressed and redressed. Not the least of which are adequate capital, operating capacity, integrated infrastructure, extensive logistical network, a retail presence and, most important, a marketplace which is willing to pay.
It is at this time that many innovative entrepreneurs are distracted, overwhelmed and relieved of considerable funds by patent professionals, lawyers, funding intermediaries and quaintly titled “Angel Investors”
Few of these spheres-of-influence have the skills or make promises to progress or to expedite the development of the product, service, application or entities. The ideas are often overwhelmed by the process.
Innovators soon learn to recognise that many from whom permission, approval and tolerance are sought are necessary, but not essential to success. The future is not determined by the ability to comply and conform.
Little wonder that so few innovators and creative ideas reach the marketplace in the first instance.
Genuine entrepreneurs total no more than 5% of those who claim, or strive for the title.
With “unconditional boldness” and driven by self-belief in their vision, complemented by an uncompromising commitment, entrepreneurs do create wealth and generate employment, for the betterment of all.
There is little or no socialistic idealism in that statement. At best, they are first among equals; they revel in power, authority and the exercising of personal choices.
Evolving philosophies and models, centred on emotional intelligence, social responsibility and even philanthropic corporate behaviour can be embraced – but only as addendums.
The six fundamentals of sustainably successful entrepreneurs detailed in the book The Jindalee Factor retain their relevance.
Being “non-competitive” is an imperative, whether it is by a negotiated exclusivity clause, like that of the 20 years for the Perth’s Crown Casino, or by overwhelming market dominance.
“Planning long, managing short” reflects the importance of strategic malleability and tactical financial prudence.
Cash-flow is second to none. Too many past, fallen entrepreneurs did not recognise or respect the fact that when they run out of cash, they run out of time and usually run out of business.
So you think you are, or intend to become an entrepreneur. Undertaking a scenario planning exercise is an appropriate first step.
Knowing the destination – entrepreneurism – is one thing. Establishing the starting-point and determining the pathway to success are essential prerequisites.