As this New Year starts and we all get back into the swing of work, or looking for work, or retirement, as the case may be, now is as good a time as any to reflect on what it means to be an ideal employee.

                Committed (old school):

There was a time when the ideal employee only needed to be “committed”, to his or her employer – whether in the public sector or private sector, and to a lifetime of employment with that employer.

                Conscientious:

Then the environmental movement came about, with the growth surge and popularity of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which led to a search for “conscientious” candidates for employment, in some industries and service sectors.  Truth be told, there are certainly a good number of employers who could care less, or who would even, perhaps, prefer those with no pre-set views or that fully reject prevailing “environmentally-correct” or “socially-responsible” or “politically-correct” or “anti-globalization” platforms; which platforms in some cases have brought-out quite extreme and obnoxious behaviours on both sides of the fence, as adjudged by the fence-sitters in that space, place, and time.  To be conscientious about the fighting issues and only those issues, is the raison d’être at one end of the spectrum.  At the other end, however, to be conscientious about the bottom line and solely the bottom line – to the point of blatant, repeated unethical behaviour or illegality in some cases, is highly valued.

                Connected:

Now, we have the “Social” phase, with potential employers themselves or through contracted third-parties, trolling criminal record and other databases, the Internet and social media in an effort to develop a better picture of the person and the “contacts or connections” of the person, who’s paper resume, personal video, multimedia resume, or LinkedIn or Facebook profile has been sent to their inbox, pasted on their private wall, or delivered by hand.  As a result of this highly disruptive paradigm-shift, the 5 (“five”) recurrent questions in HR circles, have now become:

(i) to whom are they connected;

(ii) where;

(iii) how;

(iv) what causes or entities do they like or follow; and

(v) how will any or all of this help or hurt us if we bring them onboard?

Alas, if you have no online profile, or too few connections but years of experience, then “some” HR professionals may well think you are hiding something due to the assumption that “everyone” now has an appreciable online presence and a large connection group through all of which the original data subject may itself, be or become far better known to them through open source and standoff means.

Unfortunately, the lack of an online presence or even a large connection group does not necessarily signify an issue.  I am sure that there are many people who have simply never gotten around to it, face restrictions on what they can post online due to current and former employers or their specific lines of work, or who have simply rebelled against what they feel is over-sharing and information overload.

To counter for this potential bias, it is likely high time to go back to the basics and focus on the “Committed” aspect, as in Committed (new school), in looking to the core of what an ideal employee is, or should develop into.

Committed (new school):

With a resounding yes, we can all agree that (at least in the western world and other parts that sincerely follow the western model), two core work assumptions are now gone, forever:

(i) that there is lifetime employment on offer; and

(ii) that the employment relationship is one with more obligation of employee to employer, than employer to employee.

Today, people will have more than one career, and often simultaneously; and there are a mix of mutual obligations and rights between the employer and employee – now codified by law and custom.  On account of this, the assessment of commitment is multifactor, multidisciplinary, and always in flux.  We can look at it through the 3 sub-elements of that commitment; being: (i) Culture; (ii) Competence; and (iii) Coordination.

(i) CULTURE.

Culture is a system of values, beliefs, and norms that guides worldviews, behaviours, and relationships. The employer will have a culture, and the potential employee will have taken in the culture of one or more societies or prior employers; resulting in quite a complex of motivators.  Organizations tend to be rather intolerant of newcomers who try to change the culture from the inside-out, once allowed inside.  If a person joins an employer after being attracted by the culture, then a later discovery of mismatch, or that the culture is not quite as it seemed, can lead to disillusionment, acting-out (in performance issues or whistleblowing), or separation – whether voluntary or involuntary.  Where HR speaks of “a good fit”, they are referring to their culture, and the likelihood that the potential recruit will both say “ok”, and actually decide to stay.

Behavioural interviewing is one way of assessing how the candidate will fit into the established order.  However, some veterans of the process can be very good at giving the right-sounding answers, only to be and present a later disaster.  This is why it is essential for the employer to project its true culture to potential hires, and for jobseekers to be true to themselves in their search and responses to interview questions.  If this is just to be a survival job, then what’s your problem?  Go with the right attitude and don’t try to change the whole place around you, if you know you won’t be there for the long-term.

(ii) COMPETENCE.

Competence is that mix of skills, abilities, certifications, and knowledge (SACK) that makes the candidate attractive to a potential employer.  The potential employer may have listed a specific requirement, or the potential candidate may be targeting that employer, or working with a third-party recruiter who does the match-making as go-between.  However, in all cases, the goal is to get a match and have as many SACK-points in common as possible.

Here, we can get a better appreciation of that mutuality of obligations mentioned earlier.  If the person is hired to do a specific job because of his or her SACK, then where the SACK is not used or under-used, due to any or all of re-tasking, lack of work, or disorganization and mismanagement, then the new hire will not be happy.  Mental muscles not used will tend to atrophy over time; especially in fast-moving infotainment fields such as IT and graphic design.  In this way, candidates who are under-used, will soon become candidates again, so that they can get meaningful work that they enjoy.  While it is true that this is not always the employer’s fault, especially in a slowed economy where work can be scarce in some lines, the truth of the matter is that employees are now more focused on their own longevity and their own bottom line, as lifelong loyalty to the employer – even a government employer– is no more.  It is one thing to grow with the company ….. but the company has to be growing (or at least stable) when they get there, and not just presenting a promise of growth or stability at some indeterminate point in the future.  There are, however, differences of individual risk appetite, and so this factor may still vary.

(iii) COORDINATION.

Where the employee has accepted the culture and has the right SACK, then the only remaining questions are – (I) can he or she demonstrate an ability to coordinate these in delivering for the employer; and (II) at what level can he or she do this, and with or without additional training or supervision.  There are four levels: Planning, Leading, Undertaking and Understanding, and Managing (PLUM), and we will consider them out of order.

(a)          Understanding and Undertaking:

This is the résumé or covering letter excerpt that speaks of undertaking tasks with minimal supervision.  Can the employee understand simple instructions and undertake the work to deliver a satisfactory (or preferably above satisfactory) end-result?  This is at the basic level.  For the intermediate level, the question is can the employee understand the results of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and independently apply his or her individual effort to capitalize on opportunities and strengths (product placement or service excellence), or address weaknesses and threats (brand recognition, market penetration, or negative publicity).  For the advanced level, can the employee both plan and conduct a detailed SWOT analysis, and then coherently communicate the results to others?

(b)          Planning:

This is the capacity of the employee to plan or co-plan any combination of events, projects, compliance programs, or succession.  It would clearly include the planning of a program to address the results of a SWOT analysis at an advanced or intermediate level, or the planning of a discrete employee initiative – such as a training seminar, a new product presentation or service rollout, or a packaging concept or promotional design competition in an environment where the employer had initially encouraged such collaboration and input.

(c)           Leading:

Of course, these factors are presented in no particular order, and so the employee may be given a managerial role (over strategic projects, such as social media outreach) before a purely leadership role (of a shop floor team, for example), and at a multitude of available levels from front-line supervisor, through middle management, to executive assistant.  Specific roles will be determined by the available talent, and the organizational need for leaders of change, projects, teams, events, or training, amongst others.

(d)          Managing:

Some people have natural interpersonal skills, whilst others will have to be coached or trained.  The “naturals” will be easily and speedily recognized in those environments where management is alert and open to its in-house talent, and additional opportunities will be presented to further hone and apply those innate skills as and when found.  Employees can also be or become skilled at managing resources (finance, logistics, human resources) or compliance (legal and regulatory affairs, or shareholder communications) through education and training, and past or current work experience.

SUMMARY.

Committed, Conscientious, and Connected are still valid macro-level descriptors of ideal employees.  However, “Committed” is dynamic, with its own micro-keys of culture, competence, and coordination.

Constant growth, constant learning, and constant expansion of the SACK (skills, abilities, certifications, and knowledge) that one possesses and brings to the job negotiation table is mandatory – because everyone else is doing the same thing and competition is only becoming more intense.  Rent-seeking is also a new constant, as the worker should be constantly seeking-out and plucking the juiciest and most demonstrable PLUMS (planning, leadership, understanding and undertaking, and management) as assignments and means by which to deliver value to the employer, and further fill-out the proprietary and portable sack on the employee’s back.  “As I help you, I also help myself”, but in a non-selfish way!!

For the prospective and current employer, the key to recruiting and retaining the “right fit” is to have and communicate the right culture, seek-out (and actually use once onboard) the right competencies, and have enough “plums” in the air to offer:

(i) sufficient;

(ii) meaningful work; and

(iii) personal growth opportunities; with

(iv) job satisfaction; and

(v) benefits and work-life balance;

to keep people (and the sacks on their backs) around.  I refrain from saying “the right people”, because everyone who wants to and is given the opportunity, is capable of growing into a series of increasingly responsible roles.

It has often been said that the more things change, such as the “committed” employee, the more they remain the same.  Do you agree?

*********************************************************************

Author:

Ekundayo George is a sociologist and a lawyer.  He has also taken courses in organizational and micro-organizational behavior, and has significant experienced in business law and counseling (incorporations, business plans, contracts and non-disclosure agreements, teaming and joint venture agreements), diverse litigation, and regulatory practice.  He is licensed to practice law in Ontario, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America (U.S. business advising, outsourcing and cross-border trade, technology contracts, and U.S. financing).  See, for example: http://www.ogalaws.com.  A writer, blogger, and avid reader, Mr. George has sector experience in Technology (Telecommunications, eCommerce, Outsourcing, Cloud), Financial Services, Healthcare, Entertainment, Real Estate and Zoning, International/cross-border trade, other Services, and Environmental Law and Policy.  He is a published author on the National Security aspects of Environmental Law, and enjoys complex systems analysis in the legal, technological, and societal milieu.

Mr. George is also an experienced strategic consultant; sourcing, managing, and delivering on large, strategic projects (investigations, procurements, and diverse consulting engagements) with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary project teams.  See, for example: http://www.simprime-ca.com.

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”) including employees, agents, directors, officers, successors & assigns, in whole or in part for their content, accuracy, or availability.

This article creates no lawyer-client relationship, and is not intended or deemed legal advice, business advice, the rendering any professional service, or attorney advertising where restricted or barred.  The author and affiliated entities specifically disclaim and reject any and all loss claimed, no matter howsoever resulting as alleged, due to any action or inaction done in reliance on the contents herein.

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This blog post has taken a while to write, for those of you who have been watching the empty “pending” tab for some time.  For newcomers: welcome!  I will try to keep it brief. (*For part 1 of this series, please see: http://www.ogalaws.wordpress.com/issues-counseling/).

INTRODUCTION.

The Eurozone remains in deep crisis,[1] an extended period of further Global Economic Stagnation is a significant possibility,[2] economic recovery in the United States has long remained on shaky ground despite occasional gains,[3] and substantially everywhere else and anywhere else you look, either things are slowing,[4] or a storm of tension is rising just below the surface calm[5] – at least, so it seems to the naked eye.  There are pockets of prosperity, apart from the billionaires who in America want to pay a fairer tax share just like the everyday worker[6] (being more often than not the “willing and able, available potential worker”, nowadays), but who in Europe and especially France,[7] want no part of this; and there are also areas of opportunity for the bold, the nimble, and the plain old imaginative who refuse to stay or remain as one of the crowd under such a cloud of despondency.  This is not to belittle or ridicule the very serious situation of those who have lost their homes, cannot afford medical treatment or medications, have lost relationships and families, or have just lost hope in a better future, or any meaningful future.  Yes, things are a mess; but should we lose hope now, when – “the Occupy Movement” aside[8] – the whole world is not at war with itself?  There have been two World Wars in recent memory, and myriad Proxy Wars, Civil Wars, border disputes, skirmishes, Operations Other than War, and both high and low-level “tests of wills” (or “games of chicken”, if you insist), since that time; and not once, not even during a near-nuclear test of wills in the Cuban Missile Crisis,[9] was all hope fully lost.  Mankind as a group and in sub-groups, has a time-tested tendency to be ingenious, resilient, and stubborn; especially in the face of what many a reasonable onlooker would call simply insurmountable odds, and often succeed.  So, let’s get to it!

CONTEXT.

First, we review the context on three levels – federal, state/provincial, and private sector.

Federal.

The jobs market and poverty rates are directly and inversely related, for as the former goes down,[10] the latter must go up,[11] and vice-versa.  At the same time, we know that an economy moves on money, both in cash and through credit.  Unfortunately, all of the jobs needed, worldwide, cannot be created by U.S., Chinese, or even European stimulus alone[12] when banks around the world are caught in the tricky situation of heeding regulatory calls for more lending, while also raising and maintaining lending standards to avoid another credit fiasco.[13]  As for local businesses?  Some have long hoarded cash.[14]  Fewer people buying all around due to lack of disposable income from tighter wages; fewer people employed in the first place; and fewer businesses spending on anything but the barest minimum, create a very complex mix for anyone trying to balance their books.

State/Province.

State and federal governments[15] are sometimes accused of having a lackadaisical attitude to the totality of the situation.  Even in Ontario, the province appears to be stagnant and lacking direction as the host province for a federal government that has promised to make 19,000 of its employees redundant,[16] and with a provincial government – also battling deficits[17] – that has a leadership crisis.[18]

However, political leaders occasionally also get accolades for their dogged determination and willingness to do whatever they feel is necessary to get things moving, again, and to keep them moving in a growth direction.[19]  Once in a while, though, you can still hear a strident plea to not put short-term politics ahead of the long-term good of the people.[20]

Private Sector.

Individuals and employers on both sides of the border, are understandably quite hesitant to make any large capital outlays or expenditures because of these public sector considerations.  As a result, U.S.[21] and Canadian hiring and general confidence[22] in the economy remain depressed, U.S.[23] and Canadian holiday sales were down,[24] and Canadian holiday travel was substantially hampered by bad weather and power outages,[25] which undoubtedly made a good number of people just stay at home.  Now that the Fiscal Cliff brinksmanship in the United States is over, there still remain many known and still to arise or be realized options to further exacerbate or attenuate the mass malaise.

THE CORE AREAS.

Having taken the time to seek-out trends, constants, and changing paradigms, S’imprime-ça[26] (the wholly-owned, management and strategic consulting subsidiary of George Law Offices), has considered and chosen 8 (“eight”) core areas in which one might consider concentrating, in order to survive and even thrive, in any sustained economic slump.  A truly global listing of examples is somewhat beyond the scope of this wee blog; ergo, I shall concentrate this treatment on the United States of America, with a focus on hot spots and clusters of hot spots by location, such as in the State of New Jersey.  Admittedly, parallels can doubtless be found in many other places both within and outside the North American continent.  Some examples may be dated, some proposed projects may also have since been cancelled.  Nevertheless, we list them here because they are still valid, and remain quite relevant.  These 8, which spell “LESS MUST”, are:

(a)    On a predominantly Macro-level:

•Leveraging;

•Exigencies;

•Stimulus; and

•Security.

(b) On a predominantly Micro-level:

•Maintenance;

•Upgrading;

•Sustenance; and

•TeleTransport.

Macro-Level:

Although the elements at this level may appear to be implemented at a macro-level, it is their impetus or ultimate intention that stems from the micro- or individual level.

Leveraging, as initiated by the person or an individual entity, is generally brought about as a means for it to ultimately gain some macro-level advantage.

Exigencies, or emergent situations that spur massive increases in spending, tend to come as a result of environmental or technological disasters that require cleanup; care for the displaced, deceased, and dispossessed; and reconstruction of damaged or destroyed protective measures, or fabrication and installation of additional protective measures.

Stimulus is a recurring topic of late, as the need to get individuals on the move and back to work at the micro-level, leads to top-down policies at the macro-level.

Finally, increased spending on Security, for example results from larger, and external structural changes such as rising unemployment, some heightened sense of general insecurity, overall – such as due to recent, tragic, and well-publicized incidents of extreme firearms violence – or greater competitive and other pressures (including through economic espionage and simply having ever-more valuable intellectual property to protect).

Leveraging.

The wrong thing to do with downtime is to remain idle, especially when that time could be leveraged to your advantage.  Education might be an option, if you have the desire and ability to benefit from any free or discounted[27] educational options – whether in your field or in a field that might become yours, if given the opportunity to appeal to you – or options tied to education, such as student discount bundles and programs.  There has also been a significant upsurge in the number and quality of blogs, as large numbers of people find they have greater time on their hands and realize that this is a way to: (a) market their knowledge and aptitudes on a budget; (b) educate themselves and keep up their research and writing skills; and (c) do something useful and fun in their down-time.

With regard to a business, use the slowdown to take a critical look at your operations and explore options to enhance your organizational efficiencies and economies of scale.[28]  Software developers can always write and promote programs and utilities to make something either faster and more streamlined through outsourcing,[29] or more fun,[30] as inspired by something they thought-up or came across when they “apparently” had nothing better to do.  Inspiration can hit at any time, for individuals.  And, those (staying alert and attuned) who can offer some value-added services related to public sector makeup,[31] or private sector break-up,[32] can also find openings to do what they do best.

Other leveraging examples we saw included several in tied-marketing, such as loss leaders,[33] the pre “like” version of targeted and reactive online advertising,[34] lenders helping their client businesses compete for and win government contracts,[35] businesses taking their tangible and visible products directly to the cautious consumer in a knowledge-based economy,[36] construction companies training and assisting their competitor builders (and potential sub-contractors),[37] and co-located complementary product lines.[38]  To make shopping and spending easier, retailers in recent years revived and encouraged layaway purchase options – long disused due to immediate cashflow needs.[39]

Unlike Mission Creep, which is the often ill-advised expansion of job scope to unfamiliar areas with less than stellar results, Category Capture is the expansion of service offerings to better or more fully make available the diversity of services that one’s clients do or might eventually need.  One example of this is the purchase by Avis Budget Group Inc., a rental car industry leader, of Zipcar Inc., a pioneer in the fledgling but rapidly growing market for car sharing services.[40]  If you can’t beat them (or they are eating your lunch) …… then buy them!

Exigencies.

Both Hurricane Irene of August, 2011, and Hurricane Sandy of October, 2012, led to significant clean-up and recovery efforts, and costs.  Spending both during and after exigencies can bring much needed employment and other knock-on economic benefits,[41] especially for those individuals and entities who are the top or sole providers of some specialized element needed for that exigency – like oil dispersants for a marine oil spill.[42]

Stimulus.

Federal, provincial, and state examples of stimulus abound, whether or not as successful as originally planned, and they are simply far too numerous and diverse to list here.

Security.

Spending in this area can include build-outs, which require the recruitment of skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen; actual systems and products supplied by vendors both large and small; and specialized service and integration contracts[43] or hardening,[44] which will involve highly-skilled technicians and consultants – often with high security clearances and several years of past experience in the military or security field before branching-out on their own, or coming back into government as contractors on a modified pay-grade.

Micro-Level:

Similarly, these micro-level actions tend to have macro-level impacts.

Maintenance, whether of products, or functionalities, or service levels, is noticed more in its absence.  Bad maintenance of infrastructure can lead to fatalities and liability, in sinkholes, collapsed bridges and parking garages, and falling building facades, as just some of the examples from recent stories in the U.S. and Canadian news media.

Upgrading, which is an immediate and local action, tends to have a distant and more widespread result, as the facility, individual, or entity is primed and set to move on and thereby benefit from, future opportunities as they are noticed and become available.

Sustenance, is a permanent opportunity as people will always eat to function – whether real food, rations or specially formulated pills as food, or intravenous cocktails.

Once upon a time, people traveled more in search of work, because they had to physically mail or drop a resume.  Then, fax and email reduced that need.  Now, social media and old school websites, online videos, and so much more, all act as interactive resumes, and people travel even less.  Add to this, internet accessibility on the go through Smartphones, Tablets, and so forth, along with the ability to telecommute, and people hardly ever need to leave home for work.  Hence, the tech. of TeleTransport, is now one.

Maintenance.

Maintaining infrastructure is a constant challenge, whether bridges, tunnels, roads, utilities, or even municipal services which are all a part of the “enabling” mosaic that one can describe as infrastructure in a post-classical sense.  Without properly functioning depots, terminals, ports,[45] and airports, commerce and life get seriously stuck in the mud.

Upgrading.

Wise leaders will thus strive to keep their infrastructure up to date and up to the task, including offering encouragement and incentives for people and businesses to take advantage of such enhanced functionalities as smart meters,[46] and clean technologies like windmills[47] and solar energy,[48] in order to enhance their service levels and overall energy-efficiency.[49]  Unfortunately, it is not all actual and aspiring vendors – even the first-movers – in these areas that will sail through to the promised or perpetual prosperity,[50] and so an abundance of caution coupled with a good and flexible plan, are both very strongly advised.[51]

Sustenance.

Whether this is a soup kitchen feeding an ever-growing torrent of the economically disadvantaged, a restaurant or a diner with a steady or faltering clientele, or a farmer trying to get the produce to market while it is still fresh, food is quite unlikely to go out of style.  However, major investments should always be preceded by good market research and feasibility studies, because entering a business with prices that are too high for that local market or too low to cover what needs to be covered, will likely create major issues.  Yes, you can start a business during a recession, but must have (and heed) the right advice.

TeleTransport.

The theory of TeleTransport was for it to take over.  However, persistently high rates of unemployment in Europe and the Americas have brought back all of those direct resume drops and needs for travel.  People trying to conserve valuable funds during the jobsearch will try to take public transport whenever possible, avoiding high fuel costs and parking fees (or fines).  Vendors and providers of local transportation may see some seasonal fluctuations.  However, there will likely not be any total drop-off, due to the constant need.  Vendors and providers of more distant travel, as we have seen from the airlines, will face steeper and more sustained economic challenges as fewer people take vacations.

Telephone and internet providers (one and the same with VOIP) saw a boost in business because those who properly leverage their access time to the internet – whether in paid, personal monthly service subscriptions or at a library or internet café – are more interested in securing and sustaining their access to affordable and efficient telecommunications services.  Due to the tested adage that change is constant, however, portable hotspots now let those with a smartphones or tablets and minimalist or unlimited plans, roam ever further away from “one place” or “fixed space” online access providers.

Of course, some jobs will always need physical relocation and cannot be done remotely.[52]

CONCLUSION.

Whether finding a niche, converting your business model or personal pitch, or managing change astutely, it is always important to create and perfect the most sustainable mix that fits best with your own skills and abilities, preferences, timeframe(s), and temperament.

There is a way!  One must stay active on multiple fronts (jobsearch, keeping skills sets sharp, and self-promotion or work creation – in horizon scanning and keeping a keen eye on 1 or more of these 8 listed areas); while also watching your general health and fitness, and stress levels, so as not to melt-down for lack of energy, or give-up, for lack of hope.

Wishing a happy and successful 2013, to all.

******************************************************************************

Author:

Ekundayo George is a sociologist and a lawyer, with over a decade of legal experience including business law and counseling (business formation, outsourcing, commercial leasing, healthcare privacy, Cloud applications, and Cybersecurity); diverse litigation, as well as ADR; and regulatory practice (planning and zoning, environmental controls, landlord and tenant, and GRC – governance, risk, and compliance investigations, audits, and counseling) in both Canada and the United States.  He is licensed to practice law in Ontario, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America (U.S.A.). See: http://www.ogalaws.com

He is an experienced strategic and management consultant; sourcing, managing, and delivering on high stakes, strategic projects with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams.  See: http://www.simprime-ca.com

Backed by courses in management, organizational behaviour, and micro-organizational behaviour, Mr. George is also a writer, tweeter and blogger (as time permits), and a published author in Environmental Law and Policy (National Security aspects).

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”), in whole or in part for their content, or their accuracy, or their availability.

This article does not constitute legal advice or create any lawyer-client relationship.


[1] Margo D. Beller.  Europe Needs More Than Cash: Deutsche Bank CEO.  Published on CNBC.com, October 14, 2011.  Online: > http://www.cnbc.com/id/44908372<

[2] Patrick Allen.  Goldman Sachs Sees 40% Risk of Great Stagnation.  Published on CNBC.com, September 29, 2011.  Online: >http://www.cnbc.com/id/44713332/Goldman_Sachs_Sees_40_Risk_of_Great_Stagnation<

[3] BBC.  U.S. retail sales in strong September growth.  Published on BBC.com, October 14, 2011.  Online:>http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15310997<; See also Pedro da Costa and Mark Felsenthal, for Reuters.  U.S. recovery ‘close to faltering’: Bernanke. Published on Financialpost.com, October 4, 2011.  Online: >http://business.financialpost.com/2011/10/04/bernanke-says-fed-ready-to-step-in/<

[4] See e.g. Heather Stewart.  Chinese hard landing won’t help western economies: China’s exports may be in decline – which is not the economic good news that some might think.  Published on theguardian.co.uk, October 16, 2011.  Online: >http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/oct/16/china-exports-decline-hard-landing<

[5] Pankaj Mishra.  The dead end of globalisation looms before our youth.  Even in the west there is little chance of stable jobs or affordable education. Across the world the rage will grow.  Published in theguardian.co.uk, August 25, 2011.  Online: >  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/25/dead-end-globalisation-youth-rage<;  See also Ha-Joon Chang.  The Bric countries can’t save us: The emerging economies won’t prevent worldwide stagnation. The rich world must abandon its 18th-century ideas.  Published in theguardian.co.uk, October 11, 2011.  Online: >http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/11/global-recession-leaders-must-act?INTCMP=SRCH<

[6] Amy Bingham.  Warren Buffett Tells Congress To Raise Taxes On Wealthy.  Published on abcnews.com, August 15, 2011.  Online: >http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/warren-buffett-raise-taxes-wealthy-friends/story?id=14307993&singlePage=true<

[7] Jamie Dettmer.  France’s rich are fleeing the country – With a Socialist president in charge and dramatic tax hikes looming, they’re taking their money–and splitting.  Published on macleans.ca, Tuesday, September 4, 2012.  Online: > http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/09/04/take-the-money-and-run/<

[8] Mark Townsend and Lisa O’Carroll.  Occupy’ anti-capitalism protests spread around the world: Thousands march in Rome, Sydney and Madrid as Occupy Wall Street protests go global.  Published on theguardian.co.uk, October 15, 2011.   Online: >http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/16/occupy-protests-europe-london-assange<

[9] See e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Missile_Crisis.  Lasting in total from October 14, 1962, to November 20, 1962, “The Cuban Missile Crisis”, as it was and remains known in the United States of America and one portion of the Cold War world (i.e. NATO and the former Non-Aligned countries, then classified by General Charles de Gaulle as “First World” and “Third World”, respectively, before these two terms became generally misunderstood and widely misapplied), was also called “The October Crisis”, in Cuba, and “The Caribbean Crisis”, in Russia (i.e. former Warsaw Pact countries: de Gaulle’s “Second World”, which lay on the other side of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain dividing Europe into East and West).

[10] John Goodman.  Why The U.S. Job Market Remains Terribly Bleak.  Published on  forbes.com, November 15, 2012.  Online: >http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoodman/2012/11/15/why-the-u-s-job-market-remains-terribly-bleak/<

[11] The Associated Press.  U.S. poverty rate increases to 1 in 6 people.  Published on nj.com, September 13, 2011.  Online: >http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/09/us_poverty_rate_increases_to_1.html#incart_mce<

[12] Constantine Gardner.  Marc Faber still sees global recession in 2013, says stimulus has impoverished the U.S.  Published on bi-me.com, August 25, 2012.  Online: >http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?id=59005&t=1&cg=4<

[13] Paul Hannon.  BOE Member Warns on Forced Bank Lending.  Published on wsj.com, November 13, 2012.  Online: >http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324556304578116561769116762.html<; See also Stephen McMahon.  RBA warns Australia’s major banks to ignore temptation to cut lending standards and write riskier loans.  Published on heraldsun.com, September 26, 2012.  Online: >http://www.heraldsun.com.au/money/banking/rba-warns-australias-major-banks-to-ignore-temptation-to-cut-lending-standards-and-write-riskier-loans/story-e6frfh5o-1226481411832 <

[14] Eliot Caroom/The Star Ledger.  Fearful of economy, N.J.-based companies sit on large piles of money.  Published on nj.com, Tuesday, August 9, 2011.  Online: >http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/08/fearful_of_economcy_nj-based_c.html<

[15] Andrew Kitchenman.  Business issues are relegated to back burner in Statehouse – Christie: Pro-industry priorities pushed back until close of lame-duck session.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 12, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110912/NJBIZ01/110919996/Business-issues-are-relegated-to-back-burner-in-Statehouse<; See also NBC News staff and wire reports.  Bipartisan outrage after House skips vote on $60 billion Sandy aid bill.  Published on nbcnews.com, January 2, 2013.  Online: >http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/02/16295303-bipartisan-outrage-after-house-skips-vote-on-60-billion-sandy-aid-bill?lite<

[16] Joanna Smith.  Federal budget 2012: Conservatives to cut 19,000 public service jobs. Published on torontostar.com, Ottawa Bureau, March 30, 2012.  Online: >http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1153804–federal-budget-2012-conservatives-to-cut-19-000-public-service-jobs<

[17]See e.g. Linda Nguyen, Post Media News.  Blunt Drummond report urges tough cuts to eliminate Ontario’s deficit.  Published on canada.com, February 16, 2012.  Online: >http://www.canada.com/news/Blunt+report+urges+tough+cuts+eliminate+Ontario+deficit/6162868/story.html<

[18] Ontario’s Premier, the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, announced his resignation in mid-October, 2012, but the party will not choose a new leader until January, 2013, at the earliest.  See CBC News.  Ontario Liberal Leader Hopeful Wants To Avoid Quick Election.  Published on huffingtonpost.ca, December 24, 2012.  Online: >http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/24/ontario-liberal-leader-ho_n_2360056.html<

[19] John Froonjian.  New Jersey Senate committees approve 10 job-creation bills.  Published on pressofatlanticcity.com, Monday, September 19, 2011.  Online: >http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/press/new_jersey/new-jersey-senate-committees-approve-job-creation-bills/article_353ee640-e31d-11e0-bfe4-001cc4c03286.html<; See also Erik Bernstein.  Bloomberg Scores with Sandy Crisis Management.  Published on business2community.com, December 3, 2012.  Online: >http://www.business2community.com/strategy/bloomberg-scores-with-sandy-crisis-management-0347032<

[20] Mark Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario (GPO).  Ontario needs responsible leadership, not partisan brinksmanship.  Submitted by Jaymini Bhikha on the GPO.ca website, Wednesday, 2012-06-20.   Online: >http://www.gpo.ca/statement/ontario-needs-responsible-leadership-not-partisan-brinksmanship<

[21] Steve Hargreaves.  August jobs report: Hiring slows, unemployment falls.  Published on CNNMoney, September 7, 2012.  Online: >http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/07/news/economy/august-jobs-report/index.html<  As the author succinctly writes, the combination of slowed hiring with falling unemployment can only result from one thing: “[t]he unemployment rate fell largely because 368,000 people stopped looking for work, many of them young people”.  But See Katie Eder.  Federal data: Hiring continues at slow, steady pace.  Published on NJBIZ.com, January 4, 2013.  >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20130104/NJBIZ01/130109928/-1/enews_dailyT5<  Recent U.S. Jobs numbers were recently revised upwards, with renewed projections for the year ahead.

[22] See contra CBC News.  Canada’s jobless rate drops to 4-year low – Ontario cranks out 33,000 new jobs in December.  Published on cbcnews, January 4, 2013.  >http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/01/04/business-jobs-canada.html<  The latest Canadian job numbers show an uptick in some sectors, but with strong regional differences.  However, for a fuller assessment of general Canadian economic confidence levels and other factors, see Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW).  How are Canadians Really doing?  The 2012 CIW Report.  Published on the website of the University of Waterloo, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, October 23, 2012.  Online: >https://uwaterloo.ca/canadian-index-wellbeing/sites/ca.canadian-index-wellbeing/files/uploads/files/CIW2012-HowAreCanadiansReallyDoing-23Oct2012_0.pdf<

[23] Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Jessica Wohl.  U.S. retailers scramble after lackluster holiday sales.  Published on Reuters.com, Wednesday, December 26, 2012.  Online: >http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/26/us-usa-retail-holiday-idUSBRE8BL03G20121226<

[24] Guy Dixon.  Holiday season a let-down for retailers.  Published on the Globe and Mail.com, Thursday, December 27, 2012.  Online: >http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/holiday-season-a-let-down-for-retailers/article6756666/<

[25] CBC News.  Holiday travel a wintry mess in Quebec, central Ontario – Thousands without power after heavy, wet snow topples power lines.  Published on CBCNews, December 22, 2012.  Online: >http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/12/22/weather-canada-winter.html<

[26] S’imprime-ça (Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc.) is the management and strategic consulting side of George Law Offices that maintains relationships with a diversity of professionals in multiple jurisdictions to enable rapid team formation, remote work – or TeleTransport – and surge capacity as needed.  The letters I-M-P-R-I-M-E denote its core focal areas of: “Investigations; Media effectiveness, audit, and tracking; Public relations, and brand management; Regulatory and government affairs, governance, and shareholder and analyst communications; Issues counseling; Management consulting; and Effective lead and opportunity marketing”.  To learn more, please visit us at: http://www.simprime-ca.com

[27] Katie Eder.  Seton Hall extends tuition discount to top-tier law students.  Published on NJBIZ.com, January 2, 2013.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20130102/NJBIZ01/130109975/0/1792137269/Seton-Hall-extends-tuition-discount-to-top-tier-law-students<; See also Annamaria Andriotis.  15 Colleges Offering Tuition Discounts – A growing number of private colleges and universities are offering discounted tuition and other ways to save.  Published on smartmoney.com, September 30, 2011.  Online: >http://www.smartmoney.com/borrow/student-loans/15-colleges-offering-tuition-discounts-1317348321248/<

[28] Marti C. Daks.  Weathering the economic storm – Promotional products company sees growth by reducing costs, outsourcing and combining multiple warehouse functions.  Published August 8, 2011 on NJBiz.com.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110808/NJBIZ01/110809Promotional products company sees growth by reducing costs, outsourcing and combining multiple warehouse functions909/-1/enews_NorthJersey<

[29] Melinda Caliendo.  In nod to payroll industry, Jamesburg firm aims to get bills out of mailbox.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 6, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110906/NJBIZ01/110909929/-1/enews_dailyt1<

[30] Melinda Caliendo.  Terracycle taps Facebook game to encourage connection with consumers.  Posted on NJBIZ.com, July 13, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110713/NJBIZ01/110719961/-1/enews_dailyT4<

[31] United Press International, Inc.  N.J.’s two Princetons finally become one.  Published on UPI.com, January 2, 2013.  Online: >http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2013/01/02/NJs-two-Princetons-finally-become-one/UPI-98911357106580/< Princeton Borough and Princeton Township expect  to achieve major savings and efficiencies from their long-awaited merger.

[32] Reuters.  Tyco Shareholders Approve Three Way Breakup.  Published on reuters.com, Monday, 17 September, 2012.  Online: >http://www.cnbc.com/id/49059140/Tyco_Shareholders_Approve_Three_Way_Breakup<

[33] Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Staff Writer.  PMN offers tablet computers with apps subscriptions.  Published on philly.com, September 14, 2011.  Online: >http://articles.philly.com/2011-09-14/business/30149785_1_philadelphia-media-network-tablet-market-tablet-offer<; See also The Times Digital.  Get a Nexus 7 for just £50 when you subscribe to The Times.  Published on  times.co.uk, December 1, 2012.  Online: >http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/digital/article3615541.ece<

[34] Melinda Caliendo.  Instant feedback creates a sophisticated online advertiser.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 12, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110912/NJBIZ01/110919986/Instant-feedback-creates-a-sophisticated-online-advertiser<

[35] Melinda Caliendo.  Helping small businesses land government contracts.  Published on NJBIZ.com, August 12, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110812/NJBIZ01/110819924/-1/enews_dailyT3<

[36] Melinda Caliendo.  Xerox opens graphic showroom to woo business clients.  Published on NJBIZ.com, August 16, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110816/NJBIZ01/110819897/-1/enews_dailyT4<

[37] Melinda Caliendo.  Skanska offers bids training to smaller builders.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 13, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110913/NJBIZ01/110919941/-1/enews_dailyt5<

[38] Joan Verdon, Staff writer, The Record.  Toys, Babies, perfect together, says Toys “R” Us.  Published on northjersey.com, Tuesday, August 23, 2011.  Online: >http://www.northjersey.com/news/business/128227603_More_combination_Toys__Babies_stores.html<; See also note 40 and accompanying text, as this is also an example of ”Category Capture”

[39] Melinda Caliendo.  Toys R Us, other retailers hope layaway offers strengthen Christmas sales.  Published on NJBIZ.com, October 6, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20111006/NJBIZ01/111009908/0/spotlight/Toys-R-Us-other-retailers-hope-layaway-offers-strengthen-Christmas-sales<; See also Jane Taguciana.  Is buying on layaway making a comeback?  Published on theglobeandmail.com, Monday, November 26, 2012.  Online: >http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/household-finances/is-buying-on-layaway-making-a-comeback/article5567036/?service=print<

[40] The Associated Press.  Car rental company Avis Budget Group purchasing Zipcar in a deal worth nearly $500 million.  Published on WashingtonPost.com, January 2, 2013.  Online: >http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/car-rental-company-avis-budget-group-purchasing-zipcar-in-a-deal-worth-nearly-500-million/2013/01/02/f9c2d58a-54d2-11e2-89de-76c1c54b1418_story.html<

[41] Beth Fitzgerald. Economists find silver lining to Irene’s storm clouds.  Published on NJBIZ.com, August 29, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110829/NJBIZ01/110829874/-1/enews_dailyT1<; See also Edgar Sandoval/New York Daily News.  Hurricane Sandy silver lining for thousands of unemployed New Yorkers?  New jobs cleaning up the mess left by storm – Gov. Cuomo has set aside $27 million from a federal grant to hire more than 5,000 New Yorkers to help clean and rebuild their own neighborhoods.  Published on nydailynews.com, November 26, 2012.  Online: >http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/hurricane-sandy-silver-lining-thousands-unemployed-nyers-article-1.1208003<

[42] Jessica Resnick Ault.  Little Nalco Will Benefit from BP’s Spill.  Published on businessweek.com, May 13, 2010.  Online: >http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_21/b4179019975403.htm<

[43] Melinda Caliendo.  Honeywell lands $450M contract to service NASA satellites.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 7, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110907/NJBIZ01/110909910/-1/enews_dailyT2<

[44] New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA).  Schumer, NYSBA Announce Critical Counterterrorism Upgrades for 5 Hudson Valley Bridges – Schumer Helped Secure Millions of Dollars.  Published on nysba.state.ny.us, June 25, 2010.  Online: >http://www.nysba.state.ny.us/index%20page/2010%20Media%20Release%20Pages/062510.html<

[45]See e.g. NJBIZ.  Port Newark Container Terminal breaks ground on $500M expansion.  Published on NJBIZ.com, on July 27, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110727/NJBIZ01/110729892/-1/enews_NorthJersey<

[46] Ontario Energy Board.  Smart Meters and Time-of-use (TOU) Prices.  Page last updated on November 28, 2012.   Online: >http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/Consumers/Electricity/Smart%20Meters<

[47] Joel Landau, Staff writer.  Atlantic County considering possible locations for windmills in Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township.  Published on pressofatlanticcity.com, Sunday, September 18, 2011, and last updated Monday, September 19, 2011.  Online: >http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/press/atlantic/atlantic-county-considering-possible-locations-for-windmills-in-atlantic-city/article_77fcf100-e24d-11e0-bdb4-001cc4c03286.html<  I do concede, though, that subsequent effects of Hurricanes Rita and Sandy, may well have caused a rethink of this plan.

[48] Melinda Caliendo.  St. Peter’s announces large solar project to power three sites.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 15, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110915/NJBIZ01/110919886/-1/enews_dailyT2<

[49] Beth Fitzgerald.  South Jersey medical center unveils $1.89M in energy-efficient upgrades.  Published on NJBIZ.com, September 1, 2011.  Online: >http://njbiz.com/article/20110901/NJBIZ01/110909987/-1/enews_dailyT4<

[50] Mike Taugher and Peter Delevett, McClatchy Newspapers, The Record.  Solar energy company collapse a worrisome sign for ’green-tech’ hopes.  Published on northjersey.com, September 4, 2011.  Online: >http://www.northjersey.com/news/business/129205743_Failure_of_solar_company_is_worrisome_for_U_S__green-tech_industry.html<

[51] For an example of one cautious company in the industry with a good and flexible plan and foresight, See Martin C. Daks.  Long-range planning drives long-term growth – Road construction company boosts revenue by remaining flexible, preparing for future.  Published on NJBIZ.com, August 29, 2011.  Online: >http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110829/NJBIZ01/110829901/Long-range-planning-drives-l…9/6/2011Comment%7CE-mail%7CPrint%7CLike0August29.20113:00AMLon<

[52] Liza Jansen, special for CNBC.com.  Young, Hopeless Europeans Flock to Former Colonies.  Published on CNBC.com, Friday, 2 November, 2012.  Online: >http://www.cnbc.com/id/49642514/Young_Hopeless_Europeans_Flock_to_Former_Colonies<

Running through all of the complex formulae, one-minute pitches, expensive marketing courses, and intensive sales training rewards or retreats …. the common intent is always the same: just make that sale!

Some schools and entities have focused on the hard pitch, some on the soft sale, others on some form of psych. play in a “trend-trap” or a “pity-pitch”; and now …. there is Social Marketing (for some, Social Engineering), where your smartphone can do most if not all of the seller’s prior research as you blissfully (and with voluntary consent through your own location and privacy settings) walk and surf, search and like, tweet and text, post, and otherwise share your entire shopping and social history to the four (north, south, east and west) by four (friends and vendors, foreign and domestic government entities, third-party data and transaction processors including contracted aggregators and data miners, and cyber-criminals) winds.

The more that things change, however, the more they stay the same, as there is still a timeless essence in sales and branding, that, if paid sufficient attention, can constitute a best practice.  I intentionally exclude “marketing” and “promotion” as separate elements in the selling process, because these can be included or embedded, at various levels, deep within the elements that I do list here.  Some interesting and thoughtful examples of marketing (and de-marketing) embedded within the terms, price, relationship and reputation, amongst others, can be seen in this footnote;[1] although the article itself is some 2 years old, these examples are still quite applicable and relevant.  We have also heard of that phrase “it sells itself”, which is the ideal and every marketer’s dream.

 

What is this Timeless Essence?

If you have been reading some of my posts, you will know that I like using acronyms and mnemonics, i.e. first letters in a string of words that actually spell something meaningful or make … some sort of sense when put end-to-end.  The reason for this is because it forces and inspires a deeper level of thinking, and an active justification for putting things where they are in the chain, in the first place.  So as not to disappoint, I will continue that trend in this post.

With the first element not necessarily being the most important element, this “Timeless Essence” has 9 (“nine”) individual parts as follows: Price; Quality; Relationship and Reputation (the “R” complex); Selection, Seniority, Selectivity, and Security (the “S” complex); and Terms.

 

PRICE:

A listed price can be all-inclusive with taxes factored-in, or with a listed price subject to the fine print, or with a listed price exclusive of taxes, or in some other configuration or combination.

Specific pricing options can range from new arrivals at full price; through loss-leaders (insufficiently priced to make an appreciable profit on their own but rather designed to drive volume sales and encourage browsing sales or move co-branded products and services); to liquidation sales at give-away prices.  With regard to food staples, for example, yes, price alone can draw the customers.  However, if the quality or relationship is poor, or the selection is not sufficiently broad, then reputation will suffer and all but those who are tied to that location or vendor, will soon start to do their shopping elsewhere.

 

QUALITY:

Quality can refer to the item for sale or hire (product or service), the place and décor of the selling or hiring (trade dress, and the experience), or the knowledge or skill of the staff (relationship, and the rapport).  Very knowledgeable sales staff, for example in the realm of either mass-market or high-end electronics, can generate a good reputation, develop a loyal following that turns to them for mundane questions on products that the business does not even sell, and lead to incidental sales, or the offering of new products due to customer demand; and even the creation of new and profitable lines of business – i.e. becoming the one-stop source for repairing the products of different (and competing) vendors, for a fee.

 

THE “R” COMPLEX (2 distinct elements):

Relationship, refers to the “experience” on one level, and the “rapport” between the vendor and buyer, or the vendor and the referral source, on another level.  Where word of mouth marketing brings the lead in the door (or to the website when we de-emphasize the bricks and mortar), it is left to the salesperson or the online marketing department to make or break that sale.  The act of referral does play upon the reputation of the vendor in the eyes of the referring source, and this may or may not hold true for the one being introduced as a follow-on rapport is or is not developed.  Word of mouth advertising can be both positive and negative.

Of course, showing the interplay between these essence elements – a reputation for quality or offering good terms (long warranties, no money-down, extended hours), can also bring large volumes of people through the door (or otherwise, to the e-commerce store).

Reputation sometimes also suffers if and when unscrupulous competitors (or members of a different political party), engage in highly questionable competitive practices.  These will need to be countered, curtailed, and corrected.  At other times, however, the prospect will already have been sold through marketing or a description of the experience or the rapport from others.  A good example of this is the opening of a new movie in theatres.  Those first in line will have been pre-sold, or in the company of others who have been so enticed.  And others, visiting the theatre in the second and subsequent evenings, will go because of the ratings, the descriptions of those who went before them, or continued media hype and coverage.

Relationship and Reputation can come together with successful product or service placement in that opening movie.  The audience can both develop a rapport with the performers through the product or service (by rushing out to do likewise and share or repeat the experience for themselves), and thereby capitalize on the reputation of that product or service by their patronage, which also furthers its reputation …. all for what?  A minimal outlay if the actor or actress is already an avid user or fan of said item, and whether or not compensated for same.

 

THE “S” COMPLEX (4 distinct elements):

These 4 elements (selection, seniority, selectivity, and security) are all related.  Selection refers to the variety of items available.  A wider selection is a significant part of what allows the Big Box Stores to draw people from both near and far, despite the isolated or even desolate locations in which you sometimes find them.  Seniority, of course, distinguishes some older vendors or long-established businesses from the new ones that may eventually be short-lived fads, or soon out of business due to some other reason for their non-sustainability.  It also used to give some assurances – financial shenanigans aside – that a vendor would be around long enough to make good on its warranty promises if any problems arose.  However, in a market where prices have fallen and comparable replacements abound, this becomes less important.

Selectivity is what distinguishes the “hard-to-get” item or service from the more commonly available.  However, “at-first-glance” good knockoffs through piracy, and their obvious advantage in price, are causing significant and rising consternation for several famous brands – especially in a challenging economy where many customers want to feel and look fashionable but do not have the disposable income (or even employment) to go about it properly as the law-abiding citizens that they ought, and were long ago taught, to be.

Security, as in “a sense of personal security”, has always comforted knowing buyers of counterfeit outerwear, because to date, it has generally only been the sellers of knock-offs who faced the penalties and prosecutions.  This changes, of course, and very quickly, when fake jewelry or wrist-wear causes one’s skin to go green, or brings-out a severe allergic reaction.  The ultimate buyers of counterfeit drugs, foods, and beverages however, are generally quite unaware that they are buying fakes, and they sometimes pay with their health or their lives.

Security can also be a strong selling point with businesses prone to problems.  This can be passive security in cameras (as long as they work, are watched, and the tapes are kept for long enough to be relevant), in patrolling armed guards, or in perimeter controls and screening of entrants.  However, if the grocery store or convenience store in the middle of a hot zone or a war zone is the only place to get food and other necessities, then despite the insecurity, people WILL still find a way there.  So, there must always be quite some give and take amongst all 9 factors, and between “S” Complex factors.  Whether you speak of a Big Box Store or a War Zone corner store, “location, location, location”, long ago lost its leading-edge, pride of place.

 

TERMS:

Jurisdictions will differ on what constitutes the “essential terms” of an agreement, and when an agreement has been fully formed.  However, and though varying from case to case or category of agreement to category of agreement, recurring “essential” elements include price, the item of agreement or sale, and the fact (often by signed writing) that there is some sort of an agreement.  One term can always be a deal-breaker or a deal-maker, and both knowing (discovering) the other party’s squeal point, and how to sufficiently sweeten the deal by give on that point or take on another, will be key.  This is why good sales and marketing people always ask questions that, although not always seeming pertinent, are intended to reveal something directly, or to lower a barrier that prevents the person asking, from seeing it for themselves.

Summary:

This then, is the Timeless Essence, a best practice, in effective sales and marketing, including branding.  Real world examples may come to your mind as you think through these points and look around you, or, you may be spurred-on to become your own mogul.  Good luck (in the effort), give thanks (to those who inspired you), and really, go for it …. just make that sale!

***************************************************************************

Author:

Ekundayo George is a sociologist and a lawyer, with experience in business law and counseling, diverse litigation, and regulatory practice.  He is licensed to practice law in Ontario, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America (U.S.A.).  See, for example: http://www.ogalaws.com.  An avid writer, blogger, and reader, Mr. George is a published author in Environmental Law and Policy (National Security aspects).

Mr. George is also an experienced strategic consultant; sourcing, managing, and delivering on large, high stakes, strategic projects with multiple stakeholders, large budgets, and multidisciplinary teams.  See, for example: http://www.simprime-ca.com.

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”), in whole or in part for their content, or their accuracy, or their availability.

This article does not constitute legal advice or create any lawyer-client relationship.


[1] Nicholas P. Hopek, TSYS.  De-Marketing in Practice: Survival of the Fittest – and Most Profitable – Customers. Published in Thought Leadership n>genuity Magazine, Spring 2009.  Online: >>http://www.tsys.com/thoughtLeadership/ngenuityInAction/current_issue/Spring09DeMarketingInPractice.cfm<<

 

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