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Buyer Motivations

Published October 9, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Marketing experts know that the most effective ways to reach their audience is through a powerful message that evokes a feeling and motivates buyers to take action. Kennedy (2011) suggests that successful advertising campaigns implement strategies that focus on a unique selling proposition (USP). This transpires to explain the company’s position with respect to their competition (Kennedy, 2011). For example, Best Buy states it guarantees the lowest prices. They dare consumers to find a lower price and boldly state they will match it. This is one example of how a company telegraphs a message about their benefits through their promises. This tactic is used to effectively appeal to customers that are interested in saving money. Others, however, use tactics like fear to electrify consumers. For example, Allstate Insurance Company uses images of disastrous events like flooding, theft, and automobile fender benders to instill a message of fear. The message they want to communicate with this strategy is that their brand of insurance can bring them comfort during events of great suffering. Companies that express a USP that evoke strong emotions like fear can use it to their advantage to position their services and goods as the answer that addresses their needs. They focus on rousing consumer feelings from their own experiences of significant life changing events. This is one method corporations can use to build consumer trust.

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Marketing experts that use precision marketing methodologies can cut through the noise and focus on winning consumers as fully engaged advocates. Gallagher and Zoratti (2012) postulate that in today’s society, consumers have made it clear they are in control of the communication they tune into. They are voting with their money and their attention by fast forwarding through commercials, opting out of mailing lists, and blocking their phones to avoid solicitors. Consumers, instead, are spreading the information through social networks by voicing their opinions online, with friends, family, colleagues, and the global internet community. Because of this trend corporations are watching their advertising investments deteriorate. Market research reveals that consumer interests and attention are directly related to the salience of the message they transmit (Gallagher & Zoratti, 2012). In other words, in order to engage consumers that are ignoring them, they are finding new methods to penetrate their barriers by gathering extensive research to find out what is relevant to them and what appeals to them emotionally.

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There are many components that advertising firms use to transmit their messages that target relevant consumers. Baack and Clow (2012) contend there are seven major areas of appeal that help form these messages: (a) fear, (b) humor, (c) sex, (d) music, (e) rationality, (f) emotions, or (g) scarcity. Fear is the top emotion that advertisers implement to get their message out while humor is the second. Even though these emotions are not similar, they can, however, be linked together to convey a powerful message (Baack & Clow, 2012). For instance, a company that wants to send a message to men about a new cologne product, may link many of these characteristics to allure an audience. Old Spice, for example, created a very effective commercial about their cologne combining the components of fear, humor, and sex appeal to get the message out about one of their products. The commercial opens with a beautiful muscular man standing in front of a running shower, clothed in nothing but a towel. Using sex appeal in a humorous situation, the man appeals directly to his audience, looking straight into the camera asking the viewer to compare their mate to him while the images fast forward through a variety of heroic scenes ending with the man mounted on a horse reminiscent of a knight in shining armor. This message uses humor, rationality, fear, and sex appeal to communicate to the audience. The ad clearly conveys that the cologne can make their partner more heroic like the man in the commercial if they use Old Spice. The commercial banks on the man’s sex appeal to attract attention, while the concept of fear is implied to those who do not use the product. This advertising strategy communicates to both women and men. The man’s humor and sex appeal allures those who fantasize about a heroic partner, and the emotion of fear speaks to those who are afraid they are not heroic or attractive enough in the eyes of their partners unless they take some kind of action. Advertising teams that engage in precision marketing methods and focus on their target audience, are in a better position to influence buyer motivations and tend to yield the highest results.

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References:

Baack, D., & Clow, K. (2012). Integrated advertising, promotion, and marketing communications (Fifth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

Gallagher, L., & Zoratti, S. (2012). Precision marketing: Maximizing revenue through relevance. London, UK: Kogan Page Ltd.

Kennedy, D. (2011). The ultimate marketing plan: Target your audience (Fourth ed.). Avon, MA, USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Learning Through Experience

Published April 29, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Scholars agree that experience is a concept that is undervalued, underestimated and in some cases, even disregarded. According to Beard and Wilson (2006) experience pervades all forms of learning. Their definition of experiential learning is the process of active engagement between the inner world of a person and the outer world of the environment.  Active engagement is one of the basic components of experiential learning. It involves the entire individual, through thoughts, feelings and physical activity. Experiential learning takes on many appearances that include recreational or leisure activities, exhilarating journeys or adventures, experimentation or play. In other words, people learn new skills by doing them. A teacher who directs their students to learn rhyme and meter by instructing them to create a dance routine to a poem in iambic pentameter is one example of experiential learning (Beard & Wilson, 2006).

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A fundamental element to effective learning is the ability to reflect and review the learning process.  This helps identify which methods are effective and which are not. Root issues however, tend to remain unaddressed. For this reason measurement is an essential component to high performance, improvement, and success in any business or other area of human endeavor. In fact, Spitzer (2007) postulates the key to success is measurement because it can reveal the organization’s current position in the marketplace, identifies strengths and weaknesses, and helps in the development of new goals. For this reason, performance measures have a transformational effect on the way people and organizations examine their work, products and customers (Spitzer, 2007). During my employment in the mortgage and loan industry, I observed many formal and informal reflection and review processes that were developed as the organization grew. For example, as the organization achieved higher levels of success, the number of employees increased. This included additional loan officers, processors and administrative staff. At this new level of corporate operations, management conducted annual reviews to verify the organization was complying with policies and operating legally within the corporate framework to avoid substantial penalty fees.  At this stage, operation managers were legally required to work in compliance with labor laws and began to implement systems that offered employee benefits including health insurance and paid vacation time.

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Annual and monthly reviews were conducted with focus centered on the volume of loans and closings. This could help identify methods loan officers and processing teams incorporated and give insight to what was effective as well as pinpoint weaknesses. Weekly and monthly sales strategy meetings were also conducted to assess the volume of lead activity and identify why some transferred into sales and why others didn’t. Once the information was collected and evaluated upper management could then decide on tactics and training programs to help staffers develop higher skill levels, use them consistently, and incorporate systems that would assist to motivate them (Silberman, 2007). The founders of the mortgage company, for example, decided to seek professional assistance to help guide the company’s success and engaged the services of an elite mortgage and loan coaching company. Annual leadership meetings were conducted. The executives were assigned new tasks and set short and long term goals. Monthly calls were scheduled and each team leader was required to submit a progress report to monitor activity.

Leaders that actively work to improve themselves and their organizations, seek new opportunities to learn. Those who are wise enough enlist the guidance of successful mentors and coaches. These trailblazers do not underestimate the value of experiential learning and are able to make adjustments based on methods of trial and error. These are the bosses and organizations employees are proud to be a part of.

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References:

Beard, C., & Wilson, J. (2006). Experiential learning: A best practice handbook (2nd ed.). London, England, UK: Kogan Page.

Silberman, M. (2007). The handbook of experiential learning. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Spitzer, D. R. (2007). Transforming performance measurement: Rethinking the way we measure and drive organizational success. New York, NY: AMACOM Books.

References:

Beard, C., & Wilson, J. (2006). Experiential learning: A best practice handbook (2nd ed.). London, England, UK: Kogan Page.

Silberman, M. (2007). The handbook of experiential learning. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Spitzer, D. R. (2007). Transforming performance measurement: Rethinking the way we measure and drive organizational success. New York, NY: AMACOM Books.

Intrapreneurship Analysis

Published March 6, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Entrepreneurial leaders are visionaries that possess a variety of characteristics and skills needed to be successful. Some of these talents include a deep passion to develop and articulate a vision, the ability to create a sound plan that include strategies to maintain and goals to achieve.  In addition, an entrepreneur must have a comprehension of the organization’s culture, structure, and procedures to understand how to navigate productively in a rapidly growing entrepreneurial organization. For example, an effective entrepreneurial leader requires the ability to adapt and manage change efficiently to stay ahead of competitors with aspirations to dominate the market. Risk taking is another important element for an entrepreneur.  Businessman Richard Branson (2011) has a simple philosophy, “Screw it, just do it” (Branson, 2011). This displays an unwavering tenacity to continue moving forward with goals regardless of the risks involved.

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In addition, entrepreneurs must face and answer certain questions before embarking on an entrepreneurial venture to insure the best chances of success. For example, do they possess or have access to enough capital for their investment; is their family supportive; is there a need for this product or service?  Furthermore, they must ask themselves is there a sense of urgency to embark on this venture. In other words, what is the intent or driving force behind the enterprise? It is also essential that an entrepreneur identify their strengths and weaknesses to ascertain where they require support in areas like marketing, accounting, sales and administration (Inc The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, 2010).

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Branson shares four simple principles he follows that have been instrumental in overcoming failures and achieving extraordinary levels of success as an entrepreneur. They are: 1) live in the moment; 2) become a good steward by helping others; 3) have fun; and 4) never give up (What I learned about entrepreneurship from Richard Branson, 2011). Another important component is to not lose sight of the vision and keep focused on opportunities, or challenges that present new opportunities. Finally, a successful entrepreneur should have a keen eye on trends and fluctuations in the market to help give them a better edge on the competition and what changes are required to help keep them on track to achieve their goals.

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References:

What I learned about entrepreneurship from Richard Branson. (2011, November 22). Retrieved February 14, 2013, from ProQuest Central: http://search.proquest.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/docview/1030937503?accountid=32521

Branson, R. (2011). Losing my virginity: How I survived, had fun, and made a fortune doing business my way (Updated ed.). London, UK: Crown Publishing Group.

Inc The Staff of Entrepreneur Media. (2010). Start your own business (5th ed.). Canada: Entrepreneur press.

Sir Richard Branson: An Entrepreneurial Knight

Published March 1, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Introduction

When one hears the term entrepreneur, an image emerges of an individual who organizes and operates a business that involves certain risks.  One of the most successful examples of entrepreneurs in the modern age is Sir Richard Branson.  This charismatic visionary makes running a business seem effortless and fun.  In addition, he displays a disciplined work ethic that is focus-driven, illustrates an adventurous spirit, and demonstrates a passionate devotion to business that is unwavering.  Although he takes many risks that can fail, Sir Richard Branson is recognized as one of the highest achievers in the world of entrepreneurs.

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Entrepreneurship

Today’s successful entrepreneurs require more than just luck and diligence.  They require an ability to create in a demanding environment of high uncertainty and risk that necessitates flexibility and the capability of learning from failure.  Furthermore, an entrepreneur brings to the arena a host of components that include resources, labor, and other various skills and materials.  The most renowned entrepreneurs, like Sir Richard, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, are driven by an internal force with an inherent need to make a difference in the world while escaping the confinements of bureaucracy (Ries, 2011).

Entrepreneurship is the process of creating something new of value by devoting time and effort in the venture.  Entrepreneurs pursue their business endeavors with passion and enthusiasm.  This drives the engine that attracts success and monetary rewards.  Four behavioral characteristics identify the entrepreneurial spirit: 1) creating a vision; 2) organizing and steering economic structures and social networks; 3) combining resources in innovative ways; and 4) accelerating with the acceptance of uncertainty, setbacks, and failure (Ries, 2011).

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Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson is an exemplary illustration of an entrepreneur and an esteemed business leader.  He is also a humanitarian that is proactive in politics.  His innovative and groundbreaking ventures demonstrate a fearless maverick style that supports risk taking.  His many successful achievements include founding the Virgin Group Company with branches that extend into the media; airlines and rail; wine and mobile phone services; and a trustee of several charities including the Virgin Healthcare Foundation and Virgin Unite.  In December of 1999, The Queen of England honored him with a knighthood for his services to entrepreneurship.  Not afraid of adventure or failure, this internationally renowned explorer has been involved in numerous world record breaking attempts, including the first hot-air balloon to cross the Atlantic.  Consistent with his lively ambitious and expansionist attitude, Sir Richard’s latest enterprise is Virgin Galactic, a space tourism company that will take passengers into suborbital space (Entrepreneur, adventurer and businessman Richard Branson challenges financial profesionals to have a ‘planetary point of view’, 2006).

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic

The Branson Philosophy

Sir Richard is also one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the world.  His philosophy, “Oh, screw it, let’s do it” (Branson, 2011, p. 14), drives his ambitious spirit as the locomotive to his success.  He recommends four simple principles that can help us achieve higher levels of success:

  1. Live in the moment – In the world of business, quick decisive actions can have big pay offs.
  2. Have fun – Chances for success is much greater when you do what you love and are joyful doing it.
  3. Give back – Show good stewardship and help others even if it is minimal and do so with gratitude and appreciation.
  4. Never give up – The word defeat is anathema in any endeavor (What I learned about entrepreneurship from Richard Branson, 2011).

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The Branson Centre

Recently Sir Richard opened the Branson Centre, a facility in the Caribbean committed to developing entrepreneurship.  The Centre offers a mentorship program to help budding entrepreneurs with networking and exposure, and assists with the coaching and financing aspects of their needs.  Jamaicans lack technical support, adhere to a complicated tax structure, and are in need of additional capital.  The Centre offers an arena to launch new entrepreneurial businesses to stimulate job creation and provide opportunities for locals to improve their communities and fuel their economy (Branson Centre, 2011).

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Conclusion

Sir Richard’s humanitarian endeavors and his concerns for environmental impact are inspirational leadership qualities in an entrepreneur.  For example, one company called Seascape Caribbean is focused on the restoration of the coral reefs in the coastal region and another, Leanne Talbot of Island Cycle, is dedicated to recycling waste into usable products.  (Branson Centre, 2011).  Sir Richard’s innovative ideas and contributions help enable economic freedom for the employers of the future and support the creation of new jobs.   In conclusion, as the founder of many successful business ventures that continue to create opportunities with environmental consciousness, Sir Richard Branson remains one of the most commendable visionary entrepreneurs and humanitarians of the modern era.

References

Entrepreneur, adventurer and businessman Richard Branson challenges financial profesionals to have a ‘planetary point of view’. (2006, October 15). Retrieved February 14, 2013, from ProQuest: http://search.proquest.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/docview/447141732?accountid=32521

Branson Centre. (2011, September 13). Retrieved February 14, 2013, from ProQuest Central: http://search.proquest.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/docview/888611281?accountid=32521

What I learned about entrepreneurship from Richard Branson. (2011, November 22). Retrieved February 14, 2013, from ProQuest Central: http://search.proquest.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/docview/1030937503?accountid=32521

Branson, R. (2011). Losing my virginity: How I survived, had fun, and made a fortune doing business my way (Updated ed., p. 14). London, UK: Crown Publishing Group.

Ries, E. (2011). The lean startup: How today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. New York, NY: Random House, Inc.

 

Political Economy

Published January 23, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Some scholars define political economy as the application and practice of formal economics. In other words, it is the so-called rational actor model to all types of human behavior, particularly socio-political behavior. The economic theory of politics, often referred to as public choice, can be used to integrate economic and political studies of international relationships, since public choice is part of a larger endeavor which seeks to apply a rational behavior approach (Talani, 2004).

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After World War II, Western European countries invested in the welfare of their citizens through elaborate public policy measures and with expensive public budgets (Hay & Wincott, 2012).  They redistributed wealth in a variety of ways that included: (a) levies on progressive income taxes, (b) authorizing high minimum wages, (c) the encouragement of collective bargaining rights from unions, (d) placing value-added taxes on luxury expenditures, and (e) providing social benefits for health care, housing and other areas (Light & Reynolds, 2011).  The political economy of the continental European model is a system that offers fewer jobs, but the jobs are of more value.  In addition their citizens rely on their governments to redistribute sufficient benefits preserving public peace.  The downside of this methodology is powerful governments, higher taxes, large bureaucratic organizations and a tendency to lean towards authoritarian solutions during times of political unrest.

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America, on the other hand, creates a plethora of jobs many however, are low-waged positions. The Anglo-American political economy model constitutes a wide pendulum reflective in the small amount of individuals who control enormous wealth on the one side with a vast amount of people experiencing great levels of poverty on the other.  Making matters worse, the enormous injection of money to stimulate the US economy and bail out failing corporations forced the US to incur the largest debt since the Second World War (Allen, 2011).  The disadvantages of this model are the social costs that stem from these tactics and inequality which in turn stimulates an environment that encourages citizens to experience instability, anxiety, and despair, that then leads to behavior to include gang activity in urban areas, terrorist and other predatory criminal conduct.

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In conclusion, if given a choice between what we call the Anglo-American political economy to that of the continental European model, perhaps with the expansion of globalization, we could instead, choose to find a way to integrate the best of both with the intent to frame a new international political economic system.  By combining the best of both economies in an effort to create a better system, the future could transform into a more flourishing world;  one that includes a plethora of better paying jobs with a political/social system that allows everyone the same opportunities to experience an abundant life that comprise benefits for higher education, housing and health care.

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References

Allen, M. (2011). The American political economy. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Hay, C., & Wincott, D. (2012). The political economy of European welfare capitalism. London UK: Palgrave Macmillan Publishing.

Light, P., & Reynolds, C. (2011). Driving social change: How to solve the world’s toughest problems. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Talani, L. (2004). European political economy. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company.