Stakeholders and Land Rover

Land Rover found that stakeholders could influence them to adopt a two-way symmetrical approach after Greenpeace invaded its manufacturing plant. Land Rover had already introduced a sustainable development policy with product improvements but these had not been communicated to its publics. Land Rover was further motivated to improve and communicate its sustainability by the increasing media focus on environmental issues and its negative phrases such as ‘gas-guzzling 4x4s’.

When Greenpeace demonstrated on the Land Rover premises it galvanised the organisation into working with stakeholders to address its image and gain support for its sustainable development policy. The consultancy Grayling PR’s objective was to protect and promote the Land Rover brand in order to tackle the stigma around 4x4s and their environmental impact.

It intended to do this through a strategy of focusing on the brand’s sustainability, showcasing the company’s product improvements, its conservation partnership, and renewable energy investment as part of its CO2 offset programme.

Implementation

Land Rover engaged with both positively and negatively affected stakeholders. These included its natural allies, for instance the motoring organisations, and also its critics; the environmentalcharities and NGOs such as Greenpeace. Meetings with potential supportters focused on looking for opportunities to work together. Meetings with detractors centred on identifying some common ground and encouraging a more informed view of Land Rover’s environmental impacts.

Partnership

The vehicles play a big role in facilitation conservation work therefore partnerships were developed with five conservation charities- the Royal Geographical Society, Earthwatch, Biosphere,Born Free, and the Chinese Explatory and Research Society (CERS) providing vehicle and financial support. Land Rover and the CERS also worked together on a CNN documentary in Tibet.
As a part of the 60th anniversary of the Red Cross, Land Rover gave 60 vehicles to the British Red Cross which were officially donated by HRH the Orince of Wales at a Buckingham Palace garden party. The vehicles were arranged in the form of a Red Cross flag and generated photo opportunities and subsequent overage, including an online Red Cross video.
Half the donated vehicles will be used in countries such as in Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Mongolia to transport vital supplies and emergency response personnel during natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and earthquakes. The remainder will help with UK operations such as floodingm off-road emergencies and public events.

Renewable energy investment

Land Rover conducts the world’s largest consumer offset programme, It invests in renewable energy projects such as wind, solar, and technology change and energy efficiency.

Product improvements
New technologies,such as the hybrid engine, signposted a future direction and sustainability opinion leaders were consulted. The Chief Executive of Greenpeace met the managing director of Land Rover and visited Land Rover’s HQ to review its sustainable technologies,
Land Rover now  generates positive media coverage and is making inroads into specialist environmental media and is in open dialogue with NGOs and pressure environmental groups.

 

 

The main elements of strategic leadership and a major change programme

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According to Lynch (2012), strategic leadership is the ability to shape the organisation’s decisions and deliver high value over time, not only personally but also by inspiring and managing other in the organisation. To develop and maintain strategic leadership, four elements need to be integrated together: the commitment to the company’s purpose; the makeup of the top management team; the capabilities and motivation of people throughout the organization; and a sequence of focused, well-chosen strategic initiatives that can take the company forward. (Wheeler, 2007)
François Michelin of Michelin Rubber, Jürgen Schrempp of Chrysler, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Gianni Agnelli of Fiat are all examples of successful industry leaders who have led and shaped the direction of their companies. They do not undertake tasks by themselves: they involve others in the organisation at many levels. However, Dell Inc. is a real example of the company who did not know how to set priorities. In 2004, Dell Inc. advertised themselves as the highest quality customer service and support but when they received a broken computer from the customer, promising to send a new one, it suddenly began having a much harder time getting it fixed what was intolerable for a business dependant on mail order. (Wheeler, 2007) Rather than concentrating on those distinctive customer-focused aspects that made it the leader of its industry, the company kept cutting prices in order to beat Asian competitors. The “why” factor always helps leaders to set priorities and realise the relevance of their short term or long term future actions.
Sometimes two similar industry leaders come to an agreement of creating an alliance between them in order to be better positioned in the market. For instance, the Renault-Nissan alliance established in 1999. Since then, Nissan has achieved a notable financial turnaround and Renault has reinforced its basics in terms of operating performance as well as has accelerated its global development. (Source: http://www.renault.com) This story demonstrates effective strategic leadership and its initiatives to a manageable set. Some people argue that team composition within the organisation plays an important role. The thorough diagnose of team members can help to prevent teams from being understood wrongly and having conflicts. A well-known US company Xerox had cut almost 19,000 jobs as there was a real crisis by 2002. Anne Mulcahy, Xerox Chief Executive, started to change the company’s culture and employed a new management team – more skilled presenters and responsible team players. Since then, the situation dramatically changed by 2007 when Xerox had 30,000 jobs.
The starting point for any programme of strategic change is clarity regarding the changes required. (Lynch, 2006) A change options matrix suggests three main areas of strategic change: technical and work changes, cultural changes, political changes. For change to be truly effective, it needs to be implemented at all levels. For success, senior management commitment and drive for change is essential if momentum is to be maintained for effective implementation. To keep colleagues with the leader on this, they need to be highly motivated and the leader needs to know what motivates them. As soon as the organisation leader motivated the staff to support the changes that are to be implemented is therefore a key to success.

 

Key factors determining the success of a strategic alliance with special reference to the global travel industry

 

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The purpose of this essay is to discuss and critically analyse the key aspects which define the success of a strategic alliance by providing the most famous examples from the global travel-tourism industry such as Star Alliance, British Airways and Aeroflot Airlines, Qantas and Emirates global alliance and a well-known OneWorld alliance.
A strategic alliance is an agreement between firms to cooperate in certain ways to achieve strategic benefits. (Hoffman, 2007) A company looking for entry into a foreign market executes an agreement with a host-country firm allowing it to do its local marketing and sales agent in return for doing the same in its own country. Some European airlines have such marketing agreements with North American Airlines. The companies cross sell each other’s routes. Alliances success particularly depends on an effective and efficient alignment between the involved partners. (Dougman, 2000) Nowadays, tourism industry groups also have been formed among and between online travel web-sites, hotels, rental cars, tour companies, cruise liners and strategic alliances are at the core of almost every firm’s business model and revenue streams.
The main advantage of a strategic alliance is that the company benefits from host-country partner’s knowledge and awareness of the market, industry situation, customers preferences and government regulations. In other words, it can build a close contact and trusting relationship with business partners. For instance, Star Alliance is an agreement amongst 25 airlines, including United Lufthansa and Air Canada, to code share flights and join frequent-flier points programs. Another example illustrates British Airways and the Soviet airline Aeroflot who set an independent airline to service routes between Europe and the USSR. (In the late 1990s, car companies and hotels also joined in cross-marketing alliances with airlines.) Today, Aeroflot Russian Airlines has about 200 interline agreements with foreign airlines.
The second advantage is that strategic alliance contributes knowledge sharing between partners, resulting in enhanced education and the development of new competencies. A good industry example of this is the airlines Qantas and Emirates companies. They received a final approval to form a five year global alliance. According to “The Guardian”, Qantas and Emirates airlines also plan to cooperate on sales, marketing and pricing in 2014.
Joint venture involves two or more companies creating a legally independent company to share some of the parent company’s resources with the purpose of developing competitive advantage. (Lynch, 2012) It can take many forms, the most obvious one being a 50/50 shareholding in a joint company. The key advantages that can arise from joint ventures between a large multinational and a local company are risk reduction via sharing the project and speedy market access plus prompt profits. OneWorld is an alliance of the world’s top airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and convenience to frequent international travellers. The company has been named as Best Airline Alliance 2014 which has 13 airlines members, such as Air Berlin, British Airways and Qatar Airways, plus some 30 affiliated airlines. It is interesting to note that more than 20,000 alliances have been formed worldwide – and strikingly, more than half of them are between competitors. (Harbison, 1998) Many hotels, car rental agencies and other industry firms were also interested in alliances: for instance, tour company May-flower Tours have established multi-product and multi-geographic alliances with industry groups, including other tour operators, airlines, travel agencies, international travel administrators/operators, hotel, cruise and other suppliers, and with destination marketing organizations. (Holdenberg, 2009)
In conclusion, Porter (1998) states that alliances represent a tempting solution to the problem of a company wanting the advantage of foreign enterprises or hedging against risk, without giving up independence. Alliances are best used as a selective tool, employed on a temporary basis or involving noncore activities. Success in alliances also turns into superior growth where both partners achieve their objectives.

Difference between marketing and market orientation. Market-led strategies and Competitive Advantage.

The purpose of this essay is to discuss and critically analyse the differences between marketing and market orientation in a business context and demonstrate in what ways market-led strategies can help business drive growth and support competitive advantage. To support all these theoretical statements and arguments, a number of well-known USA, European and Far Eastern businesses examples are shown in this essay.
According to the British Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) marketing is the process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. (Morris, 2012) Marketing adds value by building a positive brand image of the business company and its products in the minds of the customers. It also adds value by bringing to the company information about changing customer needs, expectations and preference that can be used to create user-friendly products. The American Express Company always use new media to stay in touch with its customers. The implementation of dialogue marketing helped them to make sure that the customer is heard, and helped to identify theirs needs and expectations. (Harter, 2007)
Market orientation is more than simply ‘getting close to the customer.’ An organisation can be market oriented only if it completely understands its market. Customer information must go beyond research and promotional functions to penetrate every organisational function. (Drysdale, 1999) In other words, market orientation relates to business approach or philosophy that concentrates on identifying and meeting the customers’ needs. In 2008, Audi car was announced as the best market-oriented company in the automotive industry. Product developments and customer service closely meet customer demand by making Audi a leader amongst other automotive companies. The strong market orientation, close collaboration between sales, marketing, research and development as well as closely related sales and service network lead to high customer satisfaction and loyalty. This has made the Audi brand number one of the world’s most successful manufacturers of quality cars. (Audi AG, 2008)
Being market-led is simply about putting the customer at the top of the management agenda. (Piercy, 1991) It is all about focus on the buyers and finding better solutions of doing what they value. A customer-driven focus should influence about everything that happens in marketing- from research and product development, to the choice of communication vehicles for staying in touch with the firm’s target audience. Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) is very well known for its consumer understanding; they interact with more than five million consumers every year. The thorough investigation in market research helped the company to identify opportunities for innovation and communicate with clients effectively. (Source: http://www.pg.com) To be successful nowadays, marketers must embrace the challenges of new media and try to connect with customers. Experimenting with the new does not translate to discarding the old. For example, the American Express advertising still stays on TV constantly as they want consumers to be in control of the storytelling by engaging advertising in different methods.
Superior performance comes from going to market better than competitors, not from marketing departments and publicity. The focus of going to market is choosing and managing a strategic pathway involving appropriate market choices, a robust and sustainable value proposition to customers, and a set of key relationships that underpin the value proposition. Also, long-term focus helps organisation to develop strategic plans that can go well for a three year cycle. By adopting a long-term focus, the firm can measure the growth, attempt to serve all customers, have an effective organisational performance in the market and implement new value added services as well as measure the success and satisfaction. (Drysdale, 1999)
Competitive advantage refers to an edge of superiority a firm enjoys over its competitors, emerging either from a powerful market position of from a unique internal competency. (Hoffman, 2007) Competitiveness is dynamic: an organisation’s competitive positioning may vary, sometimes radically and rapidly, as a result of external developments. Google Inc. operates in a very competitive atmosphere amongst Apple, Microsoft’s Bing, and Yahoo Search. However, Google has a superior infrastructure, powerful search engine, wide portfolio of services and tools which absolutely fulfil the criteria of being VRIN.
This essay discussed and analysed different authors’ standpoints and thoughts on marketing and market orientation as well as market-led strategies and competitive advantage within a business by providing some industry examples such as Audi, American Express Company, P&G and Google.

What is a Crisis?

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A crisis is an event, accusation or perception that seriously threatens the reputation- and, if not dealt with effectively- the viability of an organisation. There are essentially 2 main types of crisis. The first is what might be called a real crisis. Someone has been hurt or even killed. A product has failed in a way that is at best convenient to customers or others and at worst damaging. The second type of crisis is a reputational crisis. In this instance something happens, or is alleged, that lowers trust, respect and liking for the organisation.

The two main types of crisis can be subdivided into 4 categories:

1. Performance Crises (Fault, Fire and Theft): This is when an organisation fails to perform properly. Typically examples include when products have to be recalled, accidents and injury occur, laws have been broken or private data has been lost. Simplistically this category  can be called Fault, Fire and Theft. Most of these tyoes of crisis can be foreseen, even if the timing and circumstances cannot.

2. Disaster Crisis: These are totally unexpected and virtually impossible to plan for. They include ‘one in a million’ crises such as a plane crushing into your building or a gunman running amok in your office or store. However, they may be difficult to plan for.

3. Attack Crisis: These occur when someone such as journalist, member of staff or activist is out to get your organisation. They may focus on internal disputes, poor management practice and controversial leaked documents. Noone may have been hurt and no laws may have been broken  but the credibility of your organisation is under sttack.

4. Moral Crisis: Some industries are in the unfortunate position of facing criticism for being in existence. Tobacco companies are one obvious example but oil companies and fast food companies have also come under the spotlight. These are sort of companies and industries that often seem to have the word ‘evil’ attached to them, as as the example of fast food indicates, ideas on what constitutes ‘evil’ can shift over time, so vigilance is required. Whatever such comopanies do or say someone is going to hate them.

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Northampton University. Advertising students.

Northampton University. Advertising students.

Here we are : Jane, Georgina, Alyona, Joshua, Josh, Lara, Nicolle, Shayo and Tarek.
We are second year students doing BA Advertising course at Northampton university.
Today, we are working on our video project about our course in order to attract new students to study this course at the University of Northampton.
Please follow my blog and see our promotional video by the end of March, 2014.