In June, I blogged about Fuqua professors Rick Larrick and Jack Soll and their push to improve fuel efficiency and consumer behavior by simply changing the measurement from MPG to GPM. Today, Duke Research Advantage blogged that this work was featured in the New York Times Magazine’s “Year in Ideas” issue. They’ve also launched a new GPM calculator to find your current GPM, compare cars, or see the GPM for all 2009 cars. More information about this research, including an interactive fuel-efficiency quiz and a video of Larrick and Soll discussing their work is available at mpgillusion.com.
Posted in business, eco-smart, marketing, sustainability
Tagged blog, business, duke, duke research advantage, eco-smart, fuel efficiency, fuqua, fuqua school of business, gallons per mile, gpm, green, green business, innovation, jack soll, larrick, measurement, psychology, rick larrick, soll, sustainability
Struggling for years with a decreasing market share and tumbling stock price, Nortel is going negative with a campaign against Cisco. This Wall Street Journal article details their PR blitz utilizing bloggers, YouTube, anti-Cisco websites, and trade show demonstrations. The message? Use Nortel to avoid “the Cisco energy tax.”
Nortel is countering with the argument that Cisco’s technology, as successful as it has been in the marketplace, is an energy hog. In its ads, Nortel claims that Cisco’s data networks “are costing you 100% too much.” At trade shows, Nortel staff attach wattage meters to comparable Nortel and Cisco gear in an effort to show that Nortel’s gear is much more energy-efficient. The company posted a film of the demo on YouTube.
Energy prices are finally rising to a point where being energy-efficient is not just something to make a consumer feel good, but something that affects purchasing decisions by price-sensitive customers. That Nortel is taking this message to large corporate customers is evidence that at least some people in corporate purchasing departments are concerned with cutting costs by conserving energy.
In a previous post, I talked about the strategy of going negative with marketing, and why it’s rarely done. This is one of those cases where a very small company with much to gain and little to lose takes on the market leader with a campaign aimed at gaining some awareness and hoping to steal just a bit of the leader’s market share. Or, as pointed out in the WSJ article, survive and keep their current customers as their competition makes persuasive presentations to switch. It’s not unusual for a smaller company to paint the larger one as evil, and it’s not that unusual to use an environmental rationale to make that argument. What might be unusual is that with the price of energy rising so quickly, customers might listen.
And frankly, Cisco’s response that “there are no industry standards to measure “green”; and Cisco’s gear meets the environmental requirements of the product-testing company Miercom” falls a bit flat with me. Not a counter-argument about green manufacturing or building initiatives, but a lack of industry standards? No pledge for improved performance or details of why the additional energy usage creates a superior product? This lack of rebuttal leaves me thinking Cisco either isn’t taking Nortel seriously or isn’t taking energy efficiency seriously - either case may not be a big mistake now, but could be a huge mistake in the future.
Posted in business, marketing
Tagged business, cisco, eco-smart, efficiency, energy, energy efficiency, environment, environmental, green, marketing, negative advertising, nortel, power, sustainability, sustainable, wall street journal, wsj
I think I’ve mentioned before that I find the McKinsey Quarterly’s free resources available by signing up for their newsletter to be top notch. This quarter’s entries for top strategy articles are no exception. The descriptions below are taken directly from the e-mail newsletter. I’ve deleted the ones that are only available to premium (paid) subscribers. I’ve only read the climate change and Brad Bird/Pixar ones so far, but both were excellent.
Posted in business, eco-smart, strategy
Tagged brad bird, business, carbon footprint, climate change, mckinsey, megatrends, pixar, prediction markets, strategy, sustainability
The New York Times reported today that Virgin Atlantic will conduct a test of one of its Boeing 747s using biofuels. The most interesting thing to me is that there seems to have been a lot of thought put into both the sustainability and the business aspects (even though this first step is actually a blend of 20% biofuel and 80% conventional jet fuel).
Sustainability: Virgin spokesman Paul Charles is quoted as saying the company rejected fuels derived from crops like palm oil because of the land that would be needed to cultivate such crops, and that the biofuel production would not compete with food or freshwater resources.
Business: This joint project between Virgin, Boeing, and GE Aviation splits the costs of innovation among several companies, and had smart business requirements. For example, the test plane will use one of GE Aviation’s CF6 engines as a “drop-in solution,” meaning the use of biofuel requires no modification, and will not affect the engine’s performance or range.
I recently read a New Yorker article about Branson and his work with Al Gore to create the Virgin Earth Challenge with its $25 million prize. I’m impressed that he’s so intent on solutions that are market-driven, commercial, and don’t require major lifestyle changes, as I believe that these are the ones that are truly scalable. An excellent article that shows that for Branson, business is very personal. I just wonder whether he’ll consider himself eligible to win his own prize?
Posted in business, eco-smart, sustainability
Tagged al gore, boeing, branson, business, environment, GE, green, innovation, richard branson, sustainability, virgin, virgin atlantic
Consulting giant McKinsey & Co has a free subscription service offering a subscription to their business publication, the McKinsey Quarterly. While they do have some articles that are “premium” and require you to purchase full access, a startlingly large percentage of what they put out is free. It’s shocking, but they offer more free content than any of the other business knowledge services I subscribe to (HBS, SSIR, Net Impact) with the exception of Origo Inc’s cross-sector news which is totally free and published less frequently. N.B. All of these services require registration, which means giving out your name, e-mail address and company affiliation, but I find that the information I receive is worth far more than this small amount of personal data. Also, links to each of these services can be found at the right side of this page in the “Social Entrepreneurship Resources” list – no time to create individual links today – sorry!
Today I received an e-mail with the McKinsey Quarterly’s top interviews of 2007. I thought that folks might be interested in one with Al Gore and David Blood on investing in sustainability.
The others from the list that I found particularly helpful and/or interesting were:
Strategy’s strategist: An interview with Richard Rumelt
A giant in the field of strategy ruminates on strategic planning, diversification and focus, and the role of the CEO.
Crafting a message that sticks: An interview with Chip Heath
The key to effective communication: make it simple, make it concrete, and make it surprising.
Promoting growth and social progress: An interview with the president of Chile
Michelle Bachelet discusses her views on the roots of political upheaval in Latin America, and the link between economic development and the fight against poverty.
Leading change: An interview with the CEO of Deere & Company
Bob Lane details the steps his company took to engage the whole organization in an operational and cultural transformation.
Posted in business, eco-smart, strategy, sustainability
Tagged al gore, business, business intelligence, chile, chip heath, communication, deere, interview, organization development, rumelt, strategy, sustainability