Thursday, 17 December 2009
”Business is a necessary evil in society… only the worst sorts of people are involved” (Plato)
Corporate power, accumulated by the US lead “Arrogant Capitalism” of the inequalities, is dramatically deteriorating, also as a result of the recent financial crisis. “Disaster Capitalism”(see Naomi Klein’s latest book) and the School of Chicago failed. Now a European lead “Nice Capitalism”(see Costas Kataras latest book) is wanted. Long before the crisis, a number of studies showed a growing lack of trust in business and their leaders, ie only ¼ of the public trust them. Further on, brand importance goes also steadily down. For example, brand loyalty today is only 9%, from 40% some years ago. The crisis also showed that the notion of “Powerless State” is a myth. Society is now pressing harder for a new “corporate social contract “ and the new issues for the businesses are endless, including: regulation, environment, unions, privacy, safety, off shoring, civil society, governments as owners, consumer activists , NGOs and others . How modern corporations could respond to these strategic and organizational challenges, beyond simplistic CSR, “Green Wash” practices and the recently invented by brands concept of “social missions in the supermarket shelf”, at a moment where “shareholder value is growing increasingly irrelevant as government and society take a larger role in shaping business and industry” ? The above were some of the topics of the recent lecture, 14/12/2009, of Costas Kataras in the Athens University of Economics and Business, MBA International Program, about Business and Society. You can access his presentation here. The lecture was part of the "Nice Way" strategy series.
The Nice Way initiative of The Costas Kataras Organization includes information, ideas and advice equipping organizations for a competitive advantage in times of turbulence, delivered through a number of tools, including: lectures, presentations, seminars, workshops, strategic foresight, scenario planning, studies, market intelligence, consulting, counselling, networking tools and others, based on Costas Kataras’ fascinating book Nice Capitalism. Lecture topics include: A New Paradigm: The Application of “Chaos Thinking” to Strategy, The European Effect: Is Corporate Europe Beginning to Surpass America? , Restoring Confidence in the Corporation: Rethinking the Business of...Business, The Uncertain Future of Brands: The Next Colossal Corporate Challenge?, The Economics of Happiness: Mastering the New Competitive Advantage ,The Revenge of the Psych: Is Consumers’ Dominance Over Corporations Near?, Rethinking Marketing: Surviving in a New, Polarized, World. More info and a short description of the Nice Way series of lectures, is now availiable.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
With the recession in full swing and no reprieve in sight, one might expect interest in corporate social responsibility to wane, or perhaps even die a natural death.
Not so, according to Craig Smith, INSEAD Chaired Professor of Ethics and Social Responsibility. He believes that corporate responsibility has never been more prominent on the corporate agenda, according to a recent report by INSEAD Knowledge.
The financial crisis and its effects on the global economy have made it clear, he says, that the stability of our global market system depends on responsible behaviour, sustainable business models and proactive management of business impacts on society, as well as regulatory frameworks.
Monday, 14 December 2009
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is of crucial importance for competitiveness in Europe, says the latest European Competitiveness Report published by the European Commission. The annual report analyses productivity and competitiveness issues in the EU. In that context the so called CSR Toolbox was launched. CSR Europe's Toolbox includes information, ideas and advice designed to help companies and their stakeholders address socio-economic and environmental challenges and integrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into mainstream business practice. The Toolbox is based on the first results of the CSR Laboratories, cross-sectoral business-stakeholder cooperation projects under the umbrella of the European Alliance for CSR. (Photo:Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission )
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Prescription drugs have brought many benefits for many people, but their marketing is mired in controversy. Weak government regulation and inadequate industry codes mean that drug companies are using irresponsible marketing to push their pills on doctors, the public and patients. Consumer International's (CI) Marketing Overdose Campaign is all about highlighting the unethical and irresponsible marketing practices of drug companies around the world. Get the latest updates from this blog.According to CI the winner of the Marketing Overdose Award for rampant promotion for 2008 goes to...Eli Lilly. According to CI "the company has run foul of marketing regulations in the promotion of it's erectile dysfunction(ED) drug Cialis on a number of occasions".With sales of over $1.1 billion, Cialis is one of Lilly's biggest sellers and the company only for 2007 spent $152 million on marketing communications and promotion.The company , according to CI, has been "officially censured by British and Australian authorities no less than three times in the past few years"
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
A number of new research findings, recently published bestseller books (ie The Brand Bubble, John Gertzema, Chief Insights Officer, Young & Rubicam / WPP Group, November 2008 and The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, 2009) and the winning business strategies of a new species of Nice Brands / Corporations that is now emerging (ie Patagonia ) as predicted in the book Nice Capitalism by Costas Kataras , are all confirming the advantage of the Nice Way strategy and Costas’ unique foresight ability to foresee the shape of things to come in the new corporate world. The Nice Way initiative of The Costas Kataras Organization includes information, ideas and advice equipping organizations for a competitive advantage in times of turbulence, delivered through a number of tools, including: lectures, presentations, seminars, workshops, strategic foresight, scenario planning, studies, market intelligence, consulting, counselling, networking tools and others, based on Costas Kataras’ fascinating book Nice Capitalism. Lecture topics include: A New Paradigm: The Application of “Chaos Thinking” to Strategy, The European Effect: Is Corporate Europe Beginning to Surpass America? , Restoring Confidence in the Corporation: Rethinking the Business of...Business, The Uncertain Future of Brands: The Next Colossal Corporate Challenge?, The Economics of Happiness: Mastering the New Competitive Advantage ,The Revenge of the Psych: Is Consumers’ Dominance Over Corporations Near?, Rethinking Marketing: Surviving in a New, Polarized, World. More info and a short description of the Nice Way series of lectures, is now availiable.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
The Kataras Collection of contemporary art is now available in the web, initially with a simple form, to all interested audiences. The collection supports modern art and aims at promoting particularly new artists and movements with the purpose to promote a fertile dialogue of ideas. Indicative list of artists includes: ANGELOU Babis, FASSIANOS Alecos, FIDAKIS Panos, GANOUTAS Ilias, GONTIKAS Aggelos, HERETAKIS Alexandros, HOMATAS Costas, HRISTELI Natasa, LEVENTIS Argyro, MANIATAKOS Anastasios, MARA Magda, MILIONIS Dimitris, PAPOUTSIDIS Nikos-Yorgos, PARMIGIANI Aldo, SPERANTZAS Vasilis, STATHOPOULOS Giorgos and others. The collection aims in the future to embrace all forms of visual expression, including painting and sculpture, drawings, prints, photography, architecture and design, and film and video. To see sample art work from the collection, including artists biographical notes in Greek and English, please click here (Word document, low resolution photos). For more info send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org (Art work above by LEVENTIS Argyro).
Friday, 30 January 2009
JWT, one of the world's largest advertising agencies, has released its fourth annual year-end forecast of key trends that will drive or significantly impact consumer behavior in the year ahead.
According to JWT, major trends for 2009 include the energy race, which will heat up as nations, corporations and research institutions compete to find cheaper, renewable and more eco-friendly energy sources; simple pleasures, which cash-strapped consumers will favor over extravagant indulgences; and a new "we over me" attitude toward addressing social problems.
Other key trends cited in the report "10 Trends for 2009" include:
- Redistribution of Power: 2009 and beyond will see widespread power-structure shifts in the political, economic and social spheres.
- The Mobile Device as the Everything Hub: As the availability of wireless broadband expands and the cost of advanced phones drops, the mobile device will become the preferred hub for digital communications.
- The Small Movement: Everything is getting smaller, from stores to cars to mobile technology to packaged goods.
Monday, 26 January 2009
Every year Edge Foundation asks a number of forward-thinking people a provocative and big question.This is the Edge Annual Question for 2009: "What will change everything?" . Writer David Bodanis suggests that some kind of massive technological failure would be game-changing. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, says that reinventing industry to have less impact on the environment will alter the way we live. Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek believes everything will continue to become smaller, faster, cooler, and cheaper—with implications of an Internet on steroids and exciting new designer materials. And Sherry Turkle, a psychologist at MIT, looks forward to the day when robots will serve as companions to humans. Read the full responses to the Edge annual question here .
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Dan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness, sharing some surprising tests and experiments . To watch this TED video click here. Dan , a Harvard psychologist, believes that in our ardent, lifelong pursuit of happiness, most of us have the wrong map. In the same way that optical illusions fool our eyes -- and fool everyone’s eyes in the same way -- Gilbert argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. TED is a global community that believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world and offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers.We are very pleased in this blog that we collaborate with this community and we look forward to contribute to it's motto "Ideas Worth Spreading".
An interesting perspective of the ideas presented in Nice Capitalism, are discussed in Conscious Images a blog marketing the social economy. "These are huge ideas that seem supported by the evidence we see now of the impact on U.S. brands of capitalism gone bad" notes . Anna Farmerly of The Engaging Brand commenting adds : "I think Costas makes some fantastic points in his book that really make you think about the future of brands..it is a great book for making you think harder about the role of brands in society".. Join the discussion here. (Photo C: Louis Vuitton)
Costas is starting a series of lectures in the Athens University of Economics and Business, MBA International Program, on Business and Society- Restoring Confidence in the Corporation. For details of his presentation click here.
In today’s environment it is a widespread belief amongst corporate thinkers that shareholder value is growing increasingly irrelevant as governments and society take a larger role in shaping business and industry , Costas said on the occasion.The university has a very active role and a range of activities in the field, including the participation in the United Nations Global Compact initiative, and strongly supports the view that ethics and corporate responsibility are the greatest management challenges facing today’s and tomorrow’s business leaders.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Anna Farmery of The Engaging Brand "in a talk with Costas Kataras who has written a fascinating new book called Nice Capitalism which asks are brands dead". The talk is about:
Are brands in decline?
What do we mean by the death of a brand?
What is the significance of the rise of own labels?
Have brands developed personality disorders?
Why do many of the global brands come from small countries?
How employee engagement relates to creating a brand.
Evolution of brands towards fragmented brands.
Impact of depression as a major illness and how effect depression and their role in coping with depression.To listen the podcast click here. (In the photo :Anna Farmery)
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Sunday, 18 January 2009
Different sectors enter and emerge from downturns at dufferent times. A look at past recessions suggests how some industries may fare. A recent January 2009 analysis by McKinsey provides useful insights to business leaders on how to cope with the current economic crisis.
The report suggests that in an ideal world, every company would enter a recession lead by a team of grizzled executives who could draw on their experiences of past downturns to guide it through the current one.Many companies don't , however, and even those that do so, it can be difficult to rise above the crisis to ponder the lessons of history.
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
The Irish economy used to be the envy of Europe, but the Celtic Tiger has lost its roar and workers are losing their jobs.Most careers went suddenly from boom to bust. The fear that the economy in Ireland could crash as spectacularly as it did in Iceland has given rise to the following joke , as reported by BBC : "what is the difference between Ireland and Iceland? One letter and six months.."
Like most humor, the joke contains a handful of exaggeration...
Monday, 5 January 2009
Back in 1990 Stephen King published a study on advertising spend during a downturn.His conclusion: that businesses which cut advertising would be long-term losers.
During recession, the data showed that only a third of companies cut their advertising spend - by an average 11 per cent - while two thirds increased it; Around 60 per cent of those increasing spending did so modestly, by an average 10 per cent; the remaining 40 per cent made a big increase, average 49 per cent. All the businesses saw a reduction in their ROI during the recession, albeit it was slightly greater (-2.7 per cent) for the big spenders, than for those who cut their advertising (-1.6 per cent). This caused King to note: "...businesses yielding to the natural inclination to cut spending in an effort to increase profits in a recession find that it doesn't work."
King summed up these findings as follows: "In general, virtually all businesses see reduced profits when their market is in recession. But businesses that cut their advertising expenditures in a recessionary period lose no less in terms of profitability than those who actually increase spending by an average of 10 per cent.
Saturday, 3 January 2009
I was so pleased to see the support of readers in the ideas presented in my latest book “Nice Capitalism”. The book’s findings reveal that Nice Capitalism, Nice Corporations and Nice Nations( with happy people) are inter-related.
Somehow I have the impression that we are in front of a "Nice" Capitalism Movement, ie a community in search of more : democracy, justice, transparency (lack of corruption ), equality (narrow income gap, power distances in society), responsibility, honesty, human centric attitudes, sustainable development, high standards of corporate governance, focus on well-being and human happiness and the human measure (“metron” )
For those of you not yet familiar with the ideas presented in the book, a very brief description follows.
The book reveals the secret relationship of people and their psyche with brands, and uses brands as a prism for the identification of emerging mega-trends in the meta-globalisation economy.
On the economic and business level, the book explains why a number of emerging forces or ‘known unknowns’ could have extreme and devastating effects on brands and will lead to the rise to a new species of brands, ‘Nice Brands’ and ‘Nice Capitalism’, two developments that clearly are interrelated, as the book explains, and usually lead to happier people and more ‘Happy Nations’, particularly in Europe.
On the human level, describes how the individual in search of a true meaning in life and in pursuit of happiness, is shifting away from a materialistic culture imposed externally by the brands’ pseudo-authority, is even taking control of brands and, finally, is moving towards greater human autonomy, thus marking the end of consumers’ permissiveness and the fall of Psycho- Persuaders.
The book was proved prophetic, since with his own way ( and with it’s underlined message “Nice Capitalism…WANTED! ) forecasted in time (2008) the collapse of the American economic hegemony and it’s model of “Selfish” Capitalism - characterized by greed, arrogance but also indifference for the increasing inequalities in the society - and the supremacy of “Nice” Capitalism that is adopted mainly in countries of Europe , based on the ancient Greek – centric idea of “metron” (measure) in life.
To order a copy: Amazon . For more or to download free the full book and other useful info, click here
Friday, 2 January 2009
"The rise in economic inequality in the U.S. is the main cause of the economic crisis..it would be supposed I had forecasted" (Paul Krugman,14/10/2008, NEA/APE/NPR )
On Europe's Supremacy over U.S."Europe with it's "Nice Capitalism", referred mostly to the successful Scandinavian economic model characterised by "market-based", "social welfare" economies with reduced "power distances", "income inequality" and "market polarization", is better placed to replace America as the leading economic power..." (Costas Kataras, 2007/08, "Nice Capitalism" )
"..the U.S. will not enjoy the hegemonic position it has occupied until now.."(Francis Fukuyama,13/10/2008, Newsweek)".. all agree now that the balance of power in the world economy has shifted , weakening the U.S.-led capitalism... now the hope is in Europe's social welfare economic model.."(BBC in Davos, 29/01/2009 )On the Future of Brands"Deep rooted forces,as analysed in the book, will have catastrophic effects on the brand which could even cease to exist...it seems that the time has now come for arrogant brands to pay the ultimate price for their foolish "psychopathetic behavior".. the death of the arrogant brand is an inevitable fact and a colossal corporate disaster in the making.." (Costas Kataras, 2007/08, "Nice Capitalism" )"..the number of high-performance value-creating brands is diminishing across the board.Yet at the same time, businesses and financial markets keep raising brand valuations.The result? A brand bubble that could send another shockwave through the global economy.." (John Gertzema, Nov 2008, "The Brand Bubble")
Thursday, 1 January 2009
Kleis, from the ancient Greek word "Κλείς" [kleː́s] meaning key, is committed to sharing intellectual capital amongst thought leaders, corporate thinkers and knowledge seekers with the aim of promoting a more "people- centric" corporate social contract, enriched with human 'ethos' and closer to the idea of 'metron' (measure ).The quote from the Greek philosopher Protagoras is key to this mission: "Man is the measure of all things". This is a totally open, sharing initiative and we invite everyone to join our community, if shares our three core principles: quality content, independent view, and a commitment to improve the state of society.