Tea and coffee have been around for a long, long time. Many a person has grabbed a strong coffee to keep them going over a long day in the office or a long night studying.
Coffee is said to originate from East Africa where legend has it that a 9th century Ethiopian goat herder by the name of Starbucks Kaldi noticed that after his goats had ate some coffee beans they started bouncing around like teenagers at the local disco.
This started the journey of coffee and associated caffeine hits so loved by students around the world.
Tea however is often seen as a healthier option but the tea industry is facing several challenges at the moment. In particular, the 16 to 34 age group in the UK are changing their drinking habits.
Only 1 in 6 people in this age group now drink 5 or more cups of tea a day.
People in the 55 to 64 age group on the other hand drink twice as much tea.
And the reason for the reduction in drinking tea amongst the younger population?
A number of reasons have been put forward. These include the fact that the younger generation feel that black tea could stain their teeth. It is also felt to be unhealthy given the amount of caffeine black tea contains.
It’s not all bad news for the tea industry though as the younger generation are drinking more green teas and fruit teas. Green tea is claimed to enhance brain function and sales are up by 39% over the last two years.
The increase in green tea sales though has failed to stop the fall in overall tea sales as the combined market in tea was down 5%.
Maybe the famous quote “Keep calm and drink tea” should be changed to say “Keep calm and drink green tea”…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/latest-tea-prices.png9441678Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-07-27 14:30:312018-07-28 15:53:37Put the kettle on (or maybe not?)
One of life’s great mysteries for men when they are at a bar or club is why women always seem to go to the ladies “powder room” in groups.
There could soon be an equally mysterious occurrence that women will puzzle over and that is why men will soon disappear to the “gents” together during a social evening out.
Well, it won’t be to adjust their makeup or to catch up on the local gossip.
No, if UK company Captive Media has anything to do with it the visits to the toilet by men could soon be a great marketing opportunity.
It’s been estimated that on a night out a man spends on average 55 seconds relieving himself each time he visits the urinals in the gents (if you ever saw a person with a clipboard and a stopwatch behind you at the urinals now you know why…)
In the eyes of Captive Media this represents a great advertising opportunity as rather than staring blankly at the wall in front of you (or telling the person with the clipboard and stopwatch to go away) they have developed a urinal-based games console which allows men to, how can we say it but aim and shoot at targets with their “stream”.
The games are mixed with adverts and include for example a downhill skiing game which is controlled by your “stream”.
It remains to be seen what products will be advertised in this way but one thing for sure ladies is that if your boyfriend or husband returns from the gents whilst you’re out together on a social evening and he says that he’s just beaten his personal best then you know what it refers to.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/unusual_advertising_methods.jpg478849Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-07-19 08:19:552018-07-20 08:13:01Gentlemen, you've got 55 seconds to beat your best...
“Smoothie drinks” have become very fashionable over recent years.
Smoothies are drinks made out of crushed fruit and are seen as a healthy alternative to carbonated drinks such as Coke or Pepsi.
Perhaps the most famous smoothie manufacturer in the UK is Innocent Smoothies. The business was set up in 1999 by three friends who famously gave up their jobs to start the business after they invested £500 on fruit and turned it into smoothies and sold them at a music festival. The business has grown since then and been a true success story.
The brand has a “quirky, playful” image as well as promoting itself to be ethically aware (it donates 10% of its profits to charity).
So, what has Coca-Cola got to do with all of this?
Porter’s 5 Forces strategy model is well known to students of professional exams.
If a 5 forces analysis is done on for example the traditional Coca-Cola carbonated drink then a substitute product would be a smoothie. There is a general trend in a lot of countries towards healthier living and the threat of a substitute product such as a smoothie could be seen as a threat.
In 2009 Coca-Cola bought an 18% stake in Innocent for £30 million and then in the following year increased its shareholding to 58% for a reported £65 million. They then increased their shareholding to over 90% for an undisclosed sum. From a Porter’s 5 forces point of view this is a good move as it means that one of the substitute products is now within the Coke family.
There has been a fair amount of discussion since the aquisition about whether Innocent is still the ethical likeable “under dog” that it was given that it is now part of one of the biggest companies in the world.
One thing is for sure though and whilst it was certainly an Innocent transaction it was also definitely a well thought out strategic acquisition.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/innocent-smoothies.jpg13552409Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-07-11 17:11:392018-07-20 08:20:03Was this an Innocent transaction by Coke?
The World Cup is well underway and whilst football fans around the world are enjoying a feast of top football there are a number of “missing faces”.
By “missing faces” I’m not referring to players who aren’t at the World Cup but instead I’m referring to some top global companies.
Johnson & Johnson, Sony, Continental and Castrol were leading sponsors of the World Cup but decided not to renew their contracts when the corruption scandal at FIFA (the governing body of the various football associations around the world and the body that organises the World Cup) hit the headlines a few years ago.
The money that FIFA gets from sponsorship is significant. It’s believed that a 4-year top tier sponsorship costs in the region of $150 million.
Previously, Johnson & Johnson, Sony, Continental and Castrol had no doubt spent that type of money in the expectation that it raised their profile and increased their sales
Their hope was that football fans around the world would be watching the games and then be exposed to, for example, the Sony brand and as a result somewhere down the line would end up buying a new Sony television or other electrical product from Sony.
The new sponsors for the current World Cup are a bit different though. They include major state backed companies such as Gazprom (Russia’s oil giant), Qatar Airways and Wanda (the Chinese conglomerate).
Wanda calls itself the world’s biggest property developer and Gazprom has a virtual monopoly.
It’s difficult to see how their sales would receive a boost from the World Cup exposure.
It’s not just sales though that are in the mind of sponsors. With the World Cup being held in Russia there’s an obvious link to sponsorship. Qatar are hosting the next finals in 2022 and the presence of Wanda will help increase the exposure of football in China where it’s been reported that President Xi has ambitions to make China a great footballing nation.
Either way, I’m sure the supporters of the team that ends up winning the World Cup won’t really care too much over who sponsors the World Cup – It’s the winning the tournament that counts as far as they are concerned…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/world-cup-sponsorship.png9441678Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-06-29 08:11:202018-07-05 08:22:05Missing faces at the World Cup.
If you look at the finance side of running a bar then things should (in theory) be quite simple. Revenue is what your customers pay for the drinks they buy and the main expenses are the amount you pay to the brewery for the beer, staff wages and property costs.
Over in Belgium though some bars are facing a unique problem which is causing unwanted expenses but it looks though that they are coming up with some ingenious solutions.
Belgium is famous for its beers. Monks from local Abbeys started brewing different types of beer in the 12th century and nowadays some of the bars in tourist areas in Brussels and Bruges stock several hundred different types of beers.
Each of these beers has their own particular glass which it is served in. These glasses come in all shapes and sizes and are nice looking objects.
Unfortunately for the bar owners they are also very collectable in the eyes of certain tourists. As a result, lots of these glasses go missing as tourists take them for a souvenir.
This can involve a significant number of glasses. Tens of thousands of glasses a year are stolen in Belgium and replacing these glasses represents a significant cost.
Some of the bars are coming up with innovative ideas to stop the thefts.
The Bruges Beerwall café had 4,000 glasses taken in one year and has now introduced security alarms which are attached to each glass. If a glass is taken past the scanner at the door an alarm sounds.
A slightly less hi-tech solution to the problem (but arguably as effective) can be found at the Dulle Griet bar in the Belgium town of Ghent.
The bar stocks over 500 different types of beers and has some very attractive glasses in which these are served. If you want to have a drink though you have to hand over some security to make sure you don’t steal the glass.
The security is a shoe.
And not just any shoe but one of the shoes you are wearing. You hand it over and it is put in a basket which is then pulled up to the ceiling so that you can have a drink knowing that your “security shoe” is safe in the basket.
A great idea by the bar to keep the thefts of their glasses to a minimum and it has proved so successful that it has now become a bit of a tourist attraction with people popping in to look at the basket and have a drink.
One thought does spring to mind though and with 500 tasty beers on the menu I wonder how many customers have had one too many drinks and woke up in the morning with different shoes on each foot….
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/belgium-beer-profits.png9441678Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-06-17 15:04:332018-06-21 15:15:49Don't put your foot in it...
Creativity and innovation in any organisation should always be welcome and whilst technology is often at the forefront of innovation it is sometimes the really simple ideas that can create benefits.
Unfortunately, in this particular situation it didn’t quite go according to plan.
The initial idea was good. Officials in charge of the 1,200 acre Minto-Brown Island Park in Oregon in America were concerned that several invasive plants were taking over the park and killing off a number of the native flora including maple and hazelnut trees.
The solution put forward was to create a crack team of 75 goats who would eat the invasive plants such as the Armenian blackberry and the English Ivy which would then mean that the native flora would thrive.
75 goats were duly obtained from a company called Yoder Goat Rentals (as an interesting aside I wonder how many of you were aware that you could rent a team of goats. I certainly wasn’t.)
The goats got down to work but 6 weeks later the project was cancelled.
There were a number of issues.
Firstly, the goats were fairly relaxed about what they ate. In terms of the invasive Armenian blackberry for example they decided to eat the tasty blackberry leaves but left the prickly bramble. This resulted in the plant carrying on growing.
Secondly, they didn’t show any distinction between the (tasty) maple and hazelnut trees which they were supposed to be helping and the invasive plants.
Thirdly, the total cost of the 6-week pilot programme was $20,719 which was nearly 5 times the $4,245 cost for a normal parks maintenance man supported by a prison inmate work crew.
Finally, according to a report to the city council the goats “had a barnyard aroma”.
In summary, a nice try but it didn’t quite work. Still, as any successful business person will surely agree, you don’t progress unless you try. Better luck next time and at least the goats had a nice 6-week holiday in a lovely park…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/goat-workers.jpg19193411Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-06-03 16:22:122018-06-03 16:22:12Grab your goat and let's go...
Well, if you are male and your boss is also male there could be some disappointing career news for you if you think you are better looking than your boss.
A study has suggested that male bosses are less likely to promote good-looking men who work for them.
The study by University College London’s School of Management concluded that good-looking men were considered competent by their male bosses but as a result were also seen as a threat to them and their own personal career aspirations.
This raises an interesting point. Organisations no doubt want to employ the most competent people but if a male boss is reluctant to recruit or promote good-looking men because they take the view they are a threat to them personally then it means that good-looking men could be discriminated against whether or not they are competent.
Dr Sun Young Lee, the lead researcher on the study was quoted as saying “organisations want to hire competent candidates but individuals have their own agenda. When employing someone, they do not want the newcomer to do better than them and show them up”.
“What about good-looking females” I hear you say?
The study concluded that the same prejudice did not apply to women. Being a good looking lady was not associated with competence according to the study.
The study was published in the Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes journal and Dr Lee felt her results suggested that organisations should consider appointing external recruitment consultants to avoid personal preferences impacting on recruitment decisions.
One additional point though is that if you yourself are male and have recently been overlooked for a promotion by your male boss then surely the only reason you didn’t get the promotion was because you are better looking than him…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ExP-Blog.jpg9441678Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-05-10 19:38:022018-05-10 19:38:02Are you better looking than your boss?
Some of you may have heard of the website Ashley Madison.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Ashley Madison, it’s a website where married people can register to meet other married people without their respective husband or wife knowing and then have an affair.
In fact, some of you may be registered members of the site (this does raise the question that if you are a registered member of Ashley Madison and are reading this business blog then at the moment you are finding business stories more interesting than having an affair so well done on that).
Ignoring the rights or wrongs of a website facilitating affairs, Ashley Madison has had an up and down ride over recent years.
Back in 2015, they were hacked. As a result the personal details of their users were leaked and there were a lot of users. When I say “a lot”, there were 32 million users.
The situation got worse for Ashley Madison though.
As well as their systems being hacked and details of who had signed up being leaked, it turned out that the vast majority of users were men and of the women who had signed up a significant proportion were Bots (i.e. a piece of software) or prostitutes.
All in all, not great selling points when trying to encourage new members.
In an attempt to build up trust (if trust is a relevant word for people looking for affairs that is…), Ashley Madison commissioned Ernst & Young to cast an eye over the membership data and see if it stood up to scrutiny.
There were some interesting results including the fact that 15,542 new members signed up each day in 2017 (that’s nearly half a million new users per month).
There were also more active women on the site than men. Globally, the ratio of active males to active females was 1 to 1.13 but there were variations on a regional basis ranging from Australia where the male to female ratio was 1 to 0.78 and Columbia where the ratio was 1 to 2.39.
Ernst & Young also reported that “The Client had used Bot programs to generate message activity with paying customers in prior years. The Bot programs were decommissioned in 2015 and our procedures related to calendar 2017 found no evidence that the use of Bot programs previously operated had been reinstated.”
So, in theory the registrations are human and there’s no danger of falling in love with a bot.
The full Ernst & Young report can be found at www.ashleymadison.com/2017report but I would be careful as if you’re viewing this on a computer at home and your husband or wife finds you’ve been visiting ashleymadison.com then there could be some difficult questions to answer.
Then again, if you start typing in the website and your web browser recognises it from a previous visit to that site then maybe…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/ethics-in-business.jpg18833347Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-04-26 13:34:212018-04-26 13:34:21EY confirm the women were real
If you’re a premier league footballer it’s kind of obvious that you’re going to make a lot of money.
Deloitte, the Big 4 accounting company, prepare annual reviews of the Premier League’s finances and has just released some figures from the 2016/17 season.
In total, Premier League footballers took home £2.5bn in wages. This was the highest figure on record and showed an increase of 9% on the previous season.
The increase in wages though was quite a bit lower than the increase in the clubs’ revenue.
Total revenue increased by nearly £1bn to £4.5bn in the 2016/17 season and this was also a new record.
Although revenue increased by a higher percentage than wages, the proportion of revenue spent on wages is still pretty significant with the wage to revenue ratio being 55%.
Collective pre-tax profit was also a new record high being £0.5bn. This was almost three times the previous record of £0.2bn from back in 2013/14.
Deloitte partner Dan Jones said “As predicted last year, the Premier League’s three year broadcast deals which came into effect in the 2016/17 season helped drive revenue to record levels.
“Despite wages increasing by 9% to £2.5bn, this increase is nowhere near the level of revenue growth noted. This relative restraint from Premier League clubs reflects both the extent of their financial advantage over other leagues and the impact of domestic and European cost control measures.”
The financial success was spread across all clubs with all 20 Premier League teams making an operating profit.
Deloitte’s full report on the Premier Leagues finances will be available in June.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Football-finances.jpg10591883Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-04-20 19:46:322018-04-20 19:46:321-0 to the Premier League
We’ve all been there haven’t we? Long boring meetings that don’t seem to be going anywhere.
Maybe you’ve tried to give the impression of being interested in what was being said but in reality the meeting wasn’t relevant for you and your mind was wandering to other more interesting things.
Well, if you’re not a great lover of excessive meetings then you are not alone. In fact, you share the thoughts of an incredibly successful and admired business person. Namely, Elon Musk.
Mr Musk’s current business interests include Tesla and SpaceX.
In the past he founded x.com which later became PayPal. Paypal was subsequently bought by eBay for $1.5 billion.
He currently has a net worth in excess of $20 billion.
But what does he think about meetings?
In an email to his staff that was leaked to the electrek website there were a few productivity recommendations:
In the words of Mr Musk, these include:
– Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get of all large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short.
– Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved.
– Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.
– Don’t use acronyms or nonsense words for objects, software or processes at Tesla. In general, anything that requires an explanation inhibits communication. We don’t want people to have to memorize a glossary just to function at Tesla.
– Communication should travel via the shortest path necessary to get the job done, not through the “chain of command”. Any manager who attempts to enforce chain of command communication will soon find themselves working elsewhere.
– A major source of issues is poor communication between depts. The way to solve this is allow free flow of information between all levels. If, in order to get something done between depts, an individual contributor has to talk to their manager, who talks to a director, who talks to a VP, who talks to another VP, who talks to a director, who talks to a manager, who talks to someone doing the actual work, then super dumb things will happen. It must be ok for people to talk directly and just make the right thing happen.
– In general, always pick common sense as your guide. If following a “company rule” is obviously ridiculous in a particular situation, such that it would make for a great Dilbert cartoon, then the rule should change.
Nicely said Mr Musk.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Tesla_garage.jpg19883534Steve Crossmanhttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve Crossman2018-04-17 22:54:212018-06-11 10:50:27Nicely said Mr Musk
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