Over to Coca Cola slogans, the world's largest beverage company with 20 billion dollars' worth of brand and over 700,000 system employees: 'I'd like to buy the world a Coke.' 'Red, white, and you! Coke is it!' 'Share a coke.' 'Happiness delivered.' 'Always real.'
Professor Beth Loy has nicely reflected: when we hear these slogans, we think of a tall, cold, refreshing beverage. It seems like Coke has been a part of our lives forever. Well, the company is banking on its roadmap for growth to help it remain a staple in our lives. This roadmap is part of the company's strategic plan …called 2020 Vision. He recalls: Coke started  as a syrup concentrate company and by now the company has grown into a global industry that has a long history of making a wide range of products, including its most famous soft drinks. Many older products are now even collectors' item. Since its inception, the company's management process looked very much the same until the eighties. He opines: it gives us insight into how Coke is adapting its management model to grow its brand. With a desire to squelch new international competition, the company is leaving its core products untouched. This is the Coke, Sprite, Fanta, Minute Maid, or Dasani we can't live without. Now, the company wants to unleash new growth potential by changing its management process, not its products.
THIS DAY IS A DIFFERENT ONE: It is crystal clear that today's business environment is more complex - customer-centric and risk-oriented - where efficiency alone or tinkering around the existing strategy-skill-input levels cannot elicit the desired level of success. The very nature of business today calls for technically countering the hurdles while at the same time ensuring profitability through marketing of the product/service range/value-addition. Especially, in today's fiercely competitive world, these players have to learn from the past - as well as ongoing experiences - the art of winning over and at the same time retaining the more demanding customers. Renovating and adapting to the changing scenario is the area where the players have to apply more sophisticated service-rendering skills and abilities. And hence a market-centric approach could yield rich dividends.
OBSERVING THE REALITY: Change is not a new phenomenon to the business world. From the barter system to today's e-commerce, from a system of transacting between individuals to transacting for bringing about transformations across the continents in an invisible scenario, the business world have experienced the change. The business of any business should be business and as such business should be directed as customer-oriented to ultimately enable one to optimise wealth in an ethical manner, since unethical practices ultimately leads one to roll down the shutter. Unless this basic principle is realized, the business will become an 'endangered species'.
Side by side, the fact remains that people are trained for success, whereas failure is far more common than success - poverty is more prevalent than wealth. There is no achievement without failure. The difference between average and achieving people is their perception of response to failure. The entire concept of 'change' is influenced by the mindset. How one looks at a business is the question - will it give greater returns or will it cause more damage than good? It is like looking at 'half glass full or half glass empty'. Are you falling backward or falling forward is the question. Change management thus appears at the top of the agenda as acceptance of change is inevitable and always forward-looking in nature. "It's neither the strongest nor most intelligent of the species that survive; it is the one most adaptable to change." rightly said Charles Darwin.
That is why time is ripe to examine and assess the degree of emerging rapid changes vis-a-vis the roles of the finance-world personnel in the arena of marketing of product/service range and management thereof; to review and refresh various marketing management tools [innovative indeed] required for boosting environment-friendly operations via scanning of existing and potential business avenues by attaching adequate importance to risk management concept, ways and means to identify, measure and mitigate the risks in different operational areas of business system and acquire necessary skills, strengths and abilities in order to turn the operational zones into better profit centres.
NO SNAP SHOT PRESCRIPTION: In today's business world, competition comes in many forms: price/service/ quality/speed of delivery/uniqueness/ experience/ knowledge/ contacts/ resources/ brand equity, and so on. Boosting the service quality, keeping in mind the very nature of effective demand, is the crying need of the hour. The challenge is not only to acquire the customer, but also to retain him in the business for furthering the process of improved customer value. What is more: the fact remains that the market share once gone would be very difficult to regain as not only the number of C O R E[ Competitors, Opponents, Rivals and Enemies ] is on the rise, but technology is also being continuously replaced or is in a continuously changing position.
TOMORROW: ANOTHER DAY: Tasks remain unending: [a] building the credibility; deciding on what to do; identifying the competitive edge; locating what makes service successful; understanding what makes the service fail; what makes ourselves stand out; [b] knowing about our customers & prospects: who needs us - at the market, in order of importance, whom do we want to be our customers, whom we don't want , where are they, how do we get to them, when is the best time to get to them, what turns them on, and of course what turns them off ? It is the goodwill ladder that is to be ascended. One only gets a single chance to make a first impression, and most of the first impressions become the last impressions - rightly or wrongly! The fact remains - the world wants to see the results only!
Clearly, planned and unplanned are the two types of changes that can occur with an organisation. Planned change occurs when deliberate decisions are made in an organization, while unplanned change is a result of unforeseen occurrences. External and internal factors can cause both these types of changes within a company. One has to adapt to the change - one cannot change the society, but can change oneself only.
The happenings thus require a conscious and undivided attention. A well-groomed strategy not only helps in protecting the deployed fund, but also enables one to face competition through customers' confidence building.
Dr BK Mukhopadhyay, a Management Economist, is Principal, ICFAI University, Tripura, India.
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