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Significance of effective communication in business

I have been to different companies and/or organizations around the world and have seen the direct or indirect negative impact of ineffective communication on me as a client or just an ordinary person interacting with that organization or its employees/people. In an organization, bad or poor communication reduces productivity and profitability, paves way for low employee morale as well as misconceptions which ultimately negatively affects the clients to a point that that they may choose to leave. I have seen and felt the negative impact of bad or poor communication and it is not good for business at all.

Communication in simpler terms is the act of transferring information from one place/point to another. It is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. It is a way of sending or receiving information. It is complex when it comes to how important communication is in/to an organization or in business. From an organizational or business perspective, communication is not conveyance of the message and it does not imply the message itself. It is correlative of reciprocity in understanding starting with the receiver. Communication must be effective in an organization as it is the nub of management. Primary functions of management are to control, direct, organize, plan and recruit etc.  and these cannot be executed properly in the absence of effective communication. Effective communication involves constant and consistent flow of information in an organization. Feedback which is an effective way to evaluate organizational performance is an inherent aspect of communication in an organization as it involves many people at different/various levels of hierarchy in an organization and plays a very vital role in the process of controlling and directing the people of/in an organization. Immediate and timely feedback can be obtained and this helps in avoiding misunderstandings that would potentially arise. There should be effective communication between those that delegate and those that are delegated to in an organization as well as between the organization and customers and/or people in general. This is viatal for the success and growth of a business and/or organization. Gaps in communication within and outside the organization should be avoided always. In an organization, communication aims at achieving specific goals and objectives. The rules, regulations and policies of a company or organization must be effectively communicated to people within and outside the organization. With the advent of technology, we have mobile phones, video conferencing, emails, and satellite communication to mention just a few as a means of supporting the flow of information within and outside an organization. Effective communication also aids employee motivation by informing and clarifying the task/s delegated to them by their superiors and the procedure/s or way/s it should or is expected to be done or carried out.  Employee/individual attitudes can be reshaped through effective communication as informed individuals will have a good attitude compared to those who are less-informed or not informed at all. Organizational magazines, journals, meetings and other various forms of oral and written communication help in shaping employee’s attitudes. Effective communication also helps in building the goodwill of an organization and will ultimately impact positively on customer satisfaction!.


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Dark side of consumer behavior vs marketing

What is the dark side of consumer behaviour? What are the effects of the challenges on businesses faced every day because of the dark side of consumer behaviour?. How can these challenges be addressed?

In modern times, the greater need for businesses to sell goods and services at all costs has brought about some serious effects on how consumers purchase and consume the various goods and services on offer by various businesses. The dark side of consumer behaviour deals with aspects of impulsive and compulsive consumer behaviour and how that affects the purchase and consumption of goods and services on the market. Impulsive behaviour means acting or doing something without forethought or considering the consequences while compulsive behaviour means performing an act persistently and repetitively without it necessarily leading to an actual reward or pleasure. Marketing ethics are basic principles and values that govern the business practises of those engaged in promoting goods and services to consumers. Ethics is a very contentious subject because everyone has subjective judgements or their own views about what is “right” and what is “wrong”. Marketing plays a critical role when it comes to the dark side of consumer behaviour and this is either directly or indirectly.

Consumers are affected by both internal and external factors of impulse buying.  Since impulse buying behaviour is stimulus driven, increased exposure to certain external stimuli or marketing tactics increases the likelihood of impulsively purchasing or consuming of goods and services. The fact of the matter is that one’s unconscious mind is often driving his or her behaviour as a consumer usually under the influence of evolutionary drives and tactics of marketers or promoters. It is easy to feel compelled to buy something that later doesn’t make sense in your life. The love of shopping proves the simplest explanation that some people just derive great pleasure from acquiring something new.  The act of buying to them is an act of empowerment that may be felt all too rarely in other aspects of their lives.

Marketers have learnt that consumers are very susceptible to the loss aversion switch. Loss aversion is a term that describes our innate concern to avoid feeling bad in future. Normally this affects consumer decisions and most consumers find themselves with questions as to whether they would feel bad if they bought a specific item and did not have money for something else. But when marketers add in a discount to the consumer or the consumer assumes the product won’t last forever and their unconscious mind switches to the fear that they will miss out on the deal, most consumers will definitely go for the product.

Most shopping is too tiresome and time-consuming to carry out with conscious attention. Imagine if every item/service you intended to buy was cross-referenced with every other available item/service on the market, as a consumer, you would need to look at price, product composition, reviews and maybe even the quality of customer service supporting it.  Even if you could find all the information in comparable formats it would take you hours jut to buy that one item.  So instead consumers use heuristics, which are unconsciously held rules of thumb that help make quick decisions that they may have learned as to work out well generally. Marketers and promoters take advantage of this by packaging up products as bulk buys, or they include the so-called “free” extra or the buy one get one free. The consumer gets the impression that it must be good value, and they go with this feeling instead of researching any further.

The desire to save, a susceptibility to value and apparent discounts is not just down to the loss aversion switch as many consumers have the desire to save. Marketers play on this by telling consumers how much they could save by buying and using their product. Consumers routinely delude themselves by believing they are better than average drivers, better than average parents but clearly, they can’t all be right. This objectivity is an elusive virtue. Rather than look back and reflect on their past actions with anything approaching a balanced score card, most consumers look to the future with an idealized view of what it might be like and marketers take advantage of this to influence the consumer purchase decisions.

Compulsive buying mainly deals with addictions or is often associated with certain disorders. But whatever the case markers take advantage of such in the name of “to have is to be” or “we are what we eat”, “we are what we drive” or “we are what we wear’ etc.

All these factors about consumers are very well-known to marketers and work in their favour but tied to ethics, they present a challenge as to how marketers/businesses should promote their products/services and from what perspective. This consumer behaviour can even create opportunities for business to sell substandard or even expired products as well as compromise on the quality of goods and services. Yet businesses want to sell their goods and services but also face challenges on how they can take advantage of this behaviour without being involved in unethical practices.

 In view of all these important factors, it is better for consumers to take time and at least understand what influences their purchases and consumption of goods and services rather than just going by what everyone is doing. Businesses/marketers should also take into account what the dark side of consumer behaviour involves but strive to stick to their corporate social responsibilities, quality assurance pledges and efficiency as well as effectiveness in delivery of their goods and services to the consumers without taking undue advantage of consumers by engaging in some unethical practices that may be concealed due to the dark side of consumer behaviour.


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Creating business opportunities from problems or voids

If any opportunity comes my way, I will grab it. I have heard a lot of people say that. Others say they are unfortunate or disadvantaged and they can’t do anything about their situations in life. Many people wait for an opportunity to come their way and even when one does come, very few are able to recognize it not to talk of seizing it. Much as opportunities may or will come our way at one point which cannot be guaranteed, we have no control with the aspect of when that will be or when an opportunity will come our way from whatever perspective we are thinking of it or expecting it. Granted that opportunities may come our way at some point, what if we created them instead of waiting for them? What really constitutes an opportunity coming our way? Can an opportunity come our way or present itself without us noticing? These are some important questions we do well to ask ourselves especially when we are considering entrepreneurship or starting our own businesses.  Most of the time as we interact with both people and systems, we face one problem or the other from time to time. We either feel something is missing or is not being done in the manner or way it should.  The problems we face or voids we encounter are best scenarios to create opportunities and when you critically think about it, you will realize that those problems or voids are actually opportunities themselves. Think of how frustrated you may be about a problem or void and ask yourself the what if questions. What if I had a better way of doing this? What if I come up with a solution or solutions to mitigate these problems or voids? What if I came up with a method or system which can better handle such problems or voids? What if I set up my own business which can bridge the gap between what existing manufacturers, suppliers or service providers are offering and what the customer/s really need and want? As you slowly start answering these questions it will dawn on you that you have an opportunity or opportunities right before you or that you can create opportunities from that.

Thinking positively about problems or voids and how they can be solved or filled can create an opportunity or opportunities of a lifetime. Many businesses worldwide are born as a result of a problem or void that needs to be solved or filled. Working or starting a business venture from this inverse perspective as some may consider it assures you of an available market  or prospective client/s should you venture into a business that will be setup to solve or fill X problem/s or void/s. You can even straight away begin to profile and/or demographically segment your prospective clients or target market from a factual perspective and come up with efficient and effective marketing techniques that will draw them to your business and guarantee you of that or those sales when you start your business. I must state for the record that am not saying this is the only way a business can be born or started, but that it is one of the most easy and convenient ways to start-up a business in my opinion. In both the private and public sectors, institutional voids create great entrepreneurial opportunities.

No one loves to go through problems as they deal with people, systems and institutions in this busy world. Rather than get frustrated continuously as though the world is coming to an end, think of how to solve or fill those problems or voids. Think of what opportunities are presented or can be created by those problems or voids. Remember to ask yourself some of the what if questions and honestly answer them. You will be amazed with what you can do about or with those problems or voids!