The Business of Energy - Which is Best for All?

Many parts of America experience cold weather in winter.  However there are also locations in the United States that typically have a mild or warm winter.  In February 2021, most of America woke up to find below freezing weather and that citizens, utility companies, and government agencies were unprepared for the crisis that came next.  Instead of being warm from their heating units, they were cold as power went out when windmills froze and electrical lines went down. Environmental technology was failing!  Not only were people cold, in some places, they were unable to connect via internet or phone - so no working from home or getting televised updates on crisis!  There were others who could not use water for cleaning and drinking as public water facilities went down due to frozen equipment failure and pipes bursting not just in homes, but in many buildings and outside locations. 

For years the USA has been encouraged to move away for the fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil which there is lots of within country across various states) to more environment--friendly "green initiatives" to prevent global warming.  As windmills froze and solar panels proved useless during the gray days and long nights of the cold spell, people began to doubt the wisdom of these initiatives.  When you and your family are huddled under multiple blankets around a small fireplace to keep warm due to power outages, it is hard to believe "global warming" is really a real thing.  Many now believe fossil fuels should still have a key place in America and governments now need to look at the truth about energy alternatives to get the best service and economical options for their citizens. 

Every type of energy resource does have some bad environmental impacts as well as some good ones.  Each type may have: some long-term money saving advantages, immediate economical impact on workers' jobs, and possible expensive start-up costs. Below are links to pros and cons of different energy sources.  Please note that the wind option states that it had less American government money spent on research but it is also primarily a NON-USA business.  Naturally, moving to NON-USA energy sources will automatically mean a reduction of American jobs and ultimately an increase of costs that impacts both citizens and businesses.

Is Deglobalization the New Business Solution?

Over the past few decades, world trade opportunities led many companies to see globalization as a way to increase sales growth and potential profits.   Moving manufacturer to countries where labor was cheaper or regulations less strict seemed important to cost cutting efforts and again increased profits.  

Due to the world pandemic and economic ramifications causing a break in the supply chain as well as rising shipping rates and import/export costs, some corporations are not only rethinking globalization.  They are questions how to work during global isolation.  Plus many organizations are also considering deglobalization as a possible economic resolution.  

Is the new concept of deglobalization the most recent answer to companies changing the way they do business?  Will deglobalization decrease or increase investment opportunities?  Are the business trends really moving from a history of worldwide marketplaces and returning to home base operations?  If the trend in more national than global, how does this impact future product marketing and sales?  If the trend is more local than world-wide, what does that mean for human resources departments and employee placement?  What does it mean for building factories, moving manufacturing, customer service, and more for logistics, productivity, and quality?

What do you think?  Have you read any good articles that helped your compnay make decisions regarding globalization or globalization?  If you have, please share article sources and hyperlinks in comments on thsi post.


Committing to Corporate Citizenship

Investopedia defines corporate citizenship as "the social responsibility of businesses and the extent to which they meet legal, ethical, and economic responsibilities, as established by shareholders."  So how does citizenship impact profit, after all profit is the reason most businesses exist.  However, putting profit over people can eventually cause a company to loose some customers, which does impact the bottom line.

Most organizations understand meeting legal requirements and how the economy affects them, in order to stay on business but do they understand social responsibility?  For decades companies have been training employees and leadership in business ethics  and corporate values.  The clearest way to understand social responsibility is it is taking corporate ethics and values outside the company and into the community.  This can be done via charitable activities and contributions, which may be done corporately or by sponsoring the actions of specific employees.  

There are five stages to developing corporate citizenship: Elementary, Engaged, Innovative, Integrated, and Transforming (similar to the stages of team-building).  In between each the five stages, companies develop the four C's: Credibility, Capacity, Coherence, and Commitment. 

Entrepreneur says the initial cost of becoming socially responsible in stage one will negatively affect profits, which is why many companies move no further than elementary stage.  However their article uses the case that consistent  citizenship can build a good corporate reputation that may eventually lead to profits in a socially conscience environment.  To ensure that corporate citizenship happens within the company, it is important to include it in long-term strategy planning and goal setting.  However, be careful in how you use your citizenship actions and contributions in marketing on social media and corporate websites.  Aligning unwisely to the wrong types of non-profit organizations or causes can result in looking unpatriotic or overly political, which may result in possible boycotts and lost business.  

Want more information on how to create corporate social responsibility (CSR), watch the 1 hour video Corporate Citizen: Risk & Internal Controls by Strategic Business Leadership (SBL). 

Patriotism in the Workplace

A 2018 Gallup polls on American pride and various new articles summarizing the polls claim patriotism is declining in the USA.  The major decline is based mostly in one political party, although article writers make different guesses as to why this may be so.  However, multiple social media posts over the past few months seem to indicate that US citizens are concerned over current events but still proud and patriotic.  So where should businesses stand on patriotism?

An American industry seen as unpatriotic might lose business and may find it hard to recruit new employees.  American companies can turn around public opinion of themselves and help increase patriotism by showing they are proud of the country they do business in.  Although there have been a few articles stating the youngest job seekers want to work for more liberal companies, there have been no conclusive studies or data presented.  However, most people (regardless of age) looking for jobs probably would prefer to work for an organization that has the same values as they do.  Companies that want economic growth tend to take risks in business but remain conservative in their political approach.  After all, capitalism allows for creation of new businesses and new innovations to help existing business to successfully continue.  In other words, profit is king in business.

Even so, it is important that American-based companies show good citizenship.  One way to do that is for leadership to prove that they value the country they live in, the rights of its citizens, and patriotism.  Some ways businesses can show patriotism include:

  • Fly a USA flag outside the company buildings
  • Keep politics out of marketing
  • Recruit military veterans who have gotten the training or leadership skills the organization needs
  • Support local and/or national military and veterans charities
  • Provide time-off options for patriotic holidays
  • Hire military spouses as telecommuting employees or part-time workers
  • Do not force political parties, views, or issues on others
  • Encourage employees to productively work as a team and not get political
  • Put the flag and/or company history on corporate website
  • Encourage employees to exercise their right to vote.

Politics in Marketing Can Kill Business

Have you seen ads mistakenly promoting political agendas as current social issues that they support?  Have you been considering showing similar support for the short run in your marketing?  If you have, then think again before reacting.  This type of political marketing can backfire on a business.  Consider ticket and sponsor losses of the NFL when they appeared to take a political side.

Before you change your website, ads, and social postings, do your research and consider the implications for your business.  Is the political issue or current socialistic opinion being supported by hundreds rather than thousands, by thousands rather than millions?  News reports can often be misleading. Is the group or charity you are considering making a difference?  Is the movement making a difference, is it  peaceful or violent?  Did it physically destroy property, loot other businesses, or hurt people? Is it really a social cause or a political agenda?  However those actions are perceived may reflect on your company as a supporter.   How many customers do you want to get?  How many are you willing to alienate?  How many are you willing to lose?  If you make the wrong move/impression, the company page on social media may blow-up in your face instead of in your sales. Have you researched the issue to be sure it is real and not a lie or hiding a different political agenda?

Instead of using the political issue or socialized opinion "of the week" or month to build an advertising campaign, look for a way to use your marketing budget for the long run to build business.  Create marketing that builds-up you brand instead of promoting the brand of others.  How do you do this?  Sell your value, create brand recognition, and build trust with current and future customers.  Most customers are interested in WIFM (what's in it for me), so sell the value of your product or service.  Build your advertising and social media presence around being known for what you do, and repeat that in multiple formats and places.  This reputation is key to create name recognition and service/product reputation.   Steer away from ads that leave people thinking "That was an interesting commercial.  What was it for?" If you want to build customer loyalty, do it through brand trust.  You have to have trust in your compnay first, an uninformative or misleading advertisement makes people think you are covering something up, therefore killing any chance at building trust.

Still considering putting your political views to grab attention by supporting current issue?  If you are, you may want to read the articles and tips below before you spend your marketing money.
How Social Media Can Kill Your Business
Politics and Marketing
SBDC 8 Steps To Marketing Your Business

Will you let your business be hurt by putting an irresponsible statement in a box promotion or funds into a questionable process/policy? If you move too soon, you may lose business.  If you have already made the wrong move, better backup and hope to reduce/reflect backfire from the larger population not supporting the statements which may be your greatest potential for customers.  It is ok to have a personal political view, however advertising it in your marketing can result in: lost capital now, future loss of consumer business, which means no freedom to innovate and grow your business.  Only a foolish leader makes decisions out of fear or not checking for all the facts. Make sure social media people know to avoid politics and hopefully  avoid boycott and other outcries from customers/readers.

If you have funds you wish to donate anonymously or publicly, make sure they provide a helpful service to society.  Consider ecology and help save the planet.  Or help people by feeding the hungry or housing the homeless.  Before you donate, verify the legitimacy of the charity; as well as their values, goals, and past spending results.  If tax deduction is also important to you, verify what the organization qualifies for since most charitable deductions are not be taken at 100%.  Political contributions are not tax deductible. 

According to the marketing "rule of seven" it takes awhile for people to notice an advertisement.  The more you share information with people, then it may become believable to them even if it is just a cleverly disguised sales pitch.  Be ethical and honest with your potential clients, make sure you statements are truth not lies just for profit.  Dishonesty catches up with a compnay as disillusioned customers will leave in droves and make their dissatisfaction and distrust  known on social media so new customers think twice before buying,

NFL Blunders in Business Again and Takes Other Sports With Them!

A few years ago, the NFL Made Business Blunder which lost them and sponsors lots of money because they were seen as unpatriotic.  They eventually took a stand and their fans and customer base began to slowly return.  Due to coronavirus this year, they can not sell tickets, so they are trying to be "relevant"  with a new marketing campaign.  Will this cost them  customers again?  Will the #BoycottNFL cry across social media start again as more people check the historical records of the National Football League on social issues?  

Other sports leagues or teams (NBA/WNBA, NASCAR, MLB, etc) besides NFL are starting similar campaigns as well.  Some are even considering changing the names of teams.  Are the name and logo changes a politically correct idea or a marketing ploy to pave the way to try to generate income through new sales of re-named sports gear since they cannot sell tickets?  What will their customers/fans think of name changes?  Will they buy into the media hype or continue to abandon professional sports?  Will fans begin to boycott other sports as well as their sponsors and advertisers too?  Will the league owners lose money when sponsorship goes away?  Will the players now lose their bloated million dollar salaries?  Will professional sports eventually go from being big business back to a low cost athletic-based pastime fro fans?  Or will USA sports decide their business would be safer if they go back to separating themselves from political agendas as UK sports do?  Forbes suggests Case To Separate Sports And Politics For More Fans And Higher Ratings.

Where Are Women's Rights in the Workforce?

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 specifically required equal treatment of individuals regardless of gender. This meant qualified women should be considered for hiring and promotion if they match the job requirements as well as a man.  The oldest and most accepted definition and/or synonym for the word sex is gender.

Recently, the "educated" members of the Supreme Court and Congress decided to redefine the word sex from the previously accepted gender to indicate terms of private intimacy preferences. In essence destroying the gender equality portion of the Civil Rights Act and replacing it with behavior-based concepts. What does this mean for the working woman now? 

  • Since gender is not an issue, does it mean wages and job options will recede to pre-1963 when equal pay for equal work was enacted?
  • Since sexual orientation is now the issue, does it mean that sexual harassment may increase over what it was in the 1980's and become even more prevalent in the future?
  • Since gender equality is not important, will women lose their jobs and  be forced to return to pre-WWII stay-at-home status?
  • Since gender is gone as an issue, what is next to lose -  women's right to vote which was gained back in 1920?

What has happened to business leaders saying workforce diversity is important for idea generation and problem solving?  Where are all the so-called feminists hiding that allowed this to happen? Is everyone so focused on facemasks and other protest actions that what has already been gained is allowed to slowly die away? 

Obviously there are not enough women on the Supreme Court or in Congress to protect female rights.  Perhaps it is not about gender, maybe it is an attempt to increase lawsuits against businesses?  Maybe the reasoning is business and personal values are not as important to economy as a backlogged legal system is...

Always Check the Facts Before You Share the Story

With the increase of "fake news" and revival of "yellow journalism," it is important to check the facts before you decide to share a story even if you are leaning towards it as a possible truth.  Spreading distortions,  libelous stories, and downright lies is irresponsible behavior.  Even if you know the story is satire, you need to make that distinction before you hit the "share" or "retweet' button in order to not mislead other readers.  Not everyone understands sarcasm and therefore they might retaliate.  Going viral is NOT worth the harm it can do to yours or another's reputation.

So how do you check the facts?  In the past, we could rely on journalistic ethics and real research to check the facts and verify statistics.. However the desire to sell stories has changed the media from presenting impartial facts to generating sensationalism and repeating social media to not get scooped on a story.  As proof of this, we were incredulous when TV news shows added a Twitter feed or Facebook trends to their news hour.  Of course they had to spend time saying what was true, false, or unproven.  Doing so took away from "real news," weather, and sports because there was no guarantee people stayed tuned for that last part of social media reports.  So some reputable networks have finally discontinued that ridiculous source of news.  Forbes Survey Of Journalists Suggests Accuracy Is More Important Than Being First shows discontinuing that was the right thing to do.

Formerly, the daily newspapers provided details we did not get from TV reports.  However, many print newspapers have gone on-line and have to compete with other web sources to get your attention.  Therefore, they may provide sensational headlines to get attention before presenting the details.  Unfortunately many people are lazy about getting all the news and only read the headline plus the first paragraph or two.  So they do not get the full picture or miss where something was fully presented or falsehoods disputed.   Hopefully, if you want the full story, you check multiple sources to be sure.  According to Business Insider chart, these were the most and least trusted news outlets.

One source historically considered impartial in finding the facts was Snopes.com.  Then Forbes magazine told us that we cannot trust them in the article Fact Checking the Fact Checkers.  In the past, many of us used that site for finding out if a story was true or false.  After reading they considered a a skewed story on their site as TRUE after reviewing the full video (story supposedly based on a few  minutes near middle of the hour) and written transcript portion that they said proved the story, I saw a definite misconstruing and misinterpretation of what was said to support a falsehood.  What the story quoted the presenters as saying was never actually said.  For anyone who understands English, the result of fact checking should have been FALSE.  Or they could have at least responded MIXED and said a slip-of-the-tongue seemed to be misunderstood by people not listening closely or reporters were choosing to take a statement completely out-of-context.  Other popular (supposedly non-partisan)  fact-checking sites include:  AllSidesPolitiFactMediaBiasFactCheck, and NewsGuard. So now, not only do you have to double-check the facts of the story, you must verify the accuracy of the fact checkers!

Has journalism moved from being an extension of the English department to under Political Science or Marketing?  Is sensationalism more important than communication of the facts?  It is shame that you have to be distrustful of your news sources in order to be a responsible person and citizen.   Please do not accidentally or purposefully spread lies.  Remember always check the facts and/or statistics before you share a story! As much as possible, you want to be right so you are not shown to be wrong in the future.  You also want to be honest, which:  shows integrity, gains respect, and builds trust.