newsletter is from the Philippines.
Location: A remote fishing village
in the Luzon province of the Philippines making a subsistence living
Project: To increase the income
of the village.
Action: To package and transport
the fish to urban centers and place the product on supermarket shelves.(The
project involved product development and design, packaging, distribution
Traditional subsistence fishing
The traditional model for the village
was to catch enough fish to supply the village with its staple form
of nutrition, and try to sell the remainder to anybody willing to
make the long trek to the remote village. Wholesalers would drop
in occasionally to purchase fish at low prices if fish at easier
to reach locations was not available. As a result of the subsistence
model the village stayed put; and in poverty as no attempt to sell
their catch was made as a result of lack of funds and knowledge.
The new model
Enter a consulting team of management
consultants, hired by an NGO, which formulated a plan to increase
the catch, package and transport the product to metropolitan areas
and promote the product in supermarkets.
Food packaging equipment was purchased
and donated to the village. A brand name was chosen and artwork
was designed and labels printed. A logistics company was hired to
have a refrigerated truck make regular stops to the village. Favors
were called in and a large supermarket chain agreed to stock the
It was a great success. There was
instant demand for the product. Seeing that there was increased
demand, the fishermen caught more fish, packaged the product and
shipped it off to the city. The supermarket promoted the product
and made a healthy profit. The village’s income increased
multifold and families were able to afford non staple consumer products
for the first time in their lives.
After 3 months, the fish deliveries
stopped. The supermarket chain ran out of the product.
Supermarket patrons asked for the out of stock product and substituted
as a result. The supermarket tried to cajole the fishermen to continue
deliveries but was not successful and all forms of communication
to the village were cut off. The supermarket complained to the management
consultants and a team was sent to the village to investigate.
The team arrived at the fishing
village to find it deserted except for the women and children. The
men were nowhere in sight and the fishing boats had been pulled
inland and were in storage. Fearing for the worst they investigated
the situation to find that the fishermen were in a provincial city
Arriving at the provincial capital,
they found the men in a pub. The fishermen were glad to see the
team that had provided them the key to prosperity and ordered them
a round of drinks (!), and promptly informed them that they were
not fishing anymore. They had made more money in three months then
they normally made in two years, and had decided not to fish anymore
and spend their newly found wealth to party it up for as long as
the money held up. They would only go back to fishing whenever there
was an absolute need.
Only serve the client that needs
your help and needs you to create value for them and is willing
to pay for it. Unless the client pays you for the value creation,
the value created on their behalf is not of value to them.
Merry Christmas and a happy new
diversity and problem solving in the multi national setting:
We recently came across a situation in a multi national corporation
in New York that involved a sexual harassment case. We were not
asked to consult in the matter, as it is not our mission to solve
such cases, but I felt that it would be a good subject for this
month’s newsletter as it reflects the importance of communicating
across cultures, and the gaps that exist due to different paradigms.
The setting was a multi-national organization; the alleged offender
was a gentleman from Kazakhstan, (former Soviet Union republic)
who was supervising the alleged victim, a woman of Filipino origin.
The organization tried to settle the matter internally before the
matter was litigated and a Japanese manager was assigned to arbitrate
in the matter.
The abuse was in through a hand
gesture, with the Kazakh supervisor criticizing the work of the
Filipino employee and making a hand gesture (incidentally the same
hand gesture means different things in different countries). The
woman protested that she did not deserve such a comment and asked
for an apology, and when that was not forth coming, launched a formal
After the formal complaint, the
Japanese manager and the Kazakh supervisor tried to work things
out in a number of meetings before things went to a tribunal and
failed to do so. The Japanese manager felt abused and threatened
by the confrontational and loud communication style of the Kazakh.
The Japanese manager henceforth declined to meet the Uzbek supervisor,
and refused to take his calls. The Japanese manager then moved to
suggest that a tribunal decide on the matter.
Each of the individuals had 10-15
years of work experience, were University graduates and were used
to working in multi cultural settings. The outcome of the tribunal
is not clear, but what is important in the case is to understand
the cultural paradigm’s of the different individuals as one
of the reasons why the matter escalated.
Hofstede and Trompenaar’s
are the two guru’s of cultural diversity and its effects on
the workplace. Both have undertaken research in numerous countries
of the world. I prefer the work Trompenaars who based his findings
on mid level managers. ( Hofstede’s sample consisted of entry
Trompenaar’s uses 7 different
cultural aspects to view the differences between people.
The subject matter is lengthy and deep and this newsletter is not
the place to discuss the matter in detail, but the parameters are
1. Relationships and rules
The universal versus the particular
2. The group and the individual
Concepts of individualism and collectivism
3. Feelings and relationships
Affective versus neutral cultures
4. How far we get involved
Specific versus diffuse cultures
5. How we accord status
Status by ascription or economic development
6. How we manage time
Orientation to past, present or future
7. How we relate to nature
Controlling nature or letting it take its course
The cultural gap and
paradigms of individuals of different cultures
The cultural paradigm’s of each of the individuals differs
greatly and has to be considered in great detail. Below are some
of the characteristics of the different nationalities:
The Kazakh Supervisor:
Kazakhstan is a male dominated culture. Kazakh women are not expected
to shake the hands of Kazakh men. Hard talk, gestures, touching
and back clapping between men, loud speech, display of manliness
in confrontational and direct approaches are the norm. Sexual remarks,
cursing and hand signs are not uncommon.
The Philippine assistant
Filipino’s do not like to be confrontational. Messages are
given indirectly. Personal space is very small. Touching between
genders and amongst themselves is common. Raising ones voice is
considered impolite and rude. It is impolite to say ‘no’
to someone. The Filipino will come up with numerous ways to tell
you ‘no’ without actually saying ‘no’ directly.
The Japanese manager
Japanese do not like to be confrontational. Direct confrontation
is avoided, with messages given indirectly or through use of different
means. Dignity and respect are very important.
Perception of the individuals:
- The hand gesture made by the Kazakh was a reflection of the quality
of the work performed by the Filipino assistant and was his way
of voicing dissatisfaction.
- The way it came across to the
Filipino assistant was that she was being intimidated and invited
to have sexual intercourse with her supervisor.
- The interaction between the Kazakh
supervisor and the Filipino assistant broke down, because the Kazakh
could not apologize to a female junior employee, for a comment he
made, which he viewed as normal venting of frustration.
- The problematic interaction between
the Kazakh supervisor and the Japanese manager was a result of the
Kazakh’s demonstration of manliness when in exclusively male
settings, confronting the Japanese manager in a direct and loud
mode. The Japanese manager felt threatened and intimidated by the
Kazakh’s style and felt that he had lost face.
Based on their cultural paradigms,
the 3 people involved were not able to communicate and resolve the
issue on hand. Multi cultural settings can be most challenging and
sometimes frustrating. It takes long years of experience to bridge
the cultural gap and manage across paradigms successfully.
Behind each product
and service is a product value space, comprised of the business
fundamentals of the company; the respective value chain, cost structure,
core competencies, capabilities, strategy, and in some cases competitive
be the shortcut …, with a trusted brand, the customer can
cut through the clutter’
.Carl E. Pascarella
function of the company is the most important differentiation factor
in the value chain, and the part where product/service differentiation
in the form of creating brand recognition and brand loyalty can
most achieved. The product/service is perceived by the end user
first in the form of brand recognition, and if the company is successful
may turn into brand loyalty. Achieving brand loyalty to a product/service
should be the primary goal of the marketing function.
needs to be strategically aligned to the grand strategy of the firm
and has to be measurable in terms of impact on the top and bottom
line. Companies can no longer afford to allocate resources in hard-to-assess
marketing activities. Your organization must deliver value in the
form of products and services that the customers need, communicate
the product/service mix and company image to the customer in the
most effective way to increase your marketing ROI.
At the independent
business unit or firm level, 4 different marketing strategy options
prevail. These are:
- Market penetration,
- Market development,
- Product development
- Product & market diversification.
Strategy based on converting occasional clients to regular clients,
clients into heavy users. Common tools are based on CRM, member’s
Strategy based on market development introduces existing products
new markets or introduces new brand names in existing markets and
will frequently try to win market share by luring away clients from
Strategy based on product development will try to sell new product
lines in similar or different categories to existing clients. The
new product line can be in the form of accessories, upgrades, or
completely new products. Existing communication channels and brand
recognition/loyalty is leveraged to minimize cost.
Strategy based on diversification is in general the most risky type
Beside the risk of entering a new market with a new product, the
reputation of the company is at stake, and a mishap in the new launch
may affect the core business of the company. The various strategies
of entering a new market are as follows:
- Horizontal diversification
(new product, current market)
- Vertical diversification (move downstream or upstream)
- Diagonal diversification (new product closely resembling current
..product with new use in new market)
- Lateral diversification (new product in new market)
Recently, a very
successful beer brewer launched an instant coffee mix under its
own brand name. Yes. The beer and the coffee had the same brand
name. The company banked on the fact that brand recognition and
loyalty to its beer would automatically generate sales for the new
product as happy beer drinkers would also purchase their coffee
mix. Unfortunately, the product flopped. The loyal customers of
the company, the beer drinkers did not drink enough coffee; the
coffee drinking market did not want to be associated with beer drinkers.
A small ad campaign with the theme ‘We only make beer’
from a competing player could have been most appropriate and generate
maximum marketing ROI at this stage.
ATN Management Consulting
Email : email@example.com
PMB 168, 344 Grove Street,
Jersey City, 07302 NJ - USA
Tel:(201) 915 - 9850 Fax:(201) 915 - 9851