Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Handling money and flu transmission

Although I miss the Evening Standard newsellers in London, my all time favourite used to give me now and then a lobster or a brace of crabs caught from his lobster pots off Portland where he now lives, I recognise that if they have to be replaced by piles of free newspapers that this is a better time than most for it to happen.

How come? Well the Evening Standard was selling 250,000 copies 5 nights a week. Money changed hands each time, often the only time in the day that people handled money. If you want to spread influenza quickly it is a good way to do it. So perhaps the unintended consequence of the loss of Evening Standard newsellers is a slowing of the transmission of the H1N1 flu virus.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

"Fashion is Risk"

The quote that provides the title of this blog comes from Sir Philip Green, the owner of Arcadia.
It is a good example of marketing as a risk management tool for upside risk. Fashion is about understanding and creating trends in the market place, about limiting the downside by not ordering too much stock , by offering at the right prices for the target market and by playing safe for at least part of a company's range when they are as big as the Arcadia Group.

But it is also about taking risks, like starting up in New York where Top Shop is a new, unknown name. How does Sir Philip mitigate the risk? By linking with Kate Moss who is a well known fashion icon in New York, by careful research as to what will sell at what prices and in what sizes and colours, by choosing a store in a great location so that it gets maximum visibility and by revving up the publicity machine.

Yes fashion is risk but a smart operator like Sir Philip knows how to manage the downside so he gets the upside benefit.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Suicide risk

France Telecom has experienced 24 suicides in the last 18 months amongst its 100,000 employees. Several of the employees have left notes blaming the company's culture change since it was privatised for their action.

The French put great store by solidarity with their fellow workers, far more so than in the UK. Yet the suicide rate was 17.6 per 100,000 people in France in 2005 (the latest date WHO data available on wikipedia) against the UK rate of 6.8 for a similarly sized population. In real lives this is a difference of over 6000 a year.

I do not have a simple answer for this difference.