HAPPY DIWALI!

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Smoking products back on TV advertising in UK

LuckyStrikeDoctorLast week the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) announced relaxed regulations for advertising e-cigarettes through television broadcasting.

From November 2014, e-cig brand owners (these tend to be the big tobacco manufacturers) will be able to use TV advertising having previously been banned from doing so.

The introduction of the new rules has largely been welcomed with many finding previous rules unclear and inconsistent.

Ant-tobacco charity Ash declared it was satisfied with this move as such products are deemed to be nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) but the science on whether such strategies actually lead to a significant decrease in the number of smokers is still unclear...

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Diversity Matters

Black sheepActively valuing diversity and managing inclusion is the hallmark of a successful global organisation – irrespective of its size or whether it’s commercial, voluntary or part of Government.

Diversity matters because in order for such organisations to reach levels of world-class performance, they must embrace a wide range of attitudes, values, beliefs, perceptions and behaviours and not just of those that are employed by them but also those that are shared by the communities that they seek to serve.

Research on both sides of the Atlantic tends to show that social inclusion in the way described isn’t a libertarian ideal but actually makes good business sense.

I was reminded about the power of diversity when I recently ran a leadership workshop for one of the Armed Forces that had found...

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The future internet of things

Tim Berners-LeeThis month marks 25 years since Sir Tim Berners-Lee developed the draft of a proposal for we now know as the World Wide Web.

In fact, it’s hard for many of us to imagine how we ever did our school homework – or anything for that matter – without it! Of course the world is a very different place to the one Tim Berners-Lee lived in 1989, the year I joined the BBC in news and current affairs.

Today, Tim Berners-Lee has called for greater for privacy on the web and for people to become the legal owners of their data in order to control when and how it’s used because of rampant identity theft and the invasion of personal and sensitive data that’s now a daily occurrence around the world.

Looking to a brighter future, Tim Berners-Lee predicts there’ll be faster networks and more intellige...

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Companies face being caught with their pants down over forthcoming EU Regulation on data protection

pants downThere’s evidence that most major companies haven’t as yet appreciated the impact that this  European-wide Regulation will have on their business and could be caught out unless they take action sooner rather than later.

The aim of the new European Data Protection Regulation is to harmonise the current data protection laws in place across the EU member states. The fact that it is a “regulation” instead of a “directive” means it will be directly applicable to all EU member states without a need for national implementing legislation.

From the first half of 2015, all EU Governments will have two years from which to ensure that the EU General Data Protection Regulation is fully observed.

Regulators in each 28 EU Member State will be designated as a Supervisory Authority (SA) where the d...

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Unilever crowned top global advertiser and Coca-Cola top individual global brand in WARC League Table 2014

Unilever

Unilever is the smartest advertiser on the planet according to research carried out by global marketing intelligence agency WARC.

The top five global advertisers on the WARC advertiser rankings:

Warc global brand rankingsThe advertiser scores are derived from the brand owners’ performance in effectiveness and strategy in the previous 12 months.

Coke campaign

However, the world’s leading individual brand is Coca-Cola, according to the rankings for individual brands:

Warc top global brandsIn compiling the individual brand league table, WARC tracked more than 1700 winners in 75 different competitions. It assigned points based on the awards won and then weighted these points based on the competition’s rigour and prestige in the global industry according to its own analysis.

Louise Ainsworth, CEO, WARC explains: “These rankings show which companies ...

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The new bottom-line? By guest blogger Richard Chaplin

new bottom lineAccountants create budgets by aggregating multiple assumptions over levels of activity, headcount, costs, growth rates and similar factors.

Any budget review should initially focus on the underlying assumptions and policies before considering the numbers.

Given high levels of uncertainty over future demand, revenue forecasts are seldom more than inspired guesses by client-facing teams that are almost certainly wrong.

The challenge is to arrive at sensible assumptions over the headcount, productivity, salary and space requirements needed to support different levels of predicted demand.

In addition, given the usual inter-dependencies, it’s important to explore the people consequences of alternative ways of meeting demand.

For example, setting salaries materially below market or cutting back ...

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Coca-Cola bends to public pressure to put calorific values on its products

TL systemIn a spectacular volte-face, Coca-Cola has embraced the voluntary front of pack ‘traffic light’ system that alerts British consumers to the calorific value of the product in order for them to make informed choices about what they are ingesting and help move them towards having a more balanced diet and healthier lifestyle.

What’s disappointing is that the beverage giant didn’t have the foresight to embrace this opportunity last year when the voluntary labelling scheme was first introduced by the Government.

By missing this opportunity, Coca-Cola made it look like it had something to hide and this also reflected negatively on its reputation.

The result of this stance was that Coke had placed a question mark over its carbonated product lines that these were in some way were contributi...

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Was Abraham Lincoln right about the nature of reputation?

Abraham_Lincoln_November_18In 1861 Abraham Lincoln faced the greatest test of his presidency when he tried to hold together the United States in the face of a highly divisive Civil War that eventually claimed the lives of over 700,000 combatants in the North and South of the country.

However, Lincoln was a lucky man. And he had at his disposal a new weapon. A weapon more powerful than a Smith & Weston.

It was the telegraph.

Before the invention of the telegraph it would take a dispatch rider the best part of a week to reach the battle front on horseback. Now Lincoln could now dispatch orders to his Army Generals by getting an operator to tap them instantly into the machine.

Although the telegram was regarded as revolutionary at the time, the perception of whether Lincoln was winning the war of words often trailed be...

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Do you have that “Second Life” feeling?

eric-whitacre-in-second-life-casualAt its peak in 2007, the virtual world known as Second Life had in excess of 5m members.

Everything about this world could be customised – latest cat walk fashions, drinks in a bar or a luxury mansion could be bought for real money. IBM bought real estate, American Apparel opened a virtual shop and Reuters paid for journalist Adam Pasick to be an avatar who reported on virtual happenings. Countries even opened virtual embassies. Yes, really!

The news media thought this parallel universe would become the way in which millions around the world would find ‘self-actualisation’ to borrow the term from US psychologist Abraham Maslow.

In 2014, the number of members in Second Life had dropped to 600,000...

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