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Consumer or Consumed – Economic Insights

The Nielsen Company looked at how today’s uncertain economy is shaping consumer attitudes and behaviors and how marketers can navigate this new landscape to uncover growth opportunities:

“People have come to accept the reality of the economic crisis. What’s really important is how they are changing their priorities and decisions. Consumers are really focusing on the basics. Instead of eating out, they are eating in. They are finding many more ways to save that are different than traditional methods.

“Consumers may be pulling back luxury purchases but they’re not pulling back on the media. They watch more TV than ever. And they are very connected with the media via the Internet and other cool technologies.

“How do you actually achieve clarity in the face of uncertainty. You can’t forget the big trends. They never went away. Consumers are still aging, for example. Since all your competitors can also see those trends, you have to keep innovating.”

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Proving Your Worth as a Manager

Of Storms and Alligators

storm1 I have a close friend who is the Executive Director of a small, service-based company that is taking a beating from the current economic downturn. Sales are down. Costs are up. And the well of funding has dried. Even though my friend is effectively knee-deep in alligators I have the utmost confidence in his ability to weather the storm. Unfortunately, my friend is not alone. In fact, even big businesses are struggling to survive. Look at the US auto industry. Granted, their lack of cash flow is due to more than just effects of the economy. But I think it’s safe to say that businesses throughout the world are in trouble.

Earning Your Stripes

Now is the time when a manager earns his stripes. Any manager can ride the tide of prosperity and lead his business during seasons of plenty. But the mark of a truly able manager is defined by how he overcomes the unexpected and weathers the storm. Managing crises is the most defining aptitude an entrepreneur can develop because the very nature of entrepreneurship is inherently ambiguous. In the case of my friend, it is too early to predict the future as there are too many variables that affect his business; a corporate failure would likely be attributed to much more than the economy. But if he is looking for an opportunity to prove himself, now is the time.