When I received my August 1st Time Magazine's issue in my mailbox, I was quickly drawn upon the familiar face on the glossy cover- it's the former #1 billionaire, Mr. Bill Gates. The PC tycoon personally did a write-up, covering the subject he mastered so greatly- capitalism.
A quote from his opening paragraph:
How To Fix Capitalism
In these tough times, it's easy to forget that during the past century, the world has gotten better. But billions have not been able to benefit from the capitalism's miracle. Here's how to help them..
Read the annoying multi-page on-line edition here.
He suggested 'Creative Capitalism' as a mean to serve the market. The ability to create new approaches to expand the reach to a wider people- to increase the span of capitalists' 'miracle'- that's what can be done to help more people.
Well, we're definitely on the same page here. Here are some case studies on how I told my clients to be creative in conducting their businesses:
When a timber company approached me for a help in facing the growing global warming protests, I told them to creatively divert those protest. Go to the government. Lobby them. Bribe them. Donate to their campaign fund. Ask them to support the business as another crucial effort to sustain human life. The protest then shifted to the government, while the company continued to make hefty profit from clearing the forest.
When a cosmetic company told me they're facing a growing Attention Deficit Disorder and advertisement fatigue among the consumers, I told them to be more creative in finding places to slot ads. Conventional media like billboards can attract consumers , but its message retention rate will be poorer by the day. So put the ads where the customers can't turn away. Paint the whole train. Sponsor a stadium. Or maybe in the future, paste ads on people's foreheads.
When a pharmaceutical producer came to me about their lack of product credibility, I immediately asked them to find several desperate doctors and pay them to be the ambassador for the product. It doesn't matter whether the product works or not- or whether the expert really knows what he's talking about. It's the assurance from someone 'outside' your company that matters.
Repeat purchases by your current customers are what you should aim for. But what if you only have one or limited product ? When a computer hardware company asked my advice, I told them to creatively design the product so that it'll fail sometime later. And inform the customers that the failure is another natural wear and tear. An upgrade or replacement is then needed. As a result, a repeat purchase.
When a telco company approached me to solve their customer phone support woes, I asked them to adopt a more creative method. Instead of having their customers waiting for hours before someone talk to them- use the automated answering machine with sexy voices to immediately pick-up any calls. Give them hundreds of options to select, in the name of 'more effective system'. Play soothing song in between. That will keep them occupied before an actual human being is available to talk to.
When Mr. Gates mentioned 'miracle' in capitalism, you now see how I concur with his view. The power to agonize people, without them realizing, is a miracle indeed.