Friday, 29 March 2013

Infographic: Rise of the MOOCs

With a public four year in-state degree costing $89,044 on average it’s easy to see why anyone would be looking for alternatives. MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses, may be the solution. Since the first MOOC in 2008, this phenomenon has been spreading amongst very well accredited colleges. The movement has grown rapidly with over 100 courses already scheduled for 2013.

Rise of the MOOCs

Application of Tech in Higher Education 

The world is going E, and so is college learning. From tablets such as the iPad to a widening expanse of electronic books available for purchase (and sometimes even for rent), the digital world is now a substantive part of the learning experience. And students say there should be more of it.
In a spring 2012 survey, two-thirds of students said they would like technology to play a greater role in their learning, including a greater use of netbooks, notebooks and tablets and an increased use of digital content. Even teachers say they want to integrate more digital content and more digital equipment into their classroom.
And these do not appear to be just wants. Students appear to be spending more of their discretionary money on technological devices. A recent study in the spring of 2012 showed that surveyed students planned to spend 227% more on technology in the 2012-13 school year than they did the year before.
Another 2012 study shows that college-age students use at least three technological devices daily and that most students don’t go more than an hour without using at least one of those devices. What gives? Turns out that students are interested in saving time. In fact, 90% of those surveyed students said that technological devices, including electronic textbooks, eReaders, mobile devices and tablets, help them to crunch time when it comes to studying. 
What are the newest digital trends in learning and how are they helpful to students?

Via: NerdWallet

Guidelines To Create Great Slogan

A slogan is an advertising tag-line or phrase that advertisers create to visually expresses the importance and benefits of their product. By and large, it’s a theme to a campaign that usually have a genuine role in people’s lives. It has the ability to loan people’s time and attention by putting consumers at the heart of the solution.
Here's the guidelines to creating a super cool slogan.
  1. Identification. A good slogan must stay consistent with the brand name either obviously stated or strongly implied. It’s better to include the name of your business to it. Think KFC and their "It's Lickin Good"
  2. Memorable. Some of the best taglines or slogans are still being used today, even though they were launched several years ago.
  3. Beneficial. Reveal your purpose and benefits of the product by conveying the message in consumer language. Turn bad into good. Suggest the risk of not using the product. Create a positive feeling for the consumers. Think Coca Cola here....they've had several but think of Open Happiness, Coke side of life?
  4. Differentiation. In an overcrowded market, companies on the same industry need to set themselves apart through their creative and original tagline or slogan. Think about FedEx....when there's no tomorrow.
  5. Keep it simple. Use proven words and short keywords. One word is usually not enough, two or maybe three which is the most popular. Apple rocks here for me....Beauty outside, beast inside! Says so much about their brand.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy

The Idea in Brief
You know that to sustain long-term profitability you must respond strategically to competition. And you naturally keep tabs on your established rivals
But as you scan the competitive arena, are you also looking beyond your direct competitors? As Porter explains in this update of his revolutionary 1979 HBR article, four additional competitive forces can hurt your prospective profits:

Savvy customers can force down prices by playing you and your rivals against
one another.

Powerful suppliers may constrain your profits if they charge higher prices.

Aspiring entrants, armed with new capacity and hungry for market share, can
ratchet up the investment required for you to stay in the game.

Substitute offerings can lure customers away.
Consider commercial aviation: It’s one of the least profitable industries because all five forces are strong.
Established rivals compete intensely on price.
Customers are fickle, searching for the best deal regardless of carrier.
Suppliers —plane and engine manufacturers, along with unionized labor forces—bargain away the lion’s share of airlines’ profits.
New players enter the industry in a constant stream. And substitutes are readily available—such as train or car travel.
By analyzing all five competitive forces, you gain a complete picture of what’s influencing profitability in your industry. You identify game-changing trends early, so you can swiftly exploit them. And you spot ways to work around constraints on profitability— or even reshape the forces in your favor.

The Idea in Practice
By understanding how the five competitive forces influence profitability in your industry (including start-ups), you can develop a strategy for enhancing your company’s long-term profits.

Porter suggests the following:
In the heavy-truck industry, many buyers operate large fleets and are highly motivated to drive down truck prices. Trucks are built to regulated standards and offer similar features, so price competition is stiff; unions exercise considerable supplier power; and buyers can use substitutes such as cargo delivery by rail.
To create and sustain long-term profitability within this industry, heavy-truck maker Paccar chose to focus on one customer group where competitive forces are weakest: individual drivers who own their trucks and contract directly with suppliers. These operators have limited clout as buyers and are less price sensitive because of their emotional ties to and economic dependence on their own trucks.
For these customers, Paccar has developed such features as luxurious sleeper cabins, plush leather seats, and sleek exterior styling.
Buyers can select from thousands of options to put their personal signature on these built-to-order trucks.
Customers pay Paccar a 10% premium, and the company has been profitable for 68 straight years and earned a long-run return on equity above 20%.

With the advent of the Internet and digital distribution of music, unauthorized downloading created an illegal but potent substitute for record companies’ services. The record companies tried to develop technical platforms for digital distribution themselves, but major labels didn’t want to sell their music through a platform owned by a rival.
Into this vacuum stepped Apple, with its iTunes music store supporting its iPod music player. The birth of this powerful new gatekeeper has whittled down the number of major labels from six in 1997 to four today.

Use tactics designed specifically to reduce the share of profits leaking to other players.
For example:
To neutralize supplier power, standardize specifications for parts so your company can switch more easily among vendors.

To counter customer power, expand your services so it’s harder for customers to leave you for a rival.

To temper price wars initiated by established rivals, invest more heavily in products that differ significantly from competitors’ offerings.

To scare off new entrants, elevate the fixed costs of competing; for instance, by escalating your R&D expenditures.

To limit the threat of substitutes, offer better value through wider product accessibility.
Soft-drink producers did this by introducing vending machines and convenience store channels, which dramatically improved the availability of soft drinks relative to other beverages.