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September 2017

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2017

Data can be gold for those who can mine and transform it into a valuable form. Mastercard is giving a new meaning to it and evolving a concept of 'data philanthropy.' Shamina Singh, president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, explains the idea of data philanthropy and how data can be utilized for social good and social impact. She says, 'The initiative first came up through a partnership with DataKind in the United States. They were set up to galvanize data scientists from around the world and plug them into social impact work. And so a number of our Mastercard data scientists signed up to DataKind programs, and this gave us the opportunity to form a much more lasting and strategic partnership between the organizations. It opened a new conversation about data for good, what it could look like, and who was doing what in this space. It was also around this time that we had the United Nations opening up to data and data initiatives, and companies like Microsoft thinking about data for good.' Explaining some of the elements of data philanthropy Mastercard is focused on, she says, 'One is working with actual Mastercard data and trying to figure out if there are uses with anonymized and aggregated data that will not only respect the rules of the road around privacy, but can be used for research. We first opened our data for use by Harvard University, who approached us with a proposal to use the data to understand how economies grow, with a specific focus on tourism data and understanding how tourism dollars move in a country. Using Mastercard transaction data, we were able to provide new insights into this area...The other area of data philanthropy is around data analytics. What we have found is that many social impact organizations or NGOs do not need Mastercard data at all. Instead, they need to understand their own data, but often don't have the capacity or resources to help themselves. In those instances, we provide either a grant to hire a data scientist, fund an expert consultant, or provide our own data scientists to build their capacity and ability to learn. The inspiration for this element of data philanthropy came from our work with an organization called DoSomething...' Providing information on how Mastercard data scientists are internally looking for insights, she says, 'We started something called the charitable donations insight, and that is something that one of our colleagues is doing where she is using Mastercard data and drawing insights to help nonprofits understand charitable giving. We asked what a spending poll would look like for not-for-profits and social impact organizations, and insights is the first attempt at that...What she realized is that a lot of the not-for-profits have to raise their own funds, but there is not a lot of science behind potentially where and how they should be doing this. So she thought if she could unlock some of the data around the charitable contributions that we know of, she could offer insights to assist them. The other thing we did, which was very interesting, was we created a dataset that organizations could pull down if they want to, and mix it with your own data to self-regulate your own work.' Read on...

devex: Q&A - How Mastercard uses data for better philanthropy
Author: Lisa Cornish


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 sep 2017

Team of researchers - Anatoli Colicev of Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan), Ashwin Malshe of University of Texas at San Antonio (USA), Koen Pauwels of Northeastern University (USA) and Peter O'Connor of ESSEC Business School (France) - in their paper 'Improving Consumer Mind-Set Metrics and Shareholder Value through Social Media: The Different Roles of Owned and Earned' published in Journal of Marketing, describe the impact of social media on stock market performance via three consumer mindset metrics: brand awareness, purchase intent, and consumer satisfaction. According to the research all the social media posts are not created equal. Owned social media (OSM), i.e. company's own posts, is likely to increase brand awareness and customer satisfaction but not purchase intent. While earned social media (ESM), i.e. what consumers say about brands on social platforms, is even more valuable, potentially increasing all three consumer mindset metrics. Prof. Koen Pauwels says, 'Consumers look to their peers before making purchasing decisions, which is why earned social media is so valuable. Both investors and consumers distrust companies who boast about themselves, because it's hard to know what weaknesses they're trying to hide.' The researchers also found that consumer satisfaction and purchase intent are primary contributors to firm value. While higher consumer satisfaction was found to increase stock market returns, greater purchase intent was shown to both increase stock market returns and lower idiosyncratic risk - risk that is endemic to a particular stock and not a whole investment portfolio. The researchers used time series analysis to decipher the link between social media posts on various platforms consumer mindset metrics, and shareholder value. Prof. Pauwels suggests that research findings could assist marketers to develop more effective social media strategies. He says, '...marketers and social media managers should craft their OSM messages to target customers to improve brand awareness and customer satisfaction. Due to the value-relevance of customer satisfaction, OSM that is targeted toward helping customers post-purchase, addressing their concerns, and reinforcing their purchase decisions is much more valuable than OSM crafted to persuade customers to buy the firm's products.' The research also found that brands with high credibility (reputation) are far more likely than brands with low credibility to increase purchase intent with their own posts. Read on...

News @ Northeastern: When it comes to social media, consumers trust each other, not big brands
Author: Jason Kornwitz


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 sep 2017

According to various studies corporate ethics and social responsibility (CSR) are becoming integral to the realm of businesses and corporations. Ethisphere Institute has been compiling list of 'World's Most Ethical Companies' since 2007. Robert Reiss, host of CEO TV Show and co-author of 'The Transformative CEO', interacted with business leaders to discuss the state of business ethics and CSR, particularly emphasizing on the concepts and their meaning, relationship between ethics and responsibility, best practices in building an ethical culture, and insights on measuring ethics. Here are their summarized responses - (1) Dan Amos (Chairman and CEO of Aflac): 'Ethics is a mindset, not an option.' Consumers respond to it in positive way; Ethics is a subset of CSR. Ethical companies will always display strong governance and compliance. Socially responsible companies are ethical but also understand their overall obligation to make the world a better place; Culture begins at the top. Communicate and celebrate responsibility regularly. Don't be partially ethical; Annual scientific CSR survey, work with Ethisphere and Reputation Institute to validate the direction of ethics and CSR programs. (2) Timothy Erblich (CEO of Ethisphere Institute): 'Good Ethics is Good Business.' Financial return of ethics is significant; CSR is a critical component of overall ethics quotient just like governance culture, transparency, customers, gender equality, philanthropy etc. Its all combined to build trust; Empower managers at the local level. Top leadership must be all in. Be committed and focus on integrity. Measure and communicate results. Incorporate culture at all levels and in all activites; Measure through peer-to-peer analysis and networking. Directly engage with employees. Routinely survey employees, customers and stakeholders. Join exclusive networks like the Ethisphere's Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA). (3) Rodney Martin (CEO of Voya Financial): 'Ethics is a reflection of our commitment to doing business the right way. We emphasize trust and transparency.'; CSR includes key aspects of company culture like ethics and transparency, diversity, inclusion and equality, environmental sustainability, governance, and volunteerism and philanthropy; Exemplary leadership is essential. It should be part of the core values. Building ethical culture must be centered on doing the right thing in a safe and open environment; Participate in Ethisphere Institute's annual World's Most Ethical Companies. It enables to benchmark the company with other industry leaders. Read on...

Forbes: Top CEOs Place High Value On Corporate Ethics And Social Responsibility To Drive Business
Author: Robert Reiss


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 sep 2017

E-commerce has disrupted traditional retail but at the same time pure-play e-commerce companies find it challenging to be profitable. Steve Dennis, strategic advisor, keynote speaker and founder of SageBerry Consulting, provides economic dynamics of e-commerce companies and analyzes the challenges to their road to profitability. He cites the case of e-commerce behemoth, Amazon, that accounts for 45% of US e-commerce and being in business for more than 20 years, still operates at below average industry margins. Some e-commerce companies are even investing to have physical retail presence. Regarding e-commerce among traditional retailers, Mr. Dennis says, '...it's clear that the e-commerce divisions of many major omni-channel retailers run at a loss - or at margins far below their brick & mortar operations.' According to him, increasingly high cost of acquiring (and retaining) customers online is one of the main dynamics that is an impediment to profitability. He explains, 'As it turns out, many online brands attract their first tranche of customers relatively inexpensively, through word of mouth or other low cost strategies. Where things start to get ugly is when these brands have to get more aggressive about finding new and somewhat different customers.' He provides three factors that lead to this - (1) Marketing costs start to escalate: To seek growth, advertising spend increases; Online platforms like Facebook, Google etc are utilized to gain broader audience. (2) More promotion, less attraction: Customers in the growth phase need more incentives, so gross margin on these incremental sales comes at a lower rate; Customers now expect discounts for future purchases, making them inherently less profitable than the initial core customers. (3) Questionable (or lousy) lifetime value: Customers that are acquired as the brand scales have lower incremental lifetime value, both because on average they spend less and because they are inherently more difficult to retain. Read on...

Forbes: Unsustainable Customer Acquisition Costs Make Much Of Ecommerce Profit Proof
Author: Steve Dennis


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 sep 2017

Education and learning has to keep pace with the happenings in industry, and equip students with the cutting-edge knowledge and skills, to assure their success in the highly competitive marketplace. Simon Biggs, Education Liaison Officer for Wales at Renishaw, explains how 3D printing is the new technology that is becoming mainstream part of the classrooms for engineering and mathematical learning. Mr. Biggs says, '3D printing is a well-established industrial technology for prototyping and manufacturing, particularly popular with the aerospace and defence sectors. Also known as additive manufacturing (AM), 3D printing is the process of making a solid 3D object from a digital computer aided design (CAD) file...3D printing is a rapid production method with minimal waste material. Its design flexibility means users can manufacture bespoke objects for a low cost...Understanding and using this growing technology can benefit children's learning, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects but also beyond these more traditional fields in music, design technology, history, geography and biology...Exciting and innovative projects are also a simple way to keep pupils engaged in STEM subjects, which is a vital step forward in addressing the STEM skills shortage.' Explaining the rise of 3D printers in schools and their use to develop new skills in students, he says, 'The increasing numbers of 3D printers in schools is not only due to the increasing recognition of 3D printing being a relevant and engaging educational tool, but also relates to the number and availability of low cost 3D printing machines...Advances in resources available for teachers and other education professionals are also making 3D printing more widely accessible...Using 3D printing as a production method enables students and pupils to move from the conception of an idea to producing a physical object with relative ease...Interrogating a physical object can make it easier for pupils to spot mistakes in designs. This allows them to gain valuable problem solving skills in a creative, hands-on way.' Read on...

The Engineer: The future of 3D printing in education
Author: Simon Biggs



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