Mexican consumers have been hit harder than their U.S. counterparts by the downturn since 2008, but they are more optimistic about their country's prospects than their neighbors to the north are. Their attitudes are of key importance to consumer packaged goods and retail companies.
No organization can avoid coming to grips with the rapidly evolving behavior of consumers and business customers. They check prices at a keystroke and are increasingly selective about which brands share their lives. They form impressions from every encounter and post withering online reviews. These changes present significant organizational challenges, as well as opportunities. The biggest is that all of us have become marketers: the critical moments of interaction, or touch points, between companies and customers are increasingly spread across different parts of the organization, so customer engagement is now everyone's responsibility.
Executives certainly know what social media is. After all, if Facebook users constituted a country, it would be the world's third-largest, behind China and India. Executives can even claim to know what makes social media so potent: its ability to amplify word-of-mouth effects. Yet the vast majority of executives have no idea how to harness social media's power.
In 2009, Wikimedia, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia and a number of other online, collaborative projects, launched a special wiki - one dedicated to the organization's own strategy. Over the next two years, more than 1,000 volunteers generated some 900 proposals for the company's future direction and then categorized, rationalized, and formed task forces to elaborate on them. The result was a coherent strategic plan detailing a set of beliefs, priorities and related commitments that together engendered among participants a deep sense of dedication to Wikimedia's future.
The past 15 years have created a very different business environment, which has empowered consumers, commoditized many products and services, and dramatically compressed margins. Not surprisingly, these changes have forced businesses to operate differently. But exactly what kinds of companies have successfully transitioned to the digital age?
There are many reasons companies with more diverse executive teams should outperform their peers: fielding a team of top executives with varied cultural backgrounds and life experiences can broaden a company's strategic perspective, for example.
In 2010, China dominated European and U.S. markets for ready-made garments, accounting for about 40 percent of the import volume in each region. A recent McKinsey survey, however, found that 86 percent of the chief purchasing officers in leading apparel companies in Europe and the United States planned to decrease levels of sourcing in China over the next five years because of declining profit margins and capacity constraints.