When you trash your cell phone, the environment cries a little tear. Luckily, as phones become more technologically advanced, their manufacturers are becoming more environmentally-conscious.
People don’t generally use the same cell phone for more than two years. So when one reaches the end of the line, what’s left? An ounce or two of hazardous waste, maybe. But is it one ounce or two? And how hazardous exactly?
It all depends on the model.
HealthyStuff.com and iFixit.com opened up models from the leading manufacturers – for example, Apple,LG, Motorola, Research in Motion, and Samsung – to check for toxics that could be released into the environment if their phones are not properly disposed of.
If the phones wind up in an incinerator or landfill, for example, substances like bromine, chlorine, lead, mercury, and cadmium could end up polluting the air, soil, and groundwater.
Motorola in front
The Motorola Citrus scored best in the test, followed by the LG Remarq and the iPhone 4S. Samsung ranked fourth with the Captivate.
The first iPhone was the most toxic of all models examined, but every new series after that has shown an improvement – not only in technology, but also in the environmental impact. The iPhone 4S ranked second overall. Although the iPhone 5 demonstrated a slight slip backwards (it came in at number five in the overall standings), it is certainly no crying matter.
A good number of years ago, when companies were trying their best to cope with the impositions of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), I frequently heard the complaint that the bulk of compliance and risk management workload lay on the shoulders of a few central people, such as compliance officers, internal audit staff, risk managers, and internal control managers.
As companies drowned under spread sheets and looked to specialized software for help, central teams were hopeful that this would push more of the risk and compliance effort down to field operations. In a nutshell, they wanted to decentralize governance, risk, and compliance (GRC).
They expected other benefits from the technology, too, such as:
Increased accountability across the enterprise
Improved compliance in operation
Better risk tracking
Business performance improvement
But today, almost 10 years later, too little of this has actually happened.
It’s not difficult to ascertain why – especially if you look at it from the perspective of users in the field who were asked to assist with compliance and risk efforts.
Despite the promise of early GRC technologies to improve processes, users quickly realized that the tools added extra work and little reward. Risk and compliance programs were often described as a black-box. Information provided via labour-intensive data entry in multiple forms and surveys didn’t give users any visibility into their compliance and progress towards managing risk.
Further compounding the problem, the information field users were asked to provide was often redundant due to the duplication of controls imposed by risk and compliance programs managed in silos. However, today there are ways to reduce the pain using technology to centralize and streamline GRC information, giving users a holistic view of risks and controls across different GRC programs, such as SOX, FDA GxP compliance, data privacy, and enterprise risk management initiatives in a life sciences company.
While centralizing GRC information for greater efficiency, the latest technology also helps decentralize risk and control activities with:
Easy-to-use forms for data entry (online or offline)
Automated GRC processes and guided procedures that leverage best-practice workflows
Easily accessible reports and dashboards that convey the relevant and actionable information users need for managing risk and compliance at their level
The above are just a few examples. And when you add the possibilities that mobile tools offer – putting critical information at users’ fingertips – it’s easy to see a much more user-friendly GRC experience, one that’s participative rather than concentrated in the hands of a few experts back at headquarters.
Managing the HR function is a bit like driving a car. Things are fast paced. Potential dangers lurk around every corner. Yet somehow we’re able to safely navigate.
That is until we’re caught off-guard. It’s the car in our blind spot that causes the accident. So what’s the parallel to HR? It’s the question we didn’t ask that comes back to haunt us. Think about it. By the time we launch a query, we already suspect something. All we’re doing is looking for data to validate and quantify what we already suspect.
So how do we find out the question we should have asked but didn’t? Key performance indicators are a step in the right direction.
Many HR departments develop dashboards that report against historically relevant data such as absenteeism, churn and employee satisfaction.
These vital signs may not, however, flag the issue currently lurking in our blind spot.
To address this issue, SuccessFactors has developed a new analytics service called Headlines. The solution mines HR data identifying potentially significant trends. Co-innovation customers such as Procter & Gamble and Coca Cola helped us hone the logic. In the words of David Crumley, VP Global HRIS and Continuous Improvement at Coke:
“I love this! Big step forward! It addresses the big problems with using workforce information. We have all of this cool data, but what does it mean, what is it telling me? Managers have stats, but this now provides them with the ‘so what’. You don’t need to be an HR guru or analyst – actionable insights about the workforce are served up, simple and easy.”
Headlines leverages SuccessFactors’ years of workforce analytics best practices. Features include:
Comprehensive Metrics: Comprehensive workforce metrics library and industry benchmark data.
Personalized: Custom configuration to personalize the metrics delivered to managers.
Predictive: Analytics that help predict future workforce hot spots and risks.
Built-in Strategy Bank: A powerful platform provides one click access from a headline to review additional insight and recommendations.
Choice of Access: Availability on any device (Web, mobile, iPad, etc.) and through collaboration tools such as e-mail and Jam.
Keeping the business on track is hard enough when obstacles are in our sights. Against the unknown, we’re virtually defenseless. It can derail us in an instant. Thanks to Headlines, we can all sleep better knowing that our blind spots have been reduced.
Use it to your advantage. What do we mean? Well, think about it. We are walking [or sitting] data generators, whether we like it or not.
On a daily basis, most of us sit at a computer during some part of our day and generate data by going online. We visit websites, make purchases, and click on things of interest. Then, we walk away from our computers (but not without grabbing our smartphones) and we continue generating data while checking our Facebook newsfeed, looking at photos, and searching for the nearest restaurant.
Then later, we may pick up our tablets and surf the web or watch streaming video, and by the time the day is over, we’ve generated lots and lots of data, which is collected, analyzed, and then implemented in marketing and other outreach strategies.
Oh and if you aren’t online, then you probably aren’t reading this article, but you still generate big data when you shop at stores, make purchases using a loyalty card, or swipe your credit card to purchase any and everything. Face it, we generate data with almost every move we make and we are giving someone permission to use it.
But there is also other data we are generating. This data about ourselves, generated by our choices and how we spend our day, can be incredibly important and influential, if tracked and used.
Through the Quantified Self movement, some are choosing to collect personal data to create a data-driven image of who they are based on habits and actions. They are actively collecting the data (by entering it in an app/one a website, or through attached sensors) and using the numbers to paint a picture and create a better understanding of themselves.
Here are three ways to collect your own data and use it to your advantage:
1. Track your food/nutrition intake (not just to lose or maintain weight). Our perception of what we eat and how much we move our bodies is not always reality. By using an application or website to track the calories in and calories out, we have a more accurate way to monitoring and painting a picture of reality to help us understand how to achieve our nutritional goals. For instance, if you are looking to lower your cholesterol intake and enter everything you eat into the Lose It! app, you will be able to generate reports on a daily and weekly basis to see where you are and make tweaks to your diet to bring your cholesterol back to a healthy level.
2. Use a Time Tracker or To-Do List. On the daily, you probably hear someone say, “Oh I wish I had more hours in the day.” In reality, they are saying, “I wish I managed my time more efficiently so I can do everything I want to do in a day.” By tracking your time, you can easily see where and how you are spending your time, then make adjustments based on your work/life priorities and goals. Although time tracking may seem tedious, you can easily use a to-do list application (try Wunderlist, which syncs across devices using the cloud technology) instead and categorize each to-do. At the end of the week, you will have a visualization of time spent, and identify where you can make adjustments.
3. Build a History. Whether you decide to use a tracking system to coordinate your care maintenance, your personal health history, or your spending, tracking your habits and how often you do “something” can be a huge benefit when making smarter decisions. Case in point, if you are looking to adjust your budget, you might want to check your payment history on all your bills to find out when you are making payments and the cost. Dig a little deeper into the data, and you might even be able to figure out where cuts can be made and save a few dollars. Without a complete picture and accurate history, you would not be able to make strategic data-driven decisions and changes.
By tracking data related to your actions and choices, you can create a quantified self image that can lead to more efficient and beneficial decision-making. So, take your personal big data…and use it!
Before I get to the point of my article, if you want to argue the point that TV advertising is dead and TV in general is dead and we’ll all be walking around on moving sidewalks like the Jetsons in the next 5-10 years, fine. Just leave your thoughts in the comment section and I will respond in kind with a reply which essentially says “you’re out of your mind.”
Ok, now that we have that out of the way.
A few years ago I posed the following query: What makes a TV commercial memorable? And follow up question, is it the product you remember or just the commercial itself?
I was very curious to see what people thought when they saw a given TV commercial. Did they remember the spot itself? Did they remember the brand? Both? Kind of goes without saying that if you’re a brand manager or brand marketer or advertiser, etc. if given the choice you would rather people remember your brand or product, right?
I received quite a number of replies to my query and I want to share some of them with you and I also want to see, based on your comments, if you think anything has changed in the years since I first asked the question.
Humor was definitely the most-oft used word to describe what makes a commercial memorable.
Other words that came up a lot were “tagline” and “jingle”
Many mentioned the use of an iconic-type character as being an integral part of making a commercial stand out from the pack.
Another person took it a step further and delved deeper into the heart of the advertising matter (BTW, this is a great, GREAT point): ”Advertising, especially TV commercials can get customers in the door only one time. After that, it’s up the seller to build trust and loyalty.”
The last comment ties in perfectly by the way with someone I wrote last year entitled “Social Media’s Dirty Little Secret” which essentially said the same thing only in the context of social media. Doesn’t matter how good you are at social media and/or advertising and marketing. What gets people coming back and becoming loyal customers is a) a quality product, service or ware and b) sold at a good price.
Here’s some of the answers I received in their entirety:
“Heart and or Humor. One that tickles the funny bone, makes you laugh out loud and call a person in the other room … “Hey, you’ve gotta come see this commercial …” On the flip side, one that pulls at the heart strings, or even at times rips the heart right out of your chest with power, energy or fear, causing you to pause and think. Makes you say “wow!” They only come along so often. Product is not always the most memorable part – think of how many times you’ve said, “I saw this great commercial, don’t remember exactly what it was for, but …” I seem to remember product on the powerful serious spots – less so on the funny commercials where sometimes the punchline over powers product.”
“It is best done with an icon, a grabbing tag line, a memorable jingle, and humor, with the icon and the brand tied together…Examples: “Energizer Bunny” or “Tony the Tiger” for Kellogg cereal. To stand out and become memorable, it must be unconventional. The conventional is boring, and immediately forgotten, because it never engages the consumer.”
“If you don’t remember the product or service, the ad is a failure. The ad should address a need, demonstrate how the product or service meets the need, and do it in a compelling, memorable way, with a device known as a hook. 25 years after it ran, people still remember Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” ad. It is a great example of saying, “Wendy’s burgers are so big, they stick out from the bun. The other guys’ burgers are so small, you have to look for the patty!” Beautiful. Dang. Now I’m hungry for a Wendy’s burger.”
“Generally for me, a TV spot has to score high in 2 areas to be memorable: sheer entertainment value and disruption/thought-provoking ability. That second category covers those few ingenious spots every year that go completely against the settled order of things to really achieve something different. As for whether I remember the product or just the commercial itself, that varies. But I bet you a dollar to a donut that those of us in the biz latch on to the sponsor probably five times more often than the average viewing Joe or Jane — so if we’re inconsistent in our recall, imagine how they do on that score.”
“Commercials that portray people getting hurt are most memorable, i.e. falling off the ladder, walking into the glass door, the football player hitting office workers. Interestingly, I can’t say for certain which products they were pitching.”
Getting hurt, falling you say? You mean like this one that’s currently running for Sears?
By the way I love this spot for Sears. I love how it starts off one way then very quickly and quite humorously takes you in another direction. And no, it did not cause me to go buy an appliance from Sears but I did remember that it was for Sears in the first place.
“It’s just the commercial people remember. Many people (myself included) sometimes refer to the bunny as the Eveready Bunny. Don’ think that’s what the Energizer people want.”
“Stupid commercials are the most memorable, followed by funny ones. I tend to remember a commercial first then the product.”
“I produced commercials for ESPN for a few years. My experience as a producer and as a consumer tells me it’s the commercial.”
“A human truth engagingly presented. Most TV commercials are not effective: because either:
a.The writer would rather be in Hollywood or
b.The client thinks the world is fascinated by his brand.
Effective TV advertising is all about the consumer and filling her needs: emotional, rational or both.”
I think this last comment has a lot of merit. I absolutely think that a lot of copywriters – and creative directors and other various agency personnel as well as those on the client side have visions of Hollywood dancing in their heads when they conceive and create and produce many TV spots. In other words they are trying to inflate their own ego rather than focusing on what’s really important – selling!
I also believe this last comment has merit from the perspective many clients/brands/advertisers have a distorted view of what the real world thinks of their product.
The reason I bring this up is I thought the new Best Buy tagline was horrible for the simple reason they didn’t need to be so literal. The have an established level of brand equity which earns them the right to be creative, fun, offbeat, wacky even in their tagline.
And I think the same holds true for advertising and in this case, TV advertising.
If a brand is well established – and those brands know who they are, that should afford them to be creative, fun, offbeat, wacky even in their TV spots. I’m not saying that if a brand has established equity they can do whatever they want. No, far from it. Brand equity is sacred and is earned for sure. There is a level of trust that is inherent in brand equity.But a brand can still let it’s collective hair down now and then, right?
The Sears commercial is a great example.
Do you really think someone who was considering buying an appliance made their purchase decision to buy from Sears or not based on that commercial?
Do you really think if someone who watched it then thought ‘Well that commercial was terrible. I was going to buy a refrigerator at Sears, but not now.”
Conversely if your brand does not have the equity of a Sears that does not necessarily mean they need to play it close to the vest. Heck no. Have fun. Be funny. Use humor. If applicable.
Just remember to convey your message so that someone watching it remembers you and your brand first. If they remember the spot too, that’s a bonus.
One Final Thing
This is arguably my favorite commercial of all time. If not, it’s in the top 10. You should instantly recognize it and even after all these years I still remember it AND the product.