TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy

The essence of strategy formulation is coping with competition. Yet it is easy to view competition too narrowly and too pessimistically. While one sometimes hears executives complaining to the contrary, intense competition in an industry is neither coincidence nor bad luck.

Moreover, in the fight for market share, competition is not manifested only in the other players. Rather, competition in an industry is rooted in its underlying economics, and competitive forces exist that go well beyond the established combatants in a particular industry. Customers, suppliers, potential entrants, and substitute products are all competitors that may be more or less prominent or active depending on the industry.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Product placement is a $23 billion business and growing. Here's why brands keep betting on it

Product placement is ubiquitous, but there are some tactics that work far better than others.

In "The Variant," an episode from the Disney+ hit streaming show Loki, it's tough to miss the barrage of product placements, with fast-paced action and dialogue taking place in front of Charmin toilet paper, Dove soap, and Arm & Hammer deodorant. At one point, Loki barrels down an aisle with vacuum cleaners and fights off an opponent with a corded vacuum while iRobot vacuums are prominently featured on the shelf.

As someone who studies such advertising techniques as product placements, I'm starting to notice them crop up more and more.

With viewers migrating to streaming services and web videos, this trend makes sense. (Who actually watches the full ads that appear at the beginning of a YouTube video?) But not all product placements work as intended, and my research has shown that advertisers need to engage in a delicate dance with viewers to effectively influence them.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Stop Screening Job Candidates' Social Media

Social media sites such as Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram have given many organizations a new hiring tool. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers check out applicants' profiles as part of their screening process, and 54% have rejected applicants because of what they found. Social media sites offer a free, easily accessed portrait of what a candidate is really like, yielding a clearer idea of whether that person will succeed on the job - or so the theory goes.

However, new research suggests that hiring officials who take this approach should use caution: Much of what they dig up is information they are ethically discouraged or legally prohibited from taking into account when evaluating candidates - and little of it is predictive of performance.

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