Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Apple Inc. Corporate Social Responsibility

Everything from Apple’s manufacturing, transportation, product use, recycling, and facilities focus on reducing their environmental impact. Apple estimated that 97 percent of their carbon emissions comes from manufacturing, transportation, product use and the recycling of products. The remaining 3 percent comes from Apple facilities. In an effort to improve manufacturing, Apple has begun improving its products by developing smaller, thinner and lighter products. “As our products become more powerful, they’re using less material to produce and generating fewer carbon emissions.” (Apple Environment)

Apple Inc. Consumer Relations

Apple provides a variety of means for consumers to communication with the company on a particular question or concern. Apple customers have the opportunity to contact a representative regarding product or technical support through AppleCare’s Support site for quick and answer or feedback, Online Service Assiatnt for repair or service information or through a phone service. To make the phone service more accessible to customers, Apple has separate lines for each of their products. Among its other customer relations tactics, Apple has an Internet service available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. To get face-to-face support, Apple created the Genius Bar in every retail store for technical support or hardware repair.

Apple Inc. Investor Relations

Apple’s website they strategically present their investor relations. The “Stock Info” section provides the public with Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) daily stock numbers including, change, opening price, previous close price, day high and day low, and volume. The page also includes a chart to compare numbers to previous years. The “Earnings Releases” page provides the public with quarterly reports from the 2008 Fiscal Year to present. In their “Financial History” section, Apple provides links to the company’s 10-K filings as well as their quarterly income statements, balance sheet information and cash flow from operations information. Apple’s “Governance” highlights guidelines applicable to the Chief Executive Officer and other senior management. Its governance includes information pertaining to a business conduct policy and political contributions & expenditures. Apple’s most recent Quarter proved to be successful with an 83% revenue growth and 95% profit growth. During its most recent quarter iPhone sales saw a 113% increase. (Apple Reports Q2 2011 Results) The iPhone sales increase is representative of Apple’s termination of AT&T’s exclusivity to sell the smart phone device.

Investor relations with Nordstrom

Within the last fiscal year, Nordstrom is up 22.5 percent. The company has advanced it conglomerate revenue to $180 million this year as it introduced its falsh sales site, HauteLook. Nordstrom's same-store sales and top-line trends were also encouraging--total revenue grew 12 percent (MSNMoney).
During the quarter, Nordstrom's same-store sales jumped 7.8%, driven by the Designer, Jewelry and Men's Apparel categories. Full-line same-store sales growth was driven by strong performances in the Midwest and the South. Same-store sales at Nordstrom Rack increased by 1.2%. The company expects same-store sales to grow in the range of 2% to 4% in fiscal 2011.
Retail selling and expenses increased $78 million to $697 million in the quarter, primarily due to increased operating expenses as well as higher volume of sales and HauteLook operating expenses and purchase accounting charges. Credit selling shrunk 40.2% year over year to $55 million.  The company expects 2011 gross margin to range from down-to-up 10 basis points (MSNMoney). Nordstrom's operating income posted an increase of $53 million year over year to $272 million.
Given the recent success of the company over the recent fiscal year, especially within the last quarter, the Nordstrom website has created a more thorough “Investor FAQ” section of its website. The investor relations on the web entail the directions to contact the larger bodies of corporate governance for stocks (Mergent). Nordstrom has an accessible earnings release calendar so that share/stockholders can see and understand what is going on in the market. As a privately-owned company, Nordstrom has rights to their earnings, but makes sure it is transmittable to its investors.

Nordstrom: CSR efforts and then some

For a privately-owned company, Nordstrom maintains a strong presence in the realm of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by spearheading a CSR mission of Leave It Better Than We Found It. Though private companies often have the reputation of being more fiscally conservative,  Nordstrom has truly extended its CSR program to include many social causes that are pertinent in the global and corporate environment today. Nordstrom’s CSR efforts are two-fold: first, the company is consciously making an effort to contribute what they can to global issues such as environmental and social programs. Secondly, the company is making a strong effort to change its own utilization of natural resources.
It is imperative to understand the plight of Nordstrom and their efforts to improve themselves internally and externally. Most corporations are constantly waging social responsibility wars externally, but I think it is fascinating that Nordstrom is truly making a contribution to fighting environmental waste within its own company. In today’ corporate world, it seems that many companies act as if they are combating global issues; but when the company itself  is evaluated internally, it is often revealed that corporate business practices are not as honest as an audience would want them to be.
In terms of internal CSR efforts, Nordstrom is continually working to reduce excess waste and cost in order to appease its consumers. In the Nordstrom’s 2009 Progress Report, it is stated that organic recycling was increased—the nationwide recycling program allowed for 97 percent of total waste was recycled through fulfillment and distribution centers. The company is also working to guarantee greater energy efficiency and wants to gain a total 18 percent energy reduction by 2015. Nordstrom’s current improvements regarding internal transportation involve the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through carton delivery optimization and reduced air freight (Nordstrom). The company began to see success in 2008 when it improved its total fuel economy by 7.3 percent.
Another way that Nordstrom is advancing its internal CSR efforts is through its in-store restaurants. The retailer offers sustainable and organic choices to its consumers for meals, and is environmentally responsible with its usage of plates, cups and recycling after the guest completes his or her meal. In addition to being environmentally responsible, the company also makes efforts to ensure the protection of human rights across the globe.
Responsible manufacturing is within the Nordstrom Code of Conduct and all private-suppliers are to abide by these guidelines through the Social Responsibility audit process and Nordstrom partnership guidelines. Supplier training is meant to affirm suppliers’ true efficiency, worker retention, productivity and the treatment of manufacturers (Nordstrom).
Nordstrom is known to respond quickly and appropriately to world disaster and tragedy as well. Recently, the company donated over $150,000 to Japan relief efforts. In addition to these CSR efforts, Nordstrom also contributes much of its earnings and mission to those in the community.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

American Express Social Media

American Express uses many social media outlets to connect with members and fans. Since they have too many to mention, I'm only going to discuss a select few. AMEX has a blog called OPEN forum which is an online community designed to help grow members business'. Topics of discussion include: innovation, lifestyle, marketing, technology and money. The articles are useful tools for business leaders.

On March 18th, AMEX integrated a Facebook tab into their AMEX rewards interface and encouraged members to share their most memorable thing they've spent their points on. This, to me, was brilliant!!In my opinion, you have two types of shoppers; you have the practical consumer (one who shops based on needs) and an emotional consumer (one who goes on emotionally driven shopping trips). This afforded consumers the opportunity to share their experiences with other emotionally driven shoppers. It gave them a reason to discuss their connection with the purchased item and as a result purchase more with points so they can further discuss the topic.

Lastly, AMEX had a sweepstake for travelers. The card members had to write about their favorite trip moment, describe the trip, and share images. The winner received $10,000 towards their dream trip. As a result, they had 500 entries and 28,300 likes.

American Express Investor Relations

The total revenue for American Express in Quarter 1 of 2011 was $7 billion, which is up 7% from $6.6 billion last year. This increase reflects higher card member spending and significant investments in business building initiatives.
“Our stepped up investment spending has helped us capitalize on opportunities during the early stages of the economic recovery and strengthen relationships with consumer, small business and corporate customers. By moving aggressively, we have also been able to expand our leadership role in online commerce, introduce the next generation of digital payments and deepen our relationships with merchants internationally” quoted from AMEX April 20th press release.