antiquity, Western philosophical thought has been based on the
twin verbs: to be and to have. For centuries the human spirit
has been explored in terms of the dilemma: should we try to
be or to have? Or to have do we also need to be? A famous Dane
wandered the Castle grounds in perplexed reverie: to be or not
to be, that is the question.
However, in a more fleshy realm, where thoughts are less likely
to enter, another verb holds sway: to do. It was quickly learnt
that in order to make progress – for the economy of the world
to function – people need to do things. In various languages,
this also includes the verbs to build or to produce, or similar
concepts. In our daily professional lives we are asked to do
things based on experience and knowledge – one of our basic
skills is knowing how to do things. The more we know, the better
we do…in general. Whether we learn to do through knowledge or
acquire knowledge through doing things is a question philosophers
still debate. Suffice it to say that we need both knowledge
and ability, an understanding of what to do and how to do it.
Many people have the notion that if they produce, all they need
to do is sit back and reap the rewards of their labours. Some
companies make things and sit back…
Sales will come along, they seem to think. And some actually
do get by like this for some time. Word of mouth is enough,
initially. In agricultural and early industrial society, local
markets were sufficient to keep many people in work and to create
sometimes even quite large companies.
Today this is no longer the case. A table needs more than two
legs: in addition to doing and knowing how to do it is also
to disseminate knowledge and skills; these are the three basic
activities of entrepreneurs today.
A good product which is not advertised or promoted remains in
the warehouse. Companies able to disseminate knowledge continue
to make their products; others, who fail to communicate with
the market, sooner or later, have to stop. Failure in communications
is fatal for any business – you might even say human - enterprise
today. Casanova used to say that his reputation with women was
based on his exploits, his prowess and, above all, his reputation.
You could say he understood the essence of marketing.
Returning to our daily lives, the sad fact is that very few
clean transport companies know how to get their message across.
They wait for a customer to buy an electrically powered vehicle
or to convert to LPG. They spend thousands of Euro on R &
D, but when you ask what steps they have taken to inform customers
they look at you as if you were speaking a foreign language.
«I have spent everything on production, I don’t have anything
left for advertising”, “we can’t sell and have no money to promote
sales”, “advertising is for big business”, “the government should
inform the general public, not us” and so on.
Fine - they can wait. Whilst others, who do know how to communicate,
get their message over. Diesel? Aren’t we already beginning
to think of it as clean energy?. Soon, dual purpose power kits
will be available at reasonable prices. Let’s wait…