All posts by 336085

Looking for a mentor?


With your graduation in mind a lot of questions about a potential future job arise. How to find the best job and how do you know what’s the best job for you? What qualities are businesses looking for and how can you best present yourself? It would be ideal to have someone assist you that already went through this process. A person to ask all your questions to in person instead of reading blogs on the Internet, hoping you will find the right answers. But how do you find that person?

There is nowadays a company that can help you find such a mentor, who will guide you through this exiting journey of getting your first job. Dwillo provides online mentor communities, which exist out of students and young professionals. Dwillo facilitates the relations between these groups and tries to help between finding the perfect match. A mentor (which could be a young professional in my case) can help mentees (which would then be me) in making difficult choices related to career and personal development. Exactly the person I am looking for!

Dwillo, (co-) founded by a RSM alumnus in 2012, is an online platform that allows students, professionals and entrepreneurs to connect in a mentor relation. By providing online mentor communities for universities, associations and enterprises they make it possible for people to connect. Dwillo provides a platform, which creates value through co-creation of mentors and mentees. Dwillo won several competitions such as the RSM I WILL Award and the Philips Innovation Award.

Some will be skeptical about the platform, as they might say you could easily ask someone that is close by (relatives, friends, classmates), but Dwillo markets itself with the fact that it saves time, engages users and their platform has a low organizational risk. Who actually uses Dwillo and whom can I find on the platform? As a student from Rotterdam School of Management, I can contact (experienced) alumni to find a mentor. But it also works the other way around, because as an experienced student (I think I can call myself that after living and studying almost 6 years in Rotterdam now), I can choose to also be a mentor for young students and future students to help them in return. The intrinsic satisfaction of helping young students, a rewarding volunteering experience and enhancing leadership and coaching skills are benefits that arise from mentoring (other) students.

dwillo

Dwillo will only continue to exist if enough students are looking for a mentor and enough young professionals want to mentor students. Value is therefore created if the online platform is used and, according to Grönroos and Voima (2013), the customer’s well being increases through the process. The students and young professionals co-create value for each other, and Dwillo assists them in this process.

Unfortunately I am too late to register for the spring edition, but I will definitely register myself when the registration procedure is open again! Be it a mentor or a mentee, I definitely want to contribute to this beautiful volunteering experience provided by Dwillo.

Grönroos, C., & Voima, P. (2013). Critical service logic: making sense of value creation and co-creation. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 41(2), 133-150

http://hi.dwillo.com/start-a-mentoring-program-for-your-organisation-short/?utm_expid=96377915-1.K3BiFYw4QeKO43sT7IQ0ig.3

https://www.dwillo.com/rsm

Bringing us together or driving us apart


Nowadays it is common for companies to ask your customers for advice via their online platform, and I am curious if this is the best way to engage your customers. Currently I work at a marketing and communications department, which is at the moment very active and involved in social media. One of my main activities is to manage the social media of our brand, and the last couple of months the focus lies on creating content on the different social media websites to inspire the audience. The question that popped into my mind is if it would not be a better idea to focus on engaging the audience and thus make it a two-way direction communication platform? To summarize our company is still doing it the old way, inviting customers for focus-group meetings in order to collect suggestions and ideas. Isn’t it a much easier and more efficient way to ask for input from customers via your Facebook and Twitter account?

Liu et al (2011) investigated the effect of soliciting consumer input on customers’ tendency to transact with an organization. To better serve the needs of their customers, nowadays more and more businesses are welcoming comments and suggestions from their customers and are trying to build a relationship with them. In the paper the authors take a closer look at relationships and the closeness degree.

Clark et al. (1993) theoretically distinguish exchange and communal relationship. Examples of the latter are friendships, which can be defined as a type of relationship in which one feels a special sense of responsibility for the other’s welfare as if it were it’s own. Exchange relationships can be defined as the interaction in which benefits are exchanged with the expectations of receiving something in return. An example of an exchange relationship is the relationship between a store owner and a customer. Liu et al. (2011) assume in reality relationships are a mix of both.

Besides the concepts of exchange and communal relationships, closeness is a closely related to customer relationship and often implicitly refers to the communal aspect of a relationship and the degree of bonding. The closer the relationship, the bigger the chance the consumer will embrace the business (Liu et al., 2011).

The findings of Liu et al. (2011) led to the conclusion that asking consumers for advice improves the relationship with the accompanied business and tendency to transact. Another conclusion is a decrease in perceived relationship distance between consumers and businesses is an effect of spending time or thinking of spending time with a brand. This in turn leads to changes in one’s engagement with the business.

Concluding, it is a much easier method to ask for input from customers via online platforms and to engage with them, but do watch out for achieving exactly the opposite. As Liu et al. (2011) conclude, soliciting advice tends to have an intimacy effect whereby the customers will feel closer to your business. Soliciting expectations from customers tends to have a contrary effect, as it will drive your customers away from your business. So be careful with what you ask from your customers.

Clark, M.S. & Mills, J. (1993), “The Difference between Communal and Ex- change Relationships: What It Is and Is Not,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19 (6), 684–91.

Liu, W. & Gal, D. (2011), “Bringing Us Together or Driving Us Apart: The Effect of Soliciting Consumer Input on Consumers’ Propensity to Transact with an Organization”, Journal of Consumer Research, 38(2), 242-259

Getting paid while doing nothing at all!


Throughout the world people join forces to build the kind of economy that we want to see. We share our homes, our cars, our knowledge, our time and our money. SnappCar is a Dutch platform offering a mediation service for those who want to rent their car to others and for those who want to rent a car. With this service SnappCar creates more consumer value, but it also asks for active consumer participation. Ronald Kleverlaan of CrowdfundingHub indicated SnappCar as the number one amongst all crowd-funding projects last year. The crowd-funding yielded more than half a million Euros through crowd-funding!

According to SnappCar, every day 23 million cars are not driving for 23 hours a day in Europe. This is waste of products, space and money, especially because a lot of people cannot afford to have a car themselves. SnappCar’s mission for 2018 is to have 1% less cars in Europe, which will lead to a reduction in CO2-emision as a result of the production of cars. SnappCar thinks they can make this impact by letting car owners earn money by renting their car to others for shorter periods of time.

They idea is very simple, you have something that costs a lot of money and you only use it for a small amount of time, so why not rent this product to others, to earn some money back? Besides the money you earn, you also help others by providing them your car for a lower price then the traditional car rental agency. As stated on Snappcar’s website “You will live a more conscious life and you meet friendly people in your neighborhood.” SnappCar provides all-risk insurance, 24/7 road assistance, contracts, payments and a trustworthy community, as to ensure that participants do not have to worry paperwork and other negative side effects.

SnappCar is a user-friendly platform as it provides all the information you need when renting a car. As you can see below on the images, it has information about the car owner, the average rating, the price per day, some images of the car itself and the specifications of the car. It is also possible to read some reviews or post a review yourself after borrowing a car. These reviews and ratings help other users make their decision to rent a car more easily. In the United States, SnappCar just received as one of the first Dutch companies a B Corporation certification. B Lab awards this label to companies that achieve solving social and environmental goals.

Snip20150403_4Snip20150321_6

A major negative effect of the car sharing platforms is that traditional companies such as car manufacturers, car dealers, but most of all car rental agencies will face a potentially huge decline in sales. This counts for other sharing platforms such as Airbnb as well, but in the end the big winners of the sharing economy are the consumer as they can easily get cheaper products and services. But in order to achieve this result renting the products should be as easy as owning the product!

http://www.nu.nl/weekend/3905769/de-deeleconomie-wordt-deelmaatschappij.html

https://www.snappcar.nl/snappcar-in-het-nieuws

http://www.telegraaf.nl/dft/ondernemen/socialezaken/23819780/__SnappCar_goed_op_weg__.html

http://feb.kuleuven.be/eng/ew/Articles%20press/2013/JK_DeStandaard_250513.pdf