Friday, August 12, 2016

UK construction in recession first time in four years; Italian growth stagnates; Being a thought leader

1 UK construction in recession first time in four years (Katie Allen in The Guardian) The UK’s construction industry has slipped back into recession for the first time in four years, according to official figures that show the sector was struggling even before the vote to leave the EU.

Experts say the drop in business and consumer confidence since the referendum will further dent construction activity in the months ahead. The Office for National Statistics said output dipped 0.7% in the second quarter of 2016, following a drop of 0.3% in the previous three months. It is the first time there have been two consecutive quarters of falling output – a technical recession – since 2012, when the eurozone debt crisis shook confidence across Europe.

Economists put the industry’s troubles down to government spending cuts and a blow to private sector investment plans from the referendum. A recent business survey by the data group Markit suggested pressure had intensified after the referendum. The PMI report signalled the sharpest contraction since mid-2009.

2 Italian growth stagnates (BBC) Italy's economy failed to grow between April and June as the country struggled with its creaking banking sector. GDP growth shrank to 0% in the second quarter compared to 0.3% in the first quarter.

Germany's economy also slowed in the second quarter, albeit less markedly than had been expected. Europe's largest economy expanded by 0.4%, down from 0.7% in the first quarter, but above forecasts of 0.2%.

Overall, a second estimate of GDP across the eurozone confirmed that growth halved to 0.3% from 0.6% in the first three months of the year. GDP also fell across the 28-nation European Union to 0.4% from 0.5% between the first and second quarters.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Renzi, is battling to reduce the bad debt in its banking sector, which is currently buried under €360bn worth of bad loans. Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy's third largest bank and the world's oldest lender, is saddled with €46.9bn of bad debt.

France recorded no growth between April and June after GDP rose by 0.7% in the first quarter, boosted by business from the Euro 2016 football tournament. In contrast, Greece reported a rare rise in GDP - which increased by 0.3% compared to a 0.1% fall in the first quarter. Holidaymakers are choosing the likes of Greece and Spain over politically volatile Turkey.

3 Being a thought leader (Karen Tiber Leland in San Francisco Chronicle) If your goal is to position yourself as a thought leader, then you need to engage in a branding process to legitimately position yourself at that level. The following is a bird’s-eye view of each level.

Phase One: Platform Development—Brand Design and Strategy. This is all about developing a solid platform on which you can build your brand and market your business. It requires defining, articulating, and declaring your brand and then translating that into places (online and off) where people can effectively engage with your business.

That probably doesn’t come as news to you; however, if you’re like many of my clients, your tendency is to move quickly past this first phase and jump headlong into the more exciting work of spreading the word. The problem is, I’ve seen far too many people haphazardly rush into building buzz for their brand (Phase Two), only to drive traffic back to a website and/or social media sites that don’t hit the mark.

Phase Two is about Brand and Buzz Building—Brand Expansion and Acceleration. With your platform solidly in place, you’re ready to take on some serious buzz building. There are hundreds of significant tactics you can use to build brand and buzz, but unless you’re a Fortune 500 company, you likely won’t have the time or money to pursue them all.

The trick is to sit down and carefully consider which tactics (based on your business, brand, personal preferences, time, money, and energy) you're going to include in your overall brand- and buzz-building strategy.

Phase Three is about Thought/Industry Leadership—Brand Authority. Making that leap generally requires the following three steps. A. Adding something new through academic research, clinical research, experimentation, field study, and sometimes just old-fashioned, deep, reflective thinking.

B. Being a trusted source of information. Being a requested speaker at industry conferences, a go-to source for media interviews, and a contributor to blogs, leading websites, and publications are all indications that you’re poised for thought/industry leadership. C. Consistently generating high-quality content. Thought/industry leaders create traditionally published books, ebooks, blogs, articles, podcasts, webinars, online products, and more.

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