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Mining sector must dig deep to find profitability

PwC’s mining report, SA Mine 2014, reveals that there is still value in South Africa’s mining industry despite significant decreases in profitability, declining market capitalisation and regulatory uncertainty.

Released on Tuesday, the report explains how the industry had not only been plagued by labour unrest locally but also faced challenges, like rising cost pressures and lower prices, which had a global impact.

Of the three main revenue generating commodities in South Africa, the report cites gold as the only commodity to have gained in real-rand price terms over the last ten years. But, even so, gold has dropped by nearly 50% since its ten-year high in 2011. Platinum, in comparison, has fallen to its lowest real price in the last decade, with a 68% decline on its highest price in 2008 and a 40% decrease since its 2011 highs. Coal has dropped 52% from its 2011 high.

While a weakened rand has somewhat shielded the mining industry from these declines over the past year, with rand prices remaining flat, it will not have a positive impact in the long term as it is inflationary.

Mining

It is under these conditions, along with increasing costs and regulatory issues (arising from the new mining charter and mining tax regime, which is currently under review, for instance), that South African mining companies have to dig deep to find ways to be profitable.

“When you’re facing double-digit increases in your electricity prices every year, and when labour costs – considering that our industry is still significantly labour intensive – continue to increase it creates a challenging environment,” said PwC energy and mining assurance partner Dion Shango at the report’s launch. “That’s why it is tough [for mining companies] to maintain or improve margins at the moment.”

The numbers
The report, which is based on the financial results of 37 companies (with a market captialisation of over R200 million that have a primary listing on the JSE), shows that while the declining trend in market capitalisation temporarily halted – increasing marginally from R597 billion to R675 billion as at June 30 2014) – market capitalisation fell by 19% in the next quarter to R545 billion as at September 30 2014.

Combined Income statement of Surveyed Companies

*Numbers does not reflect impact of the strike for Amplats and Lonmin. Comparatives includes their 2012 strike

Nevertheless, companies managed to maintain relatively strong balance sheets, with stable liquidity. Revenue increased by R36 billion last year, with the top 10 companies accounting for 81% (R29 billion) of the revenue increase. And operating expenses increased by 14%, which is lower than the 16% seen in the previous financial year. It is noteworthy, however, that the full impact of the five-month strike on the platinum belt, which ended in June, has not been included in the reported results analysed in the survey, except for that of Impala Platinum.

“Gearing for local companies is sitting at around 13% whereas for global companies it’s about 28%. Only five companies in our survey had a gearing ratio above 28%,” said Andries Rossouw, who is also a PwC energy and mining assurance partner.

However, net profit reduced by 80% from R27 billion to R6 billion, despite an EBITDA improvement of 9% last year. This was due to the substantial impairment charges, which were up 137.8% over the prior year at R49 billion.

Mining

“EBTDA margins should be in excess of 35% in order to cover capital expenditure for the future. The platinum sector is well below that and would have had to borrow to fund their capex,” said Rossouw, adding that most companies that had impairments were outside of South Africa.

It is no surprise then that many of the companies in the survey had to increase their gearing in order to fund sustaining capital expenditure and, in some instances, operating losses. This was evidenced by a net borrowing outflow of R23 billion after an inflow in the prior year of R29 billion.

On the bright side, the report showed that safety remains a key priority for mining companies with a substantial decrease in fatalities and lost time injuries over the last ten years.

The report also showed that mining is still a valuable sector to the country and its people, showing an 11% increase in value created for all its stakeholders from R129 billion to R14 billion. It should be noted, however, that only a third of the companies surveyed – accounting for 77% of the total revenue of all companies analysed – provided readily available value added statements.

Most notable of these is that distributions to shareholders decreased by 7 percentage points from R29 billion to R19 billion, further pointing towards limited scope for short-term returns to investors as companies reinvest funds in the form of acquisitions and capital acquisitions. Investors looking for short-terms returns will therefore shy away from the mining sector and therein lies the problem faced by company boards that need to make decisions regarding the best strategy for remaining profitability in the trying times.

Mining

“There are differing views out there as to whether this low commodity price environment is the perfect time to invest, or whether management and boards out there should be holding back somewhat to (wait for a couple more years) to so see whether there is going to be further losses or high costs to be incurred by mining companies,” said PwC’s Shango.

Other key findings from the report

  • The low platinum basket price is unsustainable with South Africa accounting for more than 70% of global supply. At current price levels, a number of operations are marginal
  • Coal retains its positions as the leading South African commodity, representing 29% of mining revenue for the year, compared to 28% in the prior year. Gold decreased from 20% to 14% despite stable production.
  • The high percentage of value received by employees is not sustainable and is expected to move back to a longer-term average of 30% through either a return to profitability or, if that is not possible, through a decrease in the number of employees.
  • The mining industry currently exceeds the minimum empowerment levels of board representation required by the mining charter, with 41% of board members being Historically Disadvantaged South Africans (HDSA) (down from 43% percent in the prior period), and 18% being females (up from 17% in the prior period). The mining charter requires a minimum of 40% HDSA and 10% female representation respectively, by December 2014.

Two Palestinians and an international activist arrested at Kufr Qaddum demonstration

Around 150 Palestinians, together with Israeli and international activists, participated in Kufr Qaddoum’s weekly demonstration against the closure of the road leading to Nablus.

After midday prayers, protesters marched from the center of the village up the main road, but they were soon blocked by Israeli border police who threw stun grenades at the crowd. Clashes ensued for half an hour, after which Israeli forces retreated. Soon after, border police agents suddenly reappeared at the scene and, whilst throwing stun grenades, arrested two Palestinians and one international activist. The Palestinians were beaten up causing nose bleeding, whilst the international activist was punch in his face twice. The three of them were blindfolded and taken to Ariel Police Station.

Two Palestinians and an international activist arrested at Kufr Qaddum demonstration

The demonstration ended at around 14:30h when protesters marched down back to the village.

Kufr Qaddum, a small town of 3,500 inhabitants, is situated in the northern West Bank, between Nablus and Qalqiliya. Kufr Qaddum’s total land area used to consist of nearly 19,000 dunams, of which 11,000 are now under total Israeli control. Village’s lands have been repeatedly confiscated to build and expand the settlement of Qedumim. Furthermore, the village has been effectively besieged since the beginning of the Second Intifada, when the main and only entrance to the village was blocked by the army. The main road has been, since then, closed, forcing residents to travel around an extra 15 km to get to Nablus.

Two Palestinians and an international activist arrested at Kufr Qaddum demonstration

Since 2011, residents of Kufr Qaddum have been resisting the land grab and the road closure by holding weekly demonstrations. The Israeli army often violently suppresses the protests shooting tear gas canisters and stun grenades.

How Do Condo Ownership Timeshares Work?

Timeshares are properties that have one owner and then many other investors/owners. The general owner is responsible for repairing damages and handling minor concerns as well as the upkeep of the property, such as moving the lawn. The individual owners receive a portion of time at the property each year for their payments.

How Do Condo Ownership Timeshares Work?

Purchasing

An individual who purchases a timeshare isn’t buying the property itself, but rather a share of the property. Owners are guaranteed a portion of time at the property every year based on their investments.

Duration

The typical duration of a timeshare is one week out of the year. The owner has the option of choosing the week he wants to spend there when he first purchases, though first choice goes to the first buyer.

Owners

There are usually 51 buyers in a timeshare property. The company that owns the property uses one week of the year in which to do maintenance and repairs. The other weeks of the year are used by the owners/investors.

How Do Condo Ownership Timeshares Work?

Types

Timeshares come in all different shapes and sizes, including yachts, condos and houses.

Geography

There is no set geography associated with timeshares, though they’re more popular in the United States, particularly California, Colorado, Tennessee and Florida.

Considerations

Timeshare owners/investors are responsible for the general upkeep of the property since others come in the following week. The original contract usually contains a clause mentioning this fact.

Valentine’s Data Crunching – Being Strategic In Love And Marketing

What can marketers learn from a data-crunching SEO-optimized online dater? A Lot.

Valentine’s MarketingWith Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is in the air. And on the web. Online dating has replaced cruising the bar for other singles, especially during the website dating ‘high season’ between Christmas Day and Valentine’s Day. For those of us who’ve dabbled in Internet dating, the anxiety of choosing the right photos and words is an all too familiar feeling in the quest to attract “the one” (or just someone. Anyone.) But Amy Webb, CEO of Webb-Media Group, threw her human instincts by the wayside to master dating sites through a data-driven approach of mathematical equations, key words and an SEO-friendly profile. She logged her story in her new book, Data, A Love Story.

Webb joined JDate and was disappointed with her initial matches. On sites like JDate, the users themselves provide data. When ineffective data is entered into the site’s “matching” algorithm, ineffective matching is put out. Ergo – online dating is the pits, spitting back incompatible mates. Webb wasn’t satisfied with the system, and instead spent a month researching data points, crunching numbers and analyzing the competition, ultimately finding a formula for the most successfully matched user profiles on the web.

Here’s what she found:

The most successful women on the site had profile pictures that showed some skin, wrote short, positive bios and waited about a day to respond to messages from admirers.

“When you think about it, online dating is sort of the ultimate exercise in product marketing. Except that you are the product. So how can you leverage what you’ve got, how can you make sure you’re being seen by the most number of people?” Webb explains. “If you think of (it) as more of a catalog database … as long as you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s no different from doing a search in a library or doing a search for shoes on Zappos.”

Valentine’s Marketing

As a frustrated online dater I can’t help but be a bit exasperated with her findings. Weren’t we taught that the right person would like us for who we are? But as a brand strategist, I should have figured this out sooner. We are in an age that requires us to brand ourselves all the time, so why should it be any different in dating?

Before I landed a great job, I spent hours tweaking my resume. From format and font to titles and time frames, it never seemed quite right. But when I joined OKCupid, I only dedicated about 15 minutes to filling out my profile. In my (obviously) romanticized version of online dating, it would be easy to charm my potential suitors with my best photos and sparkling wit. But Webb’s story brings up a valid point – when positioning yourself for love, forget about branding for your own satisfaction. Like you would with any great product, use your data, strategize, and brand for the consumer.

Google Unveils Its First Google Wallet Customer

I doubt very much Frank and Estelle will follow in their paranoid, self-absorbed, cheap-wedding-invitation-buying son’s footsteps but it looks like he is the perfect poster-child for the Google Wallet, don’t you agree?

I wonder if the Soup Nazi will accept payments via the Google Wallet? George may want to look into that but be that as it may the Google Wallet looks pretty damn cool, if I may be so technical.

Google Unveils Its First Google Wallet Customer

Seriously though, this is just another example of the massively exploding field of Mobile Marketing and Mobile Advertising and just Mobile in general. Way back in June, before anyone care about Chaz Bono and his dancing prowess, I told you of The Rapid Rise Of Mobile Advertising And mCommerce. “The number of advertisers using mobile advertising has doubled in just two years and accordingly mCommerce is growing right along with it. Marketers need to grow along with it.”

Then in July I gave you Another Reason Why Marketers Need To Be Mobile. “… money transfers and NFC (Near Field Communications) transactions will hit $670 billion by 2015 – nearly three times as much as will be seen this year, $240 billion.”

Google Unveils Its First Google Wallet CustomerGoogle Wallet is an app that will utilize NFC technology to make your phone your wallet… literally. It stores virtual versions of your existing plastic cards on your phone, along with your coupons, and eventually, loyalty and gift cards. Right now the app is will be only compatible with the Nexus S 4G by Google, available on Sprint®. But you know if this takes off, you can expect a wider range of options.

And as for what kinds of partnering companies Google and Google Wallet is working with, they include issuing banks, mobile operators and merchants, among others. Retailers take note because under Google Wallet’s “open commerce ecosystem,” Google Wallet will establish APIs to enable transfer of offers, loyalty programs, receipts, and more at the point of sale.

Now Google Wallet has its supporters, including The Atlantic Wire who recently posted an article Why Mobile Payments Are More Than a Credit Card on Your Phone. In their article they tell of the potential advantages of Google Wallet, citing it’s faster, makes one more fiscally responsible and is actually educational because “mobile payment apps can educate you as you shop.”

And Google Wallet has its detractors as well… Why Google Wallet is an Epic Fail Waiting to Happen. In her article for nfcdata.com, the author says Google Wallet will be the next Google Wave, AKA a massive failure.

Google Unveils Its First Google Wallet Customer

As for me… it’s too early. It’s way too early. I know there will be a group of people who, for a myriad of reasons, the least of which being security, will be reticent to use their mobile phone as a credit card. I can surely appreciate the concern over security.

I also know it will be interesting to see how this all plays out and how, if Google Wallet is successful, who will be the next to jump on the proverbial bandwagon.

Oh yeah, I also know one other thing… and that is that even though George Costanza (Jason Alexander) is not technically in the Google Wallet commercial – meaning they used existing footage rather than shoot a whole new spot, it is markedly better than another Seinfeld cast member commercial done involving a major company…

Palm Island Information

There are several palm islands in the world, but only one sits just off the coast of Cape Haze, Florida. A hundred feet separate the Florida mainland from Palm Island. Yet, Palm Island remains mostly undisturbed by high-rise buildings and major roads.

Palm Island Information

Ferry

The Palm Island ferry is the main form of transport to Palm Island, despite the short distance to the mainland.

Beach

The beach is clean and pristine with an abundance of intact seashells and sea birds. Wildlife enthusiasts may see sea turtles, terns, herons, gulls and pelicans. Occasionally, a dolphin or manatee comes close enough to view.

Island Transportation

The ferry transports cars to the island. However, the most visitors use a bike or golf cart.

Palm Island Information

Hotels

The main resort, Palm Island Resort (see Resources), features one, two or three bedroom villas with views of the bay or Gulf. Privately owned residences are available for rent on Palm Island Resort property as well as outside the resort.

Restaurant

There is only one restaurant on the island and it’s located within Palm Island Resort. The restaurant, Rum Bay Bar, serves wines, mixed drinks and good food like baby back ribs overlooking the beach.

What 2012 Holds For The Digital Marketing Industry – A Sneak Preview

Our CEO Linda Rosanio takes on the role of soothsayer once again this year for the Philly Ad Club. Her annual “Outlook” article for the Ad Club News predicts the trends that will chart the course of the digital marketing industry for the year ahead.

The reason she keeps getting asked to share her prognostications is for the simple reason she is more often than not right on the money with her predictions.

digital marketing industry

And while you’re going to have wait just a little while longer to see the full array of her fearless forecasts for 2012 – they’ll appear in both the print and online versions of the January edition of the Philly Ad Club magazine, we figured we’d share a little sneak preview with you.

Prediction: The Web is Dying a Slow Death

But the Internet is going strong. Today’s marketers need to lead the charge in new technology, engagement strategies and optimization of campaigns based on data. It’s “Synegrated.” That’s how we describe it. In any typical day, we are engaging without the web. Apps, apps and more apps—Facebook, Twitter Skype, IM, Pandora and streaming Netflix videos. Consumers aren’t rejecting the web—they are choosing to use dedicated platforms because they just work better.

digital marketing industry

Prediction: The iPad will be the Most Important Device since the IBM PC

Why? First it makes the computer experience transparent to the user. When we use the iPad, we don’t feel like we are using a computer. Second, the iPad will firmly plant us in the ear of touch computing. For decades, computer scientists have known that touch is a far more natural way to interact with computers. And finally, most of the time we are on computers, we’re consuming information, not creating it. The iPad is optimized for consumption, accommodating 70 percent of what we actually do on computer—from the comfort zones of our couches, our beach loungers, wherever!

digital marketing industry

Prediction: Television as We Know It is Over

There will still be a screen in our living rooms, bedrooms and throughout our homes. But we will be able to track usage since the device will also be a computer or have Internet connection. With almost 70% of video consumed on-Internet connected devices, revenue models for television advertising will change. Once televisions are computers, analytics of who watches will get more accurate than Nielsen panels. With actual measurement, ad rates will adjust because the numbers aren’t as rosy as Nielsen makes them look. Newspapers felt it first and television will experience a similar shift in revenue models.

Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring Cleaning TipsI love Spring.

The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The flowers and trees are waking up.The air is fresh and smells wonderful.

Spring is a rejuvenation of everything around me.

I can’t wait for Spring so I can open up my windows and let the fresh air come in.

Spring makes everything better even the house cleaning. House cleaning is not my favorite activity. It is a chore, but Spring cleaning is something I love to do.

Spring cleaning is a rejuvenation for my home. It makes my house smell fresh and new. It puts end to “cabin fever” and it gives me new energy to go out there and enjoy life.

Every year towards the end of March (depends on the weather) I schedule our annual Spring Cleaning.

There are few tips I picked up over the years and would like to share with you to make your Spring cleaning faster:

Spring Cleaning Tips

#1 Make a list of jobs that you want to accomplish and beside each job put a name of the person responsible for doing it. Also put a time limit on each job. This works really well for children so they don’t lose track of time.

#2 Organize your supplies. Each member of your spring cleaning team should have a bucket with all of the supplies and tools needed for their job. This will save time for looking around and searching.

#3 Put a long extension cord on your vacuum so you can go around the house without re-plugging every few minutes.

#4 Vacuum all windows, ceilings, ceiling fans, mirrors instead of cleaning them with water. It will save you lots of time. After they are all vacuumed just walk around and give them a quick wipe.

#5 Vacuum your drapes, blinds and upholstery. Just open up your windows, spray drapes and upholstery with antibacterial Febreze and vacuum. This will remove accumulated allergens quickly without the need of washing them.

There are few things that you can make part of your yearly spring cleaning and keep your house safe at the same time:

Spring Cleaning Tips

#1 Check your basement and attic for mold. If you discover any signs of mold and the area is not very big just wipe it away with solution of 1 cup of bleach in one gallon of water.

#2 Organize your medicine cabinet. You should organize your medicine cabinet at least once a year to make sure that all of your medications are safe to use.Discard all of your expired medications and supplies.

#3 Replace batteries on all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they are all in perfect working condition.

#4 Flip and Vacuum Your Mattress. Spring cleaning can be a time to clean and inspect your mattresses. Make sure that they are clean and in no need of replacement or repairs.

#5 Organize your garage. Chances are your garage is full of items being thrown in there over the last 12 months.Spring cleaning is a good time to get ready for garage sale, throw away all broken and damaged items or donate items you no longer use to your local charity.

Celebrities Are Killing Your Twitter Marketing Campaign

Because of their massive audiences and follower fan-bases, celebrities on social media, Twitter in particular, have become a prime target for brands and even individuals looking for help in spreading messages. But is the effort that brand marketing managers put into this backfiring?

You could be killing your own Twitter marketing campaign by focusing on celebrities at this very moment. It may seem counter-intuitive that someone spreading your message, who essentially holds a megaphone on social media, could be a waste of time. What it all comes back to is developing and being prepared with the right messaging and content in order to promote trust.

Celebrities Are Killing Your Twitter Marketing Campaign

This recent article about what makes a tweet popular, discusses the research of UCLA and Hewlett-Packard’s HP Labs in formulating an algorithm that forecasts a tweet’s “shareability”, and one of the most interesting takeaways was that established organizations trump even outspoken celebrities. In the end, “shareability is largely a function of reliability,” and a trusted resource outweighs a loud one.

Celebrities Are Killing Your Twitter Marketing Campaign

This is not to say that reaching out to celebrities to help a social media campaign is a poor tactic in general. We have run campaigns that involve celebrity outreach, but have always kept in mind a deeper communications plan with supporting content. You can’t rely on people to be interested in your message or product just because a celebrity retweets it. This is especially true if EVERY message you are putting out is a pining request to a celeb, and doubly so if there’s not a match with the celeb’s own interests. Don’t create a “where’s the beef?” situation that doesn’t satisfy.

At a panel discussion on Celebrities and Causes back in March at SXSW, Noopur Agarwal, Senior Director of Public Affairs at MTV, mentioned how Lady Gaga’s influence on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was due not only to her millions of followers, but because “she was also credible, authentic and very coherent and congruent that this is an issue that she singularly supports.” Her own cultivation of limiting support to causes she believes in increases the trust factor for those millions of fans.

Celebrities Are Killing Your Twitter Marketing Campaign

Like any other aspect of marketing, social engagement with celebrities requires planning, strategy, and solid communications. Four things to keep in mind if this is a tactic you plan to pursue:

Before you begin outreach, build a base of trust for your brand through consistency and useful information.
Be smart about which celebrities you reach out to for a campaign, make sure there is a match for both parties.
Have support material ready for anyone that clicks for more information; don’t lead people to a dead end for attention’s sake.
Take the long view…work to establish an ongoing relationship with the celebrity, instead of employing a one-time hit-and-run tactic

Celebrities Are Killing Your Twitter Marketing Campaign

This last point is something else to take to heart. Beyond the social message request, are you prepared to establish an ongoing relationship with any of the celebs you are reaching out to? Social charity Wish Upon A Hero (with whom our agency does work) has fostered a kinship with Leann Rimes in an unofficial, yet ongoing, capacity because she personally feels a connection with their mission.

So are celebrities going to be the death of you on Twitter? Most likely not. As long as you’re not begging, shouting or pleading…and have a credible reason to be reaching out to them. If it makes sense for the right cause, or because a product appeals to a celeb’s actual interests or personal life, then tweet away. However, be prepared to substantiate the request. In the end, if you have the right message and reason to connect, they will be part of – and help build – your fanbase.

Successful Home Selling Tips

Trying to sell your home is not an easy task under normal circumstances.

Trying to sell your home in this economy and in this real estate market is more difficult for many people.

Successful Home Selling TipsLots of people these days are finding themselves in the need to sell their home due to financial difficulties or trying to prevent financial difficulties by selling their home and downsize.

Whatever is the reason for you to sell your home the task won’t be easy unless your asking price is way below the value of your home.

Of course you want to get the best price for your home. You also know that right now is a buyers market and your home needs to stand out from the hundreds of homes listed in your neighborhood and surrounding areas.

There are some tips and secrets you can follow to SELL your HOME faster and for higher price.

Some of these tips to sell your home will require little bit of money, but most of these home selling tips will require time and good old fashioned elbow grease.

First thing the potential buyers see is the outside of your home. This first impression of their potential investment is very crucial.

For selling your home curb appeal is very import so follow these few tips to get a better change to receive an offer.

#1 Mow your lawn. Trim your trees and bushes to give the buyers clean and clear look at your house. Weed your flower beds.

#2 Clean-up your porches. Keep it simple and cheery. Put away all unnecessary clutter. Few pots with flowers and maybe a bench will do the trick. Hide your statues, gnomes and other knick knacks.

#3 Put a fresh coat of paint on your front door and polish or replace the hardware.

#4 Make sure all of your porch lights are working in case of night showing.

Successful Home Selling Tips

There is lots of little changes you can do on the inside as well to increase chances of selling your home faster and for higher price.

#1 Repaint the walls if needed. If your walls are white or bold colors it might be good idea and beneficial to paint them in neutral colors.

#2 Spruce up your kitchen with little bit of money. Just changing outdated hardware on your kitchen cabinets will help. Take it few steps further by replacing the kitchen faucet and painting the kitchen cabinets.

#3 Downsize. Pack away at least 25% of your furniture and decorations. Your home will instantly feel bigger and roomier. Keep the counters clear from clutter.

#4 Fix all the little things that don’t require much time, but are giving the wrong message to the buyers. Replace burned out or missing light bulbs or switch plates. Put up missing base boards. Fix or replace broken blinds.

#5 Spruce up your bathrooms by replacing your old shower curtain and bath mat. Place some fresh flowers and candles around the room.

Successful Home Selling Tips

#6 De-personalize your home. Put away your personal photos and mementos. Buyers like to see themselves in your home.

#7 Make sure there is no signs of animals living in the house. Put away all their dishes, toys, food and get the animals out of the house.

#8 Right before showing make the house smell inviting by putting a drop of Vanilla extract on a light bulb and turning the light on.

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