Green Tongues is an advertising company that provides environmentally friendly advertising solutions to all those companies that value their environment and want to give back to the society in which they exist. Green Tongues envisions itself to be the premier advertising company in the near future in the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region as consumers and businesses in this region are slowly beginning to realize the importance of environmental conservation. The six member states that comprise the GCC (i.e., Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) are shown to be well situated to take advantage of their political and economic clout in ways that promote environmentally responsible solutions. This study presents a marketing analysis of the environment in which Green Tongue intends to compete, including relevant company information, an environmental and industry analysis, a description of the product involved, salient marketing research and evaluation, a manufacturing and operations plan, a listing of the company's management team, and a timeline for achieving the company's organizational goals. Finally, a discussion of the potential benefits that may accrue to the community in which the company competes is followed by a description of the company's exit strategy and financial plan.
Business Plan for Green Tongues
In an age where everyone is already manufacturing everything, identifying new opportunities in the marketplace has become especially challenging, but truly timely solutions are developed from time to time that seem to optimally match current and projected demand in ways that distinguish them from their competitors. This is certainly the case with solar-powered billboard technology today, particularly in areas where their deployment represents a cost-effective marketing alternative. Green Tongues is an advertising company that provides environmentally friendly advertising solutions to all those companies that value their environment and want to give back to the society in which they exist. Green Tongues envisions itself to be the premier advertising company in the near future in the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region as consumers and businesses in this region are slowly beginning to realize the importance of environmental conservation.
Indeed, the six member states comprising the GCC (i.e., Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) are well poised to become an increasingly important consortium economically and politically in the future. For instance, Siddiqi (2006) reports that during the period 2001 to 2006, the GCC economy more than doubled in size in nominal dollar terms to about $723 billon. A study conducted by the Institute of International Finance (IIF), an association of private banks headquartered in Washington, D.C., determined that collectively, the GCC comprise the 17th biggest economy in the world, ranking just slightly below the aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) of the Russian Federation at $763 billion (Siddigi, 2006). More importantly, Siddiqi concludes that current trends indicate that the GCC will become the world's 10th largest economy by 2016.
This impressive economic performance is attributed in part to skyrocketing oil and gas prices, but there are signs that the governments of the GCC are reinvesting their profits into a wider range of industries in an effort to diversify their economies and improve their environmental sustainability practices (Siddiqi, 2006). For example, Siddiqi notes that, "There are encouraging signs that the energy-rich region is actually deploying surplus petrodollars (windfalls) to more prudent use -- unlike the spending binge of the 1970s and early 1980s" (2006, p. 410). Moreover, government investments in the private sector are expected to fuel demand for alternative marketing methods that reflect this increased focus on environmentally responsible solutions. In this regard, Siddiqi reports that Moody's Investors Services, the global credit-rating agency, noted that throughout the GCC: "A higher proportion of [oil revenues] has been saved than previously, while extra government expenditure has been focused more on capital than on current spending. Most governments are also proceeding with structural reforms aimed at boosting the private sector" (2006, p. 41).
There are already some significant trends discernible throughout the GCC as well with respect to increases in the disposable incomes being earned by a growing upper middle class. For instance, the International Monetary Fund reports that real economic growth averaged nearly 6% per year during the period from 2000 to 2005 with corresponding increases in per capita GDP (Siddiqi, 2006). Although this rate varies significantly from emirate to emirate (i.e., $12,600 in Saudi Arabia versus $51,975 in Qatar in 2006 dollars), in the aggregate, the GCC states enjoy a healthy economy with a generous social welfare system and social indicators on par with the Western world (Siddiqi, 2006). Therefore, the company's target market will consist of enterprises in the GCC region that are bored with the traditional concepts of advertising and crave a more creative and innovative approach to communicating their message to their consumers. This target market will consist of all the firms, public or private, profit or non-profit, that want to help the environment by using commercial advertising media such as solar-powered billboards. A summary of relevant economic data for the six member GCC states is provided in Table 1 and illustrated in Figure 1 below:
Current Per Capita GDPs of GCC Member States
GCC Member State
Current Per Capita GDP (2010 est.)
United Arab Emirates
Source: CIA World Factbook, 2011
Figure 1. Current Per Capita GDPs of GCC Member States
Source: Based on tabular data in CIA World Factbook, 2011
As can be clearly discerned from Figure 1 above, all of the GCC member states have a healthy per capita GDP, but Qatar leads the group by far with an impressive per capita GDP of $179,000.
Environmental and Industry Analysis
In the dynamic marketing environment emerging in the GCC, identifying opportunities to capitalize on this enormous governmental investment in the private sector represents a timely and valuable enterprise. The use of environmentally friendly advertising platforms has become increasingly popular in recent years. For instance, an electronic billboard entirely powered by the sun and wind was installed in New York's Times Square in December 2008. According to Lloyd, "The 'eco-friendly' billboard is the first of its kind in Times Square and the eastern United States, the second in the United States and the third in the world" (2008, para. 2). The billboard was designed for Ricoh Americas' parent company Ricoh Company Ltd. Of Tokyo, and measures 47 feet (14 meters) high by 126 feet (38 meters) long; the Time Square billboard's floodlights will be powered on site by 45 solar panels and four wind turbines (see Figure 2 below) (Lloyd, 2008).
Figure 2. Artist rendering of the Ricoh billboard in Times Square located at Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street, New York City
Source: Lloyd, 2008
Clearly, major corporations such as News Corp. that currently lease thousands of billboards could help reduce their carbon footprint in major ways by switching to renewable energy sources (Sheppard, 2010). Even more fortuitously, the introduction of solar-powered billboards is especially timely given the GCC's planned railroad grid across the Arabian Peninsula that would improve the strategic export reliability of oil, gas and other resources (Shepphard, 2010). Likewise, a report from Bains (2008) notes that solar powered billboards have recently been installed in San Francisco, Africa, and Canada. According to Bains, "PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company) installed the nation's first solar powered billboard at 1000 Brannan Street in San Francisco this January. Visible from I-101, the billboard, which contains 20 solar modules, can generate 3.4 kilowatts of power, more than enough to illuminate the billboard at night. The excess electricity is fed back into the grid. PG&E also changed the billboards' lights to more energy efficient LED's" (Bains, 2008, para. 2).
The billboard was installed by PG&E as part of a larger marketing campaign that was intended to promote public awareness of the company's stated commitment to adopting environmentally responsible solutions at every opportunity (Bains, 2008). According to the PG&E's senior vice president of corporate relations, "As a leader in the fight against climate change, we're always looking for new ways to educate our customers. With this solar-powered billboard -- the nation's first -- we increase the amount of clean, renewable energy we provide our customers. We also hope to capture the imagination of Americans about the actionable steps one can take to reduce their environmental impact" (quoted in Bains, 2008 at para. 3). The PG&E billboard follows the installation of two each other solar-powered billboards in Canada and South Africa (Bains, 2008). The first solar-powered billboard in the world was installed by Nedbank in South Africa in mid-2006, and this billboard actually generates enough extra energy to provide overflow power to a kitchen at a local primary school (Bains, 2008). For instance, Bains adds that, "The electricity generated…