After Samsung’s chairman, Lee Kun-hee, created a $288 billion giant that according to the Times is “among the most profitable in the world, he sent a message to his 470,000 employees: “You must do better.” What prompts this unrest?

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When selling things that go together, should the company offer discounts on the individual parts or the whole shebang? Sourav Ray, Charles A. Wood, and Paul R. Messinger examined these questions across 650,000 daily price listings and through customer and manager surveys in a recent Journal of Marketing article. Their results have broad price-management implications.

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Apple has had a beating both in the market and the press lately. Despite record quarterly profit, they lost their number-one stock spot to Exxon Mobil. By some prognostications, Samsung is rising in the smartphone market, and Huawei is taking a stronger foothold on the price-sensitive emerging-market field, while Apple is stumbling. Well, for those who failed to sell Apple at above $700 prices and now see it below $450, what did you expect?

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As the global economy continues to be stressed and prices for all kinds of raw materials continue to rise, manufacturers are looking for ways to preserve profits. Although manufacturers are substituting materials where they can and locking in long-term contracts to protect themselves from price hikes, they may ultimately face the conundrum of passing along rising costs in the form of price increases to their customers. Will it work? Mixed results.

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Price signaling is always a touchy subject. Managed right, it can improve profits and avoid any negative legal or ethical implications. Managed poorly, it can either be a missed opportunity to correct poor pricing practices or create a legal nightmare. Fortunately, there are both business case studies and legal precedence to guide executives and chairpersons through this challenge. If we read the signals right, Tyson Food is attempting to communicate in a legal and ethical manner, but there appears to be a failure to listen by Pilgrim’s Pride.

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Panasonic began its long history in 1918 as “Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.,” and has grown to become the largest Japanese electronics producer – that is really saying something! On October 1, 2008 the lead product brand, Panasonic, was united with Matsushita and National to become a singular corporate brand, Panasonic Corporation. Named after its…

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