Exam technique advice

Essay Writing: Creating a 'Bank of Consequences'

Colin Duncan

20th June 2016

When writing essays, if you struggle to move beyond standard responses when asked to consider the consequences of a business action – read this post.

Image by Brian Chan for Unsplash

It will help you develop a "bank of consequences" – a list of different implications that can be used across a range of essays dependent on the context.

Despite being short, nearly every line in this article demonstrates the knock on effects of an action by a business (KFC):

Read KFC-owner sees sales boost in China after bucket promotion

We're told about a recent "Bucket Promotion" (Having been a frequent visitor to KFC a long time ago I'm well aware of the temptation a very large bucket of chicken can be!)

So what have the consequences of this promotion been to KFC?

The easy and predictable answer would be "sales and profits go up" – but why stop there? Easy and predictable won't get you top marks, so avoid one dimensional answers like this one.

What can you add?

  • The article says the promotion was only "in part" the reason behind any sales and profit rises

This will give you a good start to some evaluation already and it is only in the first line! It shows that you understand that selling food in a bucket is not the only reason for KFC's success, as it gives a judgement of the level of success.

  • The increase in sales and profits is not only quantified "$391m (£273m)" but is also compared to what was expected and what happened this time last year "8% increase in profit" and "sales at stores in China that have been open a year or more rose 6% compared to the same quarter last year"
  • The article also tells us how KFC compare against what analysts thought it was going to be "Analysts had expected just a 2.1% growth in sales in China"

So far a great way to turn a fairly dreary answer of "It will increase sales and profits" into something a lot more thoughtful and fully in the context of this business.

And the story has even more to offer about the consequences (in part) of selling buckets of chicken. As a result of this news, the following happen:

  • Their shares see a 4% boost
  • The business is set to gain even more on the sale of this part of their business to concentrate on other stores
  • It may also gain some market share from McDonald's in the process, too

So the next time you read a business story don't just look at the main story – look for all examples of consequences the business and their stakeholders may face.

Often the reporter will interview employees, customers and protesters to name a few. All of these stakeholders will have their own views on the implications of the actions being reported – and all can be added to your essays.

The more that can be spotted the better – and the less dreary your answers will be!

Read KFC-owner sees sales boost in China after bucket promotion

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