Tag Archives: brand management

Mascots Help Bring a Brand to Life

Brand mascots have been around for decades. The fictitious and colorful characters are used by companies to bring brands to life and create personalities that engage consumers. Mascots can be human appearing, animals, cartoons, or even an object. Quick – name five brand mascots right now…. Chances are that you could actually name many more than five, and that you have positive feelings about each of the mascots!

Mascots do more than garner positive feelings. According to research from System1, brands increase the effectiveness of advertising when using mascots. Campaigns that included a mascot were 37% more likely to increase market share than campaigns without a mascot. Plus, mascots are 27% more likely to increase customer gains, and 30% more likely to grow profit gains. So, why is it that in the U.S., a study found that only 4% of ads used mascots in 2018?

Mascots also play an important role in recognition and retention. Consumers are more likely to remember an image than they are to recall a phrase. Not all mascots last the test of time though. A mascot has to be the right character for the brand, and it has to have personality that resonates with consumers. Plus, it has translate into visual campaigns and last for years.

What is your favorite brand mascot?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into teams. Have each team list as many brand mascots for consumer goods as they can in the next few minutes. (You might want them to have a separate category for sports teams.)
  2. List the mascots on the white board and count the top vote-getters.
  3. How do companies use these mascots in advertising?
  4. Show the chart with brand mascot recognition by generation: https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/infographic-how-brand-mascot-recognition-has-changed-over-time/?utm_content=position_4&utm_source=postup&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MorningDigest_Newsletter_190827054610&lyt_id=194931
  5. For an interactive class, show the following quiz and see how many mascots the students recognize: https://www.thequiz.com/product-brand-mascot-quiz/
  6. Why are different mascots at various levels of recognition by age cohorts?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a product that does NOT have a brand mascot. Develop a mascot for that product.
  8. Each team should present their idea to the class.

Source: Smiley, M. (23 August 2019). Research says brand mascots really do move the needle. Ad Week.

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Subscription model for Nike kids’ shoes

Subscription services can be a great business model. It gives businesses a monthly recurring revenue stream that is steady and predictable – at least until the consumer ends it. Many subscription services have had initial success, only to lose subscribers as time goes on and subscribers no longer see the value of the service.

The meal subscriptions have been particularly hard hit as customers try various plans, only to eventually stop. There are also a great number of clothing subscription services, including subscriptions for fashion clothing, business apparel, and athletic wear. Now, Nike is launching a new subscription service aimed directly at the kids’ shoes market. It’s an important market space and is valued at roughly $10 billion annually.

Nike will offer three levels of subscriptions: $20, $30, or $50. At $20/month, customers get four new pairs of shoes and play activities; $30/month gets 6 pairs; $50/month gets 12 pairs. Named ‘Nike Adventure Club’, the service is aimed at 2-10 year olds and supplies Nike and Converse shoes. Is it money saving for consumers? Perhaps. It depends on the level of shoe selected. The main goal of the service is to build relationships and maintain brand loyalty for Nike and Converse.

As for correct shoe sizing, Nike includes a sizing chart to help parents measure their child’s feet. In a pilot program run with 10,000 members, only a small percentage of parents had the wrong size. The service includes free shipping and returns along with free size and style exchanges.

Ready to play?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of subscription-based services.
  2. Pricing is usually a complex topic. Discuss the six steps for pricing (determining objectives, estimating demand, determining cost/profit relationships, select price level, set list price, and make adjustments).
  3. Discuss the various pricing models in class: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
  4. For Nike Adventure Club, divide students into groups and have each group work on any/all of the six steps.
  5. When setting the price level, assign each team a different model to use (demand-oriented, cost- oriented, etc.).
  6. Is the Nike program correctly priced for the target market?

Source: TechCrunch, CNN, USA Today, Reuters, other news sources

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Tesla Keeps Shifting Tactics

Once again we examine Tesla. Ok, ok, we know we covered it last month when the company announced it would be closing stores, and then reversed the stores closing. Also last month, the company announced price increases for all models except for the Model 3. And that seemed like a lot for a relatively short period of time. But, Tesla still wasn’t quite done.

Later in March, Tesla announced a new vehicle named the Model Y, a compact sport-utility vehicle with an expected price of $39,000. Model Y will begin production in 2020, have a range of 300 miles/charge, and go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Larger than the Model 3, Model Y will sell for $47,000 in fall 2020 with a $39,000 version expected in spring 2021. Tesla is now taking orders for Model Y with a $2,500 refundable deposit.

Next, in mid-April, Tesla announced that it is halting online sales of the Model 3 at the $35,000 base version. (Wait – wasn’t last month’s tactic shift about moving buyers to use online shopping? What’s happening?) Buyers can order the $35,000 priced version only by telephone or at Tesla’s retail stores. If buying online on Tesla’s website, the minimum price for the Model 3 starts at $39,500, 13% higher than in stores. This is the fourth price change already this year for Tesla.

Another point of confusion concerns test drives. On Tesla’s website it states that customers can drive a car for a week, or less than 1,000 miles, and still return it. Some stores have told buyers that is they test drive before buying, they only have a single day to return the car.  Also according to the website, car delivery should happen within two weeks, but stores have stated that it can take much longer in some areas, particularly if customers want the $35,000 base model.

It’s not good to confuse consumers.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss Tesla’s distribution model and compare it to other automobile manufacturers’ models. What are advantages? Disadvantages?
  2. Show the Model Y in class: https://www.tesla.com/modely
  3. What are the key differentiators for this model versus competition?
  4. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  5. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for Tesla.
  6. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  7. Debrief exercise.

Source: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Assoc. Press, other news sources

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