Tag Archives: brand management

Where’s the Chicken?

In what might arguably be one of the most ironic situations faced by a restaurant, KFC ran out of chicken and had to close more than half of its 900 restaurants in the UK. Yes, you read that right – Kentucky Fried Chicken ran out of chicken (which I guess makes it KF instead of KFC).

The supply chain issue that closed the 562 outlets was blamed on switching KFC’s delivery contract from South African-owned distribution group Bidvest Logistics to DHL. DHL blamed “operational issues” for the snafu. Some of the outlets were able to remain open, but with a limited menu.

Indeed, one can understand that it is a complex task to get fresh chicken to 900 restaurants across the country. According to news reports, the GMB union warned KFC that switching suppliers was a mistake. It certainly appears that they were right.

(Update: As of Feb. 28, 97% of KFC stores were open, but according to Reuters the company is now reporting facing another shortage… this time it’s gravy!)

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. In order to be successful, companies must be able to physically get a product into the hands of the customers. Discuss how a distribution channel works.
  2. Show the video of the KFC issue: https://youtu.be/jM53cQJACCg
  3. For KFC, what distribution channels are used now?
  4. How can the channel be expanded? What approach could be used?
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a flow chart for the distribution of the product.

Source:   BBC (19 February, 2018). Chicken chaos as KFC closes outlets.

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Are Followers Real or Fake?

Marketers are under increasing pressure to increase a brand’s number of followers. Of course, marketers want the followers to be real and involved, but what if that isn’t possible? Well, there are companies that sell followers on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. However, all is not as it seems. Many companies sell the names, profiles, pictures, and other details of real users, but with some variations, and unbeknownst to the actual user who is being impersonated. The result: fake users are sold to many companies to help increase the tweets, retweets, likes, etc.

All social media platforms seem to be infected with fake users. According to a recent article in the New York Times, nearly 15% of Twitter’s active users (48 million) are actually automated accounts that simulate a real person. And, in November 2017, Facebook stated to investors that it has twice as many fake users than it had previously estimated, bringing the count to roughly 60 million fake accounts.

The fake accounts are known as ‘bots’ and can be used to build audiences and influence opinions. The bots are purchased for the purpose of increasing the followers, and thus the influence of the person or brand purchasing the bots. Bots can be programmed to post at a scheduled time, monitor trends and post as needed, and amplify clients’ accounts by following, retweeting, and like tweets.

Which would you rather have: real, engaged followers or bots that are not engaged?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Begin by having students read recent news articles about fake users. Here is an article by the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/100000005704904.app.html?emc=edit_ta_20180127&nl=top-stories&nlid=65703977&ref=cta
  2. Why is this an issue in digital marketing?
  3. How does the topic of “fake users” impact the marketplace?
  4. Should companies/brands “buy” followers? Why or why not?
  5. How valuable are followers in digital marketing?
  6. What would you do if told to increase followers? Would you buy them?
  7. Have students go online and research “how to buy followers.” What are their findings?

Source: Confessore, N., Dance, G., Harris, R., & Hansen, M. (27 January, 2018). The follower factory. New York Times.

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Red Bull: Let’s Jump INTO a Moving Plane!

Everyone knows someone who has jumped (with a parachute, or perhaps a wingsuit) out of a flying plane. No big deal. Happens all the time. But have you ever considered someone parachuting INTO a flying plane? Probably not. It would be totally insane. Who would even think of such an insane stunt? Who would sponsor it?

To answer those questions, enter Red Bull energy drink teamed with Soul Flyers from France. The two Soul Flyer aerialists BASE jumped from the top of a 13,000-foot mountain in the Swiss Alps and guided their flying wingsuits into the cabin of a flying plane. Flying at about 80 miles per hour, the flyers maneuvered themselves successfully into a five-foot by four-foot cargo hold door! (However, it did take a number of attempts to complete the stunt.)

The video and stunt are so crazy that they beg to be shared – and considered for their value to marketing. Red Bull is hardly a new product. It is not the only energy drink in a crowded marketplace and it is in the mature stage of the product life cycle. So, how does Red Bull keep the attention of the consumer and promote its brand message? Stunts. Red Bull seems to specialize in crazy, high-energy, athletic stunts that capture the consumers’ attention.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
  3. Where are energy drinks in the product life cycle? Why?
  4. Discuss some of the stunts done by Red Bull to gain the consumer’s attention.
  5. Show the video: https://youtu.be/YL9sNrOlK-I
  6. The story of the jump can be found at: https://www.redbull.com/us-en/base-jumpers-fly-into-a-plane-in-the-sky
  7. Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services so that they can either move into an earlier stage of the life cycle or prolong the stage they are currently in.

Source:  Red Bull

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