Tag Archives: branding

Top Car Brands for 2022

The automotive industry is notoriously tough. Considering that an automotive purchase is among a consumer’s most important buys, are purchases that are high-impact and high-involvement, and that there are hundreds of different choices, each sale is important.

Manufacturers compete for not only sales, but also for top rankings by organizations such as J.D. Powers, Car & Driver, and Edmund. Among the most popular ranking reports on vehicles is the one done for consumers by independent testing organization, Consumer Reports.

To compile the report, the team at Consumer Reports test drives and evaluates multiple attributes of more than 250 different vehicles. To be a top tier pick, the cars must score well in road tests, crash tests, owner satisfaction, and have better predicted reliability. Key safety features are also important. Top picks must have forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. These are safety features which have been proven to save lives.

This year six Japanese brands are among the top-10: Subaru, Mazda, BMW, Honda, Lexus, Audi, Porsche, Mini, Toyota, and Infiniti.

  • Best overall, best overall mainstream, best road test score mainstream, and best road test score overall: Subaru
  • Best reliability: Mazda
  • Best American overall: Buick
  • Worst overall: Jeep
  • Worst road test score: Mitsubishi

The top EV pick this year is the electric Ford Mustang Mach-E, a first-year electric vehicle with a base price of $44,000. The Ford EV beat out Tesla as being more reliable, practical, quieter, and less complicated than Tesla Model 3.

Among U.S. manufacturers are Buick as the highest-charting brand (in 11th place), followed by Chrysler (13th), Dodge (16th). Dead last on the list was Jeep which had significant reliability issues with its Gladiator pickup truck.

This year’s winners by category include:

  • Electric vehicle: Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • Small SUV: Subaru Forester
  • Midsized sedan: Honda Accord
  • Compact pickup truck: Honda Ridgeline
  • Subcompact SUV: Nissan Rogue Sport
  • Two-row SUV: Toyota RAV4 Prime
  • Three-row SUV: Kia Telluride
  • Luxury midsized SUV: Lexus RX
  • Small car: Nissan Sentra
  • Hybrid: Toyota Prius

Did your vehicle make the list?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show Consumer Reports’ rankings: https://www.consumerreports.org/media-room/press-releases/2022/02/mainstream-auto-brands-beat-luxury-names-in-cr-2022-rankings/
  2. Show the video of car rankings: https://youtu.be/wQ_fHOmo0aY
  3. Discuss how companies can use the report in their marketing.
  4. What should companies that didn’t make the top list do to promote their vehicles?
  5. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  6. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for a category of automobiles.

Source:  Best cars of the year: 10 top picks of 2022. Consumer Reports.

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Puppy Love

Aww….. They are so cute!

We do love our pups and pets. And there are more pet-parents than ever before thanks to the pandemic. According to the American Society for Prevention to Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), more than 23 million U.S. families have adopted a pet during the pandemic. And while there is lots of love to go around, there is also a lot of money being spent on pampering and caring for our little animal buddies.

How much money? Well, according to Statista.com the U.S. pet industry accounts for $103.6 billion, including $44.1 billion for pet food. Doggy daycare centers and veterinarians are booked solid these days. Plus dog walkers such as Wag are certainly in high demand. Pets even get treated like one of the family – massages and acupuncture, along with dental care, are not uncommon.

The pet business is booming. Target Corp. has started its own line of pet-food, branded Kindfull. General Mills re-entered the pet food market in 2018 when it purchased Blue Buffalo Pet Products for $8 billion. The company also spent $1.2 billion for a line of pet treats from Tyson Foods last year. Nestle Purina holds the largest share in dry pet food sales at nearly $3.5 billion. In retail, PetSmart and PETCO account for 40% of the market. That’s a lot of puppy chow!

Ready for some puppy love?  

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has a pet? How much did they spend last year on the pet?
  2. Bring up pet care sites such as Rover (https://www.rover.com/) and Wag (https://wagwalking.com/).
  3. Also show retail sites including Target (https://www.target.com/b/kindfull/-/N-q643le71aup?lnk=snav_rd_kindfull), PetSmart (https://www.petsmart.com/), and PETCO (https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore), and Chewy (https://www.chewy.com/).
  4. Have students do a search for pet health care and insurance rates.
  5. Compare rates at: https://quote.petinsurer.com/quote/ref=usnews?insurer=petsbest&subId1=other-products-in-table&subId2=https://www.usnews.com/insurance/pet-insurance&subId3=desktop&subID4=large
  6. Have students use their laptops to research different types of products and care for pets.
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for various types of pet owners.
  8. How should pet products be promoted to the target market?

Source:  Bogage, J. (Feb. 12, 2022). The high cost of puppy love. Washington Post.; Sitaramiah, G. (Feb. 10, 2022). Twin Cities businesses benefit as pet owners spend like parents. Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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Game Companies are a Hot Acquisition Target

Are you ready for the metaverse? It might not be quite a reality yet, but it has certainly caught the attention of technology companies that are positioning themselves for growth in the industry. While the metaverse might be difficult to define, there is no doubt that technology companies view video games as an important strategy for growth and customer acquisition for the metaverse.

So far this year three companies have been on a buying binge:

  • Microsoft will pay $69 billion for Activision Blizzard.
  • Sony will buy Bungie for $3.6 billion.
  • Take Two Interactive is paying $11 billion for Zynga.

Whew – that’s a lot of activity and investment at more than $84 billion!

Activision makes some of the most popular game titles such as Candy Crush and Call of Duty. However, Activision has been accused by employees of discrimination and sexual harassment, making the purchase by Microsoft rife with potential employee issues.

Microsoft was also the previous owner of Bungie, buying the company in 2000 for $20 million for the top multiplayer shooter games – Destiny and Halo. In 2007, Bungie split from Microsoft and became a privately-held company. Bungie’s most popular game currently is Destiny 2 (which is available on multiple platforms including Xbox and Playstation.

All of these acquisitions are predicated on the assumption that people will be spending more time in the digital metaverse, including augmented and virtual reality.

We have already seen an increase in gaming during the pandemic as people look for new entertainment options. According to MarketWatch, video games are a bigger industry than movies and sports combined. According to IDC Group, global video game revenue was roughly $180 billion in 2020, with mobile platforms showing the most growth.

What will you do in the metaverse?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  2. Which strategy are Microsoft and Sony using?
  3. Discuss with class: Why did Microsoft and Sony buy game makers?
  4. Show websites: Activision: https://www.activision.com/
  5. Bungie: https://www.bungie.net/
  6. Zynga: https://www.zynga.com/
  7. Check out Nielsen’s list of top video games: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/top-ten/
  8. What are the risks and rewards that will be faced by the acquiring companies?
  9. Which competitors will be most pressed by these acquisitions? Why?

Source: Tilley, A., Lombardo, C., Gring, K. (January 18, 2022). Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard, Wall Street Journal; Metz, C. (January 31, 2022). Sony to buy game maker Bungie in $.6 billion deal, New York Times; other news sources.

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