Tag Archives: branding

Airbnb: Agility in Services

Companies and marketers are facing unusual times. Since the coronavirus has impacted global businesses, nearly all companies have had to make pivots in strategy to accommodate the rapidly changing environmental conditions.

One of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus is travel and tourism. Airplanes are nearly empty as states implement stay-at-home policies. Hotels have empty rooms. Restaurants are restricted to curb-side delivery only. Honestly, it’s a mess and every marketer has to be up for the challenge and demonstrate agility.

Case in point: Airbnb has had to halt its ‘Experiences’ business where local residents provide unique experiences to travelers. It hosts 40,000 events in more than 1,000 cities around the globe. But, due to coronavirus, the in-person experiences are closed until stay-at-home restrictions lift.

Pivoting with the changing environment, Experiences offers online events in more than 30 countries. Experiences include tango lessons with a Latin Grammy nominee, guided meditation with sleepy sheep in United Kingdom, meditation with a Japanese Buddhist monk in Japan, and my favorite – a day in the life of an Olympic bobsledder!

Airbnb provides free experiences for isolated senior, giving them an opportunity to meet new people, but also travel anywhere in the world to learn something new.

Search out new experiences.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the differences between marketing products and marketing services.
  2. What has been the impact of the coronavirus on the travel and tourism industry?
  3. What are ways that this industry can stay relevant and responsive to a changing marketplace?
  4. View the Airbnb Web site: https://www.airbnb.com/s/experiences/online
  5. A video about the service can also be found at: https://youtu.be/XhaTCzKrEtE
  6. Discuss the Airbnb experiences. Which ones would student try?

Source: Ad Week; Associated Press; other news sources

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Stressed? Try Legos!

Feeling stressed? Kids and adults need to be able to relax and play. One toy company ready to accommodate adults is a long-time favorite around the globe – Lego!

Lest we think that Legos are only for young kids, the company has set its sights on the adult market, promoting the colorful blocks as a way to escape stress and achieve a level of calm. Lego has new, more complicated and expensive kits that are targeted at Gen X members. New kits include the Central Perk café from “Friends,” a vintage Batmobile, Star Wars Millennium Falcon, Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle and many more. Lego has also revised instruction manuals to make kits foolproof and introduced new models that have soothing movements.

Adult Lego fans also have their own Facebook and Reddit groups, along with the acronym AFOLS (adult fans of Legos). Plus, in a master stroke of branding, Legos now has a prime-time TV show featuring teams competing to build Lego masterpieces. There are even books that focus on the joy of playing with Legos.

Ready to relax?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review Lego. Company Web site: https://www.lego.com/en-us
  2. Search the site for adult Lego sets, prices are $100+: https://www.lego.com/en-us/categories/price-over-100-dollars
  3. View Lego Masters TV show: https://www.fox.com/lego-masters/
  4. Discuss the components of a situation analysis: company, general industry, trends, key competitors, technology, legal, etc.
  5. Ask students what data they would want in order to make a marketing decision for Lego products.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team do general research to answer the questions above. (Ex: overview of industry, size, growth, new technologies, environmental impact, etc.)
  7. Debrief the exercise by compiling information. Does this give a good picture of the situation faced by Lego?

Source: Washington Post; other news sources

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Just Walk Out. Amazon’s Cashier-less Grocery Stores

Two years ago Amazon launched its ‘Amazon Go’ convenience stores. It now has 25 stores across the country in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and New York. These stores carry a limited selection of items focused on ready-to-eat meals and snacks. The stores use a ‘just walk out’ technology that allows consumers to pick up an item, place it in their bag, and then just walk out. No scanning or cashiers needed. All a shopper needs is an Amazon account and the Amazon Go app on their mobile device.

Now, Amazon has now expanded the concept into a much larger format called ‘Amazon Go Grocery’ in Seattle. With 10,400 square feet of space, the new Amazon Go Grocery store carries a larger amount of products, including fresh produce, meat, seafood, baker items, and household essential. The store also carries pre-made meals plus beer, wine, and spirits. The ‘just walk out’ technology is the same as Amazon Go, and uses the same app on mobile devices.

ne allows the entire family to shop together. Any item taken will be added to the account of the shopper who entered them. However, Amazon warns shoppers that if they grab an item from a top shelf to help another customer, they will be charged for it.

The stores have employees on-site to greet shoppers, restock shelve, answer questions, and help customers. However, cashier-less stores are coming under scrutiny from advocates and lawmakers who say these stores discriminate against people who do not have credit cards or bank accounts. (Amazon did change its policies to allow customers to pay with cash at its convenience stores and says the same will be true at the grocery store.)

Let’s go get groceries!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How much time do they estimate they spend in check-out lines on a store visit?
  2. How does this new concept fit with Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods?
  3. Information on the stores can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=16008589011
  4. Show video of the new store: https://youtu.be/lTzPpAbjasA
  5. What are the students’ opinions?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team list advantages and disadvantages of the new format.
  7. Does this technology have uses in other places?
  8. Does the technology give a competitive advantage to Amazon in the grocery industry?

Source: Associated Press; other news sources

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