Tag Archives: Communication

Sun-Maid Raisins Gets an Update

 

Do you remember the last time you bought raisins? It may have been awhile if you are like many consumers who look for the newest products on the market.

Raisins have been a staple of many families; that box of Sun-Maid Raisins in your pantry is from one of the oldest farm cooperative organizations around. Sun-Maid has been in business since 1912 and the cooperative is owned by family farmers who grow raisins and grapes in the Central Valley of California. However, although longevity can be a powerful statement for a company, it can also keep a company from being seen as relevant and up-to-date by today’s younger Millennial consumers. This is the case faced by Sun-Maid.

For the first time in more than 10 years, Sun-Maid will be launching a nation-wide marketing campaign to attract new consumers. The challenge is clear: Raisins are not a top-of-mind snack and faces many challengers for valuable grocery store shelf-space. Consumers are attracted by innovative, new foods. And, while Sun-Maid has launched new flavors of sour raisin snacks, the need for a makeover was clear.

Maintaining growers is also crucial. Raisin acreage in San Joaquin Valley has declined and raisin crops have been replaced by higher value crops including almonds, wine grapes, and other crops. The challenge is to increase consumption, retain growers, and gain new consumers.

What kind of snack do you buy?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  2. Review Sun-Maid Raisins: http://www.sunmaid.com
  3. For Sun-Maid, break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
    1. Strengths: what is company good at?
    2. Weaknesses: what needs work?
    3. Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
    4. Threats: what should company be wary of?
  4. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
  5. Debrief by building SWOT analysis grid on the white board. Does this give a good picture of the situation faced by Sun-Maid?

Source:  Rodriguez, R. (19 August 2018). Will adding a sour kick get millennials to eat raisins? Fresno Bee.

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Where Do YOU Want to Work?

Many students get confused when they are searching for jobs. They’re not confused about getting a job – they know this part. But, they get confused about selecting which company they would most like to work for. Some of their questions include:

  • Should I select based on the job offer?
  • Or, should I select based on the company?
  • Should it be a company I admire?
  • Or, is it ok to work for a company I don’t admire, but they will pay me the most?
  • What is the growth potential of the company?
  • How can I research about a company’s attributes?

These topics can stymie even long-time marketing professionals. It can be hard to evaluate a company when not much is known about it. Thus, this is where the network comes into play. Instead of basing decisions only on one’s own limited knowledge, use the power of the network to help research and evaluate choices.

Providing what could valuable information in the evaluation of companies is the power of the LinkedIn network. Based on data from its more than 546 million professionals (146+ million who are in the U.S.), LinkedIn has compiled a list of the companies where professionals would most like to work. The list is based on billions of actions taken by LinkedIn members in regards to four main pillars of engagement: (1) interest in the company, (2) engagement with the company’s employees, (3) job demand, and (4) employee retention.

Here are the top 10 finalists for the 50 companies most want to work at in the U.S.:

  1. Amazon
  2. Alphabet
  3. Facebook
  4. Salesforce
  5. Tesla
  6. Apple
  7. Comcast NBC Universal
  8. The Walt Disney Company
  9. Oracle
  10. Netflix

Where do you want to work?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Suggestion: For this discussion, invite someone from the campus career services center to attend class and moderate the discussion.
  2. Discuss what attributes students look for in an employer.
  3. What do they want most? What do they want least?
  4. Divide students into teams. Based on the attributes the team wants most, have each team list 10 different companies where they would like to work.
  5. Compare the results between teams.
  6. Show the LinkedIn article and list of top companies to work for in the U.S. : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-top-companies-2018-where-us-wants-work-now-daniel-roth/
  7. How many of these companies are on (or not on) the students’ lists?

Source: Roth, D. (21 March, 2018). LinkedIn top companies 2018: Where the U.S. wants to work now. LinkedIn.com.

 

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Stories from a Vending Machine

 

There are many crazy vending machines that can be found around the world. Recently, we wrote about the world’s largest vending machine hosted by Alibaba and Ford in China – it dispenses Ford cars! And of course there are the more common vending machines that provide beverages, foods, supplies, electronics, and many more choices. But, here is one that is very unusual – a vending machine that dispenses short stories. Yes, short stories are available from vending machines that offers a selection of timed literature in increments of one, three, or five minute stories to be read and shared.

The story began in 2016 in Grenoble, France, with a company called Short Edition, a French publisher of short-form literature; to date, they have installed more than 150 vending machines around the world. And, now, the vending machines are available in more than 30 locations around the U.S. at restaurants, schools, universities, libraries, transportation hubs, and government offices.

The vending machines dole out literature and expose more people to the creative and stress-reducing power of the written word. Push a button and a story unfurls on a long strip of paper (kind of like a register receipt). More than 100,000 original submissions are stored on a computer catalog, and genres include children’s stories, romance, holidays, and more. Short Edition procures the stories by holding writing contests, often under specific themes such as “new beginnings.”

If you want one for your school, the dispensers cost $9,200 plus $190 per month for content and software. Most stories are shared and read by multiple people.  And the best part – the stories are free of charge to print and read!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students. Have them list all the different types of vending machines that they have encountered.
  2. Show video: https://youtu.be/1Rq0eDc52g0
  3. Short Edition Web site (in English and French): https://short-edition.com/en/
  4. Note that stories are available online from the Web site also. Select one in class to have students read and comment on.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team come up with a promotional tactic that could be used to promote the vending machine and gain readers.

Source: Holson, L. (16 April 2018). The vending machine that spits out short stories. New York Times.

 

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