Tag Archives: crisis communication

Back-to-school Shopping includes Bulletproof Backpacks

By now most students have returned to school and many have new school supplies. You know the drill – it’s time to stock up on supplies such as pencils, laptops, notebooks, folders, and bulletproof backpacks. Wait – what? Bulletproof backpacks? Is that even a thing?

Unfortunately, yes, bulletproof backpacks have become a school accessory that helps to counter fears of school shootings. It’s not just parents who worry about mass shootings, students worry as well. According to Pew Research, nearly 60% of U.S. teenagers between 13 and 17 said they were “very” or “somewhat” worried that a shooting could happen on their campus. And when we have a fear, we also have a need to counteract that fear however we can. Thus, bulletproof backpacks whose sales have risen more than 200% after the latest school shooting.

These backpacks are not even a rarely-sold novelty, nor are they cheap. According to some companies that manufacture the $180 – $205 backpacks (along with inserts and other gear), many retailers have sold out over the year. The packs are of course sold at some specialty stores, but it may surprise you to find out that even Office Depot and OfficeMax have sold the product.

What are you using to carry school supplies?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students as to what would be on back-to-school shopping lists.
  2. Show a video to explain the products: https://youtu.be/C5gsk-3hiIE
  3. Show product examples:
    1. https://premierbodyarmor.com/collections/school-safety?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI75n8mpSh5AIVj8DACh06bQBMEAAYAiAAEgLKNPD_BwE
    2. https://www.bulletblocker.com/bullet-proof-backpack-shield.html
  4. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  5. For this product, what is the target market?
  6. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for bulletproof backpacks. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.

Source: Smith, D. (8 August 2019). Bulletproof backpacks? Deadly shootings have parents adding to back-to-school list. Sacramento Bee.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Naming a New Brand is Tricky!

How important is naming a new brand? It is absolutely critical – and also exceedingly difficult to accomplish. Marketers have to come up with a new name that represents the product’s value and attributes, AND be attractive to customers, AND it must not be taken by another company, AND is not too common a name, AND is not offensive to any population. Whew. No wonder so many companies use made-up words as brand names.

A recent case about the perils of naming a new brand was the ‘Kimono’ shapewear brand developed by celebrity icon Kim Kardashian West. Although the branding was rigorously researched, the ‘Kimono’ name was criticized globally as being offensive and profiting from a traditional clothing article that was a cultural symbol of Japanese heritage. The name had to go, along with the Kimono Web site, logo, labels, and more. More than two million garments will need to be relabeled so that no products are wasted.

The stakes are high for the new brand. The global women’s underwear industry is valued at approximately $83.3 billion and is still growing. It is also fragmented with new comers gaining market share at the expense of older more established brands. To her credit, Kardashian West listened to criticisms and has decided to change the name prior to releasing any product. (The new name has not yet been announced.)

What’s in a name? Everything!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their viewpoints on the Kimono name. Do they agree with the decision to change the name?
  2. Discuss competition: Who are the direct competitors for this product? Indirect competitors?
  3. For ‘Kimono’ put students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis.
    1. Strengths: What is the company good at?
    2. Weaknesses: What needs work?
    3. Opportunities: What is going on in the marketplace that is positive?
    4. Threats: What factors should the company be wary of?
  4. Put students into teams. Have each team develop a new name for the Kimono brand.
  5. Post the names on the board and vote on a winner.

Source: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fast Company, other news sources

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

When is it Necessary to Rebrand?

Everyone is likely to be familiar with the pizza brand Papa John’s. And, many people likely also recognize the image of the head of the company, founder John Schnatter. After all, it’s his face and name on the company and the product. Schnatter’s entrepreneurial story has been a big part of the company’s brand image and his visage has prominently been featured in its marketing and promotion activities.

However, Schnatter’s name and face have been in hot water after he recently made a racial slur on a conference call with its ad agency. (Note: The agency dropped Papa John’s as a client after the call.) This comes on top of Schnatter’s controversial NFL statements a year ago, criticizing football players who knelt (instead of standing) for the national anthem, and blaming them for lower pizza sales.

Eventually, the NFL ended the Papa John’s relationship and signed with Pizza Hut as the official pizza partner of the NFL. Also breaking ties with Papa John’s is Major League Baseball, eliminating its co-branded marketing efforts.

The big question: Should Papa John’s rebrand?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: When should a company rebrand? What is the impact of a visible company leader who crosses a line in society?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team research and discuss what happened with Papa John’s in regards to negative press.
  3. Poll teams: Should the company rebrand?
  4. Have teams list what would be involved in order to rebrand. What should the new brand look like?
  5. View the response from Papa John’s to its customers: https://www.papajohns.com/open-letter/
  6. Debrief the exercise.

Source: CNN Money,  USA Today, Brandchannel.com, and other news sources

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities