Tag Archives: distribution

Public Relations in Action

Students often wonder how public relations can used as a promotional tool. Compared to advertising – which is very transparent – public relations and press releases are hidden from the view of most consumers. Yet, public relations is a critical tool in the marketing toolbox. It is relatively inexpensive, can be targeted to specific news outlets, can be easily sent to any geography and industry, is a simple way to “influence the influencers,” and it lends an aura of credibility when we read a story in the news.

In reality, although public relations looks like news, all of the efforts are initiated by marketers. Let’s look at an example in the news recently about autonomous-driving trucks:

  1. An article in Wired magazine recently highlighted the efforts by Embark Trucks with its autonomous trucks hauling Frigidaire refrigerators 650 miles from El Paso, Texas, to Palm Springs, California. No driver operated the trucks while they were on the expressway.
  2. While the information in the article is good, the point of this post and discussion is to examine how press releases impact business news.
  3. For that, start with the article, then examine Embark’s Web site, YouTube, Business Wire, and the press release (see below for links).

Where do students think business news comes from?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by discussing the value of public relations.
  2. A video of the process can be seen at http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/welcome/
  3. Article on Embark and Frigidaire: Wired magazine online:

https://www.wired.com/story/embark-self-driving-truck-deliveries/?mbid=nl_111317_daily_list1_p4

  1. Embark Trucks Web site: http://embarktrucks.com/
  2. Video from Embark also posted on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3yPMxV11KaA
  3. Link to how Business Wire works:

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/welcome/

  1. Link to press releases about Embark:

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/search/?searchType=all&searchTerm=embark%20trucks&searchPage=1

  1. Specific press release that informs the article:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171112005077/en/Embark-Frigidaire%C2%AE-Ryder-Partner-Pilot-Automated-Drivin

  1. Have students find business articles in the news and trace the articles back to information provided by companies.

Source:  Business Wire; Embark Trucks; Davies A. (2017, Nov. 13). Self-driving trucks are now delivering refrigerators. Wired.

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Don’t Throw That Packaging Away!

What does your recycling bin look like? If it’s like ours, it is probably filled to the brim with boxes and packaging materials that are a result of online shopping. Too many times, a small product is encased in a large box and the result is a lot of unnecessary waste that goes into the trash. Is there a better way to reduce waste and have more sustainable packaging? Yes, and it’s called RePack.

RePack (based in Helsinki, Finland) currently operates in Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Helsinki and uses a simple concept that brands selling products online can offer shoppers a returnable and reusable packaging option. Not only can consumers do the right thing for the environment, but they also receive incentives and coupons for using the innovative packaging.

The way it works is simple. A customer places an order with select retailers and selects the RePack option for packaging. Once the item is received, the packaging is simply dropping into the nearest post box for return to RePack. It’s free to return the package, no matter where in the world the shipment is delivered. When RePack receives the returned packaging, the customer automatically receives a reward, usually a voucher for money off the next purchase.

The packaging is designed to last at least 20 shipping cycles and was designed specifically for clothing. The packaging is made from recycled polypropene and folds to letter-size when empty. Retailers also benefit as the average order value has been shown to increase by up to 30%, and it builds good will and sustainability practices among a brand’s best customers.

Go ahead, keep shopping online and you can still do the right thing for the environment.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How much do they order online? What do they think about the average packaging they receive?
  2. Show RePack’s Web site and video: https://www.originalrepack.com/
  3. Discuss the consumer buying process. At which step does packaging become important?
  4. How could RePack be utilized by U.S. retailers?
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a retailer and develop a promotional campaign around using the RePack packaging.

Source:  Hellgren, J. (2017, Oct. 30). Looking for circular packaging? Meet RePack. www.SustainableBrands.com.

 

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Home Delivery – Inside of the Doorway

Consumers are used to ordering goods online and then having packages waiting on the doorstep when they get home. It’s convenient, but sometimes it’s messy when packages are exposed to rain or snow, or when the neighbor dog plays hide-and-seek with the package, or if someone targets the house for a convenient theft while we’re at work. Sure, we can ask the neighbor to keep an eye out, but what if the neighbor isn’t home, or misses the action? While the costs of package theft has not been measured, one can assume the expense of stolen packages adds up for the shippers – and for the buyers.

Ecommerce companies have been working on solutions. Jet.com (owned by Walmart) is using a smart lock made by Latch to provide one-time home entry by using a code. And now Amazon has gotten into the game with Amazon Key – a $250 service that includes a smart camera made by Amazon coupled with a smart door lock made by Yale or Kwikset.

When the delivery arrives, the lock verifies that the driver is at the correct address and at the correct time. Amazon Key then starts recording video, unlocks the door, and records the entire delivery. It can even grant access to the home to other services such as Merry Maids (housecleaning) and Rover.com (dog walking).

Amazon key is currently available in 37 cities and is open to Prime members (who already pay $99/year for fast shipping and other services).

What will you have delivered?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss some of the problems that consumers have with delivery of packages.
  2. Show links and videos of Amazon Key:

Link: https://www.amazon.com/b?&node=17285120011&ref_=pe_3455630_258731250_em_ecg_bor_bs_ann_func

Kit: https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Key-Home-Kit-compatible/dp/B00KCYQGXE

  1. Also show Latch’s solution:

https://www.latch.com/

  1. How does this service benefit consumers?
  2. Poll students: Would they use this service for deliveries? Why or why not?
  3. How should these services be marketed? Who is the ideal customer?

 

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

 

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