Tag Archives: Environment

More Branding Needs to be Changed

All marketers know that branding is hard to do, and expensive to change. Thus, many brands are reluctant to revise their logos, names, and images. After all, if it’s worked for decades; why go through the trouble and expense to change it now?

The short answer to that question is that society and the world changes (sometimes drastically) and therefore companies have a responsibility to respond to and recognize those events and make changes in order to stay relevant in the marketplace.

A recent topic is that of the use of the name “Jeep Cherokee.” The Chief of the Cherokee Nation has strongly stated that it is wrong of the company to use the Cherokee name to sell cars, and has asked Jeep to discontinue the name.  The Cherokee name belongs to a nation of peoples and they contend that using it for peddling products diminishes it. Jeep has sold the Cherokee vehicle since 1974 and retired it in the early 2000s, then reviving it in 2014. It is a popular model and sold more than 200,000 units last year.

This topic brings to mind the issue of the (former) Washington Redskins NFL team. The team has agreed to drop the name and logo after years of protest, as have MLB team Cleveland Indians. Similar protests last year were made against brands including Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s. Land O’Lakes already dropped its image of a Native American woman from its packaging.

Brands matter.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. This is a tough topic, but discuss racism in business with students. Ask them their views.
  2. Poll students: What products, services, and brands use racist stereotypes?
  3. Discuss the issue of the Jeep Cherokee and show video: https://youtu.be/D6ZrRbS-yxs
  4. Show Jeep Cherokee site: https://www.jeep.com/cherokee.html
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team reimagine a new name and message for the company.
  6. How would they overhaul the image if they were in charge of marketing at the company?
  7. Show all the student solutions and debrief the exercise.

Source: Associated Press; CNN News; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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Suez Canal Blockage: Big Impact on Global Supply Chains

Q: What is a marketing channel, and how important is it?

A: A marketing channel is how companies get products into the hands of consumers and the channel is absolutely critical to sales. No channel. No revenue.

But, before delving into the marketing channel, let’s back up a little and consider the enormous impacts on businesses from the full supply chain – not only moving the finished products to market, but also getting raw materials/semi-finished goods to manufacturers. If these materials don’t make it to companies on time, then there is no way to effectively keep the manufacturing operation at full-force or keep the marketing channel functioning.

Consider also that an effective supply chain is a global issue. An estimated 90 percent of global retail products move around the world in containers through oceans, seas, and canals. One of the most important of these is the Suez Canal – a 120-mile long channel in Egypt, running between the Mediterranean and Red Seas, linking shipping transportation between Africa and Asia. The Suez Canal provides a direct route between the seas and reduces the trip from the Arabian Sea to London by 5,500 miles (8 days). Eight days is a lot of time in today’s global economy, plus fuel costs for ships average $25,000/day! In 2020, more than 18,500 ships traveled the canal.

This March, a container ship named ‘Ever Given’ blocked the Suez Canal after it was knocked sideways by a strong southerly wind.  The ship, at more than one-quarter-mile long and a weight of 224,000-tons, held 20,000 containers worth $9 billion, and was stalled for nearly a week in the canal, holding up billions of dollars of international commerce! More than 400 ships were backed up to use the canal, with dozens of other vessels deciding to forego the canal and take the long way around the Horn of Africa. For those in line at the canal, it could take weeks to get all the ships clear and return to normal operations.

And, the work done to free the ship is a story unto itself. For six days tugboats and dredgers cleared away 30,000-cubic meters of sand and mud from around the ship’s bow and stern. Whew.

Supply chains are critical in marketing!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of the supply chain and logistics in marketing.
  2. Show video of the Suez Canal blockage: https://youtu.be/8BSdmIhB9wc (Note: Make sure to look for more recent videos as the story gets updated.)
  3. What is the impact of the Suez Canal blockage on trade?
  4. Have students research how raw materials, semi-finished goods, and finished products move to market.
  5. What commodities and materials are shipped via container and the sea?
  6.  

Source:  Associated Press; CNN; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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CES and New Products to Fight COVID-19

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest and most influential showcases in the United States for introducing innovative products from around the globe. This year’s CES show looked a little different though. Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, CES was held virtually in an all-digital format. Still, it included more than 300 speakers, 150 countries, 700 start-ups, and thousands of new products from around the globe. A diverse group of companies included the latest innovations in manufacturing, transportation, entertainment, robotics, automotive, consumer goods, and more.

This year CES hosted 150,000 digital attendees who viewed products from thousands of different exhibitors in categories such as 3D printing, gaming, robotics, sports, drones, fitness, health and wellness, retailing, wearables, and a variety of other product groupings. CES regularly helps to launch thousands of new products, including many that we all know and use today.

Of course, given the times we live in, a big draw this year was for products and services that could help us cope with COVID-19. The show also provided looks at products in the marketplace as well as products-yet-to-be-launched in categories including:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • 5G and mobile connectivity
  • Food and CPG companies
  • Health care technology
  • Smart cities
  • Home sensors and technology
  • Travel and tourism
  • Transportation and vehicle technology
  • And of course, lots of robots!

What’s your favorite innovation from CES?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the purpose of CES show and how innovation fits into it.
  2. Also discuss the use of trade shows and exhibits as part of a marketing plan.
  3. Show a summary video about COVID-19 products at CES from the Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/joanna-stern-personal-technology/ces-2021-smart-masks-smart-air-purifiers-and-more-covid-fighting-gadgets/5BED1C45-A45E-4CDA-9E4B-DC1195F807ED?mod=djem10point
  4. Additional summary videos can be found on YouTube, such as: https://youtu.be/ouiPPIH1uXc
  5. View the CES Web site: https://digital.ces.tech/home
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a product featured at CES.
  7. Instruct students to research the products online, and define a target market for the product?
  8. Which ones do they think will be winners in the marketplace? What products miss the mark?

Source:  C/NET; TechRadar.com; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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