Tag Archives: environmental scan

Kellogg Splits into Three Companies

Organizations never sit still for very long. Before you know it, there is a new product/service rival, or new company, or change in supply chain, or change in consumer demands. Since we know change is inevitable, the challenge for marketers is to be aware of the environment and know where their company is strong and weak. Where are the opportunities? What are the threats? What companies want to take their market share?

Often these environmental changes, combined with revised corporate strategies, cause an old, established company to split into separate entities in order to better serve the market and shareholders. For example, last year, Johnson & Johnson announced it will break into two companies serving (1) consumer health products and (2) pharmaceuticals. General Electric will split into three companies to serve (1) healthcare, (2) power, and (3) aviation. 

The most recent example of a large conglomerate breaking into separate companies is Kellogg. Kellogg is the latest large company to announce it is splitting businesses into separate entities. The North America cereal business will be around $2.4 billion in sales; the plant-based foods business at $340 million in sales; the global snacks business is the largest at $11.4 billion (and was 80% of Kellogg’s sales last year).

Each of these businesses faces different environmental factors, and of course markets its products to different segments. In this case, cereal is stable, plant-based is growing but with increasing competition, leaving snacks as a large and growing segment.

Breaking Kellogg into independent companies will help it focus on distinct strategic priorities and opportunities in each of the three markets. Snacking is a higher-growth market than is cereal. Plant-based foods are growing overall, but need attention. And all three companies face increasing competition not only from established companies such as General Mills and Mondelez, but also new companies building more plant-based and natural food products.

What would you do?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show WSJ video on why companies split up: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/news-explainers/why-conglomerates-split-up/F7EF3E9D-2D5D-4732-AA79-F41889C7D039
  2. Discuss when breaking up a conglomerate makes good business sense.
  3. Review Kellogg’s products and overall company: https://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/home.html
  4. Show the company announcement of the split: https://investor.kelloggs.com/news-and-events/press-releases/news-details/2022/KELLOGG-COMPANY-ANNOUNCES-SEPARATION-OF-TWO-BUSINESSES-AS-BOLD-NEXT-STEPS-IN-PORTFOLIO-TRANSFORMATION/default.aspx
  5. Discuss the components of a situation analysis: company, general industry, trends, key competitors, technology, legal, etc.
  6. Ask students what data they would want in order to make a marketing decision for dividing Kellogg into separate companies.
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team use laptops to do general research to answer the questions above. (ex: overview of industry, size, growth, new technologies, environmental impact, etc.)
  8. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board. Does this give a good picture of the situation faced by Kellogg?

Sources:  Gasparro, A. (21 June 2022). Kellogg splitting into three companies as it shifts focus to global snacks. Wall Street Journal.  

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Finally March Madness Applies to Women’s Basketball, Too!

By chance did you watch the NCAA Final Four Basketball? It was an incredible final match-up with Univ. of Connecticut and South Carolina, with So. Carolina the final champion. What a game!

Oh wait. Sorry. Did you think I meant the men’s final? Not this year – it was the women getting some equity and coverage. Finally.

Remember last year’s disparity in how the men’s and women’s teams were treated? The issue caught fire online and the outrage caused an outside review of the NCAA’s treatment of the tournaments. The 200-page report stated that the NCAA “prioritized men’s Division I basketball over everything else” – including broadcast agreements, sponsorships, distribution of revenue, and culture.

Not only were locker rooms and equipment clearly unequal (among many other issues!), but the women’s tournament wasn’t even allowed to call itself ‘March Madness’. Only the men’s tournament could use “March Madness” branding. And we all know how powerful branding is for business.

In response to the report’s findings, there were a lot of changes made this year and you may have noticed expanded media coverage as one of the changes. It seemed as if suddenly sports journalists discovered just how powerful women’s basketball was with audiences.

The final championship game was the most-watched women’s national championship since 2004. The 4.85 million viewers on ESPN was an increase of 30% from 2019. The full NCAA Division I women’s tournament averaged 634,000 viewers/game for an increase of 16% from last year. In terms of hours of TV viewing, it was roughly 4.1 million more hours of viewing this year versus 2021!

The research report also found that NCAA has left tens of millions of dollars on the table due to its NOT recognizing the earning potential of the women’s tournament. Estimates are that the women’s tournament could bring in as much as $100 million in broadcast payments. That’s revenue that NCAA can’t afford to miss!

Think about it for a minute. The math is simple.

More viewing hours means more opportunity for marketing and advertising.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who watched the women’s tournament? Who watched the men’s tournament? Why or why not?
  2. Show video of last year’s discrepancies: https://youtu.be/ozGknW86DWA
  3. (Optional) Video of the money behind March Madness: https://youtu.be/ubqGb4_iJMI
  4. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  5. For NCAA, break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
    1. Strengths: what is company good at?
    1. Weaknesses: what needs work?
    1. Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
    1. Threats: what should company be wary of?
  6. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
  7. Where would the women’s basketball tournaments fit into the grid?

Source:  Baccellieri, E. (18 March 2022). March madness faced a gender reckoning. Now everyone gets a pasta station – but what else? Sports Illustrated.; Bachman, R. (15 March 2022). A year later, women’s NCAA tournament has more teams, more sponsors and ‘March Madness’. Wall Street Journal.; other news sources.

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Drone’s Place in the Supply Chain

How long have we been writing about drones? Probably around 10 years or so, and we are still asking “Where are they?” It’s been quite a while and drones from companies such as Google, Amazon, Zipline, UPS, and more have evolved in shape, size, and scope, but they are all still vying for attention and deliveries.

Well, perhaps delivery drones are finally ready to take-off (and land). A number of companies have been testing drones around the nation and the globe, and a handful are ready for commercial operations in the U.S. at last.

Among the contenders are company Zipline, which is now working on deliveries for Walmart and has delivered medical products for years in Ghana and Rwanda ; Flytrex, from Israel, is focused on local food delivery, and Wing (from Alphabet) has increased deliveries of medical supplies due to the pandemic. And of course, there is always Amazon waiting in the wings to launch its drone delivery services to millions of consumers!

Why the interest in drones to deliver products? Speedier deliveries for one, plus lower transportation emissions, less traffic, and that ever-elusive instant gratification! Many companies see it as solving the “last-mile” delivery problem. However, the use of drones still faces in-depth examination and regulation from the FAA. Because drones are an unknown  commodity and can operate autonomously, regulations are needed to prevent accidents or over-crowding in the skies over densely populated areas.

Drones themselves come in different shapes and sizes. Zipline has logged millions of miles of flights for commercial deliveries in Rwanda and Ghana. It is now teaming with Walmart and testing deliveries in Arkansas. Zipline drones are 11-feet wide, fixed-wing drones that launch from a steel rail and land using a hook to grab a wire.

Flytrex from Israel has been making deliveries for Walmart as well. It is also in partnership with Brinker International to deliver food to local restaurants. It’s drones look like the ones hobbyists use and can carry six pounds (or 33 chicken wings).

Amazon has lately been more secretive than when it first announced its intention to use drones a decade ago. However, the company plans to operate 145 drone stations and deliver 500 million packages within a year. It uses a more radical design with hexagonal wings and onboard systems for detecting obstacles. To deliver, it flies a few feet from the ground and drops packages.

Wing has yet another design. It’s drones are made from carbon fiber and injected-foam, weigh only 10 points, and lowers a hook to pick up and deliver packages.

What do you see in the sky?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about drones. What are the opportunities? The threats?
  2. What are their opinions about deliveries to their homes via drones?
  3. Bring up companies’ websites and show videos from each:
    1. Zipline: https://flyzipline.com/
    1. Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Prime-Air/b?ie=UTF8&node=8037720011
    1. Flytrex: https://www.flytrex.com/
    1. Wing: https://wing.com/
  4. What are advantages and disadvantages of each company?
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team do an environmental analysis for drones: technology forces, social forces, economic forces, competition, and laws/regulations.
  6. How is each company poised to address the opportunities and threats?

Source:  Mims, C. (2 April 2022). Amazon, Alphabet, and others are quietly rolling out drone delivery across America. Wall Street Journal.

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