Tag Archives: ethics

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

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Paper, Not Plastic

Plastics and trash are quickly mounting and are endangering the beauty and health of our environment. All acts – large and small – are important to protect the environment. As consumers, we recycle, repurpose, or try to reuse. And, for corporations, the stakes are even higher as they look at their responsibility to people and the planet.

Many corporations have committed to reducing waste in their operations. For example, McDonald’s committed to having 100% of its packing globally come from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025. And, beginning in September 2018, McDonald’s in the UK will be replacing plastic straws with paper ones. McDonald’s has 1,361 outlets in the UK and it uses around 1.8 million straws per day in the UK alone. While it may seem like a small item, plastic straws are the sixth most common type of trash on a global scale. Because of the plastic’s composition, it is difficult to recycle plastic straws.

McDonald’s is implementing the program in response to petitions calling for the switch from plastic, warning that plastic straws pollute the oceans, harm seabirds and marine life. An estimated 1 million birds, and more than 100,000 sea mammals die each year as a result of eating or getting tangled in plastic waste.

Let’s skip the straws.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of social responsibility.
  2. What is the triple bottom-line for social responsibility?
  3. View video on the McDonald’s change: https://youtu.be/wH61dYMieJo
  4. View Blue Planet video clip about plastic waste: https://youtu.be/I4QNolP7Khc
  5. Divide students into teams. Each team should identify a simple environmental problem and a solution.
  6. How should the solution be marketed?

Source: The Guardian, New York Times, Brandchannel.com, other news sources

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Fund-Raising with Healthy Options

We can usually tell when it is fund-raising season for schools and sports. Kids stop by houses and businesses, selling chocolate bars and other items to help fund a variety of programs and causes. And, although we happily buy and eat the candy, there can be some regrets over the empty calories, and the lack of sales going to local businesses. Wouldn’t it be better to offer healthy alternatives, and support local businesses? Of course! Enter a new company: FarmRaiser – connects fundraising groups with local products and foods.

FarmRaiser was founded in Michigan with a mission to connect local farmers and food artisans with schools, athletic teams, bands, and other causes. Vendors must meet standards for sustainable practices, and artisan products that do NOT list sugar as the first ingredient are welcome. The company states that “if a product has more than five or six ingredients, and if any of them are ones your grandma wouldn’t recognize it doesn’t make the cut.”

Campaigns are customized by working with a FarmRaiser “cultivator” to help determine fund-raiser goals, local products, and vendors. Each campaign also gets its own Web page on FarmRaiser.com. The company estimates that 85% of funds raised stays in the community; the average profit margin is 53% for the groups. The process is straightforward: once the cause is registered, FarmRaiser helps create a custom online and mobile market. At the end of the sale period, students help distribute the produce and products to their customers. Groups can choose various products and goods from multiple regions. Try combining Michigan cherries, with Texas Salsa.

What sounds good to you?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the fundraising activities that students might have done. Discuss what was it about, proceeds, products, process, etc.
  2. Introduce the topic of changing the product mix and sales process.
  3. Show a video about the company: https://vimeo.com/147806697
  4. Show Web site: https://www.farmraiser.com/
  5. Divide students into team. Have each team select a cause and develop a product set.
  6. Set SMART objectives for the company.

Source: Rieth, D. (Summer 2018). Home field advantage. Edible Michiana.

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