Tag Archives: ethics

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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Rent and return these shoes

Let’s start with a quiz: How many running or athletic pairs of shoes do you own? How long do they last? How much do you spend?

If your closet is like mine, you probably have at least six pairs, of which five pairs are very used and dirty. It would be nice if we could wear running shoes until they are worn or dirty, and then just trade it them in for a new pair. Well, as luck would have it, Swiss footwear company On Running is now offering a new running shoe called “Cyclon.” But Cyclon is not for sale – only for rent. Yes, rent. Use, wear, and return them for a new pair.

Cyclon is available for a monthly fee of $29.95. It is a subscription service for not only a performance running shoe, but a fully recyclable plant-based shoe. Castor beans are used as the base, and the shoe upper is sewn from a single piece of fabric to help reduce waste. On Running focused on the challenges of not only creating a fully recyclable shoe, but also making sure that the shoes were returned to be recycled. Thus, the subscription model of ‘rent and return’ gives On control of the recycling process.

It seems to have resonated with the market – in the first 48 hours after launching Cyclon On signed 2,000 subscribers! On needs 5,000 people to sign up per region in order to ship the shoes at reduced carbon footprint of the transportation.

Let’s go for a run!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss a subscription business model. Poll students: What subscription services do they use? Other services they can name? (Ex: meal kits, shave clubs, entertainment, etc.).
  2. Poll students: On average, how much do they pay for a running shoe and how long does it last? How many pairs of athletic shoes do they have currently?
  3. Show On Running website: https://www.on-running.com/en-us/cyclon
  4. Show video of founders discussing Cyclon: https://youtu.be/VtosSdRZcsA
  5. What is the target market for Cyclon?
  6. What elements should be in the marketing program for this shoe?

Sources: Outside Online; other news sources

 

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The Era of the Fashionable Face Mask

So far the year 2020 has drastically altered lives around the world in every way possible. Think about it – since this past March, there has been a significant shift in consumer spending patterns. Globally, consumers have changed what they buy and where they buy it. Stores and restaurants closed. Online shopping boomed. And more.

Just consider what happened during the toilet paper shortage of 2020 to see how consumer behavior changed. And it’s not just toilet paper or flour; the global coronavirus pandemic has made changes not only in our households, work, education, transportation, social groups, but also in fashion. Fashion? Yes, fashion.

As recently as March (only five months ago!) it was doubtful that the average U.S. household had a supply of face masks. Think about it. Did your household stock any face masks prior to 2020? Now compare that with the number of face masks you have today in your home, car, briefcase, purse, bike bag, and office. It’s quite a big change and has created an entirely new product category for fashionable face masks.

There is a lot of variety and of course price variations. Some companies are giving away face masks branded with their logo. Other companies are creating new patterns and designs that let people express their personalities. They can be as inexpensive as cloth masks for a dollar or two, all the way up to a $1.5 million jeweled mask!b

Stay safe – and fashionable.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What industries do they think are affected by the coronavirus? (Did any list fashion?)
  2. Discuss the impacts of the coronavirus on companies.
  3. Poll students: How many face masks did they have at the beginning of the year? How many do they have now?
  4. Show video of world’s most expensive mask: https://www.impomag.com/home/video/21160288/the-worlds-most-expensive-mask?lt.usr=71617211&utm_source=IMPO+Insider_08142020&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=115163&utm_term=600946
  5. In groups or individually, have students do an Internet search for masks. Suggest they try their favorite brands, Amazon, Etsy, and more.
  6. Have students examine the different brands and determine the target market for that mask.
  7. Select several target market segments: have student develop a mask for the market segment considering the four Ps.

Source:  Associated Press; CNET; IMPO; other news sources

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