Tag Archives: innovation

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

iPhone X – Premium Pricing

Apple introduced not just one, but two new models of the iPhone this fall: iPhone 8 and iPhone X (ten). Sure, companies often introduce multiple new products at the same time, but rarely do they introduce products that are so similar in scope and use. Why did Apple introduce two models at the same time? Easy – two different models are for two different market segments.

At a price of $999 (64 GB) and $1,149 (256 GB), the iPhone X is Apple’s first premium level iPhone model. And, since it has leading-edge features unavailable on any other smartphone, it seems to be targeting the early adopters and tech enthusiasts who are not price sensitive.

What does the iPhone X have?

  • 8 inch screen takes up the entire face of the device
  • OLED display for thinner, brighter, viewing
  • Face ID infrared facial scanning

The strategy seems to be working. After only a few days of pre-ordering iPhone X online, delivery times are easily two months away.

Are you planning on buying one?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Pricing is usually a complex topic. Discuss the six steps for pricing (determining objectives, estimating demand, determining cost/profit relationships, select price level, set list price, and make adjustments).
  2. Discuss the various pricing models in class: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
  3. Show iPhone X: https://www.apple.com/iphone-x/
  4. Show CBS Video: https://youtu.be/haj5nV6Muhw
  5. For iPhone X product, divide students into groups and have each group work on any/all of the six steps.
  6. When setting the price level, assign each team a different model to use (demand-oriented, cost- oriented, etc.).
  7. Debrief the exercise. Compare the various pricing models and discuss advantages/disadvantages of each.

Source:  New York Times, CBS, other news sources

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities