Tag Archives: market research

Gender-neutral Dolls for Creating Your Own World

Barbie dolls have been around for 60 years and have mirrored many of the changes in culture and society. Barbie has been a politician, actress, musician, doctor, nurse, astronaut, and more. But there is a point where no matter how many changes Barbie goes through, she will always be seen as the iconic Barbie doll, and that doll does not reflect how many children view themselves and their world.

Today’s society increasingly is rejecting labels and embracing diversity. Mattel’s new line of dolls – the Creatable World doll – is still high-fashion, but the dolls reject labels and invite everyone to play. The dolls are designed as gender-neutral and can therefore be dressed and accessorized to adopt to many types of children – male, female, transgender, gender-fluid, and non-binary. In other words, the Creatable World dolls can be turned into virtually every different child’s gender and appearance.

The dolls look like a 7-year old child and have makeup-free, polished faces. There are various wigs, accessories, and clothing wardrobes. Dolls come with versatile pieces of clothing that give kids the freedom to make the characters whoever they want them to be. The dolls give kids a blank canvas with which they can create their own characters. Mattel uses the hashtag #AllWelcome to encourage a world where everyone is invited to play.

What are you waiting for? Let’s play!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into groups. Have each group 10 of their all-time favorite toys.
  2. Build the list of toys on the board and challenge students to examine the list.
  3. Are these toys gender-neutral, or are they directed at boys or girls only?
  4. Discuss with students how toys can reflect society and cultures.
  5. Show the video: https://youtu.be/-hGu4hPSNXI
  6. View the dolls at Mattel: https://www.mattel.com/en-us/creatable-world
  7. What other toys could use this approach?
  8. How should Mattel market the new dolls?

Sources: Lee, C. S. (26 September 2019). Mattel releases line of gender-neutral Creatable World Dolls. Advertising Age.

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Baby Food Innovation

“Baby food.” Even the phrase itself brings to mind mushy, tasteless, pureed, prepared food. While that may have been true of the old-fashioned prepared baby foods, it certainly doesn’t apply to today’s offerings of fresh, organic, foods for babies. Today, new parents are turning to delivery-based meal services to help them save time on meal preparation, but still provide healthy, nutritious, and delicious foods for their families.

Meal preparation is a topic for all stages of family life. According to Pew Research, both parents work in nearly two-thirds of all U.S. households. And, with so much time spent at work, time in the kitchen is at a premium. This has given rise to a number of meal delivery services such as Home Chef, Blue Apron, Plated, and more. But all of these are focused on adults. What about meals for the babies? Meals for babies present a somewhat unique problem– babies can eat only a small amount at a time, meaning that the potential waste of food is quite high.

A number of start-up companies have entered the baby food arena. These companies offer a variety of prepared products including flash-frozen food pouches which contain portioned, chopped, ingredients to meet a baby’s nutritional needs. Other companies deliver cold-pressed fruit and vegetable food pouches in temperature-controlled packaging. And yet another provides tubs of cold-pressed baby purees, including a spoon and packaged in a reseal-able container.

Food matters.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the use prepared, delivered meals. Have students had an experience with these?
  2. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  3. Divide students into teams and have each team review a baby food product company with respect to product, price, place, and promotion.
  4. Examples include:
    1. Raised Real: https://www.raisedreal.com/
    2. Once Upon a Farm: https://onceuponafarmorganics.com/
    3. Little Spoon: https://www.littlespoon.com/
    4. Gerber: https://www.gerber.com/products/baby-food
  5. Have each team develop a positioning map.
  6. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  7. Debrief exercise.

Source:  Painter, K. (29 September, 2018). When the jar isn’t enough: Baby food innovators are on a roll these days. Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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Amazon Expands in India Using Hindi Language

Amazon recently hit the one trillion dollar mark in valuation – quite an accomplishment and it puts the company in rarified air. The path to the valuation has not been easy, or fast. Expansion into different services and countries were essential.

Amazon now operates in more than a dozen different countries, including India. India presents a very specific challenge to all of the companies that are operating within its borders; roughly only 10 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion citizens understand English. In effect, this limits the access to online shopping to a majority of the Indian people.

Amazon aims to fix this situation in India. It recently stated that it will make mobile websites and apps available in Hindi – India’s most popular language. Similar to how U.S. citizens can select Spanish as their language of choice, users of the India app will be able to choose Hindi as their preferred language. Although Amazon is the second largest player in India’s multi-billion dollar e-commerce market, the English language is not sufficient to reach the country’s customers.

The task is a difficult one. Using a translation algorithm was insufficient and a far cry from the language and cultural translations that are needed to gain customers’ trust. Only 40% of Indian customers use ecommerce, and of those, roughly one-third only make a single purchase. Amazon also has 14,000 retail locations across India as part of its Amazon Easy program; this allows a local shopkeeper to help customers place orders, receive packages, and deliver them.

The push to Indian languages will be key to gaining new Internet users over the next few years. Research studies forecast that by 2021, 536 million Indians will use their native languages to access the Internet.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Ask students about their experiences at Amazon. What works, doesn’t work?
  2. Poll students: What are some of the challenges and barriers Amazon faces as it expands into India?
  3. View Amazon’s India site: https://www.amazon.in
  4. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a SWOT for Amazon in India.
  6. What are the issues and risks?

Source:  New York Times, CNN, other news sources

 

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