Tag Archives: positioning

A&W Canada: No more plastic straws

Look at the photo above. What do you notice about? Yes, it states that “Change is good.” That’s a good thing of course. But, notice what the entire sculpture is made out of – plastic straws! These are the last of A&W Canada’s stock of plastic straws. The Canadian chain has been moving to paper straws over the last few months, and to celebrate the transition, it used its last 140,000 plastic straws to make the 35-foot sculpture.

Last summer, A&W Food Services of Canada promised to reduce landfill by eliminating the plastic straws. It was the first quick-service restaurant chain in North America to make such a bold promise to improve the environment.  The company estimates that the change will keep 82 million plastic straws from littering the oceans and land.

The ban on the plastic straws is one part of the company’s environmental initiatives which include food sources, packaging, energy, water usage, and waste.

Indeed, change IS good.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impact of environmental concerns on companies.
  2. What are companies doing about these concerns?
  3. View A&W Canada’s Web site values section: https://web.aw.ca/en/our-values
  4. What does this move do for the company’s brand?
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team research the environmental values of a competing fast-food restaurants (e.g., McDonalds’, Wendy’s, etc.)
  6. How does A&W’s commitment impact its positioning in the marketplace?

Source:  Griner, D. (11 January, 2019). A&W Canada used the last of its plastic straws to make a sculpture announcing the change. AdWeek.

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Sam’s Club Now Goes Cashier Free

Amazon isn’t the only company working on reinventing the retail experience. While the Amazon Go stores have captured consumers’ attention and shoppers at its cashier-less grocery stores, it’s not the only retailer interested in using technology to improve the customer shopping experience. Walmart recently announced that it is opening Sam’s Club Now, also cashier-less, in Dallas. The company describes its new store as a “technology lab that doubles as a live, retail club.” At 32,000 square feet it isn’t quite a compact store, but it is significantly smaller than the typical Sam’s Club store.

Similar to Amazon Go, in order to shop at Sam’s Club Now, members will need to use a Sam’s Club app that allows customers to scan UPC codes as they shop and check themselves out when done shopping. The app also includes smart shopping lists, in-store voice search and maps, augmented reality for new in-store experiences, and one-hour pickup.

Employees don’t go away – they instead shift to a new role called the Member Host. These associates are the face of the company and will use technology to help them serve Sam’s Club members better. Sam’s Club stated that the “future of retail is as much about people as it is about technology.”

If you’re in Dallas, check it out.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the use of innovation throughout retail.
  2. Review Sam’s Club Now announcement and video: https://corporate.samsclub.com/blog/2018/10/29/sams-club-now-reimagining-the-future-of-retail
  3. Compare this with Amazon Go: https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=16008589011
  4. What are the similarities, and differences, between the two services?
  5. How should the two companies position against each other?

Source:  Advertising Age, New York Times, other news sources

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Autonomous Luggage Cart Helps in Airports

Ah, the glamor of travel! Jetting off to exciting places, carrying pounds of luggage and goods… Oh wait, that luggage part isn’t very exciting, in fact, it is downright annoying. How many times have you looked forward to a trip, only to be exhausted and sore from lugging around a bunch of suitcases and bags? Unfortunately, that’s the reality of travel, and it is not glamorous.

But now you can relax a little and enjoy the airport experience more. To help out its weary travelers, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is launching an autonomous, self-driving luggage trolley to guide passengers through the airport and carry their bags. The blue cart (named Care-E) greets passengers once they are past security. The passenger will be prompted to scan a boarding pass and will be guided by Care-E to any location in the airport. And, of course Care-E carries all of the bulky and heavy luggage (up to 85 pounds).

Care-E moves at a human walking pace of 3 miles/hour and uses familiar, nonverbal sounds to interact with passengers. The bright blue self-driving trolley can take passengers directly to their gates, even if the gate has changed.

Air travel is so much better when someone else totes the bags!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What has been their experience travelling with luggage in airports? How could airlines improve this?
  2. Show the Care-E video: https://youtu.be/_Hio_YN77EE
  3. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  4. For air travel, who are KLM’s competitors?
  5. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for airlines.
  6. How can KLM use Care-E to position itself against competing airlines?
  7. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  8. Debrief exercise.

Source: Brandchannel.com, CNN, other news sources

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