Tag Archives: product development

Google Glass Evolves and Repositions

Remember Google Glass? Google Glass had a short life; it was pulled from the market in 2015 amidst complaints about technology, usefulness, price, and privacy. The original product was focused on consumers as wearable technology. The glasses had a smart heads-up display and camera, allowing users to connect to data and share information and images.

However, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) has now relaunched the product as Glass Enterprise Edition (EE). The new Glass EE is being repositioned into the enterprise/industrial market as wearable tech for workers. Alphabet has been testing Glass EE at locations for companies including Boeing, General Electric, Volkswagen, Samsung, Sutter Health, and DHL.

The Glass EE looks similar to the original, but has a better camera, extended battery life, faster Wi-Fi and processor, and has a new red light that turns on when recording. The electronics are now modular in the shape of a pod which can be detached and reattached to any frame, including safety goggles.

How useful are they? GE reported a 46% decrease in time for certain activities, and 85% of the workers believe the system will help reduce mistakes. Glass EE is sold exclusively through Glass Partners. Prices vary depending on the software customization, customer support, and training.

It’s tough to reposition a failed product, but Glass EE seems ready for an entirely new market.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Review Glass EE product: https://www.x.company/glass/
  3. What products are competitors (direct and indirect)?
  4. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for Glass. Start with the original Google Glass, and then reposition for the Glass EE product.
  5. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  6. Debrief exercise.

Source: Wired, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, other news sources

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A Ken Doll for Today’s Kids

To tell a good story and engage with a wide range of audiences, it requires a diverse set of characters. They have to look and act different. It would be a boring story if everyone was the same.

That’s one reason why Mattel has added new dolls to its Barbie collection. The latest addition is a series of different Ken dolls, with different body types, skin colors, eye colors, and hair styles. Kids can now select Ken with a ‘man bun’, cornrows, and freckles. It might make us smile to see Ken with a man bun hair style, but Mattel now has a wider number of Barbie styles than ever before. In total:

  • 40 new dolls
  • 7 body types
  • 11 skin tones
  • 28 hairstyles
  • 100+ diverse looks

The “New Crew” has a large line-up of dolls in almost all shapes and styles. Last year’s more diverse Barbie collection helped increase the division’s worldwide sales by 7%. Mattel’s research also shows that for every six to eight Barbies a child has, there is one Ken doll. All the more reason to show a wider range of looks to keep kids of all shapes, colors, and sizes interested in playing with Barbie dolls.

One future Ken idea: facial hair!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss children’s toys as a market. How diverse are today’s toys for kids of all sizes, shapes, and colors?
  2. Show the new Ken and Barbie dolls: http://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/fashionistas.html
  3. Video: https://youtu.be/c3jbh1PMsOk
  4. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  5. Which strategy is Mattel using for this product? Why?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market the new Ken dolls.
  7. Have each team determine the marketing mix (4Ps) to support their strategy choice.

Source:  Brandchannel.com, Ad Age Daily, other news sources   

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Museum of Failure

Don’t be afraid to fail. Sure, it’s scary to think about, but everyone fails at some point in life. The key is to accept it and learn from the failure. (And then of course, don’t fail the same way again!) In fact, we can learn a lot from failures, whether they are from market timing, quality, technology, or totally misjudging consumers’ tastes.

Failure is a constant risk in marketing. Estimates are that 90% of new products and businesses fail for various reasons. Even the big companies have failures, some small and some massive. Consider the following examples:

  • Heinz green ketchup
  • Apple Newton
  • Google Glass
  • Colgate frozen meals
  • Harley Davidson perfume and cologne
  • New Coke and Coke BlaK
  • Sony Betamax
  • Microsoft Zune

These products are part of the new Museum of Failure, now open in Helsingborg, Sweden. Defined as “deviation from expected, desired outcomes,” failure is more common that most companies would like. But, if the Apple Newton had not failed, we might not have today’s iPhone.

Marketing may be risky. But, it is also fun to beat the odds and win.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the reasons that new products fail (i.e., poor product differentiation, not satisfying customer needs, bad timing, poor quality, poor execution, etc.).
  2. Show video of Museum of Failure: https://youtu.be/PfdBTsyrqaI
  3. Show Web site:


  1. Divide students into groups. Have each group list 10 products that have failed.
  2. From each team, select one failed product and have students determine the reasons it failed.
  3. Have each team think of current products that they believe will soon fail. Why will these fail?
  4. For fun, see if any of the products can be found on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/

Source:  CBS, other news sources


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