Tag Archives: product line

Billie Body Brand – No More Pink Tax!

Why is it that many products that are quite similar in scope and use cost more when sold to women compared to men? It’s sometimes referred to as the “pink tax” when women are charged more than men for feminine products and general services. According to a study done by New York City in 2015, girl’s clothes cost 4% more than boy’s clothes, women pay 7% more than men for accessories such as bags and watches, 8% more than men for clothing, and 13% more than men for personal care products.

Enter Billie – a company that offers a direct-to-consumer product line of female-focused razors, shaving creams, and lotions developed – and priced – for women. One might think of it as the female equivalent of male-focused Dollar Shave Club, but according to Billie’s founders, it really wants to be a friend to its customers and be considered a body brand. It offers a subscription service of razors delivered every one, two, or three months at a price point of $9.00, including free shipping.

Billie makes a point of listening to its customers and forging relationships. They try to treat customers as friends and be helpful and in tune. Billie doesn’t want to tell women how they should look, but do want women to have a choice and provide an affordable solution designed specifically for women.

No more pink tax!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the stages in
  2. The New York City study report: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dca/downloads/pdf/partners/Study-of-Gender-Pricing-in-NYC.pdf
  3. View
  4. View Billie’s story: https://youtu.be/810UnL8ZTNk
  5. View Billie Web site: https://mybillie.com/
  6. Discuss competition: what are the direct competitors for this product? Indirect competitors?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team compare one of Billie’s product with a competitive product. What are the points of difference?
  8. Draw a positioning map for Billie.

Source: Brady, S. (8 May, 2018). Making mundane magic: 5 questions with Billie co-founder Georgina Gooley. Brandchannel.com

 

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Product Lines Don’t Last Forever

Nothing lasts forever. It’s a tired phrase, but a true one, that is often applied to consumer goods. In the past year or so, two of the most ubiquitous consumer products that have been deleted include the VCR and the iPod. It happens in all industries.

In the automotive industry, some of the famous car brands that have been deleted in the past decade include Pontiac, Saturn, Maybach, Mercury, Hummer, Saab, Isuzu, Oldsmobile, and Plymouth. The most recent company to delete a car line (but not the entire company) is Ford. Ford plans to kill off its entire sedan lineup (except Mustang!). The company plans to delete Taurus, Fusion, Focus, and Fiesta – some of which have had high rankings and sales. Why cut the lines?

Strategically, Ford needs to cut costs and improve its overall financial performance. The company’s decision also seems to reflect changing consumer preferences for SUVs and crossovers, instead of traditional family sedans. Generation Y and Millennials are now starting families, but they still want to maintain an active lifestyle. This makes SUVs a popular choice. By 2020, Ford plans to have nearly 90% of its vehicles in the categories of truck, SUV, and commercial vehicles. And, let’s not forget about emerging demands for electric and autonomous vehicles.

Out with the old – in with the new.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
  3. Show Ford’s Web site: https://www.ford.com/
  4. Where do the various vehicles fit in the product life cycle?
  5. Discuss Ford’s cuts to its product lines.
  6. Have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle.

Source: Detroit Free Press, Brandchannel.com, New York Times, other news sources

 

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The Robotic Dog that Can Open Doors

Robotic technology is advancing by leaps and bounds. But the ultimate in robotic technology today undoubtedly comes from Boston Dynamics, a spin-off from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (previously owned by Google; now owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank). The company has a variety of robots with two legs, four legs, and wheels. These robots seem to be able to do nearly anything. They can run, leap, fly, walk, and climb buildings.

The newest robot is SpotMini and it has the ability to open doors. While that might sound pretty simple, it is actually a very complicated robotic task. And, in a recent video highlighting SpotMini, having a human wielding a hockey stick makes opening a door even more complicated! (Spoiler Alert: Spot eventually gets the door open.)

In this case, the robot does almost all the moves autonomously. A human handler drove the robot to the door, then commanded it to open the door. The robot was able to automatically correct for the forces of hockey stick and tail-pulling. While Spot has very limited abilities, robotics are entering into areas such as security, food delivery, as well as answering questions and interacting with humans in public places.

Before you worry about robots taking over the world though, remember that they are designed to help humans. Even if we shove them with hockey sticks.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the concepts of products, product line, and product mix.
  2. Bring up Boston Dynamics’s Web site: http://www.bostondynamics.com,
  3. Show the latest video of SpotMini opening doors: https://youtu.be/aFuA50H9uek
  4. Other videos are on Boston Dynamics’ YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7vVhkEfw4nOGp8TyDk7RcQ
  5. Make sure to watch Atlas do a back flip! https://youtu.be/fRj34o4hN4I
  6. Using Boston Dynamics, illustrate the concepts of products, product lines, and product mix.
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team come up with an example of other companies and state the products, product line, and product mix.

Source:  Simon, M. (20 Feb. 2018). Watch a human try to fight off that door-opening robot dog. Wired.

 

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