Tag Archives: product line

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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Brand Extension – PetComfort

 

Brand and product line extensions can be tricky things to successfully pull off. If the extension is too far out of the organization’s capabilities, or if the extension brings the organization into contact with a new target market, then the extension might be too costly or risky. However, when the extension helps expand the offerings and meet needs of the current market, it can be a beautiful thing.

WeatherTech is a company well-known for its American-made floor mats and trunk liners. It has gained greater market awareness through advertising in the Super Bowl for each of the last five years. However, WeatherTech recently announced an interesting brand and product line extension that takes it into a new market – pet care. The new brand is called PetComfort and is a line of pet food bowls and mats that are made to human-safety standards.

The PetComfort products are ergonomically designed stainless steel bowls on an elevated state with integrated floor mat. Materials are NSF-certified safe for humans and uses anti-microbial and anti-fungal additives and resins that are meet FDA requirements. The products come in different sizes and colors and range in price from $89.95 – $149.95.

Does this new product line fit into the WeatherTech brand?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss product and brand extensions. What makes for successful extensions? Unsuccessful extensions?
  2. Show WeatherTech Web site: http://www.weathertech.com/

Show PetComfort Web site: https://www.petcomfort.com/

  1. Which marketing strategy is WeatherTech using for PetComfort? (Ex: market penetration, product development, market development, or diversification)
  2. Divide students into teams. Have teams develop a target market profile for WeatherTech products and PetComfort products.
  3. What are the similarities? Differences?

Source:  Buss, D. (27, Feb., 2018). For Pet’s Sake. Brandchannel.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

World’s First Nutella Café

Fans of the hazelnut spread Nutella are very happy right now – at least they are if they live in or are visiting Chicago. While the company has often had pop-up stores in locations, it now has its first permanent café located on Michigan Avenue opposite Millennium Park in Chicago. This is the first restaurant that is owned and operated by the company, but it surely will not be its last.

Customers enter the store through a Nutella jar-shaped door, with light fixtures shaped like hazelnut flowers, and waves on the ceiling.  The new café has a specialty menu of food items that demonstrate the ways in which the beloved spread can be used. Picture (and smell) warm grilled baguettes with Nutella, roasted hazelnut and blueberry granola with yogurt, along with other dishes including salads, Paninis, and more.

The company view the new café as both a revenue stream as well as a prominent advertisement for the many qualities of Nutella spread. While other cafes are being considered in various locations, none have been formally announced.

Are you hungry yet?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss favorite foods. Any Nutella lovers in the room?
  2. Discuss how food companies are expanding their reach in various ways (ex: pop-up cafes, Wienermobile, etc.)
  3. Show the Nutella Web site: https://www.nutella.com/en/us
  4. Show the Nutella Café Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NutellaCafeChicago
  5. Ask students their opinion of the new café. How does this fit into an integrated marketing campaign.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a favorite food and come up with a similar way in which marketing could be expanded into consumer experiences.

Source:  Brandchannel.com

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities