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Google’s Year of Search for 2021

Marketers need to constantly be scanning the environment, particularly how consumers behavior; their wants, needs, and habits are critical to effective marketing. Consumer insights give marketers information such as product reviews, recommendations, complaints, competition, and many more valuable data points.

Even a year-in-review gives us insights and information about behavior. One great source is, of course, Google. Google processes two-out-of-three Internet queries made each day for an average of 3.5 billion search queries per day. These queries give marketers a snapshot of trends around the world and the research gives us a good idea of what people are thinking and wondering about.

People search for many things in life – we search for love, happiness, health, and search for answers to the questions of our times. We all wonder WHY.  What did the world wonder “why?” about in the year 2021? In 2021 we searched about “how to heal.”

Trend categories:

  1. Together again.
  2. Entertainment, evolved.
  3. Powering Potential.
  4. Big moves.
  5. Life calculus.
  6. Sustainable living.
  7. Redefining normal.

Google tracks searches on an individual country basis as well as globally. Lists are based on search terms that had the highest spike this year as compared to the previous year. Globally, some of the most searched for topics in 2021 included doomscrolling, COVID-19, affirmations, sea shanties, mittens (remember Bernie Sanders at the inauguration?), body positivity, poet, vaccination, juneteenth, and much more.

What did you search for in 2021? And, what will you search for this year?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Before showing the Google results, poll students as to what they think the top searches were in 2021. Why those topics? Is this the same for different countries?
  2. Next, show the Google site and video of the top searches:  https://about.google/stories/year-in-search/
  3. Monthly list of top searches is fascinating:  https://about.google/stories/year-in-search-2021/
  4. Discuss the importance of market research. What are sources that can be used? Why is tracking trends important?
  5. Divide students into teams and have each team examine a different topic. What are the trends from that topic?
  6. How can these trends be used to develop new products and services?
  7. Debrief the exercise by listing the ideas from each team.

Source:  Think with Google. Year in search 2021.

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Hertz Bets Big on EVs and Tesla

Has the time for electric vehicles (EV) finally arrived? After all, EV automobiles are not a new concept and have been sold for many years by a number of auto manufacturers. But they have not yet taken off into a mass consumer market.

But now, EV sales are certainly growing with a large purchase of 100,000 Tesla cars by Hertz for a reported price of $4.2 billion. Showing support for the purchase is Uber, which committed to renting up to half of that order for its drivers. Consumers often state that a positive rental experience made them consider purchasing the model as well. The market for Hertz is not only current Tesla owners who want to rent Tesla when they travel, but also consumers who have wanted to test drive an EV Tesla for an extended period of time.

Current global market estimates are that EV market growth will go from roughly $246 billion in 2020 to $1.3 trillion by 2028. The growth is fueled in part by  the requirement to lower carbon emissions, as well as increasing fuel prices. However, a limiting factor is the low number of charging stations; mileage between charges continues to be a factor impacting sales.

A bonus for Tesla (aside from a sticker-price buy) is the advertising that Hertz will do for the rentals. Hertz is planning an advertising campaign with quarterback Tom Brady to promote EV rentals. The company will also install thousands of EV chargers at it locations globally.

Tesla famously does not purchase advertising, instead relying on its store-fronts, word-of-mouth, and the strong social media presence of Elon Musk  who has 54 million followers on Twitter.

Hertz also gains from the deal. It filed for bankruptcy in May 2020, but emerged from bankruptcy a few months ago, just as travel started to grow again in the U.S. After shedding old inventory during bankruptcy, the company is now poised to be one of the newest and most relevant car rental agencies.

Ready to rent?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. View the Hertz news release: https://newsroom.hertz.com/2021-10-25-Hertz-Invests-in-Largest-Electric-Vehicle-Rental-Fleet-and-Partners-with-Seven-Time-Super-Bowl-Champion-Tom-Brady-to-Headline-New-Campaign
  2. A news video is available: https://youtu.be/gr6nLPUqzW0
  3. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  4. For Hertz car rentals, break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
    1. Strengths: What is the company good at?
    1. Weaknesses: What needs work?
    1. Opportunities: What is going on in marketplace?
    1. Threats: What should company be wary of?
  5. You might repeat the SWOT exercise using Tesla. What are the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  6. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur for Hertz with its purchase of Tesla cars?
  7. Same question for Tesla: What are the issues and risks?

Source: Assoc. Press; CNBC; Fortune Business Insights; New York Times; Tech Crunch; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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Socks are Hot

We long for comfort and style in our dress. Sometimes the stylish fashions are not comfortable, but when it comes to socks, we can have both style and comfort now. Why settle for boring old dark dress socks when you can instead wear vibrant, colorful socks that express your personality and fashion sense?

Indeed, socks are booming right now. As people return to the office (and school), their clothing choices have changed. Comfort is more important the fancy dress. And not only have socks become fashionable, many companies also embrace a social mission with purchases.

For example, companies including Bombas  and London Sock Co. donate socks for every purchase made. Company MERGE4 partnered with the San Diego Zoo on a special edition that gives back to wildlife conservancy. And, Cicada uses its socks to raise awareness of environmental issues such as ocean waste and animal poaching.

Socks are a way to make a statement  without being garish. While these socks are more expensive than the mass-market white athletic socks, they are a low-cost way to stand out.

What’s on your feet?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Ask students to look at their feet. What are their socks? Athletic, dress, fashion?
  2. Show sock websites: Bombas: https://bombas.com/
  3. Cicada: https://www.cicadasocks.com/
  4. London Sock Co: https://www.londonsockcompany.com/
  5. Boardroom Socks: https://boardroomsocks.com/
  6. Merge4Socks: https://merge4.com/
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team review a different website selling socks as well as the company’s social media presence.
  8. What is the messaging for each company?
  9. How can these sites be differentiated and marketed?
  10. Have each team develop a social media marketing campaign for their company.

Source:  Ad Week; Footwear News

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