Tag Archives: telecommunications

Crisis Communication: Largest Smartphone Recall

galaxy

The true test of a company’s marketing strength often comes to the front when a company is faced with crisis communication regarding its products or services. And this month, it’s Samsung’s turn in the spotlight for problems with its high-end smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7. The issue is that some customers have reported that their phones have caught fire due to the lithium-ion batteries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Division, in the U.S. there have been 92 reports of batteries overheating, 26 reports of burns, and 55 reports of property damage.

Samsung reacted quickly to the issue, but it has been a far from smooth process so far. No wonder – there are more than 2.5 million units of the Galaxy Note 7 in circulation, making it the largest recall of smartphones. Statements from Samsung and the Consumer Product Safety Division have not been totally in sync either, causing confusion among the smartphone owners as to the correct process to use.

Airlines are making multiple warnings that caution owners not to turn on the phones while on airplane. (Note: I was one several planes last week and heard multiple announcements about not using the phones on the planes – thanks, airlines!) This issue will undoubtedly hurt Samsung sales and stocks, particularly in conjunction with the recent announcements of new iPhone models. Replacement phones are due to be available in the U.S. by the end of September.

Be safe.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How many have a Galaxy Note 7? How does the recall impact the students’ perceptions of Samsung?
  2. Discuss crisis communications and the importance of companies having a plan in place BEFORE a crisis occurs.
  3. View Samsung’s statement: http://news.samsung.com/us/2016/09/09/samsung-confirms-engagement-with-cpsc-consumer-product-safety-commission-in-response-to-note7-battery-issue/
  4. Have students review the statement and recall instructions. They might also use laptops to research the various instructions.
  5. View the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site information: http://www.cpsc.gov/
  6. What other products have safety issues? How will these impact a company’s sales and brand?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team put together a crisis communication plan for a company. (Examples: food recalls, automotive recalls, etc.) Include press release, news outlets, and recall/replacement process.

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

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R.I.P. – Blackberry Classic

Blackberry

Eventually, all things must come to an end. While it’s tough to see a favorite product discontinued, sometimes the market has moved on, but the product didn’t keep up. This is the case for Canadian-based company, BlackBerry. The company has announced that it will stop producing the BlackBerry Classic, one of the few phones with a plastic keyboard and track ball.

The BlackBerry phones long dominated the early smartphone market and were the device of choice for business people and leaders (remember when Pres. Obama had to give up his BlackBerry?). The BlackBerry Classic was introduced in 2014 to give users a physical keyboard instead of touchscreen, hoping to build market share among users who like pounding on a keyboard. But, no product lasts forever, particularly in technology, and Apple and Samsung have quickly moved to take over dominant positions in the smart phone market.

While BlackBerry does not disclose the sales volume of individual products, the company’s phone business has not been profitable and is declining.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the evolution of smart phones.
  2. For those who are not familiar with the product, here is a video review: https://youtu.be/SQhvc4Nxo_U
  3. Discuss BlackBerry phones and show the Web site: http://us.blackberry.com/home.html
  4. Next, discuss BlackBerry’s announcement to discontinue the Classic. Blog post: http://blogs.blackberry.com/2016/07/change-is-only-natural-a-classic-model-makes-way/?ClickID=c7w7iqxweizvq7xwzqeefxl4fnvqvzaezksxek
  5. Why is the product being discontinued?
  6. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
  8. Next, 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: Manufacturing Business Technology, New York Times

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BlackBerry Has a Brand New Phone

Blackberry

Apple isn’t the only company with a new phone. BlackBerry released its new Passport phone this month as well. Competing directly with Apple and Samsung, the new phone has a square screen and a physical keyboard that doubles as a touch-sensitive swipe pad. But while Apple and Samsung phones are geared towards the personal market and video content, the new Passport phone is focused on work productivity.

BlackBerry’s target users appear to be the “power professionals” – people who are well-educated, well-paid, and employed in industries such as health care and finance which require more secure communications. The new phone is also being offered at a price lower than iPhone 6; Passport retails for $599 without a mobile plan compared to $649 for iPhone 6.

The question is whether BlackBerry can gain market share against its entrenched rivals.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. Show BlackBerry’s Web site and products: http://us.blackberry.com/
  3. For BlackBerry’s Passport phone, what is the target market? How does this compare to the target market of Apple and Samsung?
  4. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for Passport. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  5. What are the key differences in marketing to companies vs. individual consumers?
  6. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?

Source: Bloomberg News, Wall Street Journal, other news sources

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