Tag Archives: transportation

Public Relations in Action

Students often wonder how public relations can used as a promotional tool. Compared to advertising – which is very transparent – public relations and press releases are hidden from the view of most consumers. Yet, public relations is a critical tool in the marketing toolbox. It is relatively inexpensive, can be targeted to specific news outlets, can be easily sent to any geography and industry, is a simple way to “influence the influencers,” and it lends an aura of credibility when we read a story in the news.

In reality, although public relations looks like news, all of the efforts are initiated by marketers. Let’s look at an example in the news recently about autonomous-driving trucks:

  1. An article in Wired magazine recently highlighted the efforts by Embark Trucks with its autonomous trucks hauling Frigidaire refrigerators 650 miles from El Paso, Texas, to Palm Springs, California. No driver operated the trucks while they were on the expressway.
  2. While the information in the article is good, the point of this post and discussion is to examine how press releases impact business news.
  3. For that, start with the article, then examine Embark’s Web site, YouTube, Business Wire, and the press release (see below for links).

Where do students think business news comes from?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by discussing the value of public relations.
  2. A video of the process can be seen at http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/welcome/
  3. Article on Embark and Frigidaire: Wired magazine online:

https://www.wired.com/story/embark-self-driving-truck-deliveries/?mbid=nl_111317_daily_list1_p4

  1. Embark Trucks Web site: http://embarktrucks.com/
  2. Video from Embark also posted on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3yPMxV11KaA
  3. Link to how Business Wire works:

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/welcome/

  1. Link to press releases about Embark:

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/search/?searchType=all&searchTerm=embark%20trucks&searchPage=1

  1. Specific press release that informs the article:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171112005077/en/Embark-Frigidaire%C2%AE-Ryder-Partner-Pilot-Automated-Drivin

  1. Have students find business articles in the news and trace the articles back to information provided by companies.

Source:  Business Wire; Embark Trucks; Davies A. (2017, Nov. 13). Self-driving trucks are now delivering refrigerators. Wired.

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Porsche Passport Subscription Services

Subscription services are everywhere. Today, consumers can receive monthly supplies of items including shaving gear, food, cooking supplies, diapers, clothing, pet food, and Porsche automobiles. Wait… Porsche has a subscription service for its cars? What’s going on?

Yes, Porsche has entered the sharing economy with its subscription service, called “Porsche Passport,” that allows members to drive up to 22 different models of cars, sedans, and SUVs each month. After all, why have the hassle of ownership if a car can be delivered when you need it via a mobile app?

The service isn’t cheap though. For $2,000/month, the service will allow customers access to eight different models, including the Cayman S and 718 Boxster. Add on another $1,000/month and customers have on-demand access to more models including the 911 Carrera S and the Macan GTS. The plan has a one-time activation fee of $500 and includes vehicle tax, registration, insurance, maintenance, and detailing (members buy their own gas). Members can switch cars as often as they want, enjoy unlimited mileage, delivery, and service. (The program is currently only available in the metro Atlanta area.)

What do you feel like driving today?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. Show Porsche Passport Web site: http://www.porschepassport.com/
  3. Show video: https://youtu.be/5pyPAYmpK0U
  4. Who is the target market for Porsche Passport?
  5. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  6. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  7. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  Brandchannel.com, Automotive News, other sources

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Driverless Cars Deliver Pizza

Are you hungry? Want fast delivery of pizza, but don’t want to talk to anyone? There’s a solution for that.

Domino’s and Ford have formed a partnership to use self-driving Ford Fusions equipped with sensors, electronics and software, to deliver pizza to Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor, Mich. In the next few weeks, the companies will be able to see first-hand how customers respond to the new driverless delivery technology. What happens in the final 50 feet? Do people want to go outside to take delivery? Is it taking delivery simple to understand?

The cars will have safety engineers and researchers inside to monitor activities and customers’ reactions. Customers can track the delivery car through GPS, and when the car arrives, a text message will be sent to customers about how to retrieve their pizza.

Testing automated deliveries to homes and businesses goes far beyond just pizza. Deliveries from online shopping already total in the billions of dollars, and there is even more application in the future. Need roofing materials or building supplies? What about cooked meals, or ingredients for dinner?

One big advantage of the autonomous deliveries – no tipping required!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What do they have delivered to their homes now? What would they like to see delivered in the future?
  2. Show video: https://youtu.be/hANXIPxN1ME
  3. Ask for reactions. What would be their behavior for this type of delivery?
  4. What are the advantages, and disadvantages of driverless delivery?
  5. Form students into teams. Have each team develop a list of possible research questions that Ford and Domino’s would use to evaluate and revise the service.

Source:  New York Times, Associated Press, other news sources

 

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