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Tesco’s fall from grace

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tesco's share price slid again today, although the firm has announced that the new Finance Director Alan Stewart started work three months earlier than expected. 

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Networked Manufacturing - The Complexity and Culture of Global Production

Monday, September 22, 2014

A fascinating video here from the excellent Peter Marsh of the FT which explores the complexity of manufacturing operations at the world's largest eyewear maker Luxottica.

You probably haven't heard of Luxottica, but you will almost certainly be familiar with their broad product range. Luxottica's best known brands are Ray-Ban, Persol and Oakley. It also makes sunglasses and prescription frames for a multitude of designer brands such as Chanel and Prada, whose designs and trademarks are used under license.

In total, Luxottica is estimated to have around 80% of the global market for eyewear. It is also a vertically-integrated business with over 7,000 retail outlets around the world, many them trading under the Sunglass Hut brand.

Luxottica has six plants in Italy and two in China.

In the video, Peter Marsh introduces the concept of networked manufacturing. This concept is explained further by this excellent Economist article. The close integration of marketing (new product development & brand / product portfolio management) with operations is a key theme explored in the video.

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The Business of Religion

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

As an interesting way to introduce 3 of the 4 functional areas (and illustrate to students that business studies concepts are everywhere), I used these 3 news stories about how different religions have changed their strategies this year.

Pope Francis stamps out corruption in the Vatican Bank - By refusing to “do business” with certain unscrupulous customers, the profit at the Vatican Bank has dropped from £68m euros to just £2.3m. A strong move from Il Papa, but should a church make any profit at all?

Jehovah’s Witnesses change their marketing strategy - Instead of the door-to-door approach, Jehovah’s witnesses are trying to increase awareness of (and recruitment to) their “brand” by targeting train stations and shopping centres. Will this new tactic prove successful?

Church of England vote for women bishops - Traditionalist believed that as Jesus only “employed” male apostles, only men should lead the church. A recent vote has put an end to this misogyny, but one member of the church said “This is a show for the media. It's the end of the Church as we know it”. Should the church be exempt from the Sex Discrimination Act?

The lesson has now ended. All go in peace.

The Perfect BUSS1 Video – Steve Jobs Billion Dollar Hippy

Monday, September 08, 2014

The story of Apple, from inception up until 2011, is told beautifully in this 50 minute BBC documentary (available on Netflix or via this link) and literally covers all 15 sections in the BUSS1 specification (and quite a few from BUSS2 too). As an added bonus, I’ve created this 30-question worksheet to keep students focused.

A fantastic insight into one of the biggest companies in the world, a ready-made lesson... and chance for you to put your feet up for an hour!

Hope it helps!

Growth with Inflation

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Over the last couple of days I have been watching balloons take off at Bristol's Balloon Fiesta. An evening out with friends, and a few pints may have inspired Don Cameron to take a risk, but a love of aeronautics or flying helped.

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Marketing Strategy - Twins Add Value to Humble Homewares Through Design Innovation

Monday, August 04, 2014

The use of innovative design as a source of competitive advantage lies at the heart of this entrepreneurial success story - detailed here in an excellent Guardian interview.

It is always good to see twin brothers succeeding in business! And the Joseph twins seem to have combined their talents very effectively to help re-invigorate their family business.

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Marketing Strategy - P&G Takes the Axe to its Brand Portfolio

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Are there too many brands chasing the available demand of households and other consumers? That's the view of AG Lafley, the CEO of Procter & Gamble ("P&G") - one of the world's leading multinationals in the fast-moving consumer goods ("FMCG") sector.

P&G has announced that it will look to focus on a much smaller number of consumer brands and cull up to 100 brands from its extensive product portfolio. In a classic example of product portfolio management, P&G wants to focus on those 70-80 key brands that have existing strong market shares and/or fast growth prospects.

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Marketing Mix - When the Whole Industry’s Prices are Too High

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

There is a huge amount of business studies in this news story from the BBC in which a senior executive from private healthcare provider Bupa suggests that the whole industry in the UK has set its prices too high.

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Barbie, you’re hired

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Entering the entrepreneurial world, this independent professional is ready for the next big pitch. Her "smartphone," tablet and briefcase are always by her side."

Sounds like one of the contestants to take part in the next series of The Apprentice? Actually no, it's the latest Barbie doll - Entrepreneur Barbie.

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Marketing, with a hint of Brazilian flavour

Thursday, June 19, 2014

As far as I know, Pot Noodles don't usually feature as a typically Brazilian dish, but they are just one of the products jumping on the World Cup bandwagon.
There are plenty of other examples to add - Domino's have new Fiesta and Rio pizzas, Tilda have 'sweet and spicy' rice and Lucozade have a new Brazilian variety. These and others all feature in an article about the range of Brazilian-themed products appearing in the supermarkets.

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Starbucks’ Long-term Investment in Leadership of the Chinese Coffee Shop Market

Friday, June 13, 2014

How on earth is Starbucks making a success of its push into China? China is a tea-drinking nation. In fact, China has the world's oldest and largest tea-drinking culture. Chinese people hate coffee – they say it tastes so bitter it is like tasting medicine.

But, look at the evidence. Starbucks has been in China for 13 years, with an initial presence in the major tier 1 cities Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Starbucks expects China to become its second-largest market by 2014 aiming to have 1,500 outlets throughout China by 2015. The number of staff employed by Starbucks in China is forecast to rise from 12,000 to 30,000.

According to the latest Euromonitor report, Starbucks has a 60 per cent share of China's emerging coffee house market, well above its closest competitor.

That sounds like a success story. So how has it done it?

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Women make better shoppers

Thursday, May 15, 2014

It's official - women are better at shopping than men. I have just finished listening to a brilliant edition of Peter Day's 'In Business' called Price Conscious, and one of the revelations was that men can be fooled into thinking they are getting a bargain simply by using red price stickers, whereas women are much more analytical about pricing and can look beyond the colour used on a label. Far be it from me to comment on this any further.....

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JLR, Lady Gaga and Abu Dhabi go Galactic!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Virgin Galactic is Richard Branson's dream to provide suborbital space flights to space tourists by 2015, and it provides a wealth of Business Studies concepts for AS and A2.

Firstly, the premium price of £150,000 to £250,000 (the cost of decent Rolls Royce to you or me) means it has a very specific target market; over 700 space tourists have signed up, with one third from America (the other two thirds come from over 50 different countries), most are millionaire men in their 50s and are definitely not risk-averse. Akin to Branson, many stated the moon landing of 1969 as the reason for their purchase.

Lady Gaga

In her quest for a new USP, Lady Gaga will be swapping her meat suit for a space one and be first earthling to sing live from space, ensuring that she maintains her outlandish, cutting edge image.

JLR & Virgin

These 2 iconic British brands are expanding the empire, and for BUSS4 students, the long-term partnership between JLR and Virgin, with their “shared vision of pioneering spirit, technological innovation and sense of adventure”, provides information for almost every section of the specification.

The CNBC article focuses on the technological innovations in JLRs new concept SUV.

In this short video, Richard Branson discusses his dream and vision, how JLR will aid Virgin in creating a completely new market and, to show that it’s not all about profit and pride, he hopes it will inspire future generations to pursue careers in engineering and science.

Abu Dhabi and beyond

Finally, Abu Dhabi state-controlled investment fund paid $280 million for a 32% stake in the business, in return for "regional rights to launch Virgin Galactic tourism and scientific research space flights from the United Arab Emirates capital". It sees this as an Investment opportunity to progress from an international tourism hub, to an inter-galactic one, with this article suggesting Virgin space hotels in galaxies far far away!

Factors influencing price… for grotty garages

Friday, May 02, 2014

A quickie but a goodie for the revision of price, supply and demand.

  1. Get students to guess the price paid for the garages in the picture above (click here for mind blowing answer). I suggest you offer a big prize for the right answer as none will guess correctly!
  2. Ask them to rank the many factors that influenced it (quality, location, competition, PED and economic environment all come into play),
  3. Get students to read the Metro Article and get them to decide on best method to ensure that the investment is a profitable one.

Hope it helps!

Breaking Bad Performance through Strategic Alliance

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No doubt like many of you, the bulk of this week (and last) has been spent attempting to get on top of my workload and capitalise upon the opportunity the Easter break has presented. Having said that, work and revision for the June papers is only optimised when effectively combined with an appropriate amount of rest and relaxation. For me that has mainly consisted of over-dosing on the hit TV series Breaking Bad.

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Starbucks Update from Howard Schultz

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Starbucks - always one of the best BUSS4 research examples - continues to be a source of inspiration for business teachers and students. I picked up on this excellent Q&A interview between CEO Howard Schultz and Bloomberg Businessweek which is packed with useful research insights. 

Here is the article - well worth a read.

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Technological Change and the Watchmakers

The global watch business is estimated to be worth around $22bn per year. It is still a big market, but the market leaders face some significant competitive threats from substitute products.

Can mechanical watchmakers compete effectively with the big smartphone brands? They need to find a way to do this soon unless their products are to be consigned to targeting a niche segment of older, wealthy customers.

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Market Segmentation for Politicians

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Are you optimistically content or in long-term despair? This BBC article is a must for any students taking both Business Studies and Politics.

Pollsters Populous have created a test to tap into the mindset of voters, understanding that the traditional demographics such as age and postcode are too vague.

It segments the electorate into 6 categories and demonstrates the percentage of voters for each political party, stating that this will enable them to “craft TV ads, speeches and photo ops that appeal to the groups they need to win over."

Students can take the 3 minute test and evaluate the usefulness of this method of psychological market segmentation and suggest the messages that leaders must use to expand their voter/customer base.

Samsung target the selfie segment

Friday, March 21, 2014

Here’s a nice little example of Samsung’s customer-focus (no pun intended) and technological innovation.

Possibly inspired by 2013’s Word of the Year, Ellen DeGeneres’ most re-tweeted tweet, or just our general obsession with ourselves, the new Samsung NX mini camera has a rotating screen and is wink-activated, meaning the best selfie since the last selfie!

The Telegraph article

The Big Top is Big Business

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The people running this business are a bunch of clowns.

We'll, actually, that's not fair. But, it's almost right!

This video from CNN provides an insight into the operational complexity behind a historic travelling circus that rolls around the USA throughout the year. Each year, the three versions of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus perform in 120 cities, with 1,200 performances.

The family-owned business has a clear marketing orientation, as demonstrated by the interviews with Nicole and Alana Feld - the two leaders of the business.

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Maverick gets shot down

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Does the inclusion of the image below breach copyright laws? Paramount Studios think so.

A young man (obviously with time on his hands) has had his Twitter account closed for tweeting individual frames of the film Top Gun, along with captions, every 20 minutes.

The BBC article explains that whilst it seems heavy-handed and mean-spirited, in terms of the law, even the frames are classed as the film. However, it does ask how the tweets could affect Paramount financially, and why YouTube accounts don’t face a similar fate.

In a previous blog I listed some other contentious copyright courtroom quarrels, could this be seen as the most absurd, as far from detracting from the studio finances, it potentially advertises and promotes the films further?

Connect the 3 stories using Business Studies terminology

Friday, February 14, 2014

What do Kanye West, a Flappy Bird and American footballers have in common?

I had no idea either, but it was interesting to have a go. I saw these three news stories this week and they seemed to cover the full gamut from money, sport, culture, fashion, business and (most importantly for the students) trainers.

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Cantona given another red card.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I'm rather bitter that Eric Cantona one of Manchester United's best former players has been banned by The Advertising Standards Agency today. 

Watch the clip and try to work out why this has happened.

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OUP, Youtube, ebooks and PDFs

Saturday, February 01, 2014

OUP is one of the country's major academic book publishers, and naturally enough it has commissioned and published new studies on the outbreak of the First World War. A new book 'Saving the City', by Richard Roberts, covers the financial crisis which broke out in Britain, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914.  

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iPod in the decline phase of the product life cycle

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Here's another great example of the product life cycle concept.

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What is wrong with this advert?

What is wrong with this advert? Produced as part of a safety campaign by Cycling Scotland, the Advertising Standards Authority has banned it, so it can no longer be shown on tv.

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Rolls-Royce Cars in China - Demand for Luxury Sustained

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The crackdown on corruption in China doesn't seem to be having much of an effect on demand for Rolls-Royce motor vehicles - perhaps one of the most obvious examples of conspicuous consumption. 

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Did she fire 6 shots or only 5?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself..,you've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?" 

A well known exchange from Dirty Harry led me to twist the title. 

However, this presents an extreme by UK standards, example of niche marketing, from India, The Nirbheek revolver.

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Counter Revolution or Revolution?

Retailing is a dynamic market, and firms which have been slow to adapt to changing technologies, falling real incomes, and different patterns of consumer behaviour have been losers rather than winners.

Tom White covered some of these topics in his excellent recent blog post for tutor2u on the retailers' Christmas results. Reasons for these changes are covered in this BBC news clip.

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Ten things Christmas taught us about the UK retail revolution

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Here's a great Guardian article to bring you up-to-date: Seasonal trading news from Britain's biggest retailers have underlined the many radical changes that are taking place in the way we shop and buy.

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Teaching Resource - Super Market Mapping

Friday, January 10, 2014

This interactive resource encourages students to map the position of the UK’s leading supermarket operators against two dimensions. This is a process called “market mapping”.

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Revision Presentation - Market Mapping

To improve its chances of success, a new business needs to take care positioning its product in the market.  That involves market research, segmentation and a process some call “market mapping”...

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Ansoff Meets Harry Potter

Friday, January 03, 2014

You read the books; you watched the movies; you've visited the theme park. Next up - the Harry Potter Musical?

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​How to raise band awareness.

Friday, December 13, 2013

An unusual way of raising brand awareness, creating interest, holding attention as part of a public relations strategy with a seasonal twist.

Sometimes the message might be lost in the confusion. But DAGMAR is still important part of marketing.

Digital advertising: further developments to billboards

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Billboards are enjoying a new lease of life. By 2011 the first new digital billboards were beginning to become more widespread. These combine the advantages of a traditional approach with moving images, the ability to add updates and to reflect a current news story. Now British Airways have launched a new campaign to take the technology further.

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Hair Today - Gone Tomorrow: Can iGrow Succeed in a Growth Market?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

If ever there should be a "growth" market, it ought to be laser-based hair rejuvenation. After all, there are millions of adults who have experienced hair loss in one form or another and relatively few can afford the services of hair transplant surgeons who have treated the likes of Wayne Rooney and Shane Warne.

So could this innovative product make inroads into the hair restoration market?

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Marketing Strategies: PS4 is a Loss Leader in the new Console War

The launch of Sony's PS4 alongside Microsoft's XBox One signals the beginning of a highly intense competitive battle in the games console market. With both the new consoles being launched in time for the crucial Christmas sales period, pricing strategy is crucial in order to gain maximum market share.

In the US, Sony has priced the PS4 at $399 (retail). Of course that is the retail price. Distributors will be wanting to make their margin on each unit sold. So how much does it cost Sony to make a new PS4?

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Games consoles and the Product Life Cycle

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Christmas is coming and it's time for the new generation of games consoles to be released. It's also a good time for students to refresh their coverage of the product life cycle concept.

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What Colours teach us about brands

Monday, November 11, 2013

I came across a great infographic that you will like if you're interested in marketing. Special cross-over appeal to those of you with 2D Design skills or aptitude.

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John Lewis Christmas Ad for 2013

Friday, November 08, 2013

It's here! The John Lewis Christmas Advert for 2013. Simple, Stunning.

What do you think?

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Starbucks Pricing Strategy Under Attack in China

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Where would you expect a Starbucks latte to be cheaper - in a coffee store in downtown New York or in a Starbucks store in China? Keep in mind that per capita incomes in China are around one tenth of those in the United States.

The answer may come as something of a surprise!

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Strategic Choice - On What Should Japanese Camera Makers Focus?

Monday, October 28, 2013

A superb short video here from the business team at Reuters which highlights a strategic challenge facing camera manufacturers in Japan.

Top-end cameras for professional use are almost all Japanese - Japan made 81% of all digital cameras in 2012.

However, the emergence of high quality photography features on smartphones has slowed down demand for mid-range digital cameras.

Camera makers are moving away from compact digital cameras and moving towards the high-end market segments where sales might be lower but profit margins are higher.

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Is luck an essential ingredient in entrepreneurship?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Entrepreneurship, finance, research, corporate culture, marketing, product development, changing management structures are all part of the ingredients in this BBC entrepreneurship feature about the development of Charlie Bingham's Foods.

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Glocalisation: Would Ansoff Classify it as Diversification or Market development?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Students looking at international expansion strategies of multinationals will soon come across the term "glocalisation". It sounds similar to the idea of diversification and both are concerned with choices that businesses make about which products and services are offered and into which markets. Such choices are often analysed using the Ansoff Matrix. But is glocalisation the same as diversification? Or is it really a kind of market development?

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A Golden Hour on Radio 4 Archive

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"The 20th Century was about dozens of markets of millions of consumers. The 21st Century is about millions of markets of dozens of consumers."

So said Joe Kraus, founder of a search engine called Excite in the middle of the 1990s. Never heard of it? That's not surprising; in 1999 it was a $6.7bn enterprise with hundreds of employees, but a year later the dot-com bubble burst and it disappeared from the market place. But this quote is one of in an article about Peter Day's Radio 4 Archive programme to be broadcast tonight, and already recommended by Michael Owen in his blog below; forgive me for this repetition, but this is such a brilliant article that it really merits a second look, and hopefully between us we will convince you of that!

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Price Elasticity of Demand and the National Lottery

Thursday, October 03, 2013

This is brave! Camelot have decided to double the price of a ticket for the National Lottery main prize draw, Lotto, from £1 to £2, starting this Saturday. And the reason for doing it? Because sales have been falling for years. So what does this tell us about their perception of the PED for Lotto tickets?

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Why Localisation Is Important for Success in China – Yum! Brands and the Rapid Growth of KFC

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Businesses from outside China trying to sell in China face a critical question as they try to enter China. How far should they go to adapt or redesign (“localise”) their products and services to meet the needs and wants of customers in China? Should they adapt existing products just enough to appeal to consumers in China? Or should they look to start again – rethinking the product or service from the ground up – in order to established a position in the market and then gain market share?

Yum! Brands is a multinational that operates or licenses Kentucky Fried Chicken ("KFC"), Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and other small restaurant brands worldwide. Yum! is the world's largest fast food restaurant company in terms of outlets with more than 39,000 restaurants around the world in over 125 countries and global sales of over $12bn.

For the last decade, Yum! Brands has relied upon international expansion as the main driver of revenue and profit growth. China in particular has proved to be a significant source of growth. For example, KFC has opened an average of one new outlet per day in China and has an objective of reaching 15,000 outlets.

KFC has achieved this high rate of growth by adopting the concept of localisation. It has largely ignored the traditional model of KFC outlets in the US and other developed economies - that of a franchise operation with a limited menu, low prices and an emphasis on customers taking-out their food and drink to consume. Instead, the KFC model in China was redesigned to meet local needs.

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How Did P&G Reach the Top in China?

In early 2013 the BBC asked global brand research company Millward Brown to identify the 20 most powerful foreign brands in China: the ones that have gone in and succeeded where many others have failed.

When the results came back one noticeable feature was that one company - Procter and Gamble ("P&G") - had three of the top 5 brands!

Of course you might expect P&G to be successful in China. After all, P&G is the world's largest maker of household and personal-care products. At the start of this decade P&G had set itself an ambitious corporate objective. It aimed to add 1 billion customers by 2015 (a 25% increase) and P&G were clear that emerging markets would be crucial in achieving that goal. Of all the emerging markets, P&G is strongest in China, which by 2012 had become its second-biggest national market with around 6% of the firm's worldwide sales.

So how has P&G managed to achieve such a strong position in China? Why had P&G succeeded when so many other Western brands had struggled to establish a leading position there?

To understand the achievement, you need to go right back to when foreign firms were first allowed to enter China. Here are some key features of the P&G approach to building its business in China.

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Growth Strategy - Under Armour Targets Nike and Adidas as it Aims to Become a $10bn Business

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A useful article here in BusinessWeek for business teachers and students - particularly those interested in the sports wear market. The article analyses recent comments by the CEO of Under Arnour, a fast-growing and increasingly global sports wear brand.

Under Armour is a great example of a business that has been able to sustain high levels of revenue growth using an organic growth strategy. But can it sustain this growth?

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Retailing in the UK - Peston Goes Shopping

Monday, September 02, 2013

This looks like a must-watch and must-record series from Robert Peston. Robert's new three-part series takes us behind the scenes of some of Britain's most successful retailers and also explores their history, heritage and organisational culture. Robert Peston Goes Shopping is on at 9 p.m. on Monday nights starting 2 September. Fantastic

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