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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

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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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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Growing a Business: Cath Kidston’s International Success

Sunday, September 01, 2013

An excellent case study here in how to grow a business through expansion into faster-growing international markets.

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Furniture Retailers Carpeted for Misleading Pricing

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Office of Fair Trading is investigating potentially illegal pricing activities by six furniture retailers. It all relates to the use of price discounts.

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Is the Tesco Tablet Doomed to Fail?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Imagine the scene. You've left what looks like your most promising Christmas present to open last. The package indicates something tablet-sized & the box feels pretty sturdy. You asked Santa for a tablet computer - so this looks promising....

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ASA bans Bruce Willis Sky advert

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It has been announced that the Sky advert that featured Bruce Willis complaining about his broadband access has been banned by the Advertising Standards Association for being misleading. The prices quoted on the advert were for existing Sky customers but gave the impression that they were available for new customers as well.

Now, if only someone could find something inaccurate about those Kevin Bacon adverts!

Follow this link for a youtube version of the advert. Follow this link for the article on why the advert has been banned.

Slump in PC sales - Product Life Cycle extension strategy teaching resource

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Worldwide sales figures recently released have shown that sales for PCs is in a long-term decline. The primary reason for this would appear to be that customers are purchasing tablets and smartphones in preference to laptops and desktops.

The activity that you can download from this link gives some details of this downturn in sales, reminds students of the product life-cycle diagram and then challenges students to quickly devise a strategy to combat the downturn - either a new advertising campaign, aiming the PC at a new market or devising a change to the PC to enliven interest. I would use this resource by giving the 3 possible strategies to individual groups (if you have enough students to create more than 3 groups then I would allow 2 groups to look at the same strategy), allowing them the 5 minutes on the timer to come up with a suitable suggestion and then present this suggestion back to the whole class at the end. In total, this activity would take between 15 and 25 minutes. The final 3 slides on the Powerpoint file are the worksheets that can be given to the groups.

You can see the original story by following this link.

How recent Waitrose and ALDI location decisions give a good marketing insight

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

John Lewis are opening a store at Heathrow terminal 2, which will be the Partnership's smallest store, the first away from town and city centres and an important step in their international strategy. For a while I’ve been looking at the idea of place in the John Lewis marketing mix, and the business has clearly identified deeper trends in retail location.

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Marketing the budget hotel concept

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

It’s three years now since we got excited at T2U by the budget hotel concept (there’s a reminder link here) and the format seems to have been a success.  Imitation by Whitbread, with their new 'hub by Premier Inn' format suggests this is a successful innovation.

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Divine Chocolate - the Future of Business is Social

Sophi Tranchell MBE was our guest for the afternoon session at the Business Teacher National Conference 2013 and she gave a simply inspirational talk on the story of Divine Chocolate!

Sophi has very kindly agreed to her presentation being shared with tutor2u teaching colleagues and students. Highly recommended - a wonderful case study in social enterprise; packed full with other business studies gold too!

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Market segmentation - a challenge to find new examples

Thursday, June 13, 2013

When students start work and marketing I encourage them to come up with a product or service that appeals to 'everyone'.  So far they have never come up with an example that really satisfies me.  It seems that almost every product that is sold is tailored, in some way, to the needs of its target audience.  That concept lies behind the idea of market segments, or groups of consumers who share the same buying habits.

If you enjoyed Jim's reference to the hilarious Bic biro for women (!) then you'll like my new favourite.  And that's the point of my new market segment challenge!

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Ethics & Competition: Chocolate Price Fixing in Canada

Thursday, June 06, 2013

This simply couldn't be worse news for two multinational giants in the global chocolate product market. Authorities in Canada have charged the food giants Nestle and Mars, together with a network of independent wholesale distributors, in an alleged conspiracy to fix prices of chocolates. Hershey is also involved - but they appear to have confessed to the illegal price-fixing activities and will be hoping for relatively lenient treatment in return for cooperating with the Canadian authorities.

Price-fixing is illegal - plain and simple. But it's also unethical. To be caught out price-fixing is to be caught acting against the interests of consumers. Not a good place to be if you are a global brand that values its reputation.

Nestle and Mars have both denied the alleged behaviour and have vowed to fight the legal action:

Nestlé said in a statement:

“Nestlé Canada will vigorously defend these charges. At Nestlé Canada, we pride ourselves on operating with the highest ethical business standards.” 

Mars issued a similar promise to fight the allegations.

Time will tell whether price fixing has actually taken place.

But what is price-fixing?

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Are Premium, Differentiated Products the Answer to Compete Against Mass Production?

Saturday, June 01, 2013

A great example here of a European manufacturing business that is attempting to compete based on product differentiation compared with the cost leadership approach adopted by competitors relying on mass production techniques.

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Innovation: Will eBikes Power Ahead?

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Pedal power has been around for a while. But are turbo-charged eBikes the way forward?  The specifications of electric bikes are impressive - but will the price put potential customers off?

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‘Feel free to browse’ … for how much longer?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

‘Feel free to browse’ often strikes me as an odd sign in many shop windows.  Why wouldn’t I feel free to do so?  Well, the answer should have struck me by now.  Apparently, many ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers are feeling the pressure from ‘showrooming’ – when people see something they wanted in a shop, try it, check the price online on their smartphone, find it’s cheaper, and walk out.

I’ve just been reading about the phenomenon and was reminded of the sign I’ve used to illustrate this blog, which appeared in a shop window after the British camera chain went into administration. "The staff at Jessops would like to thank you for shopping with Amazon". (I think any discussion of tax avoidance can be saved for another occasion).

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