Business Logo cakes – continuous improvement.

Saturday, August 16, 2014
by Ben Cahill

Two years ago, I blogged on the Great Business Logo Bake Off and while some fantastic cakes were produced, I raised the point that I was hoping to get more students involved, and would think of some strategies to do this.

Since then we have run a couple of variations on the theme and each of them have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s a great way to promote the department and the best way to run it will depend on our own particular school situation.

Year 1: The students were asked to bake the cakes at home and then bring them in for judging.

The key advantage of this method is you get the best looking cakes. Students who love creating cakes really go for it. The other significant advantage is that it doesn’t cost anything, apart from any prize you decide to give.

The disadvantage of this method is that there is quite possibly a very limited number of students who are prepared to spend time on doing this and all of our cakes were brought in by girls.

Year 2: Plain cupcakes were provided, as was an icing kit. The students who came had approximately 20 minutes to produce a logo on the cupcake.

The advantage of this was that it now allows more students to get involved. There is a big difference between making a cake and bringing it into school compared with just turning up at lunchtime to ice a cupcake!

The disadvantages are that now a lot more preparation is needed. I organised for a keen student to bake the cupcakes and organise the icing equipment. The other problem is that a cupcake is a relatively small surface and so therefore not particularly easy to produce a decent logo.

Year 3: Teams of four signed up and were provided with a plain sponge cake. Packets of fondant icing were also provided as well as bottles of food colouring. The teams had about 30 minutes to produce a logo on the sponge.

The first advantage of this is it allowed even more people to get involved and work as a team as well. We limited it to 10 teams of four but it could easily be scaled up. The other key advantage compared to cupcakes is that the surface area of the sponge was a lot more conducive to better logo art.

The disadvantage was simple – cost. Providing the sponges and icing wasn’t cheap but we had budgeted for it.

For us, the most recent competition was the clear winner, despite the cost. It got the most people involved (including the boys who were much happier to be part of a team) and they all had a great time. As long our budget isn’t cut, we’ll be doing it again next year!

Amazon’s product portfolio

Thursday, August 14, 2014
by Donna Jestin

Amazon yet again launch a new product!

"Amazon has released a smartphone and  tablet add-on that can be used to swipe debit and credit cards to allow  payments. The Local Register device is targeted at small businesses as an alternative  to a cash-register system"


This is great article for use in September for many business topics that maybe taught first in the new term! Enterprise, PEST (technology) Marketing strategy (Ansoff/Porter) etc

You could use this as a starter to introduce new topics to AS or to get A2 students thinking about what concepts from AS could be linked here? They sometimes forget some of the key things learnt at AS over the summer break!!

Amazon have spotted a gap in a growing market -  "There is still a sizeable window for big brands to exploit in this space, and  Amazon will be seeking to leverage the consumer trust it has to offer what is  effectively a cash register to the small business market,"

Amazon is in a strong financial position and are able to utilise this to produce products quickly to enter the market, before any other big competitors. Its major competition Square- has yet to turn a product in its 5 year history according to the Wall Street Journal earlier this year!

The device is an excelent support for small businesses since - "The device plugs into a tablet or phone's headphone socket and costs $10, but  buyers are reimbursed the sum in processing fees when they first use it. It works with recent iPhones, iPads, Samsung Galaxy S handsets and Kindle  Fire tablets." The product is currently being launched for users with USA addresses.

However its not all sunny... for Amazon there have been some concerns about how quickly they are launching new products.. could they be expanding too fast???


Growth with Inflation

Sunday, August 10, 2014
by Michael Owen

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.

Don Cameron spotted a gap in the market, which enabled him to dominate manufacturing of hot air balloons.

Balloons can be used as a part of a marketing campaign - slogans, logos, brands are printed onto conventional hot air balloons. But some firms go further and commission specially designed shaped balloons which attract attention of the media and public.

A balloon flight may also be purchased as a special present for a wedding anniversary, birthday or celebration

The Balloon Fiesta generates some lift (or a multiplier effect) for the Bristol Economy as 500,000 visitors come to the City to watch this event. This time lapse video clip shows preparations, and specialist equipment needed to support this great event. This large event also highlights how public bodies like Bristol City Council, The Met Office, & Police work in partnership with the private sector - balloon flights are weather dependent and information from The Met Office helps the organisers' decision making, The City Council own the Ashton Court estate.. There is scope for a brain storming exercise here.

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