In Chapter 8 of Essentials of Marketing we talk about the value branding provides to a company and how they protect those brands with trademarks. The USA Today recently ran the article, “What’s the story behind Apple’s logo, and those of Amazon, Starbucks and other companies?” The article opens with the video embedded here and then goes on to talk about some of the earliest logos used along with some history and backstories on the logos used by many large companies today including Amazon, FedEx, AT&T and more. It covers some hidden secrets students might not be aware of. For instance, did they know that the smile in the Amazon logo connects the “A” and “z” together signifying Amazon’s ability to provide everything from A-Z? Did they know there is a hidden arrow in the FedEx logo symbolizing the company’s logistics speed and accuracy? In 2007 Baskin-Robbins decided they needed to overhaul their logo to become more current but that meant throwing out the “31 flavors” identity they had built over the past 50 years. Their solution – hide the “31” in the “BR” of their new logo. How about the significance of the peacock in the NBC logo or the significance of the number of feathers in that logo? The article is a fun read and will certainly surprise students with the depth of thought and meaning behind some of the iconic logos that we know today.
Video games, once considered the domain of young kids and self-proclaimed geeks, are growing at an astounding rate. According to NewZoo’s Global Games Market Report, the industry was expected to reach $138B in 2018. With that growth and the emergence of esports we’re now seeing gamers stepping into the influencer role alongside traditional athletes. One of those gamers, Ninja, has teamed up with energy drink producer Red Bull.
Red Bull wants to boost brand awareness in the gamer segment who frequently rely on energy drinks to power through long gaming sessions. Red Bull’s campaign includes a contest that gives fans a chance to meet Ninja and have a gaming session with the superstar. You can read more about the campaign in this Marketing Dive article. The topic could apply to a discussion about segmentation, brand building, influencers and advertising/sales promotion.
For those that have a serious fear of running out of toilet paper, Charmin has some really big news. The company launched a new roll of toilet paper that is 12 inches in diameter and weighs about 2 pounds. It’s so large it needs it’s own free-standing dispenser (though you can buy wall-mounted units or get them as part of a starter pack directly from Charmin). Another interesting twist is that the company is selling the new roll via monthly subscription. The largest “Multi-user” roll is $9.99 when purchased individually or $7.99 when purchased via subscription. Customers can choose the frequency of delivery when they sign up for the subscription. You can read more about the new product in this article.
Marketing strategies universally need to incorporate mechanisms to attract, upsell, and retain customers. Some companies focus more on one aspect than another but they’re all there somewhere. Loyalty programs are one of the mechanisms used to help with both upselling and retention and this Marketing Dive article takes a close look at some of the changes taking place with retail loyalty programs. Interestingly the article talks about conflicting strategies. Some stores are moving more toward inclusivity and trying to let as many customers join as possible. Others go the opposite direction. Amazon increased the price of Prime membership, Wayfair implemented a $29.99/year fee for their loyalty program, and Lululemon is testing a program that would cost $128/year. The article also talks about how services can impact loyalty as well. For instance, offering same-day delivery increases loyalty for 61% of shoppers. A significant benefit of loyalty programs is detailed information about the customer and their browsing/shopping history. Stores are using that information to try to foster a stronger emotional connection and thereby increase loyalty even further. The article is full of content that could be used for a great in-depth discussion with students debating the merits and drawbacks of different strategies.
Using people, particularly celebrities, to promote products and services is a very effective way of gaining attention and credibility with an audience. The risk is that people are unpredictable and when a spokesperson does or says something that conflicts with your brand’s values and message that can create problems. Just ask Subway about Jared Fogle. Unfortunately challenges like this aren’t infrequent and one company dealing with such challenges is Papa John’s. The national pizza maker utilized it’s founder, John Schattner, as the face of the company in advertisements and even their logo. That worked fine until Schattner was caught making racist comments. Since then the company has had a very public parting of ways with Schattner and is trying to establish a new identity. This Yahoo Finance article talks about the latest developments in their strategy and it appears they are looking at using sports stars and YouTube influencers in future promotions. The company has experienced an 8.1% decline in North American sales in part due to Pizza Hut taking over their former partnership with the NFL after Schattner’s comments. Time will tell if their new strategy will be able to effectively reposition the brand.