Friday, May 17, 2019

Curious Marketing 

Taco Bell is opening a hotel for a short time that will have its restaurant themes throughout it. While it is creative, it is curious marketing.  What does Taco Bell have to do with rooms?  It is a stretch to say that Mexican food has deep relationships to room service and overnight stays.  And how do you square a swimming pool with tacos and chalupas?  Sometimes, marketers can buy strange ideas. In their favor, the news that it is launching the location in Palm Springs has generated media copy, but is that worth the money spent?  The company must have reasoning behind this stunt.  It would be worth knowing what it is.

Thursday, May 16, 2019


Since becoming President, Trump's resort hotels have experienced a revenue plunge.  The fall has been attributed to his actions in the Oval Office.  It is an example of reputation in one arena bleeding into business.  Had Trump known it would harm his image and his brand, would he still have run in 2016?  We may never find out.  Trump is aiming for reelection in 2020, a course that is looking steeper by day.  His lack of discipline and chaotic behavior is against him.  While he keeps a core of supporters, they are too few to ensure that he will stay in office for the full eight years.  Meanwhile, his properties continue to lose money and he will have a mess to straighten out whether or not he remains at the helm.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Challenge 

What kind of marketing and PR do you need when your customers are moving away from you?  This is the challenge facing cable companies.  Millions are cutting the cord to cable TV.  Industry executives continue to say it is not a problem, but at some point they will need to face the issue.  There are too many entertainment, news and sports services out there now, and price-conscious consumers can pick and choose among them.  It might help if cable cut its rates and unbundled its channels, but it could be too late for that.  What remains for the cable giants is internet service.  Customers are dumping TV channels but not broadband delivery.  Rather than building on that, cable companies are taking a punitive approach.  They charge more for broadband if one doesn't take TV channels with it. It's a monopoly move and ultimately will attract regulators' interest.  Cable companies need a better solution, and so far they haven't found one.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Stating The Truth 

Uber's IPO sank as soon as it hit the market.  Uber's CEO stated the truth about stock price in a masterful memo to employees.  He didn't sugar-coat the need for company performance in order for the price to rise and recover.  He didn't inveigh against the fickle nature of markets.  He said clearly and cogently that the future is in the hands of the employees and the company. Their work will make the difference.  Uber is still a long way from profitability and it will take prolonged efforts to turn it around.  So, while employees are holding shares that are underwater, they have an incentive to help them bob to the surface.  It might not help morale right away but the memo provides a clear direction for everyone from the top down.   

Monday, May 13, 2019

What Will It Take? 

Carbon dioxide levels have reached levels unknown since the rise of humans, and there is only one epic, Pliocene, millions of years ago when it was equaled.  What will it take for humans to understand that global warming is real?  There are signs that Americans are coming around to accepting it in spite of its leader, who resolutely refuses to engage with the issue.  Wild weather and warming temperatures appear to be at the heart of persuasion.  PR campaigns have echoed what nature is doing but without teeth until recently.  But, global warming requires global solutions.  One country can't make a difference.  This puts an onus on Third World nations who are struggling to raise their citizenry's lifestyles from poverty.  Moving away from the gas engine would impose a burden on them. They probably won't do it unless fuel becomes too expensive, but that will require dismantling the global energy industry -- no mean task.  

Friday, May 10, 2019

Military PR 

Can the business of death have PR value?  This weapon contains concern for civilians at the same time it is wiping out enemy fighters.  It is a step forward in killing combatants but not innocent men, women and children who happen to be near them.  Concern for civilians has been a sore point for the military since terrorists have blended in with the population.  This weapon is a nod to the fact that explosives are indiscriminate and wipe out those near a target.  If it works as described, it will dramatically reduce injury.  This is a step forward for which the military should be congratulated even though killing is at the heart of the weapon. 

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Smart Marketing 

There is little better than taking an old product and doing something radically new with it.  Consider,. for instance, shoes.  They have been around in design and styles for thousands of years.  Now, Nike has taken steps to guarantee it will sell you a shoe that fits the first time you try them on. It has developed an app to scan feet.  Such a simple idea but a profound change in a market where an estimated two-thirds of users are wearing shoes that are either too small or too large. Getting it right the first time has implications up and down the supply chain.  It reduces returns.  It helps the company figure out what sizes to send to stores to meet demand.  It makes for happier customers who come back when they want to buy another pair.  It saves chunks of money.  Nike already is the leading shoe retailer in the US.  An innovation like this helps cement its front-running place.  Kudos to the company.

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