Marketing Post #6: Assignment 3 Reflective Post

My last marketing post for my COMM 296 course is a reflective piece, and I now choose to do it on our last team assignment: Assignment 3.

For the project, our team of five had to analyze our chosen company’s (BlackBerry) marketing mix, and then see if it matches the target market we suggest for the company. It was also a video assignment, so we had to find some way to make all our info into a video.

This assignment also required very little new research, as it builds on our two previous assignments. The challenge was to find a suitable way to display our info into a video, while making it interesting to the viewer. We did consider doing the very popular drawing/writing on a board idea, but we thought too many other groups would want to do that. So instead, we decided to film ourselves in a variety of scenarios that mimicked BlackBerry’s Keep Moving ads–except in a negative light. The video making process was a great bonding experience for the team, and became one of the funnest meetings we had together. We went around campus doing silly things (e.g. pretending to hit a group member with a car as he talked on his BlackBerry device), and we had a lot of laughs. It was definitely an unforgettable experience.

A problem we ran into was the fact that none of us were very skilled video editors. We had a basic idea of what we wanted to do: we’ll first show the spoof of our ad, followed by a Prezi presentation with a voiceover describing the slides. To go on from there, we realized we would have to learn how to use Prezi, as well as record voiceovers and piece everything together into a nice video. However, we did have a member who was semi-competent at video editing, and his help on the last part of putting together the whole thing was invaluable (thanks Jordan!).

Overall, although this project took a long time to complete, it was not an unpleasant experience. It did bring us out of comfort zone and ultimately, I think my team and I can all agree that we learned a lot more about BlackBerry as a company.

Blackberry’s Keep Moving ad that we mimicked.
Our idea: To display a variety of individuals who kept moving with their BlackBerry device, but end up running into a lot of dangerous or negative scenarios as they kept moving forward ignoring the consequences. This suggested that we believe that if BlackBerry was to continue targeting the general public (instead of Business and organizations as they formerly did), it was going to be a dangerous move on their part, as they have relatively little market share in the casual smartphone consumer market. 

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Marketing Post #5: Perfecting Your Dreams– Now Fit For The 21st Century

A while back, I made a post on the Disney Princesses’ new look. I want to revisit that topic and delve into why Disney is recreating the figures that have always been a timeless part of many of our childhood.

Disney Princess Wallpapers 01

For a period of time, it seemed that Disney took a break from its franchise of princesses. The world was stuck associating six princesses with the whole line of Disney products; namely: Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle and Jasmine. And then it seemed that Disney decided to reawaken every little girl’s dreams of being a princess by adding sequels to the original movies, as well as introducing new ones such as Tianna, Rapunzel, and our latest princess, Merida. They also opened up the criteria for who they considered a princess, allowing Mulan and Pocahontas to join their ranks.

newlook

With the latest change, it was not only an introduction of new characters, but also a rework of their old princesses. They seemed to have opted to shower the new princesses with tons of sparkles. So why the rework? Why did they go through all this effort to change the classic images of the princesses dedicated fans have come to love? Marketing.

Disney Princesses sell. That is a known fact. The target market has always been little girls, but sadly, these girls grow up. A lot of us still retain our fondness towards the iconic characters, but of course, Disney recognizes that who is currently in their market is constantly changing. The late 20th to 21st Century also brought with it the attractiveness of teen pop sensations and celebrities. The old princesses’ hair styles and comparatively dull dresses seemed lacklustre compared to Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez plastered on magazines. Disney needed to change.

newdisneyprincesses

By improving aspects of the princesses, what Disney did was re-brand their franchise. Their marketing mix remains essentially the same, still producing the same range of merchandise, at the regular price, promoting them as they always did. However, stamping the new princesses onto their items help appeal to the modern little girl’s interest in fantasy and fairytales, and helps them to remain relevant in the market. They also integrated their princesses into new shows, such as Sophia the First, in order to reintroduce these princesses to the current rotation of girls in their market.

Although I was uncomfortable at first with the changes, I still stand by what I said in my last post in that I like the way the new princesses look (maybe because Cinderella’s original hairstyle has always bothered me), and I am interested to see where Disney will take their princesses in the future!

Sources: (x) (x)

Marketing Post #4: Let Me Tweet, Instagram, Share, Pin and Reblog This.

The rise of social media is upon us, and it seems that every company– both big and small– are scrambling to establish themselves these platforms (if not all of them). But the question is, do they really need to force themselves onto these social media sites?

I have seen some businesses that are on every social media site they can get their hands on. But how effective is Blackberry and their twitter account, where they throw info on where their demos are, as well as constantly reminding the world that they simply need a Blackberry (urging you to go to their closest carrier)? Or a pet food company’s Pinterest where not know what they should pin resort to posting pictures of dogs and cats?

While connecting with customers through social media sites have proven to be effective, I agree with what blogger Amy Wray says: “It’s not about self promotion”. Going back to the Blackberry example, they simply decide to tweet in hopes of promoting their latest products to customers. On the other hand, it is evident that Samsung Canada’s twitter does a lot of interaction with their customers, replying to tweets and fostering a relationship. This is a clear example of not simply signing up for social media, for the sake of simply having social media.

Before deciding to jump into the world of social media, a company should identify their goals for having an account on a site. Maintaining these accounts take time, and if you do not understand why you are investing the effort, it will all go to waste. Different sites also may be best depending on who your target market is. Pinterest is known for being popular among women audiences, and Google+ has more males as its users. I agree that social media is important, but I would urge a company to carefully evaluate their options, and make decisions accordingly– or else they will simply be wasting their time, or worst– make huge fools of themselves.

External blog references:

http://blogs.constantcontact.com/product-blogs/social-media-marketing/social-media-planning/

http://modprbyamy.com/2013/03/10/why-social-media-marketing-is-key-for-small-businesses/

 

Marketing Post #3: A New Beginning for Research In Mo– I mean, Blackberry.

With the new Blackberry Z10 released on February 5th in Canada, many realized that the new product was not the only new thing the market would have to get used to. Research in Motion has officially changed their name to Blackberry— the name that almost everyone associates with their company in the first place.

Within the marketing mix, it is obvious that Blackberry hopes to touch on its “promotion”aspect. With the wide variety of smartphones out there in the market, it has become evident that the promotion of the product has become essential to its success. Taking a look at the famous Apple product launches and the sleek ads displaying their new releases, the hype it brings up as well as sales it generates thereafter seems to be a recipe for success. Blackberry must learn to convince the wary public that despite the hiccups they have experienced in the past year, their new phones are just as good– or even better– than the leading alternatives out there. Of course, facing both Apple and Samsung– the two major leaders currently in the smartphone market– might almost be impossible, but the rebranding of the company may be one of the best first steps.

So what exactly is Blackberry trying to rebrand themselves as? I believe it is mostly to unite their company and products under a single name. Although RIM has been recognized in Canada and North America, many around the world do not see the link between RIM and its products, mistakenly referring to the company as simply Blackberry. By changing their name, it allows them to capitalize on something that they have already established: devices that provides security and an excellent user experience.

My classmate Winnie Li also points out that the name change may also be to associate themselves as a good phone for the public consumer market, and not just businesses and government organizations. I think this will be an interesting switch in their target market, and I too am interested to see how the public will react to the new marketing strategies Blackberry will be throwing out.

Blackberry’s CMO explains their name change

Sources:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/01/29/business-rim-blackberry.html

http://blogs.ubc.ca/liwinnie/

Marketing Post #2: People Are Dying, It’s Time for Shopping!

Many companies know that in order to have successfully promote your products, you need to seize opportunities. So when Hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc across the US, American Apparel leapt at the opportunity and chose to use one of the sure-fire channels of communication to reach their customers: the internet.

What exactly was American Apparel trying to communicate across? No, it had nothing to do with using the disaster to boost their image by urging people to donate to a relief fund, as many other companies jumped to do. Instead, they offered those who were stuck at home and ‘bored’ to discount codes for their online website.

The ad was met with criticism, and outrage from the public, especially when the death toll was climbing higher every hour during the hurricane. However, not only did American Apparel not apologize for their campaign, they went on to explain that it is “expensive to run a Made in USA brand like American Apparel,” so they were trying to make up for lost revenue.

They may have nailed it by getting an ad campaign up as soon as possible, seizing the situational opportunities of the hurricane, but in hindsight, did they really believe no one was going to get offended? The identified their target audience as those who were forced to stay home for safety reasons, but overlooked the fact that the US as a whole was panicking.

Another company who tried to make use of situational opportunities includes GAP. They chose to make a short tweet offering their concern for victims, but quickly moved on to promoting themselves not unlike what American Apparel did. However, they quickly tweeted an clarification to atone for their actions, which is more than can be said for in American Apparel’s case.

All the same, something can definitely be learned here. Sure, it is important to make use of any opportunities that come your way, but from what direction should you approach it?