Saturday, September 26, 2015

U.S.-China Summit Yields Tentative Deals

President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping discussed the issues of Chinese cyberattacks on the U.S. and Chinese island-building in the South China Sea at the summit. Beijing’s commitments delayed any immediate threat of the U.S. imposing sanctions on Chinese entities over cyberattacks or taking more robust military action around China’s artificial islands. U.S. officials are concerned over the issues of cyberattacks as well as economic slow down in China, due to its commitment to open more of its market to U.S. firms. President Obama has been urged to take a forceful approach to Beijing’s cybertheft from U.S. companies.

The U.S. and China agreed not to direct or condone cyberattacks that steal corporate records for their own economic benefit. Mr. Obama said. “We will be watching carefully as to make an assessment as to whether progress has been made in this area.”

Some critics disagreed with President Obama’s decision to invite Mr. Xi to the White House for a black tie dinner, due to the allegations that Chinese hackers have stolen vital information from American corporations.

Chapter 7 lists four managerial approaches to protecting Intellectual Property which are:
(1) prevention, that is, engage local representation and diligently register IP with the appropriate agencies.
(2) pursue negotiation and alternative dispute resolution.
(3) complain to the Chinese authorities.
(4) complain to the U.S. government and World Trade Organization (WTO).

These managerial approaches were present in President Obama and President Xi Jinping's meeting. In my opinion, it was necessary for President Obama to build rapport with President Xi by inviting him to dinner in order to discuss the issues of cyberattacks, instead of retaliation. President Obama also expressed his concerns and made an agreement with President Xi to stop the cybertheft from American companies. 

U.S.-China Summit Yields Tentative Deals by:Carol E. Lee, Colleen McCain Nelson
and Jeremy Page Sept 26, 2015 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Volkswagen-gate: an opportunity 

This week we acknowledged that a well-known German automobile firm, Volkswagen, used a manipulating software to avoid the high polluting levels of its cars during emission tests. Consequently, after the scandal its Chief Executive has been rapidly replaced. The main issue for VW manufacturer is going to be to gain back the trust from consumers, but only from them. Other institutions involved such as the European Commission are at the center of attention as they are asked whether the European officers knew about irregularities during the tests.

Nevertheless, what must be of concern to Volkswagen’s directives is what the public opinion actually thinks about the brand and if VW eco-friendly marketing strategy is going to last. To restore the trust and the customer’s perception a well-designed marketing plan will be needed.

May be this scandal can be also seen as an opportunity to develop a different type of energy to fuel automobiles. Fortunately, this crisis hitting the diesel sector can have a higher impact - not only in the way of doing business without breaking the law. The low price of the oil and this last episodes can be the perfect storm to start changing the energy paradigm. 

To Stay Or To Go?

The author expresses views that cater to Apple's disciples but also opens a can of worms on whether an individual should remain a loyalist or explore other options. In recent reports by Kantar World Panel ( Apple although picking up some momentum in European countries on market shares Android still dominates a majority of those regions and the world market. As a customer who has experienced the best of both worlds ( Apple & Android), there are many features that cater to me on both platforms. As a pawn utilized by both of these competitors, phone company's release  a new mobile operating system every year, with a strategy that welcomes acquisition hardware (phone). This in some manner develops a controlled customer where behavior  is studied and expectations are met. Each Fall religiously the masses rush to download the latest and greatest versions of iOS, which is strategically released around the same time new hardware (phone) is released, which works best on that new hardware.  This affects the customer in a manner that his/ her device may become slow and finicky. To have it operational, we take that trip to our cell phone provider for an upgrade or  are left to struggle with our challenged technological device.

This strategy has worked well for Apple, but many other customers are complaining about the sluggish phones that seem to be a burden for them. To be on that platform Apple not only persuades the customer to get new hardware (phone) but App developers have to jump aboard of get left behind. Developers are encouraged to target the latest version of iOS. The race to be competitive and a leader in your industry in my opinion is what drives Apple to keep pushing the technological envelope. In this arena, you are faced with a choice of "Do I create an operating system that works with older devices or do I create one of a kind operating system that take advantage of the latest hardware?"  In business, you want to keep that forward momentum in all possible avenues that encompasses your business model, it is not in Apples best interest to remain stagnant by indulging into ventures or markets that does not promote global objectives.

Although customers are faced with the question " to stay or to go?" As you can see companies are faced with the same dilemma whether it pertains to domestic markets or international markets. The nature in which the consumers loyalty in my opinion is evaluated is whether or not that product offered can produce value to that consumer. One thing Apple has relied on is a constant focus on the 4P's of marketing (Product, Price, Placement, Promotion). The nature to stick to this strategy and also understand world markets will promote the Apple brand globally.

Why We Keep Buying Each New Iphone by: Geoffrey A. Fowler  Sept 23, 2015 WSJ. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Adidas Signs Eyewear Licensing Deal

By Manuela Mesco and Ellen Emmerentze Jervel. Sept. 3, 2015 12:13 p.m. ET

After suffering losses in the U.S. market, German firm Adidas AG has been making plans to update their brand. Amongst these plans, including a new more ‘urban’ line of clothing labeled, Adidas Original. Adding more street wear and accessories to their catalogue, collaborating with famous artist such as Pharrell Williams in design, and contracts for marketing with Kanye West -  all in an effort to regain market share and increase their credentials with American youth.  This marketing strategy was successful, increasing sales by the first half of the year.

In addition to these plans, Adidas AG has partnered with small Italian eyewear maker, Italia Independent SpA to enter the lower designer eyewear market. This strategy has been used by many firms in the past by larger companies like Chanel, Armani, and Gucci. Italia Independent is a young company that was founded in 2007. Unlike other deals that have joined designer brands with eyewear companies, Adidas plans to include both their name, as well as Italia’s on the product. This method will increase the market exposure for Italia in addition to exposing Adidas to a new market.

With all of the competition that Adidas currently has, both in the sportswear and now the eyewear market, their strategy will be very important. Using the Originals collection to introduce new accessories, such as watches, was a great way to prime the market for their new eyewear line. The partnership with popular celebrities was also very beneficial to Adidas and hopefully this influence will place them into an advantageous position. Though Adidas has never been a favored brand of mine, their advertising has always been very visible, yet as we know visibility does not always equal success. One can only hope that the release of the new eyewear collection this coming January will be what consumers are looking for.

Why It Is Tough to Make Money Selling Stuff in India

Friday, September 18, 2015

Look Out, U.S Grocers, U.K.'s Free-for-All Heads Across the Pond; No-frills German discounters Aldi and Lidl have taken the British market by storm, and are now targeting the U.S.

Global Dominance: Invasion of Aldi and Lidl

     Increasing grocery prices are directly related with the economy and consumer price index. Adjusting to these steady price increases in the economy drives an army of consumers who are constantly seeking stores that cater within their budget. To prosper amongst the intense competition local grocery stores need to maintain low prices and excellent operations that satisfy customers needs. Navigating into unfriendly territory, Aldi and Lidl quest to embark on a global marketing expedition to deliver cheaper prices by improving the customers experience, has produced a disruption of the hold loyal consumers have towards U.S. brands. 
     My personal evaluation of Aldi revealled the following; although a small establishment, I was able to obtain value for the trolley of groceries purchased within 30 minutes from a choice of over 1,000 o more items with savings of 40% or more when compared to Wal- Mart, Kroger, Fiesta, and HEB. The store was clean and attractive and I was able to shop with ease. Initially I was reluctant to shop at Aldi and saw it as an imitation of Wal-Mart but the sterotype was dismissed. I was willing to try different brands that gave me the
similiar results on value when compared to higher priced brands. 
    Aldi's understands the global market and consumer needs, which is evident of their timely launching and global extension. The diverse prospective of entering into the American market has caused operations to be presented as a single global market with multiple segments that has extended beyond the German national boarders. The seismic shift in global marketing invites competition and trade opportunities into different regions of the world. Aldi has learnt to master the marketing mix that is culturally feasible and cost effective. Aldi and Lidl gained significant traction during the recent recession whilst other competitors raised prices. In the article it fails to address the uncontrollable factors that these companies encountered in their quest to invade international markets that catered to consumers tast and socio-cultural differences. Overcoming those hurdles drives competition, which welcomes growth when a market has been established away from headquarters. In all essence price will be the main driver that will decide who gets a bigger share of customers during the recovery stages of the American economy.

Twitter Teams with Coke for Emoji Branding

Wall Street Journal: Twitter Teams with Coke for Emoji Branding
By Yoree Koh
18 September 2015

Article review by Stephanie Stelter

Social media giant Twitter has established a new milestone in marketing through social media: the advent of the branded emoji.  For the less social media savvy, "emoji" is the current jargon for the small digital images, icons, or pictograms used to express an idea, emotion, etc. in electronic communication.  This first branded emoji was created in partnership with Coca-Cola Co. as part of its "Share a Coke" marketing campaign.  While custom emojis have been used by Twitter in the past, this icon featuring two Coke bottles clinking together in a toast is the first time the company as offered an emoji as a product.  However, it will not be the last.  The emoji feature will be offered to by Twitter to its biggest brand-name clients as an addition to existing product packages.  Discussions are already in progress with ten of Twitter's largest clients.

This advancement in digital marketing has several implications in the marketing industry. 

First, images cross language and literacy barriers that place limitations on text.  The use of branded emoji to promote established brands creates an opportunity for a campaign element with consistent global application. Companies will likely be willing to invest substantial funds in advertisements with so many opportunities for use.

Second, social media is continuing to grow in prominence as an effective means of marketing, with ever-evolving technologies increasing the marketing products available within the medium: increasingly refined targeting methods, new tools for evaluating campaign effectiveness, auto-play video ads, and now the branded emoji.  With the growing importance of social media, the career opportunities for marketing professional with an expertise in social media are also growing. Professionals who choose to stay abreast of the developments in social media will have increasing value in the field.

Finally, the challenge for Twitter and the partnering companies will be developing branded emojis that maintain an awareness of the differing cultures of the target populations for the campaigns.  While images are not subject to language barriers, they do have the possibility of carrying different cultural meanings.  A level of cultural sensitivity must be employed in the development of these icons.

Fortunately for Coca-Cola Co., the toast has become a well-known gesture globally, communicating camaraderie and friendship in alignment with their existing marketing campaign.  I personally am very interested to see what other branded emojis are developed for the other Twitter clients and their global impacts.

Look Out, U.S Grocers, U.K.’s Free-for-All Heads Across the Pond

Wall Street Journal: Look Out, U.S. Grocers, U.K.'s Free-for-All Heads Across the Pond 
By Saabira Chaudhuri
September 10, 2015

 Article review by Ayan Martin
The U.K. has seen a recent shift in grocery sales, where big name players like Tesco and Sainsbury have taken a back seat to discount chains like Aldi and Lindl. The article states that Tesco, Sainsbury, and Morrison shares have already dropped more than13% on average since Aldi and Lindl stores opened. Stores like Tesco are designed similar to Kroger and Whole Foods, with a well-kept, organized, and plentiful supply concept. These stores are attractive but can demand a higher price point. Stores like Aldi do not aim to please the eye, but the wallet. They offer select items that are majority generic, sell some items directly from the pallet, and have smaller stores, which reduces overhead costs and ultimately sales prices. This may not sound like much competition to the big name stores, as many people like to shop where they have more options, but it has become the opposite. Based on worldwide market changes, price is the one thing on everyone's mind. Consumers are shifting their mindset to be more cost conscious, and stores like Aldi is allowing them to do that. And surprise, they are starting to open stores in the US!! The US presence of Aldi may be a game changer for stores like Whole Foods, and even Kroger and HEB. It also may be a direct competitor with low-priced Wal-Mart. 

I personally visited an Aldi store in Houston, and wasn't impressed. I like the idea of having options and different price points; I am also brand loyal to some items. I feel it would be a waste of my time and gas to visit Aldi for certain items and HEB to get the brands I can't live without. Good luck to Aldi and Lindl in your quest for grocery store domination!

Inside Uber’s Fight With Its Chinese Nemesis, Didi Kuaidi

Inside Uber’s Fight With Its Chinese Nemesis, Didi Kuaidi
China’s huge ride-hailing market has erupted into an all-out brawl

WSJ September 3, 2015

A great emphasis in global marketing is figuring out the ideal ways to prosper in an environment that is foreign. The foreign environment can be beneficial or otherwise hostile towards a new business or venture. This is exactly the case with Uber Technologies that has recently began its expansion in the Chinese markets. One of the hardest uncontrollable influences that Uber has to deal with is the Chinese Didi Kuaidi service that has power and a control of the market that Uber wants to enter into. The article emphasizes the great opportunities of the Chinese market and the potential growth in ride-hailing. This is precisely why there is such a great hope and belief in entering Uber as a competitor in the Chinese markets. This entering is not without a reaction by Didi Kuaidi who also is reacting in the same manner with capital investment and growth. Didi Kuadi is far a greater competitor than Uber with 4,000 employees in 80 cities while Uber currently has 200 employees in only 16 cities so far. On Uber’s side however is technological edge with maps that are more accurate. What is interesting is that both companies have hired cousins from the same prominent Chinese family to aid in the business dealings. This is a great move on Uber’s part as to have a local talent in an uncontrollable foreign market. Uber will have more understanding of the marketplace and culture by having someone who can provide great insight. Hostility has occurred as Uber has speculated that Didi Kuaidi had deleted Uber’s accounts in China’s mobile chat app WeChat. To gain a better position in the foreign market Uber has also made sure to distinguish itself as a separate entity as “UberChina”.

            What is interesting in the battle for the Chinese markets is the fact that private ride-hailing is
illegal” and most drivers of both Uber and Did Kuaidi can be caught and punished by the government and forced to pay fines. Not only does Uber have to compete with Did Kuaidi but also it must compete with the regulations of the foreign government which may in the end determine the success of UberChina. To make matters worse there has begun unrest within the employees of private ride-hailing companies as more applications for phones are making it easier to create fictitious orders and fictitious rides for drivers to then gain compensation and bonuses. This faking then has had repercussions on the real drivers who are left without bonuses and have even had accounts terminated for speculation of hacking which they did not do. It will be very interesting to see the future of UberChina in the Chinese markets as they have to deal with competition, a foreign regulatory government, and the growth of hackers cheating the system. They will have to be very innovative if UberChina is to expand in the Chinese market and gain the popularity of the locals. 

-Katherine Wojtyna (9/18/15)

Chile Mines Turn to Renewable Energy

Chile Mines Turn to Renewable Energy

Aug. 11, 2015 9:57 p.m. ET


Article Reviewed by Alanna Murray

Last year, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet issued a new Energy Agenda which was used to set the foundation for a national energy policy. The plan addressed several issues in the energy industry, and as it executes, Chile’s renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors would compete on a more even level with conventional energy. Over the years, there has been a need for a more strategic and cohesive government structure of the energy sector. Existing and projected plants have caused significant social and environmental damage. However, many of the newer conventional energy projects are delayed or hindered by legal appeals, and renewable energy has been held back by several regulatory obstacles. Many experts predicted an upcoming energy crisis in the near future, where the country would not have enough generation to power continued growth in the economy, particularly in the mining sector. As a result, the Energy Agenda was the solution to these issues. As the cost of solar and wind power declines, renewable energy has become increasingly attractive to power-hungry mining companies – one of Chile’s biggest industries. Now more than ever Chile has pioneered more alternatives to conventional power after years of shouldering some of the world’s highest energy costs. “Unlike in developed countries where the main driver of renewable energy development has been the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions, that isn’t the principal driver here, but rather energy security and competitive prices,” said Fernando Hentzschel, the director of development and technology at Cifes. One of the most common of renewable energy outlets for Chile is the use of solar energy. The solar radiation levels in the Atacama, a plateau in South America/Chile, are some of the highest in the world – making an ideal location for producing solar power. This is definitely a huge opportunity for the mining industry as well as many other industries or companies that would thrive off of renewable, mainly solar energy.
The following article, in my opinion, ties in perfectly with chapter three of the course.  It deals with much of Chile’s history and geography, and how that affects the market and potential business ventures.  Also, how the new implemented Energy Agenda has opened up many opportunities for several industries to thrive off of the natural resources and how the process adapts to the high levels of solar radiation.

Uber Meets Its Match in France


An anti-Uber sign taped to a taxi in Paris in June says ‘Outside the Law.’ Taxi operators in France have denounced the low-cost Uberpop service because it relies on nonprofessional drivers.

Uber began its service in France in 20111, because it believed that there would be a great potential for growth. The company experienced immediate success which has caused the French government to begin a crackdown on the service. France labelled Uber with the tag of being a professional car service which meant that it was subject to stringent rules and regulations. Uber complied with the regulations as they currently have 10,000 registered drivers. However, Uber also made a move to circumvent the regulation by offering a car sharing service named Uberpop. The method used by Uber led to a massive taxi strike and has led to the arrest of the two senior Uber executives based in France. Uber blames the taxi service for the popularity of Uber. They point to the fact that taxi licenses have only increased by 25% over the past 75 years, so the demand outgrew the supply. Uberpop currently has 160,000 regular users and that number is continuing to grow as the service is expanding to new cities in defiance of the French government. The French government will not address Uber by its corporate name because they believe that Uber does not respect French laws and customers. Rather, French company refers to Uber as the "California Company."

This article directly relates to chapter's 3 and 4 because it is about French culture. The French government believes that Uber went out of its way to avoid French law and traditions. The trial for the French executives is scheduled to begin this month, so we will see if they did in fact show little regard to French law and customs.

Google Pursuing a Return to China

David Jara
“Google Pursuing a Return to China”
September 4, 2015

After ceasing operations in 2010, Google is once again looking to enter the world’s second largest economy by introducing a Google licensed version of the Android with Google’s Play app store.  This is a customized version of their Play app store that includes material approved by the Chinese government.  Google previously closed operations in China after Gmail users were hacked and following disputes with the government over censorship.  Since Google left, China has become the largest smartphone market.  Of course Google has aspirations to service this market but with how opposed they’ve been to web censorship it will be interesting seeing how they navigate this new venture. 
The Chinese government isn’t’ their only barrier to entry.  Competitors such as Xiaomi Inc. and OnePlus have their own versions of the Android and other companies like Baidu Inc, and Tencent Holdings have created their own app store.  Eventually Google would be interested in resuming its search and Gmail services for Android users in China but as you can see they have a lot to overcome.  I personally believe that if Google wants to serve the Chinese market bad enough they’ll give in to the Chinese government and give them a way to monitor the information being exchanged on the web.  However, in the meantime they’ll use this as a stepping stone to merely reestablish themselves.  Once they obtain market share, and I have no doubt they will, they can look to reestablish themselves as a search and email service. 

This is a great example of an uncontrollable element with marketing in a foreign country.  The Political and Legal forces in this case are out of Google’s control and thus Google must succumb to the requirements of the Chinese government to penetrate the Chinese market.