Thursday, September 29, 2016

NFL Football Team and Rock Band Offensive?Supreme Court to Hear Trademark Case
The case involving the name of an Asian-American rock band, could have implications for the Washington Redskins
(left) Washington Redskins Quarterback, Kirk Cousins and NY Giants Quarterback, Eli Manning chat after a game.
(right) Portland, Oregon rock band, The Slants in legal battle over trademark of name.

 In a case involving an Oregon band called “The Slants”, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether a federal law, the 1946 Lanham Act, barring trademarks on racial slurs violates free speech rights.  In its September 29th article, “Supreme Court to Hear Trademark Case”, the Wall Street Journal discusses the case and its relation to the high-profile dispute over the name of the NFL's Washington Redskins.

The case started when the band and the team separately lost rulings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  An agency ruling refused to grant trademark protection for the band's name in 2013, stating it was offensive to people of Asian descent.  However, when a Federal Circuit ruling last year sided with the Portland-based Asian-American rock band in its free-speech challenge to the law governing federal trademarks, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the arguments and decide on the case.  Though it might lead to more hateful trademarks in the future, the lower court said, the First Amendment forbids government from banning offensive speech.
However, the federal government asked the Supreme Court to hear its appeal of the ruling in the band case, saying that if not overturned, the decision would allow trademarking the most vile racial slurs.  Such registration, however, can help protect trademarks nationwide in court and block the import and sale of counterfeit goods.
It is well known that the Redskins have also challenged the law, arguing it violates the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of free speech. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the Redskins case, so it could further be considered or denied later.  The Slants lead singer, Simon Tam, debated that the band adopted the name to reclaim what was once a racial slur into a “badge of pride”.
In the Redskins' 2014 dispute, the court canceled the team's six trademarks at the request of Native American activists on grounds that the team name ridiculed Native Americans.
Obama’s administration said the 1946 law does not restrict speech because the disputed names may still be used without federal registration. The Redskins, one of the National Football League's premiere franchises worth $2.4 billion, adopted the name Redskins in 1933 while in Boston before moving to Washington in 1937, and finally trademarked the name in 1967.
The Slants' case should be decided by June 2017.  So will this case set a precedent? Trademarks are integral to marketing and although this is a U.S. case, the impact of the ruling could be felt worldwide and for international marketers.  After all, the case is centered around ethnicity which ultimately relates to culture. Will this ruling impede strides in cultural sensitivity? How will marketers delineate that which is offensive and not offensive for their domestic and international target market? And what about the trademarks already registered for Yellowman, Red Man, Black Tail, and Jap?  Does the Trademark office have the authority to refuse to grant a trademark on what it may deem "racial" or is Its role simply to decide if the mark has already been registered or not?   What are your thoughts?
Blog Post by: Ally M.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

This Map Shows the Severity of India’s Pollution Problem

This Map Shows the Severity of India’s Pollution Problem

The Wall Street Journal posted an interactive map and article that examined the air quality and pollution in India.  The article states that, “92% of the world’s population live in places where air quality is worse than the WHO’s recommended limits.”

Several Indian cities make the list for the top polluted cities in the world. The WHO also says that approximately 3 million people die worldwide from exposure to pollution. In India, this pollution comes from the burning of trash and the use of coal in cooking and factories.

While this is not an article about a brand new product, this does provide important information about the situation in an emerging market. With this information, companies can look at the problems and make efforts to fix them with the implementation of new products. One example of a similar situation are the groups who sell canned air from areas with low pollution to areas with high pollution. But this kind of product does not fix the problem. Think of the traction a group could get if they were to market an alternative to the current methods of burning trash? Instead of trying to combat pollution, it would make a large impact to use this market information and offer a fix at the source.

German Regulator Orders Facebook to Stop Collecting WhatsApp User Data

German Regulator Orders Facebook to Stop Collecting WhatsApp User Data


Wal-Mart Is in Talks to Invest in Indian Startup Flipkart
By: Rick Carew, Preetika Rana, and Sarah Nassauer. Sept. 28, 2016 12:59 p.m. ET
Blog post by: Angie De La Cruz

According to a source familiar with the company, Wal-Mart Inc. is currently in discussions with Flipkart Ltda., India’s largest e-commerce firm, about investing in the startup.  If the deal goes through, the alliance will result in an increase in market share for both companies in Asia’s third-largest economy, a market that has long avoided the world’s largest retailer.  

As China’s economy slows down, many companies such as Amazon and Uber, among other startups, have turned their focus to India - one of the last big unexploited frontiers for big global brands. Earlier this year Amazon expressed their plan to invest an additional $3 billion in India, taking its total investment up to $5 billion in the country. Amazon’s total revenue was $107 billion last year. In contrast, Wall-Mart’s e-commerce sales reached nearly $14 billion last year. However, quarterly e-commerce growth has slowed in the recent years. In 2013 Wal-Mart abandoned plans to build stores in India due to the country’s high entry barriers. This decision left the firm with a very small footprint in the world’s second most populous nation; that is operating in 21 wholesales stores, none of which are allowed to sell directly to consumers. Although marketers estimate that 4% of India’s population regularly shops online, they believe the market will soon bloom as it did in China. For instance, Morgan Stanley predicts that Indian online sales will reach $100 billion a year by 2020 up from $3 billion in 2013. 

Experts predict that investing in Flipkart will help Wal-Mart gain a better position in India. In addition, it will provide Flipkart with a powerful partner with more capital that will allow them to get ahead in their competition against Amazon to become the dominant online retailer in South Asia. From a global marketing perspective, this strategic alliance is an excellent way to enter and establish in new international market. Investing in a local company will save the foreign company time, money, and effort in the global marketing research process. Flipkart’s know-how regarding the Indian e-commerce market and regulations will definitely help Wal-Mart to ease their entering process. Thus, Wal-Mart’s possible partnership is a great example of the alternative market entry strategies we learned in Chapter 12 of our Global Marketing textbook.

Ford Fights Back Against Trump Debate Claims - Analysis By Agoglia

Ford Fights Back Against Trump Debate Claims
Analysis by Franco Agoglia

Original article published: Sept. 27, 2016 11:03 a.m. ET

Image result for Ford Focus rs
2016 Ford Focus RS

Within the context of entering foreign markets, companies need to sometime look beyond strategies and investments. In this article by John D. Stoll a question is inferred, what are the political and social implications of direct foreign investment? The more obvious question when entering a new market is, how will it impact the country that is being entered? However, the harder question to answer is, how will the companies home country perceive the move?

In the case of Ford Motors move of small vehicle production to Mexico, this dilemma is evident. As highlighted by the article, presidential candidate Donald Trump has used Ford as the poster boy for companies taking production and jobs to other lower labor cost countries. Trump may be using this argument in order to gain political points, but when it comes to marketing and public relations, popular opinion of a company must be considered when making any strategic move.

In my opinion Ford has done what is necessary in order to stay competitive within the industry. Small economic vehicles such as the Ford Focus provide a very small profit margin relative to luxury cars, trucks and SUVs, therefore the pressure to maintain competitive pricing and high profit margins lead companies to explore the best option within their environment and capabilities. In other words, Ford is forced to make the move to Mexico for its cheaper labor force under the current economic and political environment between Mexico and the US. In response, Ford has also given emphasis to the their target to increase higher profit margin vehicles such as their pick-ups and SUV within the US, which proves logical as the higher margins allow Ford to absorb the costs of higher labor costs.

So what could be the solution to this dilemma? As long as there is a strategic advantage to investing in foreign countries, companies from all industries will continue to do so. From the prospective of Ford and other automakers, the flak that they may take from moving jobs across the border is marginal to the economic benefit of producing in countries with lower labor costs. Besides, outside of the election cycle who really pays attention to the origin of production of their sweet new ride, which they are getting with a low price and probably some awesome financing options?

Back off Government!

The Race to Universal ‘One Click’ Shopping
Jack Ma’s idea of digital free trade would be a boon for consumers and smaller merchants.

Doubts About Digital Ads Raise Over New Revelations

By Suzanne Vranica and Mike Shields

Sept. 23, 2016 7:45 p.m. ET

Marketers pour huge amounts of money into digital advertising every year. However, marketers are now finding out they cannot be sure how well that money is being spent or what they are really receiving in terms of the return on investment. Revelations that Facebook Inc. overestimated by up to 80% the average time people spent watching video ads on its platform shocked the media and marketing world. Marketers  globally fear they are wasting billions of dollars on ads that aren’t viewable, or visible to the human eye, or are being shown on sites with computer generated fake traffic. The lack of transparency and truthful measurement of online advertising will be issues mentioned in the annual Advertising Week Festivities gathering in New York next week. Facebook disclosed that the metric it reported for two years of the average time users spent watching videos was artificially inflated, because it only factored in video views of more than three seconds. Therefore, The Wall Street Journal reported that this error likely overestimated the average time spent viewing videos by 60% to 80%. Facebook has a 22% share of the $46 billion U.S mobile ad market, according to eMarketer, and its mobile ad revenue jumped 80% in the latest quarter. My opinion is that marketers need to keep increasing spending on digital ads, especially on mobile devices, if they want consumers to spend more time on digital video versus TV. However, I also agree that the information cannot be overestimated because it could have impacted how much money marketers allocated to the platform and misled them on how effective their ad campaigns were.

  Questions we should know as MBA graduates.

 Image result for image - intelligence

5 Questions an MBA should know after reading this article.

Q-1 What is Brexit?

Answer- Brexit is Britain Exits from the EU. The vote was 52:48. The reason? Yes economics. Maybe they will rejoin.

Q-2 Turkish Coup of 2016- What is the deal?

Answer- Turkey blames the US for being behind the coup. Turkey is a member of NATO and wants to be in the EU. Also Turkey is a  majority Moslem state and an ally of the US against terror. Potential to be messy.

Q-3 What is an Emerging Markets?

Answer - There are 23 emerging markets. They are characterized as national economies that are developing the infrastructure, the markets, the laws and policies to become fully integrated into the global markets. 

Q-4 Why are people talking about Emerging markets?

Answer- investors want returns. The greater the returns the greater the risk. Economics 101.

Q-5 Global Sovereign Bond Index means?

Answer- Lets break it down, Global check, Sovereign – is a term of origination and refers to a specific country. Bond is a sophisticated financial instrument designed to return specific returns over periods of time. Index- this is where the good stuff is- an index is a grouping- the genius of the concept is ……….

Look Canada has a 10 year bond that returns 1.34% - Brazil 10 year bond returns 12.84%- they are both guaranteed by their respective government –  The greatest the return at the lowest risk – is the idea behind indexes.

Writing this article helped me- Thank you. Did you learn something new?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

U.S., U.K. Diplomats Meet Libyan Militias to Restart Oil Exports

It is a big sky, but GoPro’s new place in the drone market is already getting crowded.
Sales of high-definition camera drones are soaring. Most are a pain to lug around, though. So GoPro’s first drone, unveiled last week, attempted to set itself apart with collapsible wings that allow the quadcopter to fit into a backpack-size case. The Karma drone, as it is called, goes on sale next month.
It was a solid first attempt by the company better known for its tiny action cameras. But GoPro was never destined to have this airspace to itself. SZ DJI Technology showed off its own foldable drone on Tuesday. The Mavic Pro reduces to a size even smaller than GoPro’s Karma and includes many of the obstacle-dodging and autopilot features that made the company’s Phantom 4 a hit. DJI’s new drone also goes on sale next month.
The news caused GoPro’s shares to slip on Tuesday. DJI already accounts for about half the U.S. drone market, according to Skylogic Research. Other estimates have put the company’s share at more than two-thirds globally. The privately backed company, based in Shenzhen, China, has raised about $581 million in funding to date for a valuation of about $10 billion, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. That is over four times as large as GoPro’s market capitalization.
Competing with such a formidable opponent is risky. But GoPro’s drone is likely to serve more as an expansion product to its existing camera market, as the Karma requires one of the company’s Hero 4 or Hero 5 cameras to operate. That should limit the competitive overlap with DJI.
Drones also aren’t expected to be a major contributor to GoPro’s business in the near term. The company told analysts last week that the Karma will be available only through select retailers initially. GoPro has also priced its drone competitively, including a stabilizing “grip” stick and carrying case with the device. So margins on the drone will likely be modest, at least to start. The new Hero 5 cameras are far more important to the company’s financial outlook.
The drone market is also still in its early days, with lots of room for competition. Consumer-drone sales totaled about $1.6 billion last year, according to Gartner. Simona Jankowski of Goldman Sachs Group projects consumer-drone sales alone will surpass the $3 billion mark by 2019. That leaves plenty of airspace for GoPro, even if it hits some turbulence on the way.
Write to Dan Gallagher at