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Virgin Airlines’ New In-Air Dating and Hookup Service

I found this article on BrandChannel’s Twitter today. Virgin Airlines is offering a new service on its flights that basically allows passengers to flirt with each other. Using the TV screens on the back of the seats, a passenger can send text messages, a drink or snack to another. The author of this article is concerned that the aisles will be crowded with the deliveries of additional drinks and snacks, not to mention the possible resulting hookups. 

And as crazy as this seems, it’s not a totally new idea: KLM, a Dutch airline, offers a “Meet and Seat” matchmaking service that connects to passengers’ social media accounts like Facebook and LinkedIn to set up passengers on the same flight.

What value do you think this provides to customers? Do you think it could detract from other passengers’ in-flight experiences?


Hotel Industry in China

Recently, I’ve been reading the Hotel Year Book 2013 published by Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne. The report mentioned about several insights about Chinese hotel industry in 2013 which I want to share with you.

Firstly, a historic challenge for Chinese hotel industry has been its slow average daily room rates relative to other international markets and the quality of hotel service. However, the government is now trying to shift the economy to a more consumption-led model, and this encompasses efforts to increase wages. At the same time, vast sections of China’s middle class are reaching a point where they have acquired apartments, electronics, cars and other tangible goods – so spending is likely to move to more intangible items such as travel and leisure.

Secondly, the hotel business in China is not just about filling the rooms. Several international hotel chains beginning to shift the focus to food & beverage, which has a higher profit margin. Other companies are increasingly focusing very on hot spring and spa, and recreational and entertainment facilities targeted towards local residents as well. 

Thirdly, one of the obstacles for hotel industry in China is the Golden week which forces the entire nation to go on vacation during the exact same weeks of the year. However, this is probably going to change in the next few years. With the insatiable and growing appetite of consumers and their capability to choose going vacation any time of the year, there will be a huge boost in hotel industry.  

Here is the link to purchase the report if you are interested:


What Service Customers Really Want

In the early class we talked about what CEM is, why and how CEM gradually took place of CRM. Yes, we all know that customers’ experience is important. The question is, how to give customers satisfying experience?


A research shows that in terms of good experience, they care most about two things: Is the frontline employee knowledgeable? And is the problem resolved on the first call? It means that if the company is trying to give its customers good experience, it should first pay attention to above two questions.


This is a 2009 article, and something in it may not be true now. However, we can use the method in this article when we are trying to improve customers’ experience. In other words, before you offer service, you should first find out what customers need most, what can make customers’ experience better. If you don’t listen to your customers, even if you are offering good service, it won’t have a significantly positive effect on customers’ experience because they just don’t buy it.


Greatness is not rare: Nike creates emotional connection with customers

“Greatness is not some rare DNA Strand. It’s not some precious thing. Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing. We are capable of it. All of us.” Yes, it is an ad from NIKE which value the greatness from normal people and encourage customers to conquer themselves and reach a certain personal goal.

The ad is telling a story about a boy called Nathan who weighed 232 pounds at the time but lose 30 pounds in six month using healthy and scientific methods. However at when the ads was launched some criticized the ad and said NIKE takes use of the boy and gain sympathy. From my perspective, the ad is cheerful and use emotional connection to encourage customers to chase dream and conquer themselves. Overweight and losing weight has become a heated issue in current society and most of people feel unconfident and lose hope in the situation. However NIKE create internal value for customers by creating confidence and courage in the products.

The greatness can help people find dream, gain respect and get confidence. Nike always does great job by using emotional connection with customers and establish positive brand image.


Read more about NIKE ads at:


Is the marketer dead?

Today I found an interesting piece on the field of marketing.  The author is asserting that “the marketer is dead, and we killed him” which sounds like a bold declaration.  This may sound like it is completely asinine, but actually it goes on to explain how the customer is each company’s “unique value proposition.”  I couldn’t help but think of the Zappo’s examples we have discussed in class when reading this piece!

Do you think that “the marketer is dead” or is it some kind of variation?


Comcast – the company we all love to hate

I had never heard of Comcast until I moved to Charlottesville last August. As my roommates and I decided how to split up who was responsible for what bill, I thought it would be easiest to take of our internet/cable bill. However, as I began moving and placed my first call, I realized that I had made a big mistake. My first interaction with Comcast was a disaster. I called to set up our account and was told I need to grab my computer and start a chat session with them instead. My response? “How can I go online to chat when I don’t have internet at my apartment right now?” Their response? Silence.

After a week of fighting with them, our box finally came. Unfortunately, we were not home when that box was delivered, so I had to go to the UPS center in Charlottesville at 5PM on a Friday afternoon. When I came home, I thought plugging the box into the wall would be simple enough. Nope. I was wrong. I had to call them again. I spent 2 hours on the phone with them that night, answering questions about the account and the automated caller had to reset our box three times. Then once “it” said that our box was working, the TV reception in the area went out. So there would be no TV that night after all.

Since these events, I have avoided all contact with the company. I’ve only gone online once a month to pay our bill. So you can imagine my excitement last weekend when I realized I had to call them to begin the process of disconnecting our service.

To my surprise, my experience with the company was completely different this time around! The representative that I spoke with was incredibly helpful and our conversation lasted 5 minutes. I am not sure what he did differently, but one thing is certain, I enjoy speaking with a person rather than a computer. It makes the experience much more enjoyable. Comcast should definitely reconsider their current call center strategy and invest in more trained staff to increase their customer service. Someone in their company should pay attention to current business trends, read the Apple Experience, and benchmark themselves against Oanda — their representatives are always knowledgeable and  helpful. This will not only benefit the customer’s experiences, but it will help change their current reputation as the “company we all love to hate” into a trusted and customer-oriented company.



Netflix Flying High After Q1 Success Propels it Past HBO

Netflix Flying High After Q1 Success Propels it Past HBO

This article discusses Netflix’s recent success in the first quarter of 2013, coming in at 29.17 million subscribers. It now has more subscribers than HBO, and it is trying a new strategy that is “largely defined by consumers.” As the chief content officer of Netflix puts it, “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.”

Netflix is doing this by launching new original series like Hemlock Grove and House of Cards in addition to maintaining its traditional forms of content. This strategy plays off HBO’s success at creating its own original series and it seems to be working for Netflix too. A large portion of the new Netflix subscribers in the first quarter of this year signed on due to the new Netflix original series. 

Is this strategy sustainable? The answer appears to be yes, so far. Of the users who have signed up to watch the original Netflix series, very few have cancelled their accounts. However, only time will tell if the strategy is truly adding lasting value that customers are willing to pay for or if it is only a quick fix for the deeper problems that are plaguing Netflix.


The Boeing 787 and user value?

I recently came across this web advertisement on BBC’s news site.

Boeing ad

Naturally, I was curious and clicked on it.

It took me to this page:×250&utm_campaign=US-Placement

Now as I’m sure you all know, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner flew into some stormy skies a few months back when the battery systems of a few planes caught fire during flight.  The planes were grounded for investigation and testing.  This web ad announces quite happily that the battery systems have been improved and the 787 will once more take wing.

But what’s interesting about these ads is that they are not really reaching Boeing’s customers.  99.99% of the people who view that ad (myself included) will never even consider purchasing a commercial plane.  Boeing sells planes to airlines like Delta and large institutions like the Department of Defense.  So why pay for a web ad that reaches the masses?

For the same reason that Google works so hard on its search engine and apps: user value.  The masses may never decide between purchasing a Boeing or an Airbus, but, if their perception of Boeing safety is low, they might choose an airline with an Airbus fleet over an airline with a Boeing fleet.  Thus, by improving user perceptions of its product, Boeing is increasing the value of its 787s, both those already owned by its customers and those that might be bought in the future.


Chinese brands aggressive move on NBA superstars

Dwyane wade was signed last summer by Chinese sports apparel Brand, Lining.


I didn’t notice that until when I am doing research for the Capstone project since our group has chosen Lining to be the target company. When Kevin Garnett was signed by Chinese brand Anta couple years ago, I was thinking that it’s just an exception that Chinese brand can sign NBA superstars. It seems now that Chinese sports apparel companies are investing huge in this rapidly developing domestic market. In my opinion, the reasons behind this are the Chinese customers’ increasing exposure to NBA and the huge star power that could alter customers’ perception of a product.


NBA is going strong in China, with annual revenue growth rate of about 20% in recent years. The marketing saturation of NBA in China is a huge success. There are NBA TV broadcastings, commercials, social media penetration all over China. Also, NBA is very good at engage NBA fans into all kinds of activities and programs both in reality and online. As a result, NBA become a well-known name in China and meanwhile basketball become one of the most popular sports among Chinese youngsters. Chinese people just got overwhelmed in the exposure to NBA.


Lining and Anta definitely took advantage of this trend and tried hard to have NBA superstars to endorse their products. By doing so, companies can leverage the positive image and NBA viewers’ loyalty of the stars to simply shape customers’ decision making process.


What I learned from this pheromone is that companies can take advantage of the foreign brands, especially those successful invading brands. To partner with them or to harness the customer awareness and loyalty of those brand for the purpose of promoting our own brand. Another example I can give is that China Mobile partnered with Apple and spent huge amount of money on marketing, emphasizing the combination of wireless services they provide and the high quality and innovation of iPhone.


Arby’s needs some work…

arbys facebook postAs you can see, Arby’s clearly is not doing well at following the recipes of their food options, nor at accommodating customers’ wishes. This Facebook post mirrors the same complaint that Professor Maxham made to our class earlier this semester. I haven’t been to Arby’s in ages, but it’s clear that if they want to remain profitable in the fast food industry, or at least be able to compete against McDonalds, they need a turn around fast.

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