VW in big trouble regarding recalls

The bad news for Volkswagen just keeps rolling off the AP assembly line. When the U.S. government put out notices that automakers should recall even more cars and trucks due to a potentially deadly Takata airbag issue, VW replied by telling safety regulators the recall wasn’t necessary.

After a harsh rebuttal from the government, VW agreed to the recall, likely because they are already in big trouble thanks to their widely-publicized emissions testing scandals.

The recall will impact roughly 850,000 Audi and VW models sold in the United States with model years stretching from 2006 to 2014.

So, they agreed to the recall and bit the bullet, right? What’s the big deal? Well, the big deal came courtesy of a letter sent to safety regulators arguing the recall “may be overboard.” This is incendiary indifference considering the nation is still reeling from the GM recall fiasco, with that delay linked to the deaths of scores of people.

According to David Milberg of New York, “While Volkswagen may have a point – their airbag inflators were made in factories in Germany, not in the United States and Mexico, where the defective airbags have been traced. Still, combined with their insistence on pushing back against federal agencies is not winning friends for the company among wary consumers.”

Once the darlings of the automotive world and a company on a rocket ship trajectory to the top of the industry, Volkswagen spent much of 2015 and early 2016 embroiled in controversy, watching sales fall and profits diminish. The emissions scandal stands to cost them millions, some say tens of millions, and potential criminal charges. But that’s just the beginning of the fallout.

Consumers may balk at the emissions trick, but then let it go because VW got busted, but it’s tough to overlook a company that seems to take the lives of consumers so flippantly. The detail that the VW airbag deployment devices were not made in the same factories as the bad ones will not matter in the least. Consumers will hear “VW” and “possible death” in the same sentence and react with visceral disgust. If the company wishes to win back any of its previous appeal, it needs to get serious about public safety – and in a very public way.

Will cheap gas stall Tesla’s rise

PayPal hero. Electric motor success story. New space race pioneer. Seems like nothing can stop Elon Musk. Except maybe a passive attack on what was making his electric car dream successful – high gas prices.

Here in the States, gas prices have plummeted to numbers not seen in nearly a decade. People are less interested in hybrid and fully electric alternatives when filling up at the pump isn’t cutting into their fun money. Perhaps, as a result, Tesla stock has fallen more than 25 percent.

Some analysts blame the poor performance on the slow consumer response to Tesla’s new crossover model. Yes, it was a crowded market dominated by brands with intense customer loyalty, but that didn’t matter as much when folks were cringing every time that needle inched toward “E”.

According to NY entrepreneur and Real Estate Developer Roman Temkin, “Of course, an innovator like Musk is not going to allow something like losing your main selling point damage him permanently. Tesla is currently working on a less expensive model, expected to price out at around $35,000, called the Model 3.” Could this, finally, be the fully electric car for “everyone”? Tesla is hoping consumers think so.

This is a vital tipping point for electric-based propulsion models. To date, electric vehicles have been viewed as luxury items, a choice made by people who could afford the five of ten thousand dollar increase for hybrids or the twenty or thirty thousand bump for Tesla’s fully electric models. But if a fully electric car was available for roughly the price of an average gas-powered car, that could really shake up the market.

Analysts say to expect the first Model 3s to be available in 2018. Musk promises them a year sooner. He has proven that betting against him is a foolish pursuit. Could the still-falling gas prices be motivating the faster release? Possibly. But it’s more likely that Musk understands his public relations cycle. He’s currently basking in the glow of success with SpaceX, but that won’t last. The news cycle is fickle and only wants increasingly amazing headlines from one of the more established wizards of this generation.

It’s the price of doing the impossible. Every time you try, people expect you to go bigger or stay home.

Owning the Housewares Conversation Using a Strong PR Campaign

The housewares industry is a multi billion-dollar industry that provides a wide array of household products that help people accomplish numerous household related tasks. The industry has a high level of competition that helps the industry as a whole regarding product development, brand awareness, product variety, and competitive product pricing.

As an industry, housewares has a large market interested in the type of products that are offered. In addition, the market is continually growing and diversifying. Within the industry, the companies that compete for market share have a variety of methods available to reach potential customers. However, one of the most effective methods that many companies in the industry use to reach potential customers is Public Relations (PR).

Public Relations

While many people hear about public relations on a regular basis, few people understand the dynamics involved in effective public relations. In a general sense, PR is the professional preservation of a positive public image by a company, organization, or individual. Unlike advertising where an entity or individual pays for a message to be distributed to the public by various advertising mediums, public relations in its true state is free public exposure. The exposure is based on deeds, acts, or other actions that are considered news worthy and are placed out to the public for consumption.

Therefore, PR is not a hit or miss endeavor. Public relations is a skill that people utilize to capture positive attention that can then be used to create or enhance brand awareness. In the housewares industry, some of the most successful companies are very skilled at the art of public relations. The companies craft public relation campaigns that are intended to initiate conversation concerning the companies and the products offered by the companies. To accomplish these goals, the campaigns must be effective.

Developing A Strong PR Campaign

For companies in the housewares industry, developing a strong PR campaign is a task that is taken very seriously. Even though many people think of PR in terms of positive messages being presented to the public, PR can work against a company or individual. Bad public relations can do much more harm than good public relations can offer in positive benefits. This situation requires that companies in the housewares industry craft PR campaigns that highlight the positives concerning and surrounding the companies. Also, the campaigns must spark great conversation.
The conversation that is sparked must be from something that is news worthy enough to provoke a public response. This is why a PR campaign is so important to companies in the housewares industry. The companies want to stay on the minds of the public. If the companies stay in the public eye based on positive public relations, the exposure will help to improve brand awareness and product sales.

Housewares Companies That Successfully Utilize PR

Most companies in the housewares industry utilize PR. However, as with all endeavors, some companies utilize PR better than other companies. A few of the companies in the housewares industry that utilize PR effectively to enhance business exposure, product sales, and brand awareness include Dyson, KitchenAid, and Keurig. These particular companies understand the importance of public relations, and the companies craft PR campaigns that work over an extended time period. The campaigns are meant to accomplish specific goals aimed at achieving and maintaining top status in the housewares industry.

Standing Out From The Crowd With PR

People use housewares on a daily basis. The housewares industry as a whole is a market that is always filled with people looking for houseware products. However, the challenge regarding individual companies is to stand out in the crowded housewares industry. One of the most effective ways that some companies in the industry utilize to stand out from the crowd is public relations. The use of PR is an effective method for a variety of reasons. Some of the most important reasons include:

1. PR builds brand awareness.
2. The costs associated with PR are minimal compared to other public exposure methods.
3. PR keeps people talking about the companies.
4. PR keeps the companies in the public eye.
5. Effective PR campaigns can help increase product sales.

Public relations has been around for a very long time. In addition, many companies and individuals have utilized public relations to catapult into the public eye. Companies in the housewares industry that want to own housewares conversations can accomplish this by using strong PR campaigns. The strategy related to PR is a time-tested method that companies in the industry have used to effectively capture public attention.

There is a big difference between PR and effective PR. Some of the most successful companies in the housewares industry understand the difference. These companies devote talented resources to crafting effective PR campaigns. In many instances, these campaigns have made the difference in achieving stated business goals.

Facebook betting big on mobile ads

Unstoppable social media juggernaut Facebook is wagering – and winning – on the idea you can’t get enough of their content on your mobile device. The platform is making more money on its mobile ads than ever before. After Facebook released its earnings report to Wall Street, the impressed stock market sent shares up more than 8 percent after the final bell.
Continue reading →

How Businesses Can Properly Harness the Power of Social Media

Social media is fast becoming one of the most valuable tools a business can utilize to improve its success, especially small businesses. Small businesses often don’t have the cash flow needed to market like larger businesses do, so knowing how to properly harness the power of social media is key. That’s not to say larger businesses can’t benefit from properly utilizing social media. From a marketing perspective, social media is practically a necessary tool, and businesses who don’t utilize it to some extent may begin to find themselves falling behind the times. Continue reading →

Building a wall around Big Data

In a world dominated by smartphones, cloud computing, biometrics, and chip cards, big data is the driving factor keeping the economy rolling along. Thanks to big data flowing wild and free, GDP increases up to $450 billion annually, and countries that push data sharing across borders enjoy 40 percent more economic benefits than their less-connected counterparts.

So said Big Data industry expert Ajay Banga in a recent article reviewing the economic benefits of Big Data. Banga then outlined multiple different ways Big Data is changing how we interact with our world and each other. Big data helped healthcare workers beat back the Ebola virus in West Africa because the right data was being shared by the right people.
While data sharing in the healthcare industry tends to bring up concerns about privacy and protecting personal information, healthcare professionals across the globe are finding ways to implement big data while also protecting their patients’ rights to privacy.

It’s a tightrope walk, but big data’s rapid development is happening with these safeguards being built in place, giving people the benefits of evolving data science while honoring legitimate privacy concerns.

Some are calling for greater security measures, demanding that data be held in the nation by which it is collected. Banga said that’s a bad idea.

“These restrictions often confuse concerns about access to data for national security and law enforcement purposes with commercial use of data. The outcome is the fragmentation of data that creates a ‘splinternet,’ one that risks not only stifling economic growth but reversing it as well,” Banga wrote.

From a public perception perspective, that collision of safe-seeming restrictions and the loss of benefits caused by these decisions creates a constant cost-benefit tug of war between those feel the technology is moving too far too fast and those who are focused on the intense benefits being revealed – and enjoyed – by those who have begun to enthusiastically adopt big data science.

The bottom line in this back and forth is very simple: nations and businesses need the data, not just access to data but the ability to move it safely, for the world to fully realize the benefits of big data. This doesn’t mean anyone – I mean ANYONE – can get sloppy with data security. In fact, all efforts should be made to protect the sanctity of information in all its forms.

However, creating artificial walls that, when it’s all said and done, randomly restrict without offering any additional protection, hurts everyone.

Calendar Marketing: Creating a 365 Day Marketing Calendar Based around Holidays and Events

Marketing is a process that thrives every day of the year. However, you cannot dive into each day the same way that you did the year before. Instead, craft a calendar that considers the importance of holidays and events in the grand scheme of your marketing and advertising plans.

Space Events Properly

Chances are, you want to host events where customers can receive a discount on certain items or where you promote new products that your company has to offer. Still though, hosting them randomly does not leave as much of an effect on customers, nor does it offer you the best chance for profits. Without a schedule, you may end up planning them practically right on top of each other, which drains funds from your budget. Also, you want to use these events as branding opportunities. Dubbing an event the “Semi-Annual Sale” or the “Yearly Summer Sale” will help to leave an impression in the minds of your consumers.

Target Holiday Shopping Seasons

As the owner of a company that sells products directly to customers, you probably have already determined the importance of Black Friday and the rest of the Christmas season. Keep in mind, however, that you do not have to confine these extra sales to that shopping season only. Consider the nature of your products. If you sell goods that people can use outdoors, market sales and promotions right before Memorial Day. On the other hand, you might produce cooking and baking gear. Start to get your big events into order toward the end of the summer and beginning of the fall when people are turning on their ovens again after a season of outdoor activities.

Turn an Eye Toward the School Calendar

Chances are, you see an influx of customers coming to your shop during the weekends. Parents are off from working, and they aren’t racing around to bring their kids from activity to activity. While you don’t want to have a big sale every weekend, you are interested in getting more people into the shop during the week. Find out when the local schools are off, and you may have the chance to bring more families into your place of business. Not only are you attracting families to the store, but you are also calling in teachers and others who are off from work that day.

The holidays and the seasons should be used to your advantage to create a dynamic marketing plan.

Who will rise to replace these lost business leaders?

Time rolls on. The calendar pages change, and, as we lose prominent names in the business world, others rise to take the baton they dropped. But that doesn’t mean we should not stop to celebrate those we lost and the contributions they made to the world we enjoy. Here is the list of some top tier business folk to be remembered as put together by NYC mobile entrepreneur Jonah Engler. Continue reading →

Ford Google’s self-driving cars

If there’s one truism in the auto industry, it’s that keeping customers is job number one. That means, when new tech innovations hit the market, you better not be far behind.

Enter self-driving cars. This science fiction staple is actually already in use in some places, and most industry brands are experimenting with their own version of the technology. Commercial fleets see massive potential in this innovation, so you can expect brands depending on commercial sales to chomp at the bit to market a successful application of the technology. Continue reading →

The power of presence

When it comes to communication, there is little more powerful than being there and refusing to leave. Just ask newly signed JETS wide receiver, Joe Anderson.

After not making it with any other NFL teams, the wide receiver was picked up by the New York practice squad. Why? Because of his attitude, creative thinking, grit and refusal to take “no” for an answer. Continue reading →