I think one of the smartest things UA is doing is gaining new capabilities through partnerships and acquisitions. Acknowledging what your knowledge gaps are and proactively filling them is one of the toughest things to do in such a fast-paced and competitive industry. Acquisitions should help with customer conversion – I used to use Map My Fitness but promptly created an Under Armour account when I was redirected there one day. The IBM and SAP partnerships are also really exciting, and in the long run could be differentiating (especially if they are exclusive). I’m bullish on UA’s push towards digitization and I trust they will do it in a way that is true to the brand and the mantra “don’t forget to sell shirts and shoes”.
Adam – this was a cool summary of the different angles from which Kroger is approaching the grocery delivery threat. I actually think ClickList has a great deal of potential. I researched the equivalent service from WalMart and found that customers really do value having everything pre-packed for them and brought out to the parking lot, even if it means they still have to physically drive to the store. It seems that customers are still willing to drive to the store – spending an hour roaming the aisles is the part they’d like to cut out.
I was surprised that Kroger spent $648M on targeted advertising. To me, it seems like this is a service that should more than pay for itself…it should be profitable. If Kroger could induce its suppliers to bid for “smart shelf” space, they could presumably make money. I’m picturing Coke and Pepsi vying for the right to have an ad pop up when customers walk by. Suppliers compete for many other types of marketing at the retailer level. If smart shelves and targeted advertising are the next frontier, Kroger should monetize them.
As someone who has done mass Chipotle orders for a team of people, I was interested to read more about the “second line” and how it’s not always efficient or error free. Hearing that orders are fulfilled based on receipts with abbreviated ingredients explains a lot about some of the mistakes I’ve seen over the years! I agree that this is a space that could be optimized and that digital technology is the way to do it.
At first, I had Alex’s same concern about safety issues and how Chipotle may want to keep a low profile as it recovers from the PR nightmare. But the more I think about it, I think a truly differentiating breakthrough like “burrito emoji ordering” could help Chipotle recover its image and distract consumers from the E. coli woes of the past.
I had never heard of Kinsa, so really enjoyed reading this post. I like the idea of using hardware to lend some scientific validity to the diagnosis process; searching our own symptoms on Web MD without inputting any data as always been an incomplete and imprecise approach. I also like that Kinsa is reasonably priced so that plenty of people can access the technology – the more data in Kinsa’s network, the better!
The only thing I’m struggling with is temperature as the key input. This seems like one of many critical health indicators that should go into a diagnosis. If the rest of the diagnosis depends on self-reported symptoms, then it is only a few degrees of precision past Web MD. That said, the ability to map the spread of disease in an area seems unique and proprietary, and I’m excited to see where that technology could go.
This is a really interesting article and I completely agree that the zoo seems to be leaving money on the table in several ways. It’s surprising that the PandaCam isn’t being used as a fundraising tool, and that cookies aren’t employed to convert website visitors. I was also shocked that despite being so technologically advanced in some ways, the zoo itself does not have an app.
In addition to your customer-facing suggestions, I’m wondering if there are ways for the Atlanta Zoo to use digital technology to improve internal operations. For example, could zoo employees have an internal app that helps them keep track of facts and trends in wildlife conservation, as well as logistics like who is working what shift?
Ellen: I really enjoyed reading your post – I originally expected this all to be about deforestation but it was interesting to learn how much energy the actual manufacturing process consumes. I think you laid out some good, actionable recommendations, but my cynical question is: can paper companies afford to implement these changes at this point? I have to imagine that climate change concerns are also creating a squeeze from below, whereby customers are ordering less paper and sales are declining. In one article, analysts predicted that demand for paper will fall another 18% by 2024: http://www.startribune.com/nov-18-2012-as-society-sheds-paper-an-industry-shrinks/179601951/
I know there will always be some demand for paper, and someone has got to make it, but if I was in the paper industry at this time I would be looking for the exit.
This is a great read – I like how you explained Delta’s four pillars. I also wrote my blog post about an airline, and was surprised how small technological changes could make a big difference. For example, Southwest claims that adding small winglets to its 737-800s saved one million gallons of gas in 2015 alone: https://www.southwest.com/html/southwest-difference/southwest-citizenship/environmental-initiatives/
I would be interested to know what, specifically, Delta is planning in terms of technological improvements to their fleets. I agree with you that replacing entire planes is a long and expensive process, but there may be some small yet impactful changes they could make in the interim.
This post was interesting to read – I was especially surprised by the role corn plays in the production of Coke (and, consequently, the emission of green house gases). The only thing I am not sure about is your recommendation that Coke should aim for a 100% recycling rate.
I’m borrowing from FRC a little here, but I believe that goals need to be attainable, and also need to be reasonably within the control of the individual or company in focus. I agree Coke could do a better job establishing itself as a leader in sustainability, and could effectively use marketing campaigns to increase the number of bottles recycled. Your other recommendation, pushing for fully biodegradable bottles, seems more attainable and measurable. I like your idea of partly crowd-sourcing this effort in order to not only solicit creative ideas but also to further market Coke as a sustainable company.
Ahmad, thanks for sharing your oil & gas expertise with us! I wanted to press on one of your suggestions for improvement, “Integrate more fully and further downstream”. Would this initiative help Aramco curb the effects of climate change, or only help them protect their own profits? I can see both sides.
On one hand, controlling a larger part of the value chain could enable closer monitoring and enforcement of environmental standards.
Conversely, one could argue that vertically integrating only protects market share but not the environment. Detrimental activities shift in ownership but are not actually reduced or diffused. I know this was just one of several suggestions you made to help Aramco – am just wondering if it helps them reduce footprint, protect market share, or both.
Jordan, thanks for the interesting read! I think 90% of people are completely unaware of the impact of livestock on greenhouse gas emissions (14.5% is shocking). I read over Shake Shack’s “Good n Green” initiatives, and I think they very intentionally neglect to mention the impact of red meat on their menu. Red meat is absolutely fundamental to Shake Shack’s business, and though some consumers may gladly switch to a meatless alternative, I think they would be in the minority. Shake Shack should certainly cast a wider net and capture more consumers by providing more poultry and meatless options, but their core competency (and competitive advantage) will always be in beef.