Friday, January 30, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Picture Sources: pic 1 and pic 2
I’ve come to realize that Chrysler is essentially the “Keith Richards” of automakers. It once looked good, went platinum with their sales numbers, and had groupies galore. However, that was 30 years ago. After 30 years of sex (expanding the family to include Jeep), Drugs (gas guzzling), and rock and roll (blowing money they don’t have), everyone is left scratching their heads wondering just how they haven’t kicked the bucket yet.
Like Richards, Chrysler has not aged gracefully. Its years of addiction to gas guzzling are finally catching up. However, there is one distinct difference that sets the two apart – groupies. Richards has them, Chrysler does not. That is the determining factor between the polarities of their success. Richards may be hideous, but the fan base is still there. Chrysler’s started abandoning them years ago.
Chrysler has always targeted their vehicles at Gen-X and the Baby Boomers – people familiar with the brand before it started becoming yet another Hollywood rehab story. When Echo Boomers started demanding vehicles that not only looked good, but were “green,” had a high MPG average, and were reliable, Chrysler ignored them. By ignoring an entire generation, Chrysler effectively blew their amp in front of a concert of 60M angry fans.
The only car in Chrysler’s lineup that even marginally targets Gen-Y is the Chrysler 300. From their subsidiaries, they’ve got the Jeep Wrangler which has always had a cult following, and maybe the Dodge Charger. Chrysler’s Hybrid SUV, the Aspen, is $10K more and only does 2 MPG better than the non-hybrid model.
Chrysler has effectively severed its relationship with Gen-Y. They simply cannot neglect their groupies and expect all to be forgiven now that they’re broke and have theoretically gone to rehab ($4B from TARP and a proposed partnership with Fiat) to get better.
Expecting to fully recover from their current financial troubles without groupies is about as ludicrous as Richards going back on tour only to play covers of Britney Spears hits.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Two weeks ago, Netflix and LG unveiled their recent HD love child – a new TV that can stream HD quality content from Netflix without a set-top box. There will be no need for a bulky box that sits among the orgy of DVRs, DVD players, VHS players (God forbid) and stacks of unorganized DVDs that are waiting to be scratched to the point of being unreadable. There will simply be a TV and an Ethernet jack – simplicity worthy of an Absolut Vodka ad brandishing their token slogan “In an Absolut World.”
It is this sort of ingenuity that has thrust Netflix to the forefront of the DVD rental business. In 12 short years, Netflix has grown its customer base to 8.2M subscribers and leads all online retailers in customer satisfaction. This innovative drive towards excellence begs one question: “Why is Blockbuster failing...miserably?”
Below, is a closer look at Blockbuster’s 5 biggest foul-ups.
- Ignorant complacency – Winston Churchill once said “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Blockbuster should have paid attention in history class. While a solid brick and mortar (B&M) strategy carried them through the nineties, it was a strategy that did not leave them flexible to react effectively to changes in the marketplace.
- Blatant disregard to Gen-Y – Advancements in content delivery equate to higher efficiencies for consumers. If Echo Boomers are enamored with streamlining their lives, then a business needs to be responsive and work to fulfill those wants/needs in order to be successful. Trying to force-feed Echo Boomers a B&M solution to their media needs just won’t cut it.
- Poor customer satisfaction - Blockbuster is to late fees what Bono is to crazy sunglasses. No matter what else the biz/person may do that is positive, all the consumer can focus on is those darn sunglasses.
- One foot in – One foot out - Kudos to Blockbuster for FINALLY attempting to take on Netflix a couple years back with their Total-Access program. The only problem is - there’s a greater probability of getting drunk off O’Doul’s than Total-Access actually posing a threat to Netlix. The reasoning: Blockbuster is still trying to dominate the B&M biz while trying to launch a movies-by-mail biz model simultaneously, effectively neglecting both children - someone should contact child welfare services.
- Reactive business Environment - It took them 9 years to develop an internet-based DVD subscription service to compete with Netflix! Need I say more?
The worsening financial and economic crisis affects all our lives. It has caused our civic leaders, clergy, and media to analyze and critique our decisions, habits, and lifestyles. In the midst of all this, what has become unequivocally clear, is that most coverage and analysis of the crisis fails to address the impact on the Echo Boomer generation.
We do not see this as a problem - but as an opportunity. Business and economic trends do not affect Echo Boomers the same way as the generations that precede us. Our opinions and perspectives matter, especially since the Echo Boom generation is three times the size of Gen-X. As Baby Boomers are preparing to retire, we are preparing to fill their roles in every part of society. Echo Boomers are just stepping onto the stage, and it'd be a good time to listen to the next presenter.
As Echo Boomers and recent graduates of an undergraduate honors business program, we created this blog to offer our opinions on the effects of business and economic developments on our generation. Our hope is the voice of our generation will be heard as we begin to take our place as the dominant generation of society.