Final Trip

The final field trip was going to the ABI Marketing and Public Relations Firm. ABI was founded in 1980 and has offices in Frankfurt, Singapore, Shanghai, London, and New York City. The employees worked in marketing, journalism, public relations, communications, and media. They specialize in business-to-business relations. We heard from Bernard Guly about the overview of ABI to start out the day. Yulia Tribrat discussed what ABI does on a daily basis, including 360 B2B marketing and the DoyZip success story. We then heard from Richard Piper about effective B2B writing including editorial opportunities, executive interviews, press releases, interviews preparation, case histories, and feature articles. We also talked about briefing calls and to structure questions how you want articles to flow. Next was the writing assignment with Richard Piper and Sandra Steingraber about Flow-right Coatings Company and the Opti-Promote adhesive. I mainly discussed the features and benefits of the paint primer and how it is sold. The next presentation was by Sandra Steingraber about other elements of PR including social media, trade show support, and media relations. Stefan Colligan did the last presentation on statement writing and crisis communication. We discussed the Taco Bell meat crisis, the Kellogg’s cereal crisis, the Lufthansa crash, the Mars candy crisis, the Thomas Cooke death crisis, and the United Airlines crisis. Finally, Richard Piper and Bernard Guly wrapped up our day. The dinner cruise was a highlight of the trip and a great experience that I will never forget! This has been the most amazing trip ever and I don’t want to leave!

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Week 3

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This week we visited The Museum of Packaging and Advertising, the Churchill War Rooms, and the Jack the Ripper Walk. I really enjoyed The Museum of Packaging with the many displays of old-fashioned products. There were celebrities advertising for certain products which can help sales overall. On Wright’s Original Coal Tar Soap, Indiana Jones was advertising for the company. It was displayed as being tough, strong, and can clean well. The colors also depict masculinity. One product I had not heard of was Yollies, which are yogurt lolly pops. This was a good strategy for them because it is a healthy alternative for kids and had colorful packaging. A suggestion I would have for Yollies is using a familiar character to attract more kids. They can also change the characters periodically to match current movies, such as Spiderman.

The Churchill Museum was full of history and gave much of Winston Churchill’s background. The Cabinet War Rooms were headquarters for the British government in World War II. He became Prime Minister in 1940 and said, “This is the room from which I will lead the war.” It was used mainly during the V-weapon raids. Royal Marine Guards positioned themselves outside and inside of the Cabinet War Rooms and defended the people in the rooms. Churchill also said, “There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.” On the Jack the Ripper Walk, we were led by a knowledgable tour guide and learned about the serial killer and his past. Our guide told us about how he graphically murdered many people in the exact locations where the deaths occurred.

Week 2

This week we visited the Wellcome Collection, had High Tea, and saw the play, Mamma Mia! This was one of my favorite field trips! We saw works by Michael Hopkins from 2004. These are a combination between paintings and drawings as white ink is applied to slate, and then an eraser and brushes were used to make the creation. I also saw the portion comparison display and glass eyes. There were also visualizations of the human body with various displays. High Tea was an elegant experience with flavored tea, clotted cream, scones, and jam. Everything was served on fancy dishes and made the group feel like we were dining with the queen.

Finally, Mamma Mia! The acting and singing were well done, and the sets on the stage were changed to fit every scene. The music included the original songs, “Money, Money, Money,” “Dancing Queen,” and “Thank You for the Music.” The film adaptation stars Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, and Colin Firth. The play first premiered on April 6, 1999 in the Prince Edward Theater in London. It has been played in more than 50 countries in 6 continents, and over 60 million people have seen the show. The actor and actress who played Sophie and Sky created an environment for the audience that was funny and heart-warming. Sophie makes the audience feel as if they are the ones searching for her father. My favorite song was “Mamma Mia” and I loved the interaction with the audience at the end of the play. It was such an enjoyable play and I think it is a significant part of the London cultural experience.

Week 1

The field trips this week were the Bank of England Museum, the Imperial War Museum, and Hampton Court Palace.

There were many exhibits at The Imperial War Museum. The highlight for me was the Holocaust portion because of how it evoked emotion and helped the viewers to visualize what people experienced from 1933 to 1945. There were many personal stories of families being split apart and children suffering in the concentration camps. This crisis was brutal and something that people will never forget. It is crazy to me to think that an event like that can happen with so many fatalities because of mass genocide. The museum had a sign with information about the Olympics and how many of the Jewish Olympians were killed during the Nazi reign.

The Hampton Court Palace was so beautiful and I was amazed at the murals and the rich history there. I loved seeing the Great Vine, the largest vine which has a circumference of 12 feet and 5 inches, and the longest measures 246 feet long. The vine has also won a world record from Guinness. It was also cool to see how efficient the gardens were as they are still in use with a farmer’s market.

The Bank of England was founded in 1694 during a time of war with France. The Napoleonic wars impacted the notes and gold, and they needed to make sure they had significant gold reserves. We were able to hold a chunk of gold at the museum and feel the weight of it. This was something the bank had to handle carefully as they were dealing with large amounts of money. There are many bank crises that can occur because there is not enough gold backing up the currency.

Tesla Customers Steered Wrong in Self-Driving Car

By: Rachel Cross

Tesla, the luxury car company, is currently in the midst of a crisis regarding the self-driving technology used in the vehicles. According to a Bloomberg article written by Kartikay Mehrotra (2017), Tesla recalled 53,000 cars in April with malfunctioned brakes after customers claimed 47,000 cars had some aspect that was defective.

There were various reports from Tesla drivers that detailed issues with the vehicles veering out of lanes. The cars would randomly slam on the brakes when it was not necessary or fail to slow down when another vehicle was in front. Out of the 47,000 that were recalled, half contained a second-generation autopilot feature, which costed $5,000 per car.

The customers who sued were promised the cars would be fully functional by December 2016. They paid between $81,000 and $113,000 for their vehicles. These features promised automated collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking system, and both were lacking in the Teslas. These Tesla owners are requesting for full refunds for the car and the $5,000 advanced autopilot system.

According to a Forbes article by Alan Ohnsman (2017), the CEO, Elon Musk, has chosen to respond to customers via Twitter about the crisis. This shows his ability as a spokesperson in his availability to work with the media, his response to questions equally and fairly without bias, answering the questions asks and not skirting issues, answering questions quickly (within one day), and handling stress well. Another positive response was not saying “no comment” to people’s tweets.

Although Musk responded to this crisis well, he did not put people’s lives as a priority and could have had mass casualties from the malfunctions. One other negative aspect of the crisis was the initial dismissal of the lawsuit. The company spokespeople stated, “This lawsuit is a disingenuous attempt to secure attorney’s fees posing as a legitimate legal action, which is evidenced by the fact that the suit misrepresented many facts.” Despite the crisis, Tesla has had extremely strong investor support. The company passed General Motors as being the most valuable U.S. automaker at a market value of $49.6 billion.

As crises can threaten the company at any time, it is essential to be ready when a crisis occurs. Coombs (2015) explains that stakeholder perception matters greatly during a crisis, and it is considered a crisis when the customer believes it is a crisis, even if organization does not believe it to be true (p. 17). Although the company did much to recover and build back the reputation, there are certain factors that could have been handled better, especially being sincerer and more apologetic about putting lives in danger.

 

References:

Ohnsman, A. (2017, April 19). Tesla Customers Sue Over ‘Dangerous’ And Non-Functioning Autopilot Software. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/alanohnsman/2017/04/19/tesla-customers-sue-over-dangerous-and-non-functioning-autopilot-software/#3d24021d2a60

 

Mehrotra, K. (2017, April 20). Tesla Sued Over ‘Dangerously Defective’ Autopilot Software. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-20/tesla-sued-over-dangerously-defective-autopilot-software-j1qp271l