Assignment Take Home Quiz

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TAKE HOME QUIZGeneral GuidelinesThe take home quiz serves a dual purpose. First, it allows me see how well you are able tointegrate and apply the course material covered in class to a new type of situation. Second,it allows you to synthesize the material and use it to construct thought pieces or opinions onan issue. And, an opinion that is well grounded is likely to carry more weight. I hope that youwill use this as an opportunity to practice coming up with such an opinion.To accomplish these two objectives, I typically give a set of readings and ask you to come upwith a position statement or a thought piece. What I look for is your ability to useframeworks and concepts discussed in class to arrive at this “position statement” or a “pointof view”. Thus, after reading the news stories, you might believe that the strategy beingfollowed by the company is likely to lead to success (or not) and you might have reasons forthese beliefs. However, in stating your position, you need to provide a logical analysis of thesituation using concepts discussed in class.Some points to keep in mind:1.You will be graded on your ability to integrate and apply course concepts to thesituations/issues described.2.I look for logically constructed “position statements” or “observations” where oneidea follows systematically from the previous one. I am very picky about howarguments are constructed and how they are expressed. Therefore, please paycareful attention to the logical flow of ideas. It helps to keep in mind where you aregoing so that you do not lose track of the main points you wish to make andsupporting arguments all lead to that point.3.Communicate clearly. Brand managers have to be good communicators. Clarity ofthought is often a precursor to good communication. Likewise, poor communicationof ideas suggests muddy thinking. So, I pay special attention to how well you areable to communicate. If you were writing an op-ed piece for the South ChinaMorning Post– commenting on this case – think about how would you write it andgive me the equivalent.4.Don’t forget the footnotes and citations. Proof read your work.5.I don’t have a fixed page limit but a 5-page document (single spaced) would be inthe ballpark. This does not include appendices, references, etc. You will have 1 weekto work on an assignment.It is due on December 9th(midnight – 11:59 pm).QuestionAttached are a few articles describing how two companies are attempting to moveupmarket. The first, is the Ritz Carlton. It is attempting to reinvent itself by going even moreupmarket with its new offering “The Ritz Carlton Reserve”. There are many articles on theweb pertaining to this issue. However, the ones included here are representative. Thesecond company is Hyundai with its launch of the Equus. Please read these articles and playthe role of an independent consultant. How could you use the course concepts discussed so
far to come up with a position statement about the likely success of these strategies for thetwo companies. Given below are a few tips on what you can bring to bear on this issue:a) Brand equity frameworks to assess the strengths and weaknesses (e.g., Keller’s model tobuild brands, Aaker’s model components etc.) of each company. Use it to discern anypotential problems are likely to ariseb) Consumer knowledge structures about the brands in question (awareness –recall/recognition; user imagery, attributes central to the brand, attitudes); Associativenetwork models, negative associations that might exist)c) Competitive set, priming, context effects etc. – how will this change with the upmarketmove. What will it do to the product line?d) How will the move upmarket fare – what is the objective here (changing target market,profits, satisfying needs, line extension etc..) and what are the potential risks when it comesto erosion of brand equity.Good luck!
RITZ CARLTON ARTICLESIS THE RITZ CARLTON REINVENTING ITSELF OR LOSING ITSELF?Ritz-Carlton Dresses DownAug 07, 08 | 12:10 amThere's a new look in Ritz-Carlton lobbies across the country: casual elegance.Particularly at the newer Ritz-Carlton resorts, the formal, somewhat stuffy style for whichthe brand is known is being updated with a look that is more relaxed and in keeping with theproperties' settings. At the Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes, Orlando, Fla., for example, the dresscode for staff is a Tommy Bahama shirt with a collar. No tie. And the interior design, whilestill redolent of silk, damask, and marble, feels more relaxed than the typical urban Ritz-Carlton.Ditto for the spectacular but similarly dressed-down Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas. Here, theMediterranean design aesthetic is completely different.How far is too far? According to one Ritz-Carlton spokesperson, “We're not going to lose ourcore customers by allowing people to come to the dining room in flip-flops and crop tops.”Reinventing the Ritz-CarltonOn this winter morning in 2007, a strategic planner, Mark Miller, from a boutique ad agencyhas tacked up art from dozens of advertisements for luxury hotels in the Ritz-Carlton HotelCompany’s Maryland offices. He has done it to prove an absurd truth: nearly every brand inthe category uses the same imagery, the same tonality—everything but the same models.He gives the company’s executives time to absorb the scene, then issues a challenge. “Whichof these ads,” he asks, “is yours?”The question is very relevant. Not long before, Simon Cooper, Ritz-Carlton’s president andCOO, and Bruce Himelstein, senior vice president of sales and marketing, had arrived fromparent company Marriott eager to liberate Ritz-Carlton from the coat-and-tie formality thathad characterized the chain since its 1983 inception. One obstacle, as Mark Miller had sovividly identified, was its dated and old marketing formula. But that stale imagery wassymptomatic of a deeper, more fundamental problem: how to invigorate a brand freightedwith a concept of luxury as it existed in 1927, when the original Ritz-Carlton opened inBoston?The hotels themselves stood firmly in another era, their heavy drapes closed against thesunlight. The public spaces within were dark, full of wood and marble, and overtlymasculine. Their dining rooms served the usual American standards with gracious formalitybut little verve. And every property looked more or less identical: a cross between anItalianate mansion and an English country manor that had been outfitted by Donald Trump.Until a guest emerged blinking into the brightPhoenixmorning, he could have been inPhiladelphia...or Tysons Corner, Virginia...or most any Ritz-Carlton in the world. “We had no
sense of place,” remembers Herve Humler, a 25-year veteran of the company and now thepresident of Ritz-Carlton International.Until Simon Cooper’s ascendance as COO, that’s just how Ritz-Carlton wanted it. “Whatworked initially was, build all the hotels the same so that people will recognize them,” saysHimelstein, and such uniformity served it well. From 1983 to 1993, the brand grew from asingle hotel to 30, while stamping an image of tasteful opulence on the consciousness ofAmerican travelers. Then the ground shifted. As wealth proliferated among the young, theinnovative, and other demographic categories not typically associated with blue blazers andHermès ties, a different group emerged: one favoring experiences that were unique,authentic, and not easily available for purchase. That might mean a trip to the sold-outMasters Tournament, a day of skiing on a pristine mountaintop, aglimpse of a celebrity. Itdidn’t mean a stay in one of the dozens of carbon-copy Ritz-Carltons around the world, nomatter how polite the doorman.The very predictability that consumers had found so desirable was now a hindrance toattracting a new generation. These “discerning affluents,” as Miller calls them, were willingto sacrifice the comfort of a familiar setting for an experience they could talk about backhome.“What they want,” Miller says now, “is to collect stories.”Toward that end, Cooper and Himelstein engineered one of the swiftest—and arguably mostimportant—corporate makeovers in recent hospitality history, a paradigm shift that invertedRitz-Carlton’s long-standing relationships to product and place. The first of the new Ritz-Carltons opened as something of an experiment in April 2003, in a retrofitted civicincinerator inWashington, D.C.’sGeorgetown neighborhood. Another followed that NewYear’s Eve in a restored Modernist landmark in South Beach.These properties looked like no Ritz-Carlton before them—and felt different, too. Flexibilitycame above bellhop livery and dress. Sense of place subordinated continuity with the brand.To some loyalists both inside and outside the company, the changes seemed jarring, almostprofane. When Team One was awarded the account in late 2004, replacing a conglomerationof various agencies, Miller found a chasm between those who believed the new approachwould ultimately save Ritz-Carlton, and those who saw it as the road to ruin. “People who’dbeen with the company for years felt strongly that the dark wood and chandeliers definedthe brand,” he says.But Cooper had seen the future, and it didn’t include heavy drapes. His team of outsidersforged ahead. South Beach and Georgetown became models for the next wave of Ritz-Carltons, which were integrated into singular sites such as Bachelor Gulch, Colorado;downtownNew York;Moscow, just off Red Square; and Beijing’s Financial Street. All of themuse setting and local culture to determine design components, such as a cowboy bar inBachelor Gulch and a feng shui–inspired floor plan and tea apothecary in Beijing.Older properties followed suit. Many of the formal dining rooms have been replaced by jazzyrestaurants run by celebrity chefs, including Eric Ripert, Dean Fearing, Gordon Ramsay,Laurent Tourondel, and Wolfgang Puck. Today’s Ritz-Carltons are asked by Cooper toemphasize singular experiences (or “scenography,” in the Miller lexicon). InCancún,scenography means an Aztec fire ceremony every Saturday. At theLodge at Reynolds
Plantation, in Georgia, it means serving spiced pecans to guests during check-in, with thescent of fresh magnolias in the air. The concept can get carried to the point of absurdity— asat Bachelor Gulch, where the house Labrador retriever is available to accompany guests upthe mountain for an afternoon of snowshoeing—but the point is clear: Let no one ever againbe able to claim that Ritz-Carltons are all the same.Has the message been heard? We’ll find out this summer when Cooper ups the ante. Anewbrand, dubbed theRitz-Carlton Reserve, debuts with the Phulay Bay resort in Krabi, Thailand.A second Reserve, Molasses Reef inTurks and Caicos, is slated to open in January 2009, withas many as 10 more coming by 2015. The idea is to attract sophisticated travelers tounintrusive, ecologically friendly properties in remote areas, where they’ll bask in site-specific splendor. To anyone who hasn’t stayed in a Ritz-Carlton in the past five years, ofcourse, such cultural immersion will seem bewildering at best. This isn’t about the lack of oilpaintings on the walls; the living areas at Phulay Bay don’t evenhaveall their walls. Mealsthere are so informal, they’re served on the beach upon request. Even the familiar blue lion-and-crown logo will be hard to find.None of this will seem particularly novel to people who frequent the far-flung adventureresorts that now dot the globe, but it will be quite a stretch for the stalwart Ritz-Carltoncustomer. And that’s precisely the idea. If trust in the brand can lure its longtime customersslightly further into the wild...and a few extreme travelers can be persuaded that creaturecomforts don’t detract from the authenticity of their eco-experience, Ritz-Carlton just mightco-opt an entire niche category.YOU CAN CHECK OUT THE PROPERTIES HEREhttp://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Reserve/Locations.htmAN ARTICLE ON ONE OF THE PROPERTIESA Ritz Ups the Ante in Puerto Rico with a Ritz-Carlton Reserve HotelLaura Magruder for The New York TimesPool at Su Casa, part of the new Dorado Beach resort in Puerto Rico.ByBROOKS BARNESTO reach Ritz-Carlton’s newest and most opulent resort, you drive through a forest ofcoconut palms, swamp bloodwoods and flame of the woods flowering shrubs until the roadends at a wall of water. It’s a fountain of a sort, and behind its soft gurgle stretchesDoradoBeach,a $342 million hotel built along three miles of toasty Caribbean sand. At the center ofthe resort, which opened Wednesday, guests will find a labyrinthine infinity pool with a“bubble bed” in its center, a four-bedroom villa that rents for $30,000 a night and a spacomposed of 22 buildings that sprawl across five acres and includes treatment platforms
built into treetops.Can these kinds of over-the-top amenities make modern travelers — the status-conscious,ultra-wealthy kind — take a chance on Puerto Rico?That is the hope. Resorts catering to 1 percenters pepper the Caribbean, so Ritz-Carlton,which is using Dorado Beach to introduce its new super-high-end Reserve chain to NorthAmerica, knew it needed a lot of wow to get noticed. But Dorado Beach, despite its luxuryand a history featuring Laurance S. Rockefeller, Amelia Earhart and Old Hollywood stars,must also overcome one dominant and indelible fact: It is in a corner of the Caribbean thatfor decades has been more associated with grit than glamour.True, the “Island of Enchantment,” as Puerto Rican tourism officials market their home, hasimproved its reputation in recent years, helped by the Navy’s decision to end bombingexercises on Vieques and the arrival of a St. Regis resort east of San Juan in 2010. But amongthe moneyed guests that Dorado Beach hopes to attract — rooms start at $1,499 a night —Puerto Rico still ranks low on the must-visit list, according to travel agents who specialize inthe Caribbean. “We still need to get rid of the ‘West Side Story’ image,” Friedel Stubbe, aDorado Beach developer, told me bluntly. “It’s not nice to say, but it’s true.”Ritz-Carlton has some image issues of its own. The chain without question still commandsrespect among affluent travelers, travel agents say. But some fans worry that MarriottInternational, which fully took over Ritz-Carlton in 1998, has watered down the brand byopening hotels that are more utilitarian than special, like one in Los Angeles where Ritz-Carlton and Marriott share an unattractive downtown complex. The Reserve brand, designedto be a chain of 20 resorts, is meant to plant Ritz-Carlton’s blue flag at the tippy top of thetravel market, which is starting to boom again following four years of retrenchment. DoradoBeach joins a Reserve property inKrabi, Thailand,which opened in 2009. Herve Humler, Ritz-Carlton’s president and chief operations officer, says Reserve resorts are in the works forOman, Morocco and Mexico.To make Dorado Beach a success, Ritz-Carlton is leaning hard on the property’s past as aplayground for the rich and famous. We’re not talking about the recent past, when a Hyatt-owned hotel on the property fell so badly into disrepair that in 2006 it was closed, boardedup and ultimately demolished. Rather, the era Ritz-Carlton is trying to conjure started in1920s, when Dorado Beach was still a grapefruit and coconut plantation owned by a womannamed Clara Livingston.Ms. Livingston, known for carrying a pistol and doting on her two Great Danes, Simba andChang-Chang, lived alone on the plantation, running it from Su Casa, a 6,000-square-footSpanish colonial hacienda overlooking the ocean. A love of airplanes (she served as acommander of the Puerto Rican branch of the Civil Air Patrol at one point) brought her intocontact with Amelia Earhart, who became a friend and stayed at Su Casa days beforedisappearing over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.Caribbean Property Group, which owns Dorado Beach with Mr. Stubbe and brought in Ritz-Carlton to operate it, spent $2 million to refurbish Su Casa, now the villa that rents for
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