Monthly Archives: September 2014

Is Mass Customization the Way To Go?

Burger King's signature slogan, "Have It Your way"

Have it your way”, Burger King’s 40 year old slogan shows the gist of mass customization, a production method that many of today’s businesses believe play a crucial role in increasing market share and profit.

After 20 years of consistent success, Burger King saw the opportunity to advertise their products through the idea of personalization, an idea that McDonald’s view as “expensive”, as it would sacrifice speed or price in their fast food business.

Nike ID's user friendly website

Nike ID’s user friendly website lets people customize their shoes

Without compromising time or speed, companies in other industries are also making mass customization an integral part of their strategy such as Nike. The Nike ID website allows customers to personalize their own shoes within minutes.

Though it seems difficult for a company to tailor every individuals’ custom orders, Nike’s economies of scale and strong brand image have enabled them to do so without making losses. It allows Nike to increase their price as customization adds more than just style, but also a kind of sentimental value for the owners.

The results of using mass customization as a core strategy are contrary to what mass production advocates thought. While McDonald’s view customization as sacrificing speed and price, Burger King view it as an opportunity to gain loyalty. Similarly, while the shoe industry is in a category that runs on mass production, Nike found a way to differentiate themselves through mass customization, which positions them as the leading shoe manufacturer despite its relatively high price.

So what? Mass customization is the way to go.


Corporate Social Resposibility (CSR) as a Marketing Tool

Corporate Social ResponsibilityThe idea of putting business and ethics together already sounds like it may have some controversial issues within the two terms. As it is said in one of our reading preps, most businesses incorporate ethics “to cover the view that the pursuit of profit is wicked and immoral”. As such, business leaders view Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a core strategy and opportunity to gain competitive advantage through brand loyalty. Though strong brand loyalty can help a company withstand criticism and survive, to what extent should a company use its CSR to identify their brand?

Once a company implements CSR, their costs might increase in order to fulfill the responsibilities they promise. For example, last year Oxfam reports several big multinational companies (Nestle, Coca Cola, etc.) who have failed to commit to their CSRs, such as paying adequate wages to workers. Therefore, using CSR to gain competitive advantage or brand loyalty is actually at the expense of their budget and public image. It is costly and it might lower their image if a company don’t commit to their CSR goals, especially if they want to identify themselves through ethical values to appeal to society. Nonetheless, giant multinational companies like Nestle seem to only experience criticism in the short run, which does not affect their long term sales, as news eventually subdue over time.