In class today we explored the next two chapters, which included topics such as brands, marketing, and pricing. In terms of brand recognition, we explored the case study of Gaga’s SherBetter. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s most likely because it went out of business as a luxury sherbet-ice cream hybrid. The inability to properly address the desired target market, design attractive packaging, and place the product appropriately in stores, impacted the business negatively, as it could not withstand competitors.
Then, Blake and Phil joined us for an interesting presentation on the Innovation Institute, and Blake’s own startup, Aeronics, after graduating from Pitt as an engineering student. The concept surrounded portable oxygen in both a prescription and nonprescription sense. Therefore, they created two separate brands, to avoid medical discrepancies. We asked about marketing further, connecting to what we learned in class, and he confessed that marketing is a new concept that still has some developing to do before their product, Everyday Oxygen, is released later this year. Yet, they understand the competition and have differentiated their product with its mobility and targeted market of senior citizens. This is reflected in their website design that has big text and colorful graphics. We also shifted the discussion towards how they price their product, as we learned of the different pricing strategies in class today. While they have investigated through market research and competitor analysis, they still struggle to appropriately price their product so that customers will be willing to pay for it. It was interesting to hear how this company is moving forward after just starting a year ago, and the problems they are facing and trying to overcome, at such an early stage.
They also gave us some great and memorable advice. With the experience of pitching the idea over and over again, Blake learned the value of presentation skills, such as attractive slides and the use of your own technology in a presentation. Phil added that a pitch is a story, and when telling a story, only certain aspects will truly be remembered by the audience, and therefore it is important to keep it simple and straightforward, saving details for a discussion later.
With these tips in mind, our class had the opportunity to pitch our own ideas. I was passionate about my idea due to its attention to safety and efficient transportation and believed that it would be an idea that would spark discussion. My classmates provided an open environment to freely pitch our ideas. I realized that although my idea may have been simple, the implications and usefulness of the product were hard to explain to the class, hence causing them to ask specific questions. While I didn’t win them over in the end, I am excited to work on our final project with my new team. I am fascinated by the work of entrepreneurs, and even though I don’t plan on pursuing my own ideas currently, I could definitely see myself working for a startup or running a business surrounding a new idea.