Roland Rust

Stunt Marketing or No, Domino’s Has Refurbished its Brand

Last week, Domino's Pizza delivered a pizza by reindeer in Japan. And before that, it started delivering pies by drone in New Zealand. Neither method is likely to become a mainstay delivery method for the Michigan-based pizza giant, but experts say that both demonstrate its willingness to adapt, to take some chances and to try a few gimmicks. The onetime target of late-night talk show jokes has stoked a comeback by focusing on its niche as a delivery innovator, with an Apple Watch app and a "Tweet a Pizza" system that lets customers order pizza by way of emoji. Read more...

No-Frills, Not Even a Carry-On: Would You Fly Basic Class?

United Airlines is the latest major U.S. airline to unveil a new price point for budget travelers – basic economy – a flight with so few perks its critics have dubbed it the "misery class." You’ll pay a reduced fare – basic economy is aimed at helping United steal back share from low-cost competitors – but, in exchange, you’ll be the last passengers to board, you’ll agree to whatever automated seat assignment you’re given at check-in (even if it means not sitting with your travel companions), and you won’t dare use the overhead storage compartments. It might be just the ticket for airlines, and for flexible travelers whose chief concern is price, says Smith School Professor Roland Rust. But what will it mean for United's brand? Read more...

Feature Fatigue Creeps As Apple Targets Fitbit

The Fitbit-led fitness wearable market has been growing worldwide by more than 65 percent a year, and Apple is looking to gain a piece of the action. It’s been highlighting the fitness functionalities in its forthcoming Series 2 Watch. But beware of “feature fatigue,” a term coined at the Smith School in a 2006 study co-authored by marketing professor Roland Rust. The concept is based on the notion that, while increasing the number of features increases a product’s appeal, too many features can make a product overwhelming. Read more...

How Rio Officials Feed the Olympics Turmoil

Rio de Janeiro’s acting governor Francisco Dornelles recently warned that the Rio Summer Olympics are headed to a “big failure.” He also called his state’s health care system “calamitous” and said his government’s policy of paying workers’ salaries in installments “is a form of slave labor.” Smith School marketing professors Hank Boyd and Roland Rust suggest better ways to manage a crisis communications situation. Read more...

When Do Service Amenities Pay for Themselves?

Say you're a hotel manager trying to decide whether to build a pool: Will the additional reservations you bring in from that amenity offset the cost of construction and maintenance? Or say you offer free bottled water to all guests. If you stopped doing so, would you save money in the long run? New research from the Smith School offers some answers to these questions. Read more...

The 'Echoverse': A New Way to Think About Brand-Consumer Interactions

Most studies of the interactions between companies and consumers look at one piece of the puzzle: Advertising or social media or news coverage or consumer sentiment as measured in surveys. An ambitious new study from the Smith School examines how messages about brands across various channels interact in a complex set of feedback loops the authors call the "echoverse." Read more...

How to Pursue Successful Digital Strategies

Conventional wisdom in strategy holds that companies need to choose between cost-cutting or revenue growth. Pursuing both strategies at the same time can result in incoherence — or getting stuck in the middle. But that conventional wisdom is challenged by a new study from the Smith School, which suggests that firms can pursue dual-focus or "ambidextrous" IT strategies successfully. Read more ...

Volkswagen Scandal Opens Door for Hybrids

By now you’ve likely heard how the Environmental Protection Agency caught Volkswagen cheating its way to clean emissions tests. The world’s second-largest automaker admitted 11 million vehicles worldwide were rigged to mask the diesel engine’s true emissions — which contained up to 40 times more harmful gases than tests suggested. "It’s really unbelievable," says Smith School professor Roland Rust. "They have absolutely cheated their customers." Read more...

Flier Rewards Overhaul Might Backfire

United’s and Delta’s shift to reward customers based on spending instead of miles could set up the airlines to milk big corporate accounts. But Smith professor Roland Rust says the strategy could turn off a broader base of customers in the long-run, including smaller business clients. Rust told Buzzfeed Business that the changes signal that both airlines are honing in on the fliers who make them the most money. Read more...

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