Secondary Secondary Business

Secondary Business – Using adverts to teach strategic theory

A Level AQA BUSS3 and BUSS4

For both Units 3 & 4 at A2 level, students need to have a good understanding of strategy and the theories surrounding them. They then need to be able to apply & analyse these strategies, to either the case study for Unit 3, or to the essay question for Unit 4 to be able to gain ‘good’ level marks in the exam.

Ansoff’s Matrix & Porter’s Generic Strategy are two very important strategies for students to consider when analysing businesses, and instead of teaching the theory first, a good way to get students to be thinking about what business can do, would be to ask them to consider businesses first and to think about how they can stand out, gain a USP, get competitive advantage and to also hopefully improve their financial position.

Activity Part One
An activity that I have used with my students to look at this, is to consider both Virgin & British Airways – the airline industry has been hit hard due to the recession, and British Airways in particular has struggled to make profit. I first split my students into groups of around 4 (depending on your class size) and I then ask them to watch the 2 adverts that are hyperlinked below.
Official Virgin Atlantic Advert 2011 – HD ‘Your airline’s either got it or it hasn’t’ – YouTube
British Airways – Our advert 2011: To Fly. To Serve. – YouTube
One thing that students should pick up on, are that both of the adverts are focused around customer service, and high level service! Then ask students in their groups to think about the Marketing Mix for both of the businesses – download the activity sheet for this here. From this they should be thinking that both of the businesses are very similar…. Maybe considering Porter’s issue of ‘being stuck in the middle’, you can be reinforcing this link to the theory – maybe on the whiteboard.

Activity Part Two
Next ask students in their groups to think about WHAT the 2 businesses could do to (again thinking of Porter) ‘differentiate’ themselves from each other – again see the sheet here.

My students came up with: they could offer new products, they could fly different routes, they could change their prices, or they could go into a completely different market and do something other than flights. All of these ideas can be fitted into Ansoff’s matrix without the students having knowingly studied the theory.  Give students the second handout from the activity sheet, and ask them to place their ideas into the matrix, and select the strategy that they think would be the most important for the business. They should in their groups be taking into consideration the level of risk, cost and impact on resources.

Finally, you can input some theory, to reiterate the strategies for both Ansoff’s Matrix & Porter’s Generic Strategy, but this tutor led input will be minimal as students have already thought of and decided upon the strategies for the business!

The activity above, builds on what students have learnt at AS – the Marketing Mix – and gets them to use this to consider theory and strategy for A2.  The activity also covers the important skill areas that examiners will assess in both Unit’s this year – Knowledge, Application, Analysis & Evaluation.

Donna Jestin
Teacher of Business Studies Notre Dame College & Senior Examiner for AQA

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