Microsoft. Apple Inc.

Microsoft has been a very successful company. They provide The Office Suite which is widely used among many, and the Windows Operating System to Pc Manufacturers as well. Currently Microsoft's main competitor is Apple. The Apple Mac Operating System is becoming very popular in both consumer and corporate market. Although Microsoft is a very well known and well trusted company, they have only recently began to promote their services in the mobile market. Apple, however, has been quickly growing and expanding in this area. Making them a top contender and leader in all markets.this case Apple has become the predominant leader and the standard methods of competing are not producing the results needed to remain competitive in the long term market.

For this reason I would recommend that Microsoft make a significant departure and start writing apps for the Apple iOS platform. While it may seem counterintuitive to develop apps that will run on other hardware Microsoft is currently faced with the issue of taking a beating in terms of the app market. Creating apps that run on iOS will allow Apple users to see the Microsoft products that are available and hopefully create additional revenue such that they can fund and create new opportunities in their own potential app store for Windows based phones.

This is basically the last significant chance Microsoft has in order to salvage the potential for the mobile OS and app market. The opportunity is a single as it hopefully prevents the downfall of their mobile market altogether. There is a risk that it won't sway consumers but that isn't an option at this point.

Exxon Even though Exxon has made a commitment to the environment after the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound in Alaska they have somewhat abandoned many of their public advertising campaigns in terms of their eco friendliness. Part of the reason is that many people now associated the “big” oil disaster with BP and the spill off the coast of Florida.

In addition to spending money on many environmental impact programs they are currently involved in promoting the safety aspects of offshore and terrestrial drilling. While touting the safety of that drilling is important it's also important to continue to remind consumers of the commitment to the environment. An ad campaign touting the success of their projects that relate to the environment would actually benefit them in terms of letting BP

take the brunt of the ecological damage and associate themselves with a continued effort and their safety record since. This would be considered low hanging fruit as it's not going to make a huge difference in profits. The goal is to simply build brand image that will provide long term success. There is little risk in promoting the environmental and ecological outreach of the organization as consumers want to know what oil companies are doing to protect the environment. This will certainly put Exxon in the minds of consumers as being an environmentally aware company.

Best Western While Best Western has been around for a number of years they are no longer known for high end hotels and instead are sometimes looked at as low end hotels by consumers mainly due to ownership and franchisees. With a large gap between corporately owned and franchisees, there has become an issue with consistency in how the hotels are being run individually. In order to reward the franchisees who are doing everything right I would propose that the company encourage and reward consumers for posting pictures online of their favorite Best Western stay.

This would provide good will and also provide a way to drive consumers to the best locations encouraging other franchisees to do the same in terms of what they are doing for the customer. Pinterest is the newest rage in online photo sharing and would serve as a great platform for the organization to encourage readers to participate and would certainly serve as free advertising for Best Western and all franchisees in a difficult economic period. The company could pick winners on a daily or weekly basis and reward them with hotel stays for their participation. This would be a home run for the company in terms of free advertising and the potential revenue gain.

Summary Given the opportunity I would utilize the marketing approach for Best Western to utilize Pinterest. This particular marketing opportunity is too good to pass up given that the cost if very low in terms of the potential gain. While a ROE is not being provided it is the best option in terms of potentials to radically increase revenues. Gravitating toward social media is the key to success and finding consumers where they are and getting those ads in front of them are key. Using the consumer to do the marketing and advertising for the company couldn't be better in terms of cost saving and revenue potential.

Mashable, “5 Ways Brands Can Use Pinterest to Boost Consumer Engagement”. Retrieved January 25th, 2012 from http://mashable.com/2012/01/10/pinterest-business-consumer-engagement/

Hunting Green Energy. January 18th, 2011. ExxonEnergy.com. Retrieved January 25th, 2012 from http://www.exxonenergy.com/hunting-green-energy-2.htm