MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (June, 2019)
In studio this past weekend for a fun CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Sherena Hussain and Jacqueline Hansen. With a city and country still reeling from the Toronto Raptors’ big win, we couldn’t help but start our conversation there.
- Raptors (and businesses) win big. With all of the excitement around the Raptors’ playoff run and championship win, many restaurants and businesses hosted events and shared in the fun. What’s the financial impact and will it last?
- Mountain Equipment Co-Op and “the Pink Tax”. MEC faced a social media backlash when two similar items had a price difference, with shoppers having to pay more for “the women’s version”. Is this an example of the Pink Tax and what are the implications for companies in this situation?
- Beyond Meat’s Big Deal. Tim Hortons introduced Beyond Meat products in their 4,000 locations across Canada this week; what does this say about the company and customer preferences?
There’s no denying that the Raptors’ playoff run caught the attention of local fans and those across Canada, including many who do not follow basketball on a regular basis. I would be remiss to not mention the beautiful diversity story that this fan base represents, including people from every walk of life, so uniquely Canadian.
It’s true that much of the game day spending, such as visiting restaurants and attending games, is event specific, however, when a team is able to expand its fan base, it can create benefits in the future. I was fortunate to be around the corner from Jurassic Park Halifax the night of Game 6, watching fans arrive on foot from every direction to cheer on their team. Shout out to those who arranged these events, providing Raptors enthusiasts in Halifax with a venue to share in the fun.
MEC’s situation with the Pink Tax is a good reminder of the importance of a well managed system for procurement, production, and pricing, so that problems like this do not occur. Production costs can differ, however, it is important to have a good understanding of costs and pricing in advance, to ensure that parity and reasonableness exist across a company’s product line. And as for the Pink Tax generally, it does exist, with studies indicating that women pay in excess of $1,000 more annually than men for similar products. Companies need to make a dedicated effort to eliminate this inequity; how about a diversity officer who is responsible for pricing parity and fairness?
And finally, as Beyond Meat continues to expand its distribution, management is, again, a key issue. Strong systems in the areas of supply chain, production, and logistics are critical, to ensure that customers (and their customers) are not disappointed by a lack of supply. New products can be in demand in the early days, but generating sustainable interest is something quite different. We’ll see where Beyond Meat’s story goes from here.
As I mark my 20th appearance on the Biz Panel, a special thanks to everyone who has supported and helped with my segments on CBC News Network, especially those behind the scenes. On a personal note, it was especially fun to have my dog, Laci, walk me to work!
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