Rome Day 3: Free Day

Energized from a good night’s rest our crew spent the day exploring the city of Rome.  Many visited the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi fountain, Spanish steps, and Piazza Navona.  More than half ventured to the Holy See to tour the Vatican and St. Peter’s Square.

I would not be able to do the Vatican justice by attempting to explain the beautiful artwork and history in the museums.  Prof. Fusting and I spent twenty minutes alone inside staring up at Michelangelo’s ceiling in all of its glory.  Unfortunately, Pentecost mass in the morning  at St. Peter’s caused a three-hour line to get inside.  Instead, we opted to enjoy the view from the square and ventured out to other sites in Rome.

Weary from a day of walking, we rested a bit at the hotel before enjoying a traditional Italian meal of meat and pasta.  The ambiance of good food and sounds of accordions playing around the corner just could not be beat!

Rome Day 2: Johnson & Johnson

Formal day!  We dress to impress this morning to visit global health care giant, Johnson & Johnson.  The location is about 40 minutes outside of Rome and is a manufacturing and business campus, complete with football field (soccer).

Johnson and Johnson’s corporate mission is highly regarded and studied by international businesses.  They maintain a focus on people and care before profit and bottom lines.  In many scenarios, they have lost money in order to do what is right.  This corporate mantra translates well across international boundaries and was illustrated well in the presentations we heard today.  The speakers talked about J&J’s definition of value:

  • Quality & innovation
  • Transparency
  • Accompanying customers
  • Developing partnerships

These pillars their business shape and mold employees to perform their work with care and influence the manner in which work is performed.  To measure their success, J&J takes frequent climate surveys, using the results to dictate their business decisions.  Students learned how J&J’s marketing strategy consistently focuses on images and phrases central to humankind, such faces and body movements that promote the marketing message of better health and lifestyle.

After a full morning of this special opportunity from one of the world’s leading companies, we were treated to lunch and discussion.  I believe the students gleamed much from these intelligent and outspoken professionals.

Back in Rome, we changed and had the afternoon free to explore.  I spent my time wandering to the Pantheon and the Church of the Gesu, my favorite church in the world.  A piazza and pizza for dinner and then to bed for a free day tomorrow!


Rome Day 1: SKIN Fine Leather

Ahhhh, Roma!  Everyone is electric since checking in to the hotel.  We all cleaned up after checking in yesterday and headed out to enjoy the sites, sounds, and cuisine of this ancient city.  This morning we had breakfast and enjoyed time visiting local sites such as the Colosseum, which is about four blocks from the hotel.

In the afternoon we gather to take the metro to SKIN Fine Italian Leather.  The business began many years ago by the son of a tanner.  His ideas revolutionized the leather fashion industry.  Mr. Gabizon’s inventions include colored leathers and unique styles never before seen in the industry.

Mr. Gabizon shared his story and provided some valuable business insights.  First, he mentioned the importance of changing with the times in order to stay relevant to consumers.  He attributes his product’s endurance in the industry through constant yearly innovations.  Some he says are successful, while some fail, but he believed that his brand’s value is enhanced even by a failure as long as he is seen as being consistently innovative.

SKIN was a company that started small and became a global leader.  Mr. Gabizon believed that investing in quality materials and not succumbing to temptations of saving costs is important.  If you are a luxury goods designer, then manufacture with top quality, always.  In the same way, he said that it is important to surround yourself with good talent.  Pay employees well who are known to be the best in the business.

If all else fails, Mr. Gabizon instructed others to change the game.  Challenge the status-quo and become different.  Students learned the value of attaching quality to a brand and showcasing designs consistently while mixing the product when necessary.

Our visit ended with a fashion show as we all donned SKIN apparel and walked the runway.  Almost everyone had their iPad out taking pictures and videos.  :)  A truly great site visit with a lot of flair and fun.

We departed from SKIN and spent the evening exploring Rome.

Travel Day: Nice -Rome

Nine hours.  That’s what we’re looking forward to today on the road travelling from Nice to Rome.  It sounds daunting, but the coach is nice and makes frequent stops.  Many catch up on sleep as every day we’ve been outside moving.  This is also a good chance for students to work on their assignments for the class.  I observe many of them diligently tapping away at their iPad screens effortlessly placing their thoughts to words.  In addition, those that have opted to create a trip marketing project using Adobe Collage have been adding their pictures in and learning the product well.  I am anxious to see their creativity when the assignments are due.

The iPads have been proving valuable not only for academics on the trip, but on long coach rides too.  Students work on assignments while listening to music, or they view movies they’ve loaded and play games together.  As far as I can tell, the long travel doesn’t seem to be the usual, “are we there yet?”

The biggest trick for me is yet to come: pulling the student data off the iPads.  The assignments are done in Pages, but there are now valuable pictures and movies loaded on to these devices that the students should be able to keep.  The uncertainty of free WiFi connectivity makes it hard to give instructions on how best to accomplish this all.  Luckily, when we arrive at the Rome hotel, it has WiFi, but not free.  I will be thinking over the next few days about how to gather all student work as well as assisting them in getting their media to an accessible personal space.

After check-in, everyone has the night free.  Many spend it picking a direction and walking around this beautiful ancient city.  Tomorrow, the morning is free followed by an afternoon visit with Italian leather maker, SKIN.  Bona cera for now.

Nice Day 2: Free Day on the Riviera

The rain has stopped!  Cloudy at breakfast but hopeful the sun’s rays shine on our free day enjoying the French Riviera.  We take advantage of the tour bus at our disposal and 13 of us make our way to near the nearby principality of Monaco.  As some may know, next week is the annual Monaco Grand Prix.  This event is often a showcase of prestige for noted celebrities and other rich & famous.  This also means that the city is closed to tour buses and we are forced to park and walk our way down to the harbor.  Monaco is layout of switchback roads and narrow corridors due to its steep geographical placement.  Most places require up and down multiple elevators or tough hikes on brick stairways.  Maneuvering the area is quite tricky as you may go down two levels, walk three blocks to the right, down one level, and three blocks to the left in order to get to a place you were able to see just below you.  How the natives survive is understood once you glance at the main harbor area and bask in the crystal clear Mediterranean water.

Our Loyola training does us well as we logically follow our own path and reach the main harbor.  From there, we navigate to and walk along the raceway.  Crews work on giant grandstands while formula one teams gloss down their trailers.  What perhaps steals the show from the race efforts are the dozens of super-yachts docked together one after the other.  These ships are massive and breathtaking to look at.  Each has a crew of employees shining and polishing the gold trims, or washing and waxing the decks.  We observe as one businessman is scoffer-ed into his Rolls Royce, just one of the premium cars we see parked next to each vessel.

The energy of Monaco quickly drains us and we eat lunch on the main promenade before making our way back up the labyrinth, stopping here and there for souvenirs.  After a group photo, we board the bus back to Nice.  The rest of the day is free for everyone to enjoy.  I decide to go walking around the area of old Nice where there are many narrow streets filled with marketplace vendors.  I ascend a high staircase to an old Chateau that overlooks the Nice coastline.  My camera filled with photos, I head back to the hotel.  Dr. Klink, Prof. Fusting, and I venture out for dinner near the Palaise de Justice.

Overall, the free day in Nice could not have went better.  The weather even became sunny and 76 degrees, with a pleasant evening.  As for marketing, the students who went to Monaco actually did get to see some real sports advertisement examples in person.  As far as tech goes, I learned a lot about the benefits and restrictions of using an iPhone for maps and GPS locations.  Tomorrow, we travel to Rome.  Everyone is excited.

A Note about iPads

As I’ve mentioned before, the class is outfitted with iPads. There has been some extremely good feedback about these devices and their use in the class and to travel. Today we had the students complete a survey specifically about the devices and were pleased at the positive responses. This data will be used to gleam lessons learned about technology integration and learning outcomes. In addition to feedback, many students have opted to perform one of their assignments by creating a marketing profile of their trip using Adobe’s iTouch app, “Collage”. Overall our biggest challenge has been connectivity to Internet resources. Not all hotels have free wifi and students are unwilling to pay the steep rates for access (not that I blame them). I see many more ways the iPads could add value if the connectivity aspect was solved. For now, we’re glad to see the positive results so far from this initiative.

Nice Day 1: Parfumerie Fragonard & ASK SA

Rain, rain, go away! It is a real shame that our first full day on the Riviera will be spent dodging cold raindrops. Normally, Nice is more akin to a tropical oasis than northern Seattle. Our spirits are high, though, after a hearty morning breakfast.

We begin by traveling to Parfumerie Fragonard, a small yet well-known Provencal fragrance manufacturer. We learned about the origins of perfume – linked to religion and warding off evil spirits or disease. From there we learned of the different essential smells that elicit certain responses from the glands in our noses. Our guide explained how our glands can emit different smells based on the foods we eat. She explained that a person from India eating spicy foods will prefer a heavier more robust perfume, whereas someone living in Asia whose diet consists of a larger amount of fish, will probably enjoy lighter and more subtle notes. This basic understanding of human physiology is essential to matching natural scents to a person and personality. Fragrance design is both an art and chemical science. Although there is no magic ingredient that everyone enjoys, the most commonly used and admired is jasmine.


Students learned that Fragonard sells their products through direct, mail, and export channels. The company does not advertise much, stating the expense of marketing by advertisement would increase the input costs of the product and they would have to raise the selling price. The fragrance market is one of luxury and brand quality. Fragonard prides themselves on building an exclusive brand and maintaining repeat customers through the longevity of their product lines. They commented that the company would rather produce one quality product line that lasts forever, and has repeat customers, than attempting to create many that live short life-spans. They were able to snag a few first-time customers from our group, so we’ll see if that model works. ; )

Next, we travelled to ASK, a company that manufactures RFID microchips for use in documents or cards such as passports or subway passes. Many Americans can remember that back in 2004, the U.S. government began issuing passports with RFID chips implanted in them. Around this time, subways and gas stations issued speed passes aimed at decreasing repetitive tasks such as payment. Although ASK was not the company used to manufacture the American products, they are a parallel company in the global market. They are most notable for printing the tickets for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China and credited with keeping the smooth transition of people in/out of events.


The biggest challenge for ASK in the beginning was establishing a brand. This was done through extensive marketing campaigns to inform potential customers of the technology and how it could add value in certain applications. It is hard to sell a product that no one knows about. ASK focussed on “convenience” and “security” as their selling points. They see the future growth of their company in the embedding of their technology in cell phones, possibly leading to linkages between identification and commercial transactions..


Travel Day: Innsbruck – Nice

7:45 AM, rise and shine campers! Today we travelled by coach from Innsbruck to Nice, France. Dr. Klink mentioned that we were half way through the trip now to which the students groaned, “awww nooooo!” We are all enjoying a great experience here and there are conflicting emotions about having to think about leaving but missing friends and family at home. Our route took us south through the Austrian alps and into Italy where we stopped for lunch. We struggled a bit to understand new signs, language, and food, but adjusted well overall. Back on the road, we crossed into France and the French Riviera to Nice.

The hotel is situated about half a mile or so from the shoreline and the Mediterranean Sea. The hotel itself offers free wifi, which we all immediately join and feel a sense of connection to the world outside of our trip. The evening is spent in the rain finding a place to eat and relax after the day’s eight-hour bus ride. Unfortunately, tomorrow it will rain as well, but we are all pulling for the sun to come through on Tuesday for our free day.

Innsbruck Day 3

No trip to Innsbruck would be complete without time to enjoy the natural resources in abundance surrounding you. For this reason, and to allow for some down time, today was a free day. Students had signed up for bungee jumping, canyoning, paragliding, and bike riding. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) bungee jumping was cancelled due to wind restrictions.

I was not as adventurous as the students and instead, Dr. Klink and I rented bicycles to tour around the town. We ended up biking to Schloss Ambrose, situated on the north-western side of the city. On the way, we passed many of the buildings constructed for the 1982 Olympic games.



After returning the bikes and a short rest, we gathered on the front promenade of the hotel to watch the Champions League Football final game between Chelsea and Bayern Munchen. At this point, having all recently been to Munich, we were rooting for Bayern. The game was controlled mostly by Bayern who went up 1:0 late in the game, but with minutes left in regulation, Chelsea tied it at 1 all, forcing extra minutes. At the end of extra time, the score remained 1:1 and forced a penalty kick-off to decide the winner. In the end, Chelsea took the crown by one kick. A heartbreaking loss for Bayern Munchen.

At this point, it was late and many went to bed to prepare for an early wake-up and travel to Nice.

Innsbruck Day 2: Riedel Glass

After a wonderful breakfast at the new hotel, we board the bus at 8:45 AM traveling to Kufstein, where we will tour the Riedel (pronouced “reedle”) glassworks manufacturer.

Riedel became a company in 1756, providing hand-blown glass services for ornamental or functional purposes. The company has survived many wars and cultural changes. They pride themselves on being able to thrive through such change counting their longevity to the commitment to their quality product. As advances in science enabled wine enthusiasts to mechanically critic wines by color, clarity, bouquet, and taste, Riedel reacted by focussing their products on wine glass designs that improved the wine drinking experience. For Riedel, the shape and structure of the glass can change the impression of any wine, therefore they design glasses that merge form and function to enhance the experience of wine drinking. There success is very apparent as they are noted as one of the world’s most famous wine glass manufacturers to date.

Students saw the glasses being hand-blown and learned about the inputs of the manufacturing process. They learned the marketing strategy at Riedel – one that places emphasis on uniqueness and elite status. Riedel’s slogan is “the wine glass company”.

The afternoon was free for some time to enjoy the city and do some shopping. At 7:30 PM, we met to take a coach to the starting point of an alpine lantern hike. This unique experience had us all hike up a portion of the mountain to a gasthaus offering a meal. After the meal, we descended the trail with the assistance of our guide and paraffin lanterns as the cool mountain air swirled around us. I think I could speak for everyone in saying this was such a wonderful time sure to never be forgotten.

Tired from our romp in the alps, we adjourned to the hotel for some rest. Tomorrow will bring a free day of enjoying the activities, sites, and sounds of this majestic location.