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Intuition might say that the American Red Cross’ customers are those it services in times of emergency or drought; however, that could not be further from the case. The American Red Cross’ care is, in fact, a charitable output of its business. As a business, the American Red Cross must be understood as solicitor, and an analysis must focus on how the organization solicits donations. Hence, for the American Red Cross, donors are one type of customers. The Red Cross also sells apparel, training devices, first aid kits, and resources for education on topics concerning emergency medical care[i]. Hence, the American Red Cross has several classes of customers: private donors, business and corporate donors, and those that purchase from the Red Cross Store.
With the classes of its customers delineated, understanding the Red Cross’ customer value proposition is simplified. For both private and corporate donors, it exists as a charitable organization with a hundred-year-old history[ii]and that, in a survey by Harris Interactive, was the most recognizable, and one of the most trusted, charity in America[iii]. The Red Cross, hence, offers stability to its donors and the belief that their donation will be effective. To corporate donors, the American Red Cross’ legitimacy in the eyes of the public and its wide-recognition make it an appealing target for brand-enhancing donations. For those that purchase from the American Red Cross’ store, the Red Cross’ brand may, likewise, influence their decision to purchase the company’s products. Their training materials and first aid kits may benefit from a feeling of enhanced legitimacy, and their apparel may confer a similar aesthetic from the company’s presence in the American public conscious.
The Red Cross’ key processes include both oblique attempts to deliver on its customer value proposition (purchasing and selling apparel, for instance) and those that help its value proposition directly (for example, by aiding those in need). Of those indirect processes, the Red Cross must commission clothing with its logo, commission training objects, shoot training videos, purchase medical resources, and ship both the raw materials and the finished products. For Red Cross’ aid, it must assess and survey the scope of disasters; collect and ship blood; order, assemble, and ship emergency food and clothing; provide licensed medical personnel in the wake of an emergency; and teach and license potential medical personnel.
However, the data required for the Red Cross to engage in these activities is both diverse and immense. For the Red Cross to sell, it must store account information, information on the needs of its market, and routing and budgeting information. For the Red Cross to engage in aid, it must store information on the size of disasters, contact information and identifying details of those who may be affected, both contact and location information of both local and Red Cross-deployed medical personnel, information regarding the needs of those caught in disasters, location and financial information regarding goods to be distributed, and information regarding both the location and purity of its blood.
Currently, the American Red Cross could utilize emergent technology to enhance itself. Using big data analytics, the company could better understand their market and position stronger products through the analysis of survey data and purchasing habits; understand and anticipate materials and resources needed on a local scale without mistakenly sending excessive resources through understanding population data and caloric needs; and examine social media interactions to understand how to modernize the Red Cross brand.
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