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Archive for March 2010

At Issue } essential reading

Walmart Reversal Marks Victory for Brands

Jack Neff
Mar 22, 2010

Walmart has decided that national brands are still important -- even ones with relatively small shares that it used to think didn't. The world's-biggest retailer had embarked on an ambitious program to winnow brand assortment in an effort to reduce inventory, improve margins and, it said, offer the consumer a better shopping experience. But realizing the culling actually "aggravated" consumers, it's now restocking hundreds of brands and products eliminated or curtailed months ago and taking a new look at other categories where it has streamlined assortment.

Can Design Save Management?

Youngjin Yoo
Mar 22, 2010

Design, or design thinking, is becoming increasingly popular among management practitioners and scholars. Leading popular magazines like BusinessWeek and Fast Company regularly feature design as an important topic. Many leading business schools around the world incorporate some elements of design as a part of their curriculum. At the same time, leading design schools around world are challenging business schools by providing plausible alternatives to students and recruiters alike.

Brand Flops: Ford, GE, Coca-Cola Know Hype Can Hurt New Products

Laurie Burkitt and Ken Bruno
Mar 22, 2010

The Apple iPad, hitting stores April 3, is one of the most-hyped products in technology history. There is talk that it could revolutionize computing and media. But when it comes to new products, great expectations can doom products that don't measure up to them.

The Seven Harsh Realities of Social Media for Any Brand

Matt Rhodes
Mar 22, 2010

A lot of people are excited about social media and think it could have a hugely positive impact on their brand, their marketing and communications, the insight they get, the way in which they deal with customer service and many other benefits it can bring to an organisation and to the way it interacts with and engages customers. They are right to be excited, the opportunities are great but brands should not hide from the fact that getting an engaging social media presence takes proper thought, some effort and may take time to embed.

A Supersized Custody Battle Over Marvel Superheroes

Brooks Barnes
Mar 21, 2010

When the Walt Disney Company agreed in August to pay $4 billion to acquire Marvel Entertainment, the comic book publisher and movie studio, it snared a company with a library that includes some of the world’s best-known superheroes, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk and the Fantastic Four. The heirs of Jack Kirby, the legendary artist who co-created numerous Marvel mainstays, were also intrigued by the deal. Mr. Kirby’s children had long harbored resentments about Marvel, believing they had been denied a share of the lush profits rolling out of the company’s superheroes franchises. They spent years preparing for a lawsuit by enlisting a Los Angeles copyright lawyer, Marc Toberoff, to represent them. When the Marvel deal was struck, Mr. Toberoff — who helped win a court ruling last year returning a share of Superman profits to heirs of one of that character’s creators — sprang into action. Pow! Wham! Another high-profile copyright fight broke out in Hollywood, and this one could be the broadest the industry has yet seen.

Augmented Reality: It's Like Real Life, But Better

Charles Arthur
Mar 21, 2010

Don't act too surprised if, some time in the next year, you meet someone who explains that their business card isn't just a card; it's an augmented reality business card. You can see a collection and, at visualcard.me, you can even design your own, by adding a special marker to your card, which, once put in front of a webcam linked to the internet, will show not only your contact details but also a video or sound clip. Or pretty much anything you want. It's not just business cards.

What the Still Photo Still Does Best

Hank Klibanoff
Mar 21, 2010

The television medium was barely 15 years old, and large-format magazines were wildly popular, when Life devoted 13 pages to photos by Charles. Moore, Flip Schulke and others at the University of Mississippi showdown in 1962, then 11 pages to the deployment of dogs and fire hoses in Birmingham the next year. The unsettling images from civil rights battlegrounds, followed closely by the disturbing images from Vietnam battlefields by Horst Faas, Eddie Adams, Nick Ut and others, created a golden era for photojournalism. Today, everyone with a cellphone is a photographer/videographer and streaming video has become a national obsession. But has the proliferation of images devalued photojournalism and dulled its influence?

Our Biggest Brands Can No Longer Be Managed By Nerds

Tom Hinkes
Mar 19, 2010

There's something desperately wrong with consumer brand marketing. We all know it. The brand-building talent and expertise that created the CPG manufacturer are gone. Marketers with the ability to identify an unmet consumer need, develop a product to meet it, create a brand, and then lead it to market dominance are missing. Product managers with a fear of ambiguity have replaced the creative, forward-thinking brand builders. Our biggest consumer brands are now managed by nerds.

Real-time Brand Management — Lessons from Virgin America's Hellish Flight

John Sviokla
Mar 19, 2010

On March 13, a Virgin America flight from Los Angeles to New York was diverted from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Stewart airport in Newburgh, N.Y., due to severe weather, and the passengers and crew waited in the plane on the tarmac for over four hours. The crew was anxious, babies were crying, mothers were anxious, and the passengers were unruly — to the point that one woman was taken off the plane by police. The entire ordeal was documented by David Martin, the CEO of Kontain.com, on his company's iPhone social-media application.

Old and New Media Coexisting Nicely, Thank You

Stuart Elliot
Mar 19, 2010

It was not that long ago when Madison Avenue believed that Web video — also known as webisodes, online video and Web series — would replace television, or at least put a big dent into the ability of TV to reach consumers. Now, however, as more marketers turn to Web video, many are increasingly doing so along with — rather than in place of — television.

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