Maybe, but solid brand strategy and management might be a more tangible and, frankly, smarter move for England’s monarchy. Why? Because Queen Elizabeth II is a brand in and of herself. Look no further than to the movie The Queen and you realize her majesty is an iconic brand in her own right.
Category: Brand Capital
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2012 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand management and performance comprehensively. It is the only annual ranking of companies that demonstrate overall, balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand and related intangible assets, providing an indicator of total business strength and effectiveness.
Some of the world’s most valuable and well-known companies share a common brand trait that has not been explored in depth. Apple, Dell, Ford, Google, Mars, Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks and Wal-Mart, to name just a few, are “founder brands.” These are brands where the founder or founding family exercises significant influence over the management of the brand and direction of the business. Davis Brand Capital identifies the qualities that define founder brands and explores some of the challenges in managing them for maximum value.
While the Penn State scandal and abdication of leadership is deplorable and unfortunately merits its sad attention, what happened at the venerable University of Virginia this spring is, in another way, astounding. It laid bare the unrelenting business assault roiling educational institutions, their custodians and their brands.
In its August issue, Vanity Fair charges Microsoft with losing its mojo, pinning much of the blame on CEO Steve Ballmer. While the article makes some useful and valid observations, it never completes the circle, relating them back fully to the larger, underlying issue that ails brand Microsoft: the company has strayed far from the management and proper deployment of its founding vision.
Web bots, the “internet of things”, machine learning and other converging technological advancements offer an early glimpse of our artificial intelligence future. And marketers need to start paying attention.
Marissa Mayer's move to Yahoo as CEO made me reexamine the question of personal brands. I maintain my position: they don't exist in any meaningful way. They are just (not terribly) fancy jargon for bloggers. What Mayer brings to Yahoo is not her personal brand, but the brand capital of Google.
The LGBT equality movement has entered the mainstream. Now that we are here, I think there is a new type of work to do. As a long-time brand strategist for some of the world's leading companies, I believe our next steps are in the consumer marketplace. We must unlock the full power of influential marketers, going beyond sponsorships alone.
In what can be described only as a singularly courageous move, the new JCPenney unveiled a Father's Day ad featuring real-life gay dads Todd Koch and Cooper Smith, and their children, Claire and Mason. It is widely considered a direct response to the failed hysteria of the "Million Moms" boycott of the retailer after it named Ellen DeGeneres its spokesperson. And, indeed, this read of events is likely. Something more is going on, though. The ailing retailer has found the courage to be relevant, and with bold social intent.
On rare occasions, a name comes along that captures the essence of the target audience's primary characteristic. In the machismo world of South America, such a name exists in Horniman's Tea.
I was delighted to see the flight attendants handing out snack packs, remembering the most delicious chocolate covered caramel on an earlier flight. Eagerly breaking the seal, I was met not only by the chocolate, but a most unfortunately named package of crackers.
The term "Guggenheim Effect" used to denote the positive role the brand played in Bilbao's resurgence as a destination site. It became well accepted vernacular, not only in the museum community, but among the wider community of brand and marketing experts. In recent weeks, however, the term has been re-appropriated by European media and citizens to express a much more negative and even sarcastic view of the cultural institution.
There is certainly humor to be had watching, sprawled out in the comfort of another century, the way previous generations handled – or didn’t – destabilizing changes that we now take for granted. We are now obligated to live in a culture of conversation with its simultaneous flattening of things like expert culture and its ever-expanding choice of content providers and options.
The ultimate proactivity of the Web is the semantic future of marketing. Every interaction is about data, and with enough of it, predictive analytics are possible. Is Big Data simply an idea to you - or do you have a plan to activate around information?
QR codes have become ubiquitous and so has the term digital strategy. Both are often treated by businesses as "silver bullets" without much understanding how to leverage either. QR codes, in particular, have been reduced to gadget status with little meaning but to annoy the consumer.
As a rule of thumb, marketers tend to avoid likening their products to excrement, even when its an apt comparison.
How can a business respond to both the radical changes in the market as well as the human challenges in the wind? Without a doubt, the blue ocean opportunity of the moment is trust.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of key intangibles. It is the only annual ranking of companies demonstrating comprehensive and balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand capital, which provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.
“Building community.” It’s become a mantra. You can’t go a day of digitally deposited trade reading without gurus across the board - from HBR to Ad Age - opining on how brand building is linked to community building. The devil, of course, is in the details.
Yesterday’s New York Times featured an interesting look at the “divergent paths” of the iconic Swedish auto brands Saab and Volvo. Both were orphaned by their parent companies, GM and Ford respectively, during the global economic downturn.
The endless-loop news of Groupon's financial bleeding — largely self-inflicted — brings no joy to those who thought they were on to the next big thing. As Sunday's New York Times points out, the daily-discount site was all-too recently offered a stunning $6 billion from Google, but the time-tested combination of corporate hubris, greed and flimsy accounting got in the way of all of that.
Fast Company's cover story in the September issue is a must-read for any marketer, no matter the industry.
A note of thanks from World Market's CEO reached inboxes across the U.S. last Thursday, August 11, while financial markets around the globe were on a roller coaster ride and London experienced the worst riots in decades. At first blush, World Market's move was unusual and timely. Unusual, because consumers don't typically receive "personal mail" from a corporate leader and timely, because the note acknowledges the current economic woes. Unfortunately, these are the only two "positives." Ultimately, the note is memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Slate's insightful piece by Annie Lowrey, "Readers Without Borders," highlights one of the most cringe-worthy excuses for failure: the marketplace.
Intellectual property law fascinates me. The ambiguity and subjectivity involved in determining whether or not a trademark can be protected, or if it infringes on an existing mark, can make brand-naming projects painfully frustrating.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2010 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of intangibles creating value in the intellectual economy. The ranking compares the five key intangible categories by which the consultancy defines brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact.
Admittedly I’ve never had much use for the GAP, other than the fact it inspired some of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits (“Lay off me I’m starving”). But its newly designed logo seems to be leaving branding experts and fans alike starving for a bit more.
Even though I've beat up on Volvo before, on a personal level I'm a lifelong fan of their cars. On a professional level, I have profound respect for Volvo's clear, consistent brand management. That's why their new advertising partnership with "Twilight: Eclipse" is so painful to watch.
PBS chef and 1999 James Beard award winner Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is a stark contrast to the Food Network's lineup of chef entertainers. She exudes knowledge and offers simple, clear instruction on her PBS show Lidia's Italy. There's no pageantry or pretense -- just a serious chef with a love and appreciation for Italy's many classical, regional dishes. Yet while I'm a fan of her show and her approach to cooking, her brand strategy lacks the refinement of her recipes. As meticulous and knowledgeable as she comes across on her program, the translation of the promise she establishes isn't consistently translated across her many ventures, most notably her restaurant Lidia's in Kansas City.
I know a high school English teacher who refuses to use red pen when editing her students' work. "It's like bloodletting, all that red ink on paper. It weakens writers," she says. So she bisects her students' sentences in blue, convinced the color, not the cutting itself, does the damage. Similarly, employees from cubicle to corner office play a "track-changes" version of pass-the-patient with nothing but the best intentions. More often than not, what starts as a second opinion leads to a few minor stitches for a split infinitive, then escalates to invasive surgery as personal styles and legal hedging trump purpose. At the end of the procedure, the writer's left with a Frankenstein's monster of crowdsourced pieces and parts that no longer effectively communicates or resembles anything remotely human.
Last weekend, I took my two preschoolers to Six Flags. We walked through Bugs Bunny National Park, past Tweety's Twee House and Yosemite Sam's Tugboat Tailspin, my five-year-old nervously eyeing the 6-foot tall anthropomorphized rooster waving menacingly at her. "Mommy, what is that?" "Oh, that's Foghorn Leghorn," I explained. Then her wee brow furrowed. "Who?" The child had no clue. Neither did the heat-stroked fourteen-year-old inside, I bet. It was then I realized Six Flags has become less theme park than museum, teeming with cartoon icons put to pasture when cross-dressing, gun-toting, homicidal role models fell out of favor. Bugs, Elmer and Wile E. have joined Minnie, Donald and Pluto at the edge of obsolescence. Can WB bring them back from the brink?
In 2007, I lauded BP's rebranding for its aesthetics and the company's willingness to position itself at the forefront of social and cultural debate. But I questioned its ability and willingness to "walk the walk" of its "beyond petroleum" talk. Sadly, the Gulf of Mexico spill will prove an excellent case study on the perils of disingenuous branding.
Studios have no guarantees when planning the next hit film, but entertainment execs wield some reliable tools. Stars bring productions an instantly recognizable name, past positive experience and a built-in fan base. Actors playing popular literary characters (think Harry Potter) bring additional audiences and further increase the odds of film and merchandising success. And in the case of several superhero series, executives gild the lily further, combining stars and beloved characters with prefab story lines and established merchandising partnerships. Sounds like a good business model, right? Not always.
When BP rebranded itself a few years back, it did so in a way that made the redefinition of its initials an overt gesture: "British Petroleum" would now stand for "Beyond Petroleum." In other words, we were asked and empowered to reimagine what "BP" means.
Davis Brand Capital, which published the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking in December, today announced expanded rankings in five industries: automotive, finance, retail, technology, and telecom.
In December, Davis Brand Capital announced the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking. Toyota ranked #8 overall and was the top-ranking automaker. Since the release, Toyota has issued a series of historic recalls, and the brand has suffered a precipitous fall from grace. So far, the recalls affect more than eight million vehicles worldwide, with Toyota considering still more for its best-selling Corolla. And recall-related malfunctions have caused an estimated 34 deaths since 2000 in the U.S. alone, according to government data released this week. Beyond the direct financial, legal and ethical implications of the recalls themselves, Toyota faces a crisis of consumer confidence comparable to the Tylenol cyanide murders or the Ford Explorer/Firestone fiasco. Rebuilding consumer trust will require much more than a public relations war room and marketing blitz. Toyota faces a fundamental brand challenge that extends deep into its culture, its operations and its core meaning. As the story unfolds and an embattled Toyota hunkers down for the onslaught, important lessons from the crisis are already coming to light.
Every year, in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl, we learn whose ads passed network muster and whose didn't. This year, CBS generated lively debate by green-lighting Focus on the Family's pro-life spot, while rejecting an ad from gay dating site ManCrunch.com. Much has already been written about CBS's implied endorsement of one "life choice" over another. But few question why slow-to-evolve CBS failed to capture a fraction of the value its platform created for either organization.
When Steve Jobs took to the stage in San Francisco's Moscone Center on January 27, the world knew what to expect: Apple would finally announce its long-awaited tablet. With that pre-determined focus and the anticipatory roar for the next "insanely great" thing, most missed the larger announcement of the day. Steve Jobs did not simply announce the company's latest creation; he completed a task first made public in January 2007, when the company dropped "Computer" from its name to become Apple, Inc. The real news hidden in plain view as Jobs unveiled iPad was the repositioning of the company that created the personal computer.
Recently, Slate's Ben Sheffer presented Apple's case against Gawker's Tablet Scavenger Hunt, suggesting the web pub's Valleywag blog may be inducing Apple employees to violate trade secret law. But to measure the potential loss for Apple solely in terms of trade secrets is to overlook a much larger violation not just to Apple, but to the customer as well.
Migros is Switzerland's largest supermarket chain and one of the 500 largest companies in the world. Known as the big M because of its iconic orange logo, the company employs more than 84,000 people and has recently posted sales of more than $20 billion. Turning 85 years old in 2010, Migros' unique history, business savvy and far-reaching vision make it a noteworthy case study for brands in and outside the category. Migros has been ahead of its time from its inception, and is a prime example of how a company can diligently build brand capital through innovation, social responsibility, thoughtful portfolio strategy and a careful management of brand voice.
GE (NYSE:GE) captures the number two spot in the Davis Brand Capital 25 for 2009. The world's largest company, GE has rebounded from a transition period and one of the most challenging years in its history -- one that saw its stock plunge to record lows. The company's nimble and effective management of its brand capital is helping it tackle new market paradigms and position itself to lead into the future.
As the year ends, we look back at the most read and shared posts from Unbound Edition's contributors, and a few more favorites chosen by our editorial team. We appreciate your continued readership and commentary and look forward to more dialog in 2010.
Microsoft ranks #4 on the Davis Brand Capital 25, besting twelfth-place rival Apple. Despite taking some hits in a year-long advertising tit-for-tat with Mac, Microsoft joins fellow technology brands IBM (#1), HP (#3) and Cisco Systems (#5) at the top of this year's list. The Davis Brand Capital 25 is the only annual list to evaluate brand as an amalgam of intangibles, including brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact. Microsoft's top-five ranking is a reflection of the company's successful management of its brand capital across a diverse portfolio of technology products and services.
Cisco's #5 ranking on the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 should come as no surprise. Cisco has taken an integrated approach to developing its intangibles for years. The following sections detail Cisco's success in carefully managing its brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
On Monday Davis Brand Capital released the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25, and IBM took the top spot. IBM's #1 ranking may surprise some at first glance. After all, brand is typically viewed primarily through a marketing lens, and therefore tends to be more closely associated with consumer-centric - and arguably more glamorous - companies such as Apple or Nike. But the Davis Brand Capital 25 examines brand more holistically: as a collective set of intangibles, including brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact. The following commentary and qualitative assessment of top-ranked IBM highlights the company's successful management of these five intangibles that comprise brand capital and provides context for its #1 ranking.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as an amalgam of intangibles creating value in the intellectual economy. The ranking compares the five key intangible categories by which the consultancy defines brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact.
Patrick Davis Partners, the brand capital consultancy, today announced an expanded portfolio of services and a name change to Davis Brand Capital.
Back in June, Miracle Whip broadcasted its condiment manifesto to Gen Y. Punctuated with the official quivery chalkboard script of all advertising-spawned youth movements and set to a swaying, poly-ethnic crowd kickin’ it kiddie-pool style, a bored (yet defiant!) voice-over proclaims: “We are our own unique, one-of-a-kind flavor. We are Miracle Whip. And we will not tone it down.” Hmmm. A hipster decree from a 76-year-old sandwich spread most famous for its supporting role in my great aunt’s deviled eggs? The campaign was hard to swallow.
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, new walls are being erected that challenge the fundamental right of the public to free news and information. However, free today no longer means free from bias or state control, but instead not paying for content. News Corp.'s announcement that it would introduce pay walls has set off a firestorm of response -- the majority of whom say it will not work. The minority see Murdoch as the potential savior of professional journalism, an ironic twist for the man behind The New York Post and other tabloids. Others focus on the proposed model and respond that it could work, if News Corp. can apply the lessons it has learned from pay television and the music industry, which evolved its model in response to illegal downloading.
After years of disappointing design, quality and performance, GAP seems tapped into the American cultural pulse once again. The company's holiday advertising campaign announces that the country is "Ready for Holiday Cheer." Like many retailers, GAP is spending more and launching earlier this year, including a major Vanity Fair insert and back cover. Whether these efforts end up translating to sales, of course, remains to be seen. Still, the campaign does more than any other to date to declare a shift in attitude. Consumers will decide for themselves to celebrate in ways "modest" or "all out," but either way, GAP gives permission "to liberate" from the dark clouds of the past 18 months. A holiday declaration of independence -- "This holiday, it's up to us" -- makes the empowerment message abundantly clear: Yes, Virginia, there is an American spirit of hope, even joy, that will not be silenced. The recession is over.
The motoring and mainstream media alike have scrutinized Detroit's Biggish Two-and-a-Half ad nauseum. Both experts and the car-buying public are questioning Detroit's ability to innovate in the post-SUV cash cow, post-bailout world. And rightfully so. Admittedly, there are a few bright spots on the horizon. But the real innovation story likely won't be the much-hyped Chevy Volt or even Ford's Fit-beating Fiesta. And it certainly won't be the ridiculous idea that positioning Chrysler to compete with Cadillac will somehow save the beleaguered brand (have you seen Cadillac's sales figures, Mr. Fong?). I'm betting Detroit's next disruptive innovation will be the rebirth of Saturn.
The Levi's brand saddens me so. It could be so much cooler. It could, really, be the PBR of denim. Industrial, durable, worn-in and well-worn. American. Iconic. An underdog. But no. Instead of quietly offering itself up as what it is: a historied, high-quality, understated, no-frills alternative to the flash and arrogance of designer denim, it is clamoring schizophrenically to be everything to everyone. Oh, Levi's. What are you doing? Wait a minute. I know. It's called "trying too hard."
The most successful beer marketers in the world have crossed a line. According to AdAge, a pun is “the final frontier” in “tasteless” beer advertising. In a spot for Bud Light Lime leaked on the Internet, everyday folks innocently confess to getting it “in the can” (some of them like it and want to do so again!). The punch line of the spot reveals that the popular brew is now available in all-too-familiar handy aluminum containers.
I noticed Clear has been stealing a page from its competitor Verizon with its creative - or lack thereof. To tout its comprehensive coverage, it uses sprinkles as a metaphor.
IKEA fans are all a-Twitter over the company's recent font change from Futura to Verdana. Designed to be easy to read at small sizes (like catalogs and computer screens), Verdana will be used in IKEA's print and digital communications. What seems on the surface like a simple, subtle shift -- one that arguably fits the company's brand of streamlined, smart, affordable design -- has triggered an onslaught of negative reaction so filled with bile that one might think the company switched to Comic Sans or Jokerman.
Pepsi is exhibiting some fresh bruises after recent media coverage of the company’s brain drain under Massimo d'Amore. When one considers Arnell’s leaked logo study and the lashing from the trades (and 20% freefall) over Tropicana’s repackaging, it’s hard to argue freshening up its brands netted PepsiCo any positives. Yet despite a flood of negative attention (much of it deserved), the most interesting aspects of the work have received the least attention. I may take my own lumps for this one, but I think the Pepsi brand has made some smart choices in its updated approach to communicating “refreshing.”
Some say Goldman Sachs has a brand problem. And the media pile-on includes the FT, New York Magazine, the New York Times and Rolling Stone with its oft repeated and colorful judgment of the company as a “giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” But I say, Mr. Lloyd Blankfein, light up a cigar and stick to your arrogant guns. I don’t think you have a brand problem. I think you have a brand which is working very, very well. To the chagrin of many others.
At a time when most leaders, including that of the western world, want to summon the “spirit of innovation” and change to reignite consumer confidence, a number of food companies prefer to bust that ghost before getting slimed by progress. From Wendy’s to Heinz to Haagen-Dazs, well-known brands are reminding us that it’s ok to push the “pause” button on innovation. None, perhaps, more joyfully than Post Shredded Wheat.
It’s a hard time to tackle branding if you are a television channel. What with the mishmash of shows, the plethora of “talent,” the multitude of distribution platforms, the unrelenting pressure on retaining audience and the changing media landscape, distinguishing the distributor is a difficult and possibly thankless chore. So many egos and properties, so many fragmented audiences, so little room for a clear, identifiable position. So little opportunity for a relationship with the public.
The inevitable economic recovery is arguably just around the corner. Yes, it’s always too far ahead. But at least there is light at the end of the tunnel. Obama says it’s a “long way off,” likely to cover his own posterior. However, the IMF and the Fed are cautiously optimistic. And, with few exceptions, the Dow has been relatively flat in recent weeks. I don’t want to jinx it, but it feels like we’re at the bottom of a very steep hill to climb rather than falling off of a cliff. The recovery -- albeit likely a slow one -- is coming. It’s just a matter of when. And the world, including marketing, may never be the same.
Regardless of how you felt about Michael Jackson when he was alive, it is difficult to deny the extensive and irreplaceable contributions he made to music. It is also difficult to deny his truly amazing ability to reinvent himself as an artist in spite of --and in the face of-- personal tragedy and public scandal. As frail as he seemed, especially toward the end, Michael never stopped working on his image and music. A life lived in the public eye taught Michael from a young age to never stop moving. Sometimes forward, sometimes backward, and often times in circles. The Michael Jackson brand was truly malleable. For four decades he captivated us, for better or worse. Even in death he continues to do so.
According to the dictionary, “confluence” describes the flowing together of two or more rivers -- for example, where the smaller Missouri joins the roaring Mississippi. There is a similar confluence of strategy forming between the for-profit and non-profit sectors. And considering the reputational challenges damming many for-profit revenue streams, the non-profit sector may prove its contributions to the union to be more Mississippi than Missouri.
The TED conference began in 1984 with the simple goal of bringing the top minds of the Technology, Entertainment and Design industries together for short, thought-provoking talks with their peers. The for-profit, invitation-only gathering was largely unknown in its early years outside of the small community of innovators who spoke at and attended the annual conference. Twenty-five years later, a very different TED announces TEDx, independently organized local events designed to share recorded TED talks with and capture new inspiration from a global network of community leaders. The brand’s evolution is a case study for what our institutions of higher learning should be doing: leveraging digital strategies and new technologies to create global resonance for content traditionally constrained by bricks and mortar.
A recent trip to the recycling market in Bamako, the capital of Mali, was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in a long time...visually, olfactorily, but most of all acoustically, as the market announces itself long before one actually sees it. The cacophony of sounds comes courtesy of hundreds of blacksmiths hammering, scraping, melting and polishing every bit of material they retrieve from carefully dismantled car bodies and other branded materials.
Anyone who’s seen me flail at Guitar Hero understands - even encourages - my reticence to play Rock Band. In spite of my enthusiasm, intense concentration and true desire to rock out, I once performed so poorly that a kind friend suggested to the room that “perhaps the signal isn’t getting through.” That, combined with the overt disappointment and head-shaking from the animated characters on-screen put me off the game. I must say, however, that for the opportunity to play some Beatles Rock Band, I would again risk such embarrassment.
Nearly two months after we first met Lauren, Mac has tapped its own laptop hunter. Like Lauren, Giampaolo, Lisa and Jackson, Megan values big screens and fast processors. But unlike her PC-loving predecessors, Megan's final factor is usability.
I can remember being just out of college, freshly installed in Providence, RI, dropping by Brown University to investigate their MFA program. I had graduated fully decorated, done graduate scholarship work abroad and had no reason to believe my academic record made me anything less than a desirable candidate. I was also living with my husband-to-be, sharing the day to day responsibility of his two-year-old. I was stunned when the woman behind the desk, with no knowledge of me beyond my physical presence - not even a transcript, mind you – announced officiously, as she eyed the baby girl grasping my hand, that there would be no way for me to pursue graduate work part time. I walked away from “formal” education that day because it didn’t fit my life.
The hunt for my wife’s new laptop just got more difficult. Apple recently announced a planned reduction in prices for a pair of to-be-announced Macs. And the blogosphere is brimming with speculation.
On July 30, 1993, the Missouri river’s Monarch Levee buckled, flooding Chesterfield Valley, Missouri. The rising waters quickly submerged a 10x30 public storage locker a few miles from the breach, drowning 15 years of my family’s accumulated artifacts. 15 years of photo albums. Within hours, our Kodak moments dissolved in a toxic bath of runoff and gasoline. Gone forever.
As interesting and important as micro-blogging and other momentary, disposable bits of culture might be, I tend to be more interested in the larger patterns they can help reveal — not the chatter itself. Recently, the former has helped me tune into something intriguing: an emerging meme about brand voice.
If Disney’s latest strategy works, moppets across China will be saying “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” in a most delightful way. And with perfect diction.
I’m no fan of Microsoft’s laptop hunter campaign. I’ve said my piece on the Lauren and Giampaolo spots, both desperate attempts to bolster sales in a down economy and paint PCs with the “cool” brush CPB so effortlessly wields. On the plus side, the third installment stops playing HP favorites, and the mother-son duo moves us away from the SAG-gy hipsters we’ve stomached to date. Still, there's no brand advancement, and when there’s a chance to land a hard jab on Apple, Microsoft manages only a glancing blow.
If brand abuse was a crime, Ovaltine would be sporting unflattering horizontal prison stripes for a long, long time. The beloved chocolate drink, trusted by parents for nearly 100 years to get nutrition into kids, has squandered its positive reputation in a horrifying 41 seconds.
Microsoft’s laptop hunters are back. This time we follow Giampaolo, a tech-savvy Roman import with “really big hands” (heh... good one, CPB). He’s looking for “portability, battery life, and power.” Portability you say? In a laptop?
As the Swiss bank's century-old secret slowly unravels, so goes the long-held, traditional notion of “trust me.” Of course, that isn’t true for Swiss banks alone, but no other banking system has been built on as strong a promise as “we will keep your money AND secrets safe.” As with any brand, the promise is only as strong as the operational realities that back it up.
New York City’s Museum of Modern Art recently dropped “rogue” adman, Douglas Jaeger and his agency Happy Corp. While the incident is worth a write up in itself (I will revisit it towards the end of this post) a broader discussion about nonprofits and their mostly uncomfortable relationship with all things related to brand needs to come first.
Recently, I wrote of my interest in branded commodities and provided some fine examples of how this complex form of brand management can be done correctly. In the “never do this” category, I must now offer the other end of the spectrum.
The free markets are my friend. I love the business of business. I believe in the power of hard work and intelligence to create competitive advantage and great value, both economic and social. I tend not to be a fan of regulation (I am an entrepreneur, after all) but mainly because I have faith in people and companies to conduct themselves with a very high standard of ethical conduct. My faith is more than challenged these days. Thanks, AIG.
Pity poor CNBC. Oh, the horror. To be taken on by a comedian - a comedian! - and lose. To have the comedian come off as more serious, more substantive, more tuned in to the zeitgeist, more honest. To have a funnyman call you out for not doing your job. And then to have that showdown not just air and be forgotten, but pick up speed virally and, for gosh sakes, make the front page of the Financial Times, among others, despite all the media weight you use (Stewart’s term: “all those peacocks”) to try to downplay it.
Welcome to the new Unbound Edition. For the past two years, our readers have made Unbound Edition one of the Web’s most read marketing news aggregators and blogs. Along the way, we have laughed with you, listened to you and learned from you. Thank you. Now, we are making some changes to serve you better and to take advantage of new technologies.
De-commoditizing categories has proven hugely valuable for more than a half-century in building specialty and niche markets. But the resetting of the economy and the emptying out of the Starbucks cup suggests a macro shift back to the big brands that have the price flexibility to deliver real consumer value for the long-haul. Branded commodities are poised for a return to growth, even as the ultimate commodity still floats about in the air.
Immediate search is compelling. But Twitter has something much more powerful: value-creating disequilibrium in an age of social network equality.
Patrick Davis Partners, the global brand consultancy, today announced that the firm has relocated its headquarters from St. Louis to Atlanta, where the company has operated an office since 2002.
The post-agency age is upon us. With remarkable speed and effectiveness, technologies and consumer preferences have coalesced, forcing a broad and deep cultural demand for direct, honest relationships. The go-between agent is less relevant than ever before, and the global financial crisis is likely the final blow to the inefficient and long-suffering agency structure. Winning in the post-agency age will require these new priorities.
What is happening in the global financial markets is stunning, surely. I am more stunned, however, by the complete absence of dialogue in the marketing community about this historic moment. Like most stockbrokers who fell into success as markets expanded, most marketers only know how to carnival-call their offerings to cash-flush consumers. Say goodbye to that easy effort. The age of true strategy is at hand. It is make or break, to be sure.
Friday was the 4th of July, a special day of meaning for people in the US, and a different one for everybody. For most, this day is not associated with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but more with the country in general, a day amongst family, a barbecue with fireworks at night, just a day off or even Will Smith. For me, quite frankly, it does not mean anything. But this will come; it was my first 4th of July in the United States.
Earlier this month I was discussing fad products in my Marketing class and brought up 80s icon Chia Pet. Immediately my senioritis-inflicted students burst into renditions of the now infamous jingle. That’s impressive name recognition for a brand that peaked in popularity when they were fetuses and sustains itself today only through nostalgic impulse buys and endless line extension. It got me wondering whether manufacturer Joseph Enterprises, with a little outsourced design help, could retrieve the Chia brand from the compost pile.
The Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 100 years. So, why does their value increase, relative to their stagnant/declining performance? Ah, yes, the value of intangibles.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. I learned this the hard way when I was about 10 years old and found out I could stand up on the frame of my bicycle with no hands.
The cover article of Inc. Magazine’s latest issue asks companies how they are utilizing their intangible assets: brands, customer information, business models, employee expertise, to name a few. While this subject can be a quantifiable nightmare (especially for smaller companies…and auditors), it is imperative for companies of all sizes to address.
Starbucks and other "experience brands" need to evolve into the age of brand meaning quickly. Why? Because the brands that win today are ones that drive social agendas.
Wouldn't it be a kick-in-the-head if the most innovative and creative efforts Kickstarter inspired were its effective emulation by the world's most innovative organizations?
YouTube recently celebrated its eighth birthday, reminding us that less than a decade ago we had no access to cute cat videos, screaming goat clips and viral trends such as the Harlem Shake.
The law doesn't allow for the trademarking of a great view, but there’s nothing wrong with branding it.
The sharing impulse is an increasingly important tool for marketers. These recent examples of successful virality foreground what makes a social person want to click and pass along.
Although both Karp and Mayer are pushing hard on the “we will not screw this up” line, there are of course business reasons behind it.
Cisco’s chief technology and strategy officer describes how the exponential growth of connectivity between people and devices, both mobile and network, will change commerce, business systems, and individual behavior.
Discussions about customer experience often focus on consumer-facing (B2C) companies, but what about organizations that sell to businesses (B2B)?
Coke, AT&T and GM Are on Board, but USOC Sponsors A-B InBev, Hilton Holding Out
Small publishers taking it on the chin as they deal with OCR challenges
Merlin: iTunes Remains Biggest Digital Destination; Spotify + Amazon 2nd And 3rd; Streaming Still Ju
“The new generation of digital services has created a new dynamic of consumer freedom, limitless choice and myriad paths to discovery,”
The significance of design in business is ballooning. Over recent years, the field has become a darling of large corporations, even those who traditionally don’t have design interests.
Still in its test phase, Google Glass may be dorked to death before it gets the opportunity to take off.
While most marketers know by now that earned is the most powerful media and they have programs in place to drive it, many have yet to realize that all earned is not created equal.
In our houses, cars, and factories, we’re surrounded by tiny, intelligent devices that capture data about how we live and what we do. Now they are beginning to talk to one another. Soon we’ll be able to choreograph them to respond to our needs, solve our problems, even save our lives.
Who cares if products are “Made in America”? Fewer people than you might suspect.
The power of a CEO to make – or break – a brand can never be overestimated – even in an interview that took place 7 years ago.
Media Guy Sees The Future and It Ain't Pretty
How Do You Make The Customer Experience Full Of Longing? Create Exclusivity And Make Your Product Feel Ephemeral.
Recent Data Shows That Style-Driven Startups Have The Power To Shift Tech’s Gender Balance And Bring More Women To The Tech Table. But Is That A Good Thing?
The fact of the matter is that the busier we are, the faster we need to be able to process information. Pictures are simply easier to scan. Like it or not, people don’t have a lot of time, or patience, for words.
So you've finally finished developing your product or service, flushed out your business model, and you're ready to dive head first into your new business venture — but how the heck do you raise enough capital to get started?
This constant frame of gender as a "women's issue" is one of the big obstacles to progress — in both countries and companies.
Sometimes we resist looking inward for big, comprehensive solutions.
Every time there's a tragedy — be it 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, or the Boston Marathon bombing — there's an expectation that corporations will do something to aid the victims. "Something," however, has gotten ever more complex.
In the ongoing evolution of social media in 2012, people’s behavior in social and mobile matured to a point where the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning is check Facebook on their phone (some even sleep with their phones).
This means that brands are suddenly jumping into intense conversations with a real point of view, on issues that could be seen as quite controversial. All this for what feels like the first time ever!
Since Change.org began focusing on its petition tool in 2011, it has offered just two actions for supporting a cause: Create a petition; sign a petition. Now the company is expanding that list.
Fast forward to 2020. What job skill must you have? Coding.
As a data scientist, if your data causes co-workers to lose sleep, you've done your job, perhaps too well.
A great brand name no longer protects you from losing your edge.
When Kickstarter launched in April 2009 it created a way for the little guys to fund their dream projects. Lately, though, that seems to be changing.
That philosophy is particularism, a fancy word for a simple idea: that in our ethical lives, rules are useless.
Asia’s fragmented music fanbase and subscription habits may stand between Spotify and its total domination of the region, or at least so its competitors hope.
The authors of a new book on real-time marketing outline how brands can be part of cultural conversations without looking like idiots.
Real-time and automation are a dangerous combination
I want you to imagine a scene. You come home with a bundle of squished white fabric. You plug it into the wall like a heating blanket. And within 10 minutes, you have a new chair.
“If you don’t have a handle on the emotional side of the engagement with your brand, you might as well spend your marketing budget on coupons.”
Sometimes your most obscure tweet gets picked up by an equally obscure person. Now a new service lets you see exactly how a message disseminates through the tangles of the interwebs, leaving no retweeter anonymous anymore.
Users, advertisers, browser companies, and website owners are pitted against one another in a battle over online advertisements and the way individual consumer information is used to deliver targeted ads.
Use marketing automation right and sales go up. Use it wrong and you risk the chance of alienating potential customers.
The Trailblazing Firm Is Knee Deep In A Massive, All-Hands Project To Rebrand Itself--And It’s Doing It In Public.
Hitting the top shelf with digital spirits is a fascinating business centered on good times, but it’s also intellectually challenging in terms of working within the regulations governing alcohol marketing.
Customers are in the midst of a total mind shift. As a result of their perpetual mobile connections, their expectations have changed.
Most marketers today are responsible for planning, directing, and controlling something -- at the very least a program or project.
If you just woke up or even if you're heading out to work, take a moment to lean down and give good old Mother Earth a kiss; it is Earth Day, after all.
Mastering the ability to reframe problems is an important tool for increasing your imagination because it unlocks a vast array of solutions.
Jifiti lets users scan product barcodes and instantly send a voucher for those items to friends in other locations.
Going to market effectively these days, no matter what business you're in, means relating to customers as individuals — even if there are millions of them.
Consumers Will Remember the Way Your Product Made Them Feel
We explored a couple of notable brands that have a language all their own and how they use it to define the space for their customers.
“You have to have that really tight narrative around the problem that you’re solving,” says Rahman, whose company created Jawboone headsets.
Each period of business history has its own representative corporate type. The 1960s were the age of the conglomerate. In more recent decades, the startup has achieved iconic status. But the kind of organization that marks our own historical moment is, arguably, the turnaround company.
In early March, this little gem popped up on my radar: a tablet designed specifically for women. After putting on my feminist hat and spewing outrage at the stereotypical selection of apps splashed across the tablet’s homescreen, I wondered — Do men and women have appreciably different tastes in apps?
Will Carnival ever recoup its potential loss of revenue, and its loss of passengers? Will it build back its brand?
In the pre-digital days there really wasn’t a need for brands to produce more than the ads that went on traditional media. Now they need to produce an almost constant stream of fresh content to keep up with digital channels and social media.
Walmart is revving up its "content engine," and it wants brand marketers to supply the fuel, though it can also come from consumers or even the Defense Department.
Lurking behind the question of jobs — whether there are enough of them, how hard we should work at them, and what kind the future will bring — is a major problem of job engagement.
The rich may have more money than the rest of us, but if you think they're all alike, you would be wrong.
Developing your personal brand is essential for the advancement of your career and development as a leader.
Anchorman's Brian Fantana may have been off the mark with his Sex Panther cologne, but his head was in the right place. Every brand could use a simple lesson in setting itself apart. (Just not with panthers.)
A new building in Germany gets its energy from what’s growing inside it.
In the 80s, in the days of Michael Milken and Gordon Gekko, the rule on the street was “eat your young.” Nice guys finish last, hold your information, keep the rules to yourself, and win at all costs -- no matter who you have to trample.
Did you know that your social messages on your Facebook fan page, Twitter profile, and Google+ page could strongly affect how those pages rank in search?
As luck would have it, in January 1993, a convergence of technology and talent forged the first consumer magazine that would define—and in essence, become—the voice of the digital revolution.
There’s no question that offering incentives can be a powerful way to get your customers and prospects to take the actions you want.
Virtual retail spaces have the potential to repurpose transitional urban spaces for entirely new uses.
From mobile banking to contraception, this is what she thinks is going to drive the next wave of advances for people in the developing world
Technology often leads too much change, but with digital transformation the consumer, rather than the technology, is in the driver’s seat, and this matters.
WWDDD: Scroll Through These Classics and Ask Yourself, 'What Would Don Draper Do?'
Traveling is often tough for kids, but for children with autism spectrum disorders, it can be a completely disorienting.
Marc Costa, a New Jersey police officer, found himself dealing with an excess of paperwork on the job. Up to three quarters of a police officer's day can be spent filling out paperwork, and he wanted to find a way to make his workday more efficient.
Citing the threat posed by the North Korean government, the "hacktivist" group defaced the country's official Twitter and Flickr accounts yesterday.
The word visualization encapsulates a process. And it's really that process that's the essential part, not the thing that results.
The company that tracks what people watch on TV is expanding a new tool that measures what people are looking at online to markets outside the U.S.
Warner Bros. is consolidating its digital sales operations as it looks to build out an entertainment-focused ad powerhouse on the Web.
Profit-making and philanthropy have long been separate activities — and for very solid reasons. They may be corollary expressions of self-interest, in the smallest and largest sense.
On April 3, 1973 — exactly 40 years from today — Motorola employee Marty Cooper made the first mobile phone call.
As the world’s biggest brands hustle to keep pace with the consumer rush to mobile, several clear trends are emerging.
You're waiting for the elevator in an office building, minding your own business, perhaps lost in thought. The door slides open and, wham!
Breaking the glass ceiling is only the beginning. In the C-suite, performance –your strategic vision, how you drive revenue growth, etc. –is what matters most.
Like these speakers? You can’t have them.
How many times have you been in a meeting and someone says to you, “That’s a great idea, you should take the initiative and make it a reality.” What typically happens?
These are ads that you can actually have a (limited) conversation with, potentially creating a much more interactive and fun advertising experience — which is particularly challenging for mobile advertisers who have to work with limited screen space.
Whole Foods has put about 50 such tap rooms, featuring exclusively craft beers (and sometimes wine), deep inside its stores nationwide.
The more screens you have, the more likely you are to engage in media multitasking.
Currently in beta, the new feature incorporates scents into Search. Google describes Nose as its "flagship olfactory knowledge feature enabling users to search for smells."
3D printing is still in its infancy. But, to use an overused phrase, it is the future. From home use to enterprise use, 3D printing will continue to grow and break into new areas.
If biologists could put computational controls inside living cells, they could program them to sense and report on the presence of cancer, create drugs on site as they’re needed, or dynamically adjust their activities in fermentation tanks used to make drugs and other chemicals.
Across the industry, there aren't too many examples of agencies exhibiting the view that having your leader based in New York or London is old-school. But there are signs it could be moving that way.
Do you think Apple, famously protective over its brand and image, should have a quiet word with Carlsberg, or is it a storm in a pint jug?
If your company hasn’t learned to harness the power of the social media world yet, here’s one reason you should: According to Google, nearly 60 percent of people talk more online than they do in real life.
To be competitive, financial services providers must look to embrace new technologies and find innovative ways to cater to today’s connected customer.
The patent describes designs that could have a seamless, continuous surface resembling the fourth generation iPod nano, as well as other shapes closer to the current iPhone, but with every surface a touch-sensitive glass display.
Windows Phone shipments surpassed those of the iPhone in Argentina, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa, and the Ukraine.
The “free” in Free Software refers to “freedom”, rather than cost. It is largely a happy coincidence that Free Software is available gratis.
When we talk about making marketing more efficient, it is about making sure that every dollar is being spent where it can get the greatest return.
From the shiny, strong nacre that gives abalone shells an unbreakable, opaline sheen, to the goopy mix of proteins fired by a velvet worm that solidify and trap prey upon impact, nature is packed with inspiration for scientists designing new materials.
The FarmedHere project has filled up 90,000 square feet of space with arugula, herbs, and tilapia, creating a closed system that will supply a million of pounds of greens a year.
Korean Emart recently placed 3D QR code sculptures throughout the city of Seoul that could only be scanned between noon and 1 pm each day — consumers were given discounts at the store during those quiet shopping hours.
New research from Forrester shows that, with consumer faith in digital ads falling again, branded content offers marketers a better way into the customer awareness.
The impact of this new way to source work and ideas has been significant. As crowdsourcing becomes a staple in cutting-edge marketing practices, it has come to represent a fierce challenge to the traditional agency model and the marketing industry in general.
Co.Create joined The Atlantic, Vice, Gawker and College Humor in a talk about how publishers are approaching native advertiser.
The invisibility cloak has long been an idea present mostly in comic books and sci-fi novels — remember the Cloak of Invisibility from J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books or the scramble suit from Philip K. Dick's "A Scanner Darkly"?
Matt Richardson's hack displays a moving odometer in real-time.
Broadcast-television ratings have dropped sharply this season. And that, combined with the weak economy and competition from other media, augurs badly for the spring ad-sales market, ad buyers and analysts say.
How next-generation apps will market your brainwaves.
The 3Doodler aims to bring 3D printing down to the handheld scale, with a pen that uses quick-cooling plastic to create hand-drawn 3D models.
Invisible Cities is a project looking to make technology and nature come together seamlessly in order to draw a new, connected generation into spending more time in the outdoors.
You've heard the saying "you only get one chance to make a first impression." While I don't refute the importance of a first impression, for a business at least, I believe the impression is much more valuable.
Where do most attempted hacks come from? You might be surprised.
There's no doubt that Google remains the world's most popular search engine, but are you using it to its full potential?
Marketers are supposed to be the experts on connecting emotionally with customers. But ironically, their current market research practices make it almost impossible to do so.
Despite the quest, earned media isn’t always a good thing. It works when the right people -- your brand advocates and satisfied customers -- are engaged in the three R’s: rating, reviewing and recommending your brand.
As the Internet becomes the hub of political dialogue, religious issues are being drowned out by the most powerful voices on the web, which overwhelming support marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose.
Imgembed is the new embedding tool for photographs that allows for fair use of images on the internet.
Tracking tags are bits of code that enable ad serving, site analytics, audience-segmentation, and social sharing tools on websites. In other words, tags are what make the web tick.
Most corporations consist of multiple divisions, which set their own strategy (what we generally refer to as "business strategy"). But more often than not, these dvisions have very little to do with one another.
About 7,000 starbucks locations offer a supposedly simple system for letting customers pay with credit and debit cards using square wallet. Starbucks even invested $25 million in the payments startup. So why can't baristas make it work?
The new rules of the hyper-social, data-driven, actor-friendly, super-seductive platinum age of television.
Marketing strategy is particularly difficult because the rules have changed. A generation ago, brands mostly strove to create buzz and “drive awareness,” now they need to build compelling experiences that keep consumers engaged.
The Media Behavior Institute conducted a study last year that illustrated the great disparity in media consumption patterns between those who are in the ad industry and the general population. The differences were dramatic, particularly with respect to broadcast radio usage.
According to an online quiz created by my organization that has been taken by more than 500,000 people since 2009, employees are most proficient at implementing (sowing but not growing) the work they are assigned to complete.
When Maya buys a pair of running shoes at a sporting-goods retailer using her store loyalty credit card, that information is almost immediately diffused across a spectrum of consumer-data companies and databases, or as one data consultancy exec put it, "from your wallet to the world."
The show will be “a chance for visitors to explore the very physical history of the typefaces they already know,” says Monotype’s Type Director Dan Rhatigan.
Summing up loyalty comes down to experiences: positive experiences engendering decades of loyalty and negative ones that take longer to subside.
The use of interactive digital displays are helping to provide customers with an immersive experience that engages multiple senses, something that’s impossible to replicate on the web.
Aiming to create an "object of desire" rather than just another TV, Philips' designers have created a TV that looks like a seamless sheet of glass with a black gradient.
Repeat trips to the doctor could become a thing of the past thanks to a new technology that can monitor your health and wellbeing remotely – directly from the surface of your skin.
Is it possible that Facebook is getting ready to abandon the teen market to concentrate on the 18-49 demographic that is so important to advertisers?
Google's master plan for mobile is finally coming into focus.
A major mistake that many entrepreneurs make — and don’t realize — is marketing themselves, not their business.
What do a publishing giant, a women's lingerie retailer, a kid-centric commerce subscription service and a nonprofit organization for the 50+ set have in common? They are all social businesses.
Clarity Matters. While clarity and brevity may have become a lost art, understanding the importance of clear, lucid, and straight-forward communication is nonetheless critical to your success as a leader.
It enables marketers to deliver content via an embedded NFC chip that allows wireless communication when a user touches a smartphone or mobile device to a piece of marketing collateral or brings the device into close proximity with an NFC tag.
Do I buy enough from Amazon to justify paying $79 per year for unlimited two-day shipping?
Apple has indeed managed a significant turnaround in India’s smartphone market, according to new figures out from IDC today.
The Shadow Cube creates barcodes that point to Wikipedia entries of great thinkers.
The Hidden Benefits of Social Media Marketing Why Your Strategy May Be Working Better Than You Think
If you’re feeling a bit skeptical about social media marketing and whether or not it’s worth the effort, following are some reasons why it may be working better than you realize.
A new report by Nielsen shows that 5 million people in the U.S. no longer watch traditional television -- but that doesn't mean they aren't streaming video from other devices.
The future of technology is, ironically, all too human.
A growing number of agency media executives who grew up in digital are finding themselves overseeing the buying and planning of all media.
Using near-field communication (NFC) technology found in smartphones, commuters could scan book titles that appear on advertisements inside the car.
Google Now on Android is one of the more genuinely exciting developments for that mobile OS in recent memory, and new evidence today signals it’s on its way to the desktop, too.
Our Selection of the Most Eye-Catching Ads on Billboards
The idea of being free from an office but having a space to work is exploding around the globe. Where has it taken off the most?
What? Corporate culture as a weapon of marketing warfare? Corporate culture as a tool to build customer preference for your products?
Data is becoming a very expensive topic on Capitol Hill.
J.C. Penney's disastrous 4th quarter 2012 loss of $2.51 per share, which capped off a year with a greater than 30% same-store sales decline, should have come as no surprise.
In today’s world of changing business models, mass entrepreneurs, and a growing “maker economy,” we find a hotbed of innovation ecosystems.
You often hear of the lengthy approval processes required to get a campaign underway. That’s not always the case anymore.
The YouTube One Channel, as it's called, gives users the ability to slap a big header (called Channel Art) on the top of their channels and to have a video trailer which starts playing for all visitors who aren't yet subscribed to the channel.
Omni-channel is the future of retail, but it may not be right for everyone just yet. However, by taking one or more of these steps in 2013, your organization will be closer to achieving an omni-channel reality and demonstrate to your customers that you’re serious about building the ultimate customer experience.
Business news headlines featuring social-networking giant Facebook change almost as often and as dramatically as a teenager updates her Facebook status online.
Advertisers looking to escape the dreaded advertorial trap and give consumers content they'll actually read has helped create the boom in native advertising or branded content.
The idea that we could invent tools that change our cognitive abilities might sound outlandish, but it’s actually a defining feature of human evolution.
After launching last January in the U.S., Google has now expanded its Public Alerts system to Japan.
A new accelerator is looking for how we’re going to create and view content. What’s the future going to bring?
Graphic breakdown from Pew by age, gender, race
Insight used to be considered a personal quality and one that was essential to be a successful marketer. While other corporate functions, such as finance and logistics, were driven by cold, rational calculation, marketers were supposed to thrive at the human side of business.
Auto-tracking is the next frontier in user interaction. Intelligent eye-tracking would result in a revolutionary paradigm shift.
First of all, what is Play Live? It’s a “Participation TV” platform (that’s what Bravo calls it) where people vote or interact with questions during a television program using their laptop, tablet or smartphone.
This sense of secrecy extends to the highest levels of the organization.
Flexible, stretchable electronic devices will help monitor athletes on the field, take medical monitoring away from the hospital bedside, and make portable electronics more comfortable—perhaps even wearable.
What was the purpose? What was the process? Whose ends were being served? How should we judge success? But we seldom look any deeper than first impressions, wallowing instead in a churning maelstrom of snap judgments. Should we be surprised when the general public jumps right in after us?
Building a space away from normal activity, where people trust each other and agree to behave by a different set of rituals, is key to enhancing a team's creative capability.
Just in the United States, tens of millions of people are talking to each other as they watch TV.
We need to move away from the outdated relics of design and towards creative competence.
Businesses need to get a better handle on the reality that underlies their messages, because social media are more interested in your supply chain than how you brand it. You should be, too.
The co-founder and executive director of MIT's Auto-ID lab, Kevin Ashton, proposed to apply the logic of the web to objects in the physical world: to connect everything that exists physically to the Internet through the application of ubiquitous tags and sensors. Fifteen years later, we are seeing Ashton's vision play out.
To succeed and to stay successful, companies must be “on their game” 24/7. That warrior mindset begins and ends with the business owner.
As Mason himself acknowledged in his resignation letter to employees, “If you're wondering why ... you haven't been paying attention."
What is it about tech that allows these corporate giants to enjoy so much love?
Digital may be the future when it comes to publishing, but the problem today is that online publishing — and advertising specifically — doesn't make enough money.
Are we jaded? Is SXSW too crowded to anyone to stand out?
Three months from now, nobody will remember what you wrote in that email, but they’ll definitely recall your status update about your cat.
Instant feedback is confirmation that the program IS listening to their viewers. Viewers matter. Social matters -- and it’s enabling deeper, richer relationships.
Corporations assume that employer-sponsored volunteerism programs keep employees engaged while also making a difference to the social organizations they serve. And that's true, but there's more to the story.
It's like harnessing the Force: A new armband uses the electrical activity in your muscles to let you wirelessly control digital devices.
Big data is quickly becoming a bigger buzzword in 2013, and it clearly cannot be ignored by today's marketer.
Mobile phones are found all around the world — ubiquitous even in emerging markets such as China and India — but how you use the device depends greatly on where you live.
One of the most courageous acts of leadership is to forgo the temptation to take revenge on those on the other side of an issue or those who opposed the leader's rise to power.
So if we’re all telling stories now, what were we doing before? And is it still relevant?
What if technology makes scientific discoveries that we can’t understand?
From globally recognized brands to startup organizations, many of the problems that keep marketers up at night boil down to gaps in operational structure.
For the time being, America remains the destination of choice in the global economy. But talented individuals can now also find very attractive opportunities in other countries around the world.
Do you follow a brand in social media? Are you glad you did?
Stanford invites “pioneers in the field of communication” to share their insights and to coach business students in the art and science of persuasion, pitching, communication, and presentation skills.
Smart companies want to deliver the best customer experience (CX) possible because they understand that good experience is the key driver of customer loyalty.
Americans who have spurned cable, but who have a television set hooked up to the Internet, will now be counted as a “television household” by The Nielsen Company, potentially adding to the sample of homes that are rated by the company.
The most common question B-to-B marketers ask me is: “How do I use social media to get more leads?” And the answer is:...
Customer experience has become the new differentiator. Short product development cycles now mean that many companies release new products that offer little differences in actual product features. To stand out, organizations now need to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Frog Design asked designers to invent wearable tech concepts, with results ranging from interactive tree displays to a wristband that helps wearers navigate NY subways.
Advertisers always knew there would come a time when budgets would need to shift to mobile to keep pace with changing consumption habits. That time is now. The mobile web is growing 14 times faster than desktop traffic, as consumers interact with apps, social network and email from a slew of smart devices.
Research by IESE professors Carlos Garcia Pont and Paulo Rocha e Oliveira helps you spot if your company is under threat of stagnation by identifying the hidden obstacles preventing innovation – and how to overcome them.
On Wednesday, the search giant launched an application contest to let regular people from all walks of life try out the head-mounted, augmented reality "glasses." They simply have to prove they deserve it.
This week Panera Bread launched its largest campaign to date, which includes an increase in digital spending of just under 100%.
If brands want to improve their customer perception, having a well-rounded social communications practice that serves both as a marketing outlet and as a place for consumers to solve service issues will help.
Microsoft's co-founder and current chairman Bill Gates praised the company's investments in Windows 8 and Bing, but said Microsoft is still not doing enough to innovate.
All agencies think innovation = digital. As a result, we’re not seeing genuine innovation; instead we’re seeing more interruption, in more places, on more devices. Ad agencies need to innovate, and innovate fast, but are caught in what is known as, ‘the innovator’s paradox.’
Unfortunately, a lot of dealerships subscribe to the old-school philosophy: if research starts online, consideration and choice still happen in the showroom. Clayton Stanfield, senior manager of dealer training at eBay Motors and a former dealership Internet sales manager himself, says things are changing when it comes to how dealerships are handling prospects.
A focus on customer insights is a good thing -- but when marketing organizations fail to anticipate competitors’ moves that affect customers, all the insights may be for naught? When was the last time you and your team took time to consider how your rivals operate, or might operate based on changes that you make?
Coca-Cola China's TV ad for the Hong Kong market invited viewers to use their smartphones to "chok" bottle caps flying across their TV screens. The new wrinkle is that gaming can be embedded in ads — perhaps the only hope of engaging some people's interest long enough to get a message across.
By the end 2013 tablets will account for 20 percent of Google’s paid search ad clicks in the U.S., up from 6 percent in January 2012. It’s not just the volume of the tablet clicks that is rising, it’s also the value.
Barnes & Noble has been looking to its Nook business to generate greater demand in the face of lower sales from its retail chains. But product development and marketing costs have risen, taking a bite out of the Nook's contributions.
Large companies like IBM, Syngenta, Procter & Gamble, 3M, and Unilever show that innovation can be a repeatable discipline. Yet, with all of this progress it still feels like a positive surprise when you see a large company confidently approach the challenges of innovation.
Nike CEO Mark Parker On His Company's Digital Future: Body-Controlled Music, Color-Coded Heart Rates
"Nike has broken out of apparel and into tech, data, and services, which is so hard for any company to do." In the coming years, Nike will expand its footprint in the digital space, especially through partnerships like the one it struck with TechStars, to attract startups to build on the Nike+ platform.
Content marketing is a hot topic among CMOs, and I see it as one of the primary factors that can make –or break –brand authenticity in today’s marketplace.
Hoping to give visitors their own platform for curation, the Cleveland Museum of Art has launched its Artlens app, which can be used by patrons to create their own path through the collection.
Dozens of studies have searched in vain for the equivalent rethink of gender stereotypes in advertising. In a recent meta-analysis of 64 advertising-content studies, sexist stereotypes dominate.
Samsung yesterday announced the launch of a new Open Innovation Center in Silicon Valley that aims at connecting the conglomerate with the latest and greatest software ideas.
Is it not ironic that we call customers “targets” and seek to engineer their empathy in “war rooms?" The hostilities are endless. And it’s not enough to win. Someone must lose. Beating the competitor takes precedence over helping the customer.
Marketers in many industries have a “push-pull” problem: They spend a lot of time devising ways to pull in customers -- identifying the right buyer segments, crafting messages and making promises. But their efforts are frequently undermined by company behaviors that push customers away.
Over the next few months, all of Hearst Digital Media‘s titles are getting a new look. The new responsive design is the more obvious change. It’s an increasingly popular strategy for companies to adapt to mobile by creating websites that rearrange themselves based on the size of the screen.
With nothing more than carefully selected images and a few poignant words the mysterious man known as Steve Okyln has the fashion world chatting, clicking, gawking, laughing and fuming. Maybe if the world knew who he was people would have a place to direct their anger, but his anonymity is clearly one of his strongest weapons.
Zappos founder Tony Hsieh has added three Cs: collision, community, and co-learning. Hsieh’s big bet is that exposing his employees to serendipity--within both the office and the city--will ultimately make them smarter, happier, and more productive. That means: no hiding behind partitions.
We’re more fooled by noise than ever before, and it’s because of a nasty phenomenon called “big data.” With big data, researchers have brought cherry-picking to an industrial level. Modernity provides too many variables, but too little data per variable. So the spurious relationships grow much, much faster than real information.
Any effective approach to content has to put the consumer at the center and must be able to adapt based on cultural trends and consumer insights. The action of being quick-to-market with compelling content based on real-time cultural trends is a much tougher challenge.
According to 39,000 consumers, 18 to 65 years of age, drawn from the nine US Census Regions, who self-selected the categories in which they are consumers, and the products and services for which they are customers, the desire for real brands is driven by emotional engagement.
I think there are 3 key shifts going on and each requires a different response from innovation leaders – heck from strategists, CEOs, CIOs, CMos and just about everyone. This is urgent. First – how do we think about innovation? It’s either incremental or disruptive, right? Well, no.
While for-profit companies and governments are able to engage in “building a smarter planet” with the likes of IBM, nonprofits and the organizations that make up the social sector lack the means to engage such sophisticated talent. And yet money is not the major factor keeping the social sector from embracing the data age.
Belling says influencer marketing was critical from day one, when popchips was just a little indie brand that could. They knew they didn’t have the budget for a traditional ad campaign, so how else to get the word out? By getting as many snacks into the hands that mattered.
The New York Times is opening up its office space and expertise to media startups through timeSpace. The scheme is opening up office space at the newspaper’s headquarters at 620 8th Avenue, New York City, to provide fledgling businesses with a four-month program.
Strategy is not planning — it is the making of an integrated set of choices that collectively position the firm in its industry so as to create sustainable advantage relative to competition and deliver superior financial returns.
Somehow, almost all of these institutions have continued to attract enough students to stay in business year after year. That’s about to change, and one of the key differences in who survives won’t be the academic output of the faculty or the amenities available to students. It will be a factor seemingly unrelated to the schools’ mission: branding.
Although few are talking about it, the new video app could be a perfect tool for citizen journalists, and news organizations that want access to real-time news.
The formula is simple. It involves just three basic ingredients. And yet, year after year, so many generally decent practitioners get it so embarrassingly wrong. I am, of course, talking about what it takes to create a super Super Bowl advertisement.
In this "postdigital" era, brands must confront “a new normal and a new basis of competition, with digitalization at its core,” says Mark White, Deloitte principal and CTO. Forward-thinking organizations have to figure out how to bake in the digital forces of mobile, analytics, social and the cloud, he adds.
Clusters are a radical alternative to our traditional notion of teams. They are formed outside a company context, but are hired and paid by companies as a unit, as a permanent part of the company.
Between the refrigerator and the garbage disposal, the consumer-side food surplus could be an opportunity for the new sharing economy. Just like Airbnb lets you rent out unused space in your home, and Lyft and Sidecar let you rent unused time in your car, and ThredUp lets you pass along unused clothing, could a website help you get rid of unused, but still edible food?
Burrito chain Chipotle is branching out and trying to become a lifestyle brand in order to beat it’s rivals. The company has launched a line of organic clothes and accessories, is hosting ‘locavore’ festivals that champion local and sustainable food choices, and backing a dark comedy video series about a PR man defending industrial farming.
Forbes lists the best Superbowl ads of all time...
Businesses often engage in an analytical and creative process to develop or review their brand positioning. Without a strong strategic foundation, however, the outcome may not be as effective.
The long delayed release is critical to BlackBerry’s attempt to re-enter the marketplace. Once the darling of company-issued smartphones, owning nearly a quarter of the marketplace in the U.S., they currently have about a 4% share.
How often do you come face-to-face with a hotel employee, fast food entrée, or piece of technology and say, “this is not quite living up to the dream?” Most of the time, we sigh and accept the perceptual gap between the brand promise and our experience.
Vine and Snapchat both use the simplest of interactions--holding your finger anywhere on the screen (which I’ll call “tap-and-hold”)--to power core functions in their interface. And in each case, that single interaction changes everything about the app.
With media consumption shifting to mobile platforms in an increasingly fragmented environment, media companies face the uncomfortable prospect of trading dollars for dimes, while marketers and agencies are challenged with greater complexity in reaching desired audiences. But what may appear as a dark cloud is actually full of silver linings, and those who get ahead of the curve in embracing this change can not only survive but thrive in the post-PC paradigm.
Design judges at the 2012 Cannes International Festival of Creativity had a "Cocoon" moment. They ran in and out of the jury room with the glee of 5-year-olds, having just gotten their hands on a magical piece of work from Serviceplan, Munich. On the surface, it was a completely blank white book. But all came to light -- literally -- when the book was exposed to the sun and its rays interacted with specially treated paper to reveal the content within.
Buffeted by declining advertising, which accounted for about 75% of their revenue historically, magazines are turning to tablet computers and digital editions to boost circulation revenue. In doing so, they are hoping to reset decades of subscription discounting so deep that a year's supply of magazines like Esquire currently costs just $8.
In the past year, I have been struck by how important measurement is to improving the human condition. You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal.
As brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch InBev's ABI.BT +0.44% pilot brewery in St. Louis, the 29-year-old chemical engineer experiments with new beers in a scaled-down replica of the main brewery next door. Almost all of the 500 recipes she and her team brew each year never make it out of the building.
Following The New York Times' recent success, online paywalls (particularly the metered-access kind) have been popping up on newspaper websites across the globe. In the U.S. alone, nearly half of all newspapers now have some sort of online paywall.
As we enter 2013 and technologies and communications channels continue to evolve, it is imperative that brands embrace the new demands of today's empowered consumer -- relevant experiences at every touchpoint.
Much like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and other newsmakers before him, Lance Armstrong opted to tell his story to Oprah Winfrey. In the wake of Armstrong’s tell-all, there are three crystallized marketing insights that we can all learn from.
Clearly, brands could stand to do more to keep consumers interested; the chief reason given by people who don't engage with brands on social networks is that they only "like" brands to get a deal they're offering.
Marketers are blessed to have so much insight into their customers’ behavior and interests, and the volume of this valuable data is growing exponentially. What is clear is that CMOs are struggling to take advantage of this great blessing.
When Instagram joined Facebook last April, a race to crown a “Instagram for Video” revved into full throttle. With Instagram's $1 billion price tag fresh in their minds, investors rushed to fund or acquire a piece of what seemed to be the next step in the evolution of social media.
While the digital era has led to many difficulties, challenges and changes for the music industry, it also has opened opportunities for music fans to interact with their favorite acts in ways that were not possible before.
Nissan will dabble in automotive aromatherapy at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, launching a "brand smell" that it hopes to eventually roll out to its dealerships. Nissan describes the fragrance as "quite a modern smell — a bit Oriental."
Most gestural UIs still feel like little puzzles to solve instead of an easier way of interacting with apps, and Rise’s "gestural redundancy" makes its interface feel immensely more user-friendly.
Amazon is announcing “AutoRip,” a new service that will give anyone who has ever purchased a CD on Amazon over the past 15 years a free digital copy of that album.
While it’s unlikely that focus groups can create an innovative idea, they can help evolve one--fine-tuning how it will be embraced and determining the feature set, price point, and physical embodiment of the core idea.
As a process and a profession, marketing is increasingly under attack for not delivering business value. This perception is sometimes due to the fact that it is easy for us to become enamored with the “producing” part of marketing.
How can the banks seize on ongoing events – legal, economic, political – to energize recovery in a strict business sense and to reverse the inexorable tide of public acrimony?
Millions of otherwise tech-illiterate consumers came to know Intel through its "Intel Inside" campaign, which at the time was an incredibly novel marketing approach. Here's what you can learn from their innovative strategy.
Many times, the ability to remain silent is the best communication strength you could have. When is silence not good?
Even in the internet age, events are big, and important, business. The Aberdeen Group finds that 9 percent of an organization’s total budget is spent on events and that figure is expected to climb 20 percent over the next two years.
Imagine Walt Disney World with no entry turnstiles. Cash? Passe. Visitors would wear rubber bracelets encoded with credit card information, snapping up corn dogs and Mickey Mouse ears with a tap of the wrist. Smartphone alerts would signal when it is time to ride Space Mountain, without standing in line. Fantasyland? Hardly. It happens starting this spring.
Waste in advertising is historically endemic and significant. For example, half of all online display impressions are never viewable. Eliminating waste is a C-suite imperative in the new normal. Big data is the gas tank of the new marketing machine, and analytic systems are becoming the engine, but we're missing a few parts
Modern service companies like Starbucks and Pret A Manger really, really don't want to let their workforces unionize — not only would it cost them money, it threatens their self-image as benevolent corporations where employees are genuinely happy to work.
A new TV network targeting millennials is coming next summer. The new channel comes from Participant Media, a producer of 'An Inconvenient Truth.' Participant Media, which finances and produces socially relevant films and documentaries, said Monday that is has acquired The Documentary Channel and entered into an agreement to buy the distribution assets of Halogen TV from The Inspiration Networks.
Regardless of industry, finding and sourcing relevant content and internal resource constraints were the top two roadblocks to successful content marketing programs.
When organizations give people a sense of meaning in their work, it's not only good for employees, but it's critical to building a healthy organization — one that is well-functioning and competitive.
Most companies are the centers of their own universes. It's a natural enough impression; after all, the products and services they offer are on their minds 24/7. The trap is in those companies deluding themselves into thinking that they are as important to their customers as they are to themselves. This is almost never the case. This delusion interferes with understanding customers and their needs, and frequently leads companies to talk to customers in ways that seem foreign or confusing.
With New Fantasyland, we seized the opportunity to bring to life some new classic stories — Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid — using innovative technology and entertainment approaches that elevate the guest experience beyond anything we’ve ever delivered.
Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, and Twitter today announced an exclusive multi-year agreement to create the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” for the US market.
Despite all the talk about newspapers being a dying business, plenty of them are profitable. Recent history shows that profits are hardly necessary for a sale if the buyer's motivation and the price are right.
To a certain extent—in this age of marketing ourselves, finding our niches and explaining how our distinctive personal backstories make for unique selling propositions—all our names are brand names. But some have gone above and way beyond.
Many publishers are finding clever ways to use social media to expand the reach of their ad programs or to make their paid products more appealing.
Content is all the rage these days, but it falls flat if you don’t consider one of the most important aspects of your site: navigation.
While endless bands and consumer brands of all shapes busily chase the latest glib advice on how to connect with the marketplace…and fail…this band has defied today’s Conventional Wisdom and built a reliable, sustainable, and profitable franchise.
644 million people worldwide accessed online newspaper sites in October 2012, making up 42.6% of the total internet population. Mail Online was the most popular online newspaper, attracting more than 50 million unique visitors during the month.
As social newsfeeds become ever more cluttered, the attention span of the social audience is becoming shorter, prompting brands to enact new strategies to effectively engage their audiences in meaningful ways that will keep attention.
Some Brand Positioning, Huh? HSBC spent years positioning itself as the “worldwide local bank.” They did it via a campaign that featured series of similar visuals and single-word observations, which were designed to indicate that HSBC understood the subtleties of cultural differences and were fully invested in understanding multiple perspectives.
Associational thinking takes unrelated ideas and restructures them in novel ways. It's responsible for innovations from the theory of dinosaur extinction to Pinterest's groundbreaking layout. So how do you apply this principle to your business?
Lots of companies have committed, recasting stories through platforms that look more like digital magazines than traditional websites, and more. While all the attention may give it the luster of a fad today, brand content is nothing new.
The DHL Global Connectedness Index 2012 tracks the depth and breadth of trade, capital, information, and people flows across 140 countries that account for 99% of the world's GDP and 95% of its population.
What can we expect from Lacoste, the traditionally ‘preppy’ brand that arguably hit its stride in the 1980s?
Rick Marazzani believes readers should be able to share and discover e-books through their friends' personal libraries just like they do with print books. That's why he built Ownshelf. Ownshelf, a free web service that launched in beta Friday, provides readers with a cloud storage platform to share e-books with friends and family.
By putting its talks online in 2006, what was previously a members-only affair—an annual Davos-like conclave of wealthy Silicon Valley and Hollywood types—suddenly became an enormous and almost democratic cultural force, reaching millions of viewers around the world.
Most other newspapers in the country, including the New York Times and Gannett Co.'s local papers, have introduced paywalls in the past year or so, generating increased circulation revenues that offset print advertising losses. But among major newspapers, the Post has stood almost alone in its decision to keep its website free.
A larger purpose isn't just good karma. Leaders who instill their company with a greater mission have more motivated employees and more loyal customers.
What’s caused U.S. firms to lose the most shareholder value in the last 10 years? A new Booz study — actually, a repeat of one it did in 2004 — once again came up with the same result. The culprit wasn’t external shocks like the Great Recession.
NDN has grown because online publishers can’t get enough video content (and the ad dollars that come with it). The company's selling point is that it provides the platform and video content and sells the advertising at no cost to its partner publishers—while giving content creators wider distribution for their video content.
Campbell’s soup held a special place on the American dinner table for the better part of the 20th century. But in the last few years its core soup business, which accounts for half the company’s $7.7 billion in annual revenues, has faded to 46% market share from 51% in 2007, an ever smaller part of an ever smaller food category. An ill-advised move into low-sodium formulations under Morrison’s predecessor, Doug Conant, accelerated the decline.
Many CMOs seem to be struggling to gain alignment and to build consensus across their lines of business and into the board room. As a result, the C-suite can be plagued with uncertainty and misunderstanding, and CMOs are starting to worry about losing relevance. What does it take to get us all on the same page, pulling together?
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation, talks about making an impact both globally and locally, and how any company can be a better corporate citizen.
They’ve hit a market ‘reach’ of 180 million users a month across mobile and web platforms and re-vamped the site with the ‘Next’ version after testing out their open Beta for several months.
After years of ignoring it (accompanied by attendant crappy sales), Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand is reintroducing itself under a new name, the Lincoln Motor Company.
One of the hottest marketing catchphrases of 2012 is "data is the new creative." The premise is that all the creative in the world won't help you if your decisions are not data-driven.
It is a revolutionary breakthrough worthy of Willy Wonka – Cadbury has found a way to make chocolate that doesn’t melt in hot weather. The new bars of Dairy Milk stay completely solid even when exposed to temperatures of 104F for more than three hours.
News Corp. is shutting down The Daily, its ambitious daily newspaper for the tablet market, after two years.
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of baby gear and preschool toys, Fisher-Price believes that traditional branding processes no longer guarantee success. To differentiate its brands in a highly competitive industry, the company maintains a laser-like focus on creativity and innovation -- and its sphere of influence is large.
Whether it is Walmart or Metro, I have found that many of the global retailers’ expansion plans are irrelevant and hurt the bottom line. Tesco is a good example.
People are now using their cell phones for much more than talking. According to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 85 percent of U.S. adults own a mobile phone and 56 percent of them use it to get online.
This month, the chief executive officers of America's biggest companies went on a media blitz to decry the uncertainty caused by the fiscal cliff. In such uncertain times, they say, they are hesitant to invest in the US economy.
2012 has been the year of growth for content marketing. Brands have begun to embrace the discipline as a vital part of their overall strategy. What was once a conversation on “why content marketing” has turned into a conversation on “how to.”
We are creating a new market and ecosystem of personal preferences and patterns of influence. We are creating an exponential amount of data – 3.2bn likes and comments per day, over 400m tweets per day, and rapidly being joined by Pins and Cinema.grams.
With the newsroom housed 24 floors below, the seven-year-old R&D Lab acts as a tech startup of sorts inside the New York Times Co., home of the 161-year-old, self-styled newspaper of record. With 20 staffers, the lab’s mix of crazy smart technologists, programmers, designers and business brains are charged with the Sisyphean task of developing tech innovations and new business models to help the struggling Times weather an uncertain future following five consecutive years of falling revenue and net losses totaling more than $300 million over seven years.
Twitter and Facebook usually aren’t the last click before an ecommerce buy, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t inspire or influence the purchase. Yet IBM’s Black Friday report says Twitter delivered 0 percent of referral traffic and Facebook sent just 0.68 percent.
For a few years now, Chipotle has regarded traditional marketing as largely irrelevant for its needs. But the one TV buy it made this year -- its first national TV ad, no less -- garnered more attention than most marketers dream of getting.
Just how is Apple able to perform so much better than other consumer electronics retailers and world-renowned brands? And more important, why haven’t any of them been able to duplicate Apple’s magic formula yet?
Successful social business starts with transforming your organization internally. This is often overlooked as a crucial step toward social business. Yet not only does having an internal social business system make businesses more effective at the external effort, it’s often critical for a company’s long-term social business success.
Hostess’ management never figured out how to transition its product portfolio amid a sea change in consumer tastes, to have the kind of product-line evolution that companies such as Coca-Cola, General Mills, and Danone all mastered.
There are many vehicles, outlets, and opportunities for great brand storytelling. To make the best use of them, companies need writers who understand narrative, style, and voice. And to do that, they need to support the good writers they employ and foster the development of good writing skills among others.
In the corporate world, the HP Way has been to sell the servers and professional services that companies need, and then to partner with big software companies like Oracle and SAP for the applications. This has left HP holding the bag with low-margin businesses.
Everyone thinks they have a digital strategy these days. But while your company may have a business or IT strategy that incorporates digital technology, an IT strategy does not equal a digital strategy. Why?
ROI needs rethinking -- not because it’s no longer effective, but because it may result in the strategic emphasis being placed potentially on the wrong kind of marketing activities.
Forget about the clicks and check-ins so commonly associated with what many marketers call the "second screen" experience, which typically involves use of a tablet or smartphone while the user watches anything from "The Voice" to "Hoarders." Marketers are starting to use the medium with more in mind than just sparking idle talk.
Social media allow like-minded people to coalesce, and have increased the ability of companies to tap into their customers’ humanity. But there’s a twist: while companies want to use social media to tap into this and because it does a lot of their outreach for them, it also requires something more of the companies that enter the social space.
“We believe the tea category is ripe for reinvention and rapid growth. The Teavana acquisition now positions us to disrupt and lead, just as we did with espresso starting three decades ago,” Starbucks CEO
A few weeks ago, at the Fast Company offices, we convened an all-star panel of designers and design leaders to talk about the problems that they found most vexing in the past year, and what they were trying to do to solve them.
“As technology marches on, it will lead to the inevitable revolution of businesses acting in the genuine interest of their customers.”
Lately we’ve heard a chorus of skepticism regarding the importance of viewability, and some say that there is no correlation between viewability and conversion rate. In reality, there are only three reasons why one could legitimately argue that viewability doesn't matter.
In the 1980s, Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea’s octogenarian founder, started building a series of foundations to protect the business after his death and minimise its tax bills, a contentious move in egalitarian Sweden.
Ask yourself: do you know how much more valuable these customers are than others? If you could turn another 10% or 20% of your client base into loyal, enthusiastic patrons like these, do you know how much more growth that would generate?
How do you launch a brand from scratch? And how do you turn a brand around that has begun to flag? But the third and focus of this article is: How do you push a brand past a plateau?
One factor is emerging as the essential difference between the Obama and Romney campaigns on November 6: the absolute failure of Romney’s get-out-the-vote effort, which underperformed even John McCain’s lackluster 2008 turnout.
Boston.com has begun offering advertisers the chance to write their own blog posts, joining a growing list of web publishers pinning at least some of their hopes on a tactic variously known as native advertising, custom content or branded content.
In the late 1990s, digital marketing debuted to great fanfare, but it was still fundamentally about advertising to customers. But in the past several years, new social and mobile tools have upended that paradigm.
What's going to kill the TV business, or at least challenge it, isn't Apple designing the perfect remote or Microsoft designing a superior guide. It's two things.
A thoughtful identity gives a multinational disease research network a new way to communicate.
It used to be that brands and agencies would create ad campaigns, push them live, and use the resulting consumer reaction to help inform the next campaign. But with the rise of real-time data, marketers can now keep tabs on real-time consumer reaction and use that knowledge to make smarter decisions around all facets of creating, distributing and measuring brand campaigns.
In case you didn’t notice over the past several years the amount of patent battles between some pretty big brands have been waged in the courts. Samsung vs. Apple. Google vs. Facebook. And on and on and on. The folks over at visual.ly put together this handy dandy graphicso you can keep score at home.
Ahead of today's Halo 4 release The Verge has revealed that plans are underfoot at Redmond to develop a gaming tablet, the Xbox Surface. It's a seven-incher and its production has so far been kept apart from existing Xbox lines.
Companies like Google and Facebook have had access to vast amounts of data on how consumers behave on the web for years. Now you can get access to this same kind of Big Data, even if you don’t have their scale.
The power of the network effect is fading, at least in its current incarnation. Traditionally defined as a system where each new user on the network increases the value of the service for all others, a network effect often creates a winner-takes-all dynamic, ordaining one dominant company above the rest. Moreover, these companies often wield monopoly-like powers over their industries.
Companies are engaging customers every day, and pitching their wares to new prospects just as often. Why, then, is it so hard to come up with a compelling and agreed-upon “Why Us” story?
Holiday Inn is celebrating its 60th year in business by going back to its roots as an innovator in the hospitality industry. Here are the highlights.
For now, trending topics are a feature buried within a temporary feature at the corner of the Stitcher app. But the technology behind them reveals the potential for discovery to impact talk radio the way it has music, video, and written news.
D'Aloisio's company released a news reading app today that summarizes news articles, creating a sort of Cliff Notes for the news, for the iPhone. It'll be the second time the London-based teenager has repackaged his product, and this time he did it because he feels like the consumption of news on mobile devices hasn't been properly addressed.
We continuously hear of the ever-changing digital age and predictions now and then, of doom and gloom within the newspaper, magazine, radio and outdoor media marketplaces, among others. Forward-thinking marketers and media executives, however, continually find ways to adapt, evolve and reinvent traditional communication platforms.
"Hyperlocal" news sites that focus their coverage on small towns and city neighborhoods are reporting big traffic surges from Sandy, with local residents keen to find out about their towns' storm preparedness yesterday and about property damage and when power will be restored today, with much of it driven by search.
The key for every firm — regardless of size — is to figure out how to consistently create value in a demanding, ever-changing market. That is hard no matter what size you are, no matter what industry you're in.
What could we learn from the masters of English about great communications? Is there a set of rules we could apply?
Penguin, the most famous name in British publishing, has confirmed its merger with the German-owned Random House, creating the biggest book publisher seen, accounting for about one in four of all books sold.
For years, Microsoft sidelined itself from the world of Web standards. Internet Explorer, especially the now-despised IE6, exemplified how spurning standards held back the Web. But Microsoft has performed an about-face.
With consumers already uncomfortable about their data being collected for marketing purposes, promoting a term that sounds a lot like other industry-based labels with negative connotations has some marketers scratching their heads.
Google has created a crisis map for Hurricane Sandy, which includes information on the storm's current location, its predicted path and the locations of emergency shelters.
The answer to that question has dramatic consequences for low-GDP countries and small businesses everywhere. If the cost of innovation is falling, that should enable more of it from poorer countries, companies or cooperatives. If it's not, the already big and already rich will dominate innovation.
The New York Times suspended the paywall on its site and apps Sunday afternoon, as people turn to online news outlets to get more information about Hurricane Sandy. The storm is scheduled to make landfall in New Jersey Monday night.
I would argue that we have yet to see a startup nail ANY part of the video experience except for sharing. Apps in this category include Viddy, SocialCam, Klip, Chill, Vodio, and more. To me, this is classic Silicon Valley just building something they’re comfortable building: platforms, social graphs, viral hooks, blah, blah, blah.
At any given moment, Diageo has between 2.5 billion and 3 billion bottles sitting in stores around the world, acting as passive "pitchmen" for its brands. Now Diageo has found a way for the bottles to literally speak to the consumers who buy them.
Today there are more than 2,000 ways to bring more interactive and engaging Tweets to your stream –– on twitter.com, as well as Twitter for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.
8tracks is a streaming, not on-demand, music service. Its some 600,000 mixes are uploaded by a small portion (less than 1%) of the app’s users, known as DJs. There are no restrictions on the type of tracks these DJs can choose, beyond a couple of requirements that help keep 8tracks legal.
According to Booz & Company research, the most successful acquisitions are not for diversification. In analyzing the 2011 deals in three industries, the consulting firm found that purchases of like companies were much more likely to be winners than losers.
The potential of personalized online marketing, when done well, is enormous—and for that reason, it’s a compelling sell. The problem is, it hasn’t been done successfully thus far. And thanks to vendor hype and overpromise, just mention the word “personalization,” and most have learned to greet it with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Midwest retailer Meijer is supporting United Way literacy programs across the Midwest through a new partnership with Better World Books.
When it comes to brands and marketing, the application of story now needs to go beyond the traditional and ubiquitous tool of brand story; rather, it’s about engaging consumers in a brand’s stories and using the construct of stories and storytelling to create powerful connections.
Time had social media users high on its mind when it decided to move to responsive design. Social media now accounts for at least 12 percent of referrals to Time.com, and most people who click on Time links from Facebook, Twitter and the like are doing so on a mobile.
Newspapers in Brazil have uncoupled themselves from Google News, claiming that their presence on the search engine is preventing their online operations from growing. It's a pre-emptive strike on the firm, involving all 154 members of the Associacao Nacional de Journais--that's 90% of the country's circulation of dailies.
To Starbucks, baristas are not just baristas--they are ambassadors of brand, merchants of romance, disciples of delight. The company recently invested millions in a "Leadership Lab" designed to drill that message in for 9,600 store managers. So did it work?
If you’re really looking for trouble, try posting something on Facebook about your political preferences! A study from the Pew Research Center discovered the remedy for 20% of social networkers who received political puffery too frequently or political opinions antithetical to their own was – wait for it – unfriending or blocking!
Kohl’s has struggled to regain sales momentum. Total sales in the past year increased only 2.2% despite a continuing store opening program which last year increased its store base by 3.4% to 1127 units. The Kohl’s formula of beating competition on product value, combined with a powerful promotional program is not motivating the consumer anymore.
Microsoft Corp. seems to be serious about its foray into the tablet market – the software giant is planning large volume production of its first tablet computer, Surface, in the fourth quarter.
One dirty secret of web analytics is that the information we get is limited. If you want to see how someone came to your site, it's usually pretty easy. When you follow a link from Facebook to The Atlantic, a little piece of metadata hitches a ride that tells our servers. There are circumstances, however, when there is no referrer data. This means that this vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible to most analytics programs.
After almost a decade of self-imposed corporate exile, Mr. Pittman is back in the corporate saddle and on a mission. In his new role heading Clear Channel, the MTV founder and high-profile AOL alum has a grandiose goal: to reinvent radio, a business many have left for dead.
Since 2005, micro-blogging platforms like Facebook and Twitter have changed the medium in which IBM often communicates, but the company remains committed to blogging and is an especially enthusiastic user of Tumblr, though you can find IBMers on Instagram, Pinterest and any other up-and-coming social media site.
Shoppers at the new International Finance Center Mall in Seoul can find their way around the four-story complex by approaching one of 26 information kiosks. When they do, they also are being watched. Kiosks at a Seoul mall, above, would use facial recognition software to decide what ads to present shoppers. Just above each kiosk's LCD touch screen sit two cameras and a motion detector
The sports highlight is extremely predictable by now: an amazing play, sequence or moment is replayed from one or more angles, while a news anchor or announcer recaps what happened. Sometimes the video runs along with its original play-by-play audio, or maybe with the live radio call. But, in the age of social media permeation and mobile video proliferation, this is no longer enough, according to UNITE.
From rooftop bashes and acquisition talks to staff clashes and layoffs, Hipstamatic’s founders and ex-employees describe the startup’s losing struggle to keep pace with Instagram, Facebook, and others in the white-hot photo-sharing space.
Starting in March, Wendy’s will introduce its first logo makeover since 1983. The redesign, only the fifth since Wendy’s was launched in 1969, features an updated, more prominent cameo graphic of the iconic pigtailed Wendy’s character and a sleeker, more contemporary script font.
Throughout the succinct two-year history of social television, successes and failures have taught practitioners three valuable lessons. In fact, these lessons apply to practitioners in any major medium (radio, film, television, journalism).
Why is it that some brands launch like meteors, captivating our imaginations and our wallets, only to fall spectacularly into marketing oblivion? And perhaps more importantly for marketers today: How can this fate be avoided? The answer lies in the difference between what is required to generate initial trial of a new product, versus building a relevant equity that stimulates ongoing interest and repeat business.
The car has been called “the fourth screen” for internet-connected content. But even for high-performance brands like BMW, adapting the car to keep up with the fast pace of mobile computing has been a slow and complicated process. The luxury automaker plans to bring automotive technology up to speed and in sync with smartphones, computers and tablets by leveraging an EU-funded project called “webinos.”
When asked to describe the main benefit of a diverse organization, Niloufar Molavi doesn’t mince words. “Innovation,” she says without hesitation.
Reed Elsevier is selling the 107-year-old magazine as the company refocuses on electronic data services and research offerings, the two companies said in a statement today.
So fervent is our desire for Design, we have created “Design Thinking”. And to prove its theorems, Stanford now has a D School to remind us that we can’t just create things from blue sky. From sea to shining sea, the U.S. has become obsessed with Design.
Digital accountability, a new breed of thinking challenging the historical tinkering mindset of digital marketers. Digital accountability has its roots in the simplest of principles –- digital marketing is a mature art. Like events, sponsorships, branding and advertising, digital now takes its permanent place in the marketer’s toolbox -- a defined skill with defined outcomes that eliminates mystery, and most importantly, eliminates marketing waste.
Are New Devices Adding to News Consumption? What does the growing expansion of mobile mean for news consumption overall? Are people who own mobile technology getting more news now that they have more ready access to it? Or are they merely replacing one platform with another? Here, the findings are as strong as in 2011, and in some cases even stronger, in suggesting that mobile technology is increasing news consumption.
The social media site, whose attempts at monetizing the brand are currently coming thick and fast, has launched Facebook Collections. No, not that long-awaited range of sportwear in Poke Me Blue, but a new button it's trying out in conjunction with a select bunch of retailers in the U.S.
it's inherently impossible to design a great user experience for bad content. If you're passionate about creating better user experiences, you can't help but care about delivering useful, usable, engaging content.
Clearly Defining What a Brand Stands for Provides a Competitive Edge and Leads to Increased Productivity. The heads of marketing for three of the country's best-known brands eagerly picked one another's brains about the strategies that are working and the campaigns that are resonating.
Corporate America is questioning the return on their advertising investment, and agencies continue to struggle to prove their value. There is an impatience for efficiency and effectiveness, and there are higher expectations of accountability.
A two word phrase that marketers concern themselves with all the live-long day or at least a significant part of their day: Big Data. And depending on who you listen to and/or believe either marketers are handling their new found wealth of prodigious piles of information quite well and are using insights gleaned from the data to their benefit or, quite simply they are not.
What began as a social movement serving urgent health needs for women has been hollowed out by cynical marketeering. The gradual commodification of breast cancer reflected a failure of the movement, in that it wasn't able to adapt quickly enough to fight the commercialisation of breast cancer awareness.
The headline conclusion of Pew's latest monster survey of the media landscape was the demise of TV news. "There are now signs that television news is increasingly vulnerable," the authors wrote, "as it may be losing its hold on the next generation of news consumers." But the larger story is the rise of the Web, which has surpassed newspapers and radio to become the second most popular source of news for Americans, after TV
As the digital interface continues to grow, many companies struggle to find the most effective channels in which to reach customers, and given the infinite number of connections that can be made via the Internet, the task of predicting the best course for communication seems nearly impossible; however, a new start-up has promised to do just that.
Apple's apology for the shortcomings of its Maps app demonstrates once again why its branding goes so far beyond what most marketers are willing to consider. Every CMO should take note of the power of acknowledging reality.
In a world where consumers increasingly are storming the internet with queries, downloads and page views from their mobile devices, marketers need a mobile-optimized or mobile-specific website. The question of whether or not you need to build a mobile app is a little less clear cut.
The New York Times this morning announced a new HTML5 web app for iPad, rounding out their lineup of web and tablet products for digital subscribers. The Times is soliciting feedback from its users about the app and its features, which suggests that it’s looking at this as a way to experiment with a non-native delivery method, but isn’t quite sure about how consumers will respond.
A recent IBM study of more than 1,700 CMOs stated that approximately 90% of all the real-time information being created today is unstructured data. CMOs see the data explosion as a game-changer, but continue to struggle with leveraging the data to make smarter business decisions.
It’s Advertising Week, which means it’s time for a barrage of panels full of questions like “Are banners dead?” and “Native advertising: the wave of the future?” And while some will dismiss this chattering as manufactured drama, the proliferation of these existential questions is a solid indicator that the digital publishing industry needs to change.
There’s no question about it—mobile traffic is booming as people spend more time hunched over their little screens. For magazines, it represents an opportunity to capture more readers and try to convert them to paying ones.
Large-scale data gathering and analytics are quickly becoming a new frontier of competitive differentiation. In a recent Harvard Business Review article we explore how companies require three mutually supportive capabilities to fully exploit data and analytics.
Sony dominated consumer electronics for decades, but that was a long time ago.
It is a device that three quarters of the world's inhabitants have access to, according to the World Bank, but the words to describe it and etiquette of how to use it differ starkly across cultures.
Analysis found that marketers are still posting too little on weekends and at night and when they do post, they’re way too verbose. Weekends, when brands post too little, the audience appears primed for interaction.
In just six months, Instagram use has more than septupled, growing from around 900,000 people per day to around 7.3 million, according to ComScore. The photo-sharing app’s astonishing growth underscores the growing momentum of mobile-native apps, and the potential of said apps to open wide leads over traditional websites.
What do Harvard Business Publishing and Harlequin – the publisher of a gazillion romance novels – have in common? More than you might think. I’ve blogged before about Harvard’s efforts to create a community of readers, thinkers, and kibitzers. It turns out that Harlequin has been doing the same for nearly 15 years – long before the Internet made it easy, or at least easier.
While there is a lot of Hadoopalooza in the technology press about the tools for managing big data, and they are wonderful, it's also true that they are a) widely available, and b) mostly free. Neither can be said of data scientists. Simply put, you can't do much with big data without data scientists. They are the magicians who transform an inchoate mass of bits into a fit subject for analysis.
To its groaning shelf of National Magazine Awards and bulging portfolio of stories extolling its business success, New York magazine can add one more credit: It's having its best year in a decade. Both profits and revenue are the highest they've been since financier Bruce Wasserstein bought the barely profitable publication.
That consumers are turned off by sites not optimized for smartphones isn’t news to anyone who uses the mobile Web. But marketers need more than anecdotal evidence to get their organizations to invest in the medium.
Well-defined problems lead to breakthrough solutions. When developing new products, processes, or even businesses, most companies aren't sufficiently rigorous in defining the problems they're attempting to solve and articulating why those issues are important.
Despite its growth, investors see the carmaker’s structure and the founding family’s grip on ownership as a liability. Why is a company that is widely admired for its industrial performance and well on its way to meeting lofty growth targets viewed with such scepticism?
Historically, companies have decided which markets to focus on and have allocated sales resources based on looking at past results and using gut instincts. But today, "big data" and deep analytical capabilities give sales and marketing leaders a better way to make decisions
The lifeblood of college football fandom is changing. The painted faces crammed into the student section of stadiums nationwide have turned away from newspapers and talk radio toward social media to get stats, scores and even messages from coaches and players in real time. As social media infiltrates stadiums and clubhouses, teams are scrambling on and off the field to reach students and young alumni
Publications like WIRED and Popular Science were quick out of the gate with sophisticated iPad apps, and while they did offer some compelling multimedia experiences that couldn’t be done in print, the apps lacked the ease of use that’s central to enjoying a magazine.
McDonald’s announced last week that it will start posting calories for all its food on its in-store menu boards. Starting this week, when customers walk into a McDonald’s (MCD) restaurant they will see in bright lights that a Big Mac and large fries weighs in at 1,050 calories.
Don Chadwick, whose ergonomic Aeron chair for Herman Miller has been so influential in furniture design that it has been honored with the ‘Design of the Decade’ Award and given a spot in MoMA’s permanent collection.
Six-year-old Good — the company behind Good Magazine and Good.is — is beginning a new chapter Wednesday, with the relaunch of its website as a digital community for social action. The new Good.is is a place for people interested in creating change to spread awareness for different causes with a like-minded community
Google Maps Street View is fine for eyeing what a business looks like on the outside. But Google just made it much easier to open up Maps, then open up doors of select businesses to see what it looks like on the inside. Now when you open up Google Maps, you can pull out the orange Pegman and drop him on top of any of the new orange dots that will appear to take a tour inside a business.
Martha Stewart’s remarkable career demonstrates the marketing power of a distinct personal brand, one that’s become so iconic that it has transcended all the challenges, both legal and financial, within the lifestyle guru’s business.
A mix of factors, ranging from commoditization to evaporating barriers to competition, are conspiring to push design to the fore of business thinking.
In a bold first-day speech, the BBC’s new boss says the corporation must stop thinking that online innovation means repurposing broadcast content and instead ‘create genuinely digital content for the first time’.
How much more profitable would your business be if you had, for free, access to 100 times more data about your customers? That's the question I posed to the attendees of a recent big data workshop in London, all of them senior executives. But not a single executive in this IT-savvy crowd would hazard a guess.
Publishing insiders worry that a decisive court ruling benefiting retailer Amazon.com Inc. will undermine an industry already struggling with the transition to e-books.
USA Today, with its colorful omnipresence on airport newsstands and outside the doors of hotel rooms, is showing off its new look on Friday. And the makeover for the newspaper, based just outside the Washington Beltway, comes straight from Silicon Valley.
After I wrote about doing personal analytics with data I’ve collected about myself, many people asked how they could do similar things themselves. Now of course most people haven’t been doing the kind of data collecting that I’ve been doing for the past couple of decades. But these days a lot of people do have a rich source of data about themselves: their Facebook histories.
Last week’s sweeping victory for the [Apple] in a bitter patent dispute with Samsung came exactly a year after its reins were passed from Jobs to Tim Cook – who duly used the legal victory to rally Apple’s employees and restate values such as “originality and innovation” that Jobs had epitomised. In doing so, Mr Cook illustrated how brands can try to cope with being orphaned by a founding figurehead.
The technology surrounding today’s retail landscape has changed, and with this change comes a myriad of innovative opportunities that extend beyond our conventional way of thinking. Viewing these opportunities as “distractions” rather than opportunities risks losing ground to the competition.
Did you know one comment on Forbes is worth 472 views of an article? And a +1 on Google Plus is worth 169 views, while a Share on Facebook is worth 31 views? Ken Krogue shares his analysis of the currency exchange of digital and social media.
The lifestyle retailer puts shopping for home furnishings and decor back in the real world for maximum product interaction and shared experience.
We researched a number of companies that overcame the multi-channel dilemma — systematically — by applying business discipline to the practice of customer experience in an integrated way. Here are three of their most effective strategies.
How predictable are competitive conditions in your industry? How much power does your company have to shape its underlying competitive environment? These questions are critical to strategists, since clearly the kinds of strategies that work in predictable industries are likely to be worlds apart from those geared to shaping highly volatile environments.
Stationary furniture is the largest segment within the furniture category. To continue to grow the brand needed to shift deep-rooted perceptions and convince female consumers that La-Z-Boy offers more than recliners.
Blog posts became Facebook updates and Tumblr posts, which shrunk to Tweets and finally to Instagram or Pinterest. Here's how smart brands are navigating the new visual social-media era.
Author and interaction design researcher Richard Banks shares his thoughts on the interaction between storing memories digitally and physically. Richard is the Principal Interaction Designer at Microsoft Research‘s Socio-Digital Systems group, a team analyzing how families use digital and analog media and building technological objects in response.
Seeing things in context is one of the most important features of human intelligence, and it plays a vital role in our relationships with others, including the relationship that a customer has with a company. By focusing on deepening the context of your customer relationships, you can ensure greater customer loyalty and probably higher margins as well.
Human behavior is nuanced and complex, and no matter how robust it is, data can provide only part of the story. Desire and motivation are influenced by psychological, social, and cultural factors that require context and conversation in order to decode.
A WEEKLY trade publication covering Madison Avenue since the Hoover administration will soon introduce its most significant redesign in years, as part of efforts to further redirect its editorial focus in a digital world toward analysis from breaking news.
Selling solutions allows companies to differentiate themselves in commoditizing markets and to benefit from economies of scope across multiple profit and service capabilities. For customers, these solutions offer better value than the products and services that went before. After all, who would not prefer a "solution" to their business problems rather than simply buying services and products?
How much should you know and record about your customers? How about their businesses? What should you do with the information? How much is too much?
The Seattle-based coffee giant’s year-and-a-half-old mobile payment program may be the largest of any retailer in North America. Even before its recent $25 million investment in San Francisco mobile payments startup Square, the company had been processing a million mobile-phone transactions per week.
More than 750 garage parties for women were hosted by Harley-Davidson dealers last year. These show-and- tell outreach events have also been combined with female-friendly training and a marketing drive heavily focused on women’s empowerment.
Two years after launch, Bloomberg Sports is rapidly expanding its offering of data-driven technology tools, signaling the growing demand for advanced analytics by fans and teams alike as the digital capability to deliver such content matures.
My most important decisions are about adjusting to change. Over the last 20 years, we’ve reinvent-ed ourselves five or six times. Some were positive reinventions, some were very painful.
Forget loyalty in the body care market. Most consumers seem less interested in the name on the label than on price and attributes, per a new study on the segment by Chicago-based Mintel.
While the tangible benefits of conducting business digitally are manyfold, companies that are moving their employees online have largely ignored one of the most important factors of success: corporate culture.
This year 12% of IKEA's content for the Web, catalog and brochures were rendered virtually; that number will increase to 25% next year.
Because these outfits cater to a certain niche, they don’t have to appeal to everyone, which in turn, liberates them to take the risks that yield creative rewards.
Being relevant-at-scale helps marketers to truly benefit from a competitive advantage in the market. At the heart of being relevant-at-scale is an ongoing commitment to harnessing data and analytics. How can you be relevant to your consumers if you don’t know where to reach them and if you don’t know anything about them when you interact?
Who’s controlling your brand message? Recent high-profile Twitter blunders from Progressive Insurance and online store CelebBoutique underscore the challenges of outsourcing your voice as a brand.
"I am not here dreaming of (or worrying about) a world in which computers have displaced the printed word, and us too. I could find no one at this conference who would predict the demise of the newspaper. No one. All saw an important place for us."
In discussions with social media pioneers, it’s apparent that there are some common pitfalls that marketers make as they begin leveraging social media. As a follow-up to an earlier post regarding social media, I’ll address three common mistakes many CMOs are making.
A great new way for you and your Facebook friends to share your favorite articles.
We received a reprieve most of the time in colloquial English, but never in written English. Splitting infinitives is not just forgivable; it is, in fact, “a sacred duty.” Especially when not splitting the infinitive clouds the meaning of your communications.
Customer experience goes to the heart of everything you do--how you conduct your business, the way your people behave when they interact with customers and each other, the value you provide. You literally can't afford to ignore it, because your customers take it personally each and every time they touch your products, your services, and your support.
Pfizer, like Dove and Prudential before it, has gone topical. The pharma giant’s new corporate image effort eschews gauzy TV ads in favor of a microsite where consumers can find and share third-party information about the vicissitudes of aging.
Facebook's stock price slide has raised doubts about Mark Zuckerberg's role as CEO. Some say he should hand the reins to a more seasoned executive.
It's a paradox of the information age. The glut of information that bombards us daily too frequently obscures true insight. Intelligence should drive better innovation, but unless it is strategically collected and used, it functions like a summer beach novel — an engaging distraction.
Culture, and, by association, brand, is so important and prevalent, you could almost test it like Rorschach — Hold up a name of a company to a user and they’ll immediately know what it stands for. This association thing happens on the less positive side of the spectrum as well.
In the late 1990s the dot-com boom made every organization look at the potential for online presence and examine its business model. But the pace has been heating up with emerging social (Facebook), mobile (smart phones and iPads), "cloud," and "big data" technologies that are creating new ways to compete, and, along with them, new ways of working.
Successful innovators ask users to embrace--or at least tolerate--new values, new skills, new behaviors, new vocabularies, new ideas, new expectations, and new aspirations. They transform their customers. Successful innovators reinvent their customers as well as their businesses. Their innovations make customers better and make better customers.
Kodak's auction of intellectual property has yet to produce a sale. But it has had one unlikely result: turning the fiercest rivals in the global patent battle into potential collaborators.
Marketers are buzzing from the aftershocks of Google's recent most updates, code-named Panda and Penguin. Both the Panda and Penguin updates contained very clear messages for marketers: stop focusing on technology and tricks and start focusing on people. If your website appeals to people, it will appeal to Google's algorithms too.
Welcome to the newest retail concept in Funabashi: a shopping mall designed with the elderly in mind. Here older shoppers can access medical clinics, benefit from 5 per cent discounts on pension day, partake in any of 140 leisure activities ranging from calligraphy to hula dancing and, through the “Begins Partner” programme, find love.
A recent CEB study of nearly 800 marketers at Fortune 1000 companies found the vast majority of marketers still rely too much on intuition — while the few who do use data aggressively for the most part do it badly.
In today’s rapidly transforming, consumer-empowered digital world, as a CMO, do you operate with a Silicon Valley state of mind for today’s state of business?
If there's any sign that the media ecosystem is on the verge of dramatic change, then these four digital trends bubbling to the surface are the latest proof points of that. These aren't random trends but are illustrative of tectonic shifts that will change the media business dramatically.
Marketers' Obsession With Audience Data Could Teach Media a Thing or Two. Brand marketers research their audiences exhaustively until they understand them instinctively. So it's strange to remember how magazines I've known kept their editorial and advertising sides operating not just separately, as they should, but entirely divorced from each other, with each side in near-denial of the other's existence.
A lethal combination of thrifty consumers and a commercial real estate slump have turned malls into the walking dead of retail. In 2009, General Growth Properties, one of the largest mall operators in America, filed for bankruptcy, unable to service more than $25bn in debt. The vacancy rates in regional and strip malls in the US nearly doubled between late 2007 and the middle of last year.
More than a dozen big merchants are expected to announce Wednesday their plans to jointly develop a mobile-payments network that would battle similar services from Google Inc. and other companies, people involved in the effort said.
Put simply, responsive design is the creation of a single website with a fluid proportion-based grid that automatically adapts to users’ browsers and the devices they are using. This is not a trend—it’s the future.
How do you get your message across? And via what channel? Email has long been -- and still remains -- the most effective communication mechanism, but too often the message doesn’t resonate with its recipient, usually due to poor targeting or segmentation.
It looks as if the fair-and-square-fewer-price-promotions-more-celebrity-and-any-high-tech-we-can-get approach of Mr. Johnson, ex of Apple’s retail division, isn’t quite working out the way he had planned. Which is exactly what our loyalty and engagement metrics predicted back in January.
Trapit For iPad is the latest in a wave of news-reading apps designed to make finding and reading online content on a tablet easier, more intuitive and elegant.
Every generation experiences advances in technology that change people's lives and expectations; children are almost always born into a different technological world than were their parents. This is particularly true when it comes to how they discover, consume and share content and information.
In the circles that count, it’s clear that Chipotle is regarded as a major innovator, attracting what all major innovators attract: copycatting. So it’s no coincidence that after a couple of years of crazy growth from Chipotle, Taco Bell feels it has to step up its game. Thus, this summer the country’s leading quasi-Mexican fast-food chain has rolled out its new Cantina Bell line of upscale menu items.
In the early 2000s Aetna was struggling mightily on all fronts. While on the surface revenues remained strong, its rapport with customers and physicians was rapidly eroding, and its reputation was being bludgeoned by lawsuits and a national backlash against health maintenance organizations and managed care (which Aetna had championed). To boot, the company was losing roughly $1 million a day, thanks to cumbersome processes and enormous overhead, as well as unwise acquisitions. Many of the problems Aetna faced were attributed to its culture.
Lots of sporting events are used to promote brands. The Olympics, perhaps, more than most. So it's no surprise that the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is hard at work to ensure that brands that are not “official sponsors” of the games do not gain financially
search engine and e-mail referrals are more than holding their own against social media sites when it comes to generating sales in the second quarter of 2012. Social media sites only contributed to 2.85 percent of online shopping traffic in the second quarter.
If we want to successfully navigate this new world, spark economic resurgence and close the gaps in equity that threaten stability, we need new thinking, new partners--we need to elevate a new paradigm of power. We need leaders who understand local nuances and global interdependence. We need decisions to be predicated on sustainability not opportunism. We need leadership that leverages power for collective empowerment. I see a solution in women.
Pulse, the popular news reading app for iOS and Android, is finally available on the web. The service, which launched two years ago and now has over 15 million users, only focused on mobile platforms until now.
With the network releasing footage of Olympic events hours after they’ve already happened, major news networks are learning they can’t pretend that social media doesn’t exist.
The $25 million funding and sales deal announced late yesterday between mobile payments startup Square and coffee giant Starbucks is big, but it is only the tip of the iceberg for what the implications will be for Square and for mobile payments in general.
With such high stakes, brands should assess their fit with the Olympic Games before jumping into the arena. Not all players are a perfect match. Brands that are compatible with the Games, in both product offering and Ideal, can expect greater impact on their equity.
With London 2012 come three, totally minimal olympic sites that leverage rapid development to celebrate this fleeting worldwide event. They’re the collective antithesis to nbcolympics.com, covering granular information with an unfettered layout devoid of audio clips, listicles and even ads. They’re also a sign of current web technologies.
Nielsen’s been fairly busy attempting to connect the dots between TV and online advertising. Today, the research firm is announcing Nielsen Online Audience Segments—TV Viewing, a program that’s designed to let a brand target online consumers based on their television and Web-viewing habits.
Turner Broadcasting said today that it acquired Bleacher Report to broaden the scope of sports coverage it can offer advertisers as well as bolster its scale, which has significantly decreased in recent months.
The use of apps as a way to gain an advantage over others is clearest in categories where there is already significant competition for consumer attention, including quick-service restaurants, banking, hospitality, fashion and beauty.
Any group that manages a celebrity brand must focus on the authenticity and aspirational aspects that connect with their audience. Violate that, and the brand and the brand’s value can be significantly devalued.
Getting older can also mean getting better if you keep a fresh outlook and stay young at heart. The wisdom that comes with age is priceless but don’t get too stuck in your ways. Look at Madonna who rose to fame in the 80s topping the charts in the 90s and can still fill large arenas and entertain Super Bowl crowds in the 2000s! How does she do it and what can we in business learn from her success?
There are common themes underlying the three major players struggles with how to grow revenue, particularly mobile revenue, while their web traffic is declining as a percentage of the total. They are all in a life or death fight, both with each other, but more importantly with the emerging mobile ecosystem, largely dominated by Apple.
Viacom, owner of the Paramount film studio and cable networks such as Nickelodeon and MTV, has reported quarterly profit that missed analysts' estimates after advertising sales dropped the most in more than two years.
The emergence of online platforms is bringing a wave of disruptive innovations to traditional education. From 40,000 person classes that you can take from anywhere to Twitter-moderated discussion forums with trending hashtags, technology is fundamentally changing the way we learn today.
"Boar's Head is pretty much everywhere," said Mitchell Sejzer, who works in the deli at a Sunset Foods store in the affluent Chicago suburb of Highland Park, noting that the brand accounts for about 75% of the store's deli counter selection. So just how did this brand -- which is oddly named after a swine's head -- get to the top?
With ever-increasing YouTube lunch breaks and Vimeo dinner dates, online video is becoming a constant companion--one that every brand is rushing to take advantage of. Follow these five tips so you don't turn off would-be viewers.
The domestic diva, Martha Stewart, is watching her media conglomerate do not so good things. It just reported plunging sales and a second quarter operating loss of $2.9 million. Publishing and broadcast units reported losses, down 16%. Ad pages are evaporating for most titles. Wherever did all those loyal fans go?
Nobody can deny that the ledgers at NBC are looking mighty nice as of now, yet while the TV performance data has been easily accessible and widely disseminated since Monday, one crucial element appears to be missing: just how are NBC's digital audience numbers are shaping up?
Autistic children with limited verbal skills are often taught how to communicate and make choices using pictures. Drawing on her experience as a behavioral therapist in college, Adriana Herrera realized that key design principles from her work with Autistic children could also be applied to the website she founded.
Canadian publication Maclean’s this week announced a study from the Advertising Research Foundation in New York City. The article states the respected Foundation recently tested a “blank” ad on Facebook whose click-thru rate performed only .01% less well than regular Facebook ads.
A survey conducted by Women’s Marketing Inc. published new findings that shed light on social media marketing and women. We’ve pulled three important lessons from the data, which will help businesses to refine their marketing tactics, especially as they pertain to the female demographic.
To make it easier for New Yorkers to commute and keep them posted on scheduled maintenance and delays, Google is adding information about service alerts that occur throughout the city’s 468 subway stations labeled on Google Maps.
Apps may already track your workouts, your finances, and your temperature preferences, but until now they’ve largely overlooked the most telling data feed of all: your location. Saga, which is launching on Tuesday, uses your phone’s GPS, Wi-Fi capabilities, and accelerometer to track every move you make
Sophisticated sales organizations now have the ability to combine, sift, and sort vast troves of data to develop highly efficient strategies for selling into micromarkets. While B2C companies have become adept at mining the petabytes of transactional and other purchasing data that consumers generate as they interact online, B2B sales organizations have only recently begun to use big data to inform overall strategy and tailor sales pitches for specific customers in real time. Yet the payoff is huge.
Today, companies are starting new entrepreneurship initiatives because they need fuel for innovation, desire top talent and need to sustain a competitive advantage. Smart companies are catering to entrepreneurs, allowing workers to pitch their ideas, and even funding them. They are holding entrepreneurship contests, investing in startups and bringing on entrepreneurs in residence (EIR). In the war for talent and innovation, companies have to think entrepreneurially in order to survive and thrive.
Those "Will It Blend?" videos of some guy throwing an iPhone in a blender and the instantly viral Shakeweight ads have millions and millions of views. Your company's new "viral" spot has 500. Here's what separates great branded video content from the flops.
Microsoft is reimagining its entire business model, and they’ve laid out the details for anyone to inspect. You just have to read between the boilerplate sections in the company's most recent 10-K.
The next great quest in applied science: the assembly of a unified health database, a “big data” project that would collect in one searchable repository all the parameters that measure or could conceivably reflect human well-being.
As part of its sponsorship of Team USA for the Olympic Games, AT&T is launching a campaign to bring several of these stories to life via short films and its social networking channels. The effort, called “My Journey,” will feature 30-second teasers during the primetime broadcasts of the London Olympic Games, but the extended stories will live online.
A milestone reached as the world of old media continues its push in a digital direction: the storied, pink-sheeted daily newspaper the Financial Times, read by 2.1 million readers daily, today said digital subscribers now outnumber those in print, and that digital revenues now account for half of all sales in the FT Group.
Companies tend to repeat what has worked for them in the past. In our research on the telecom industry, for example, we found that the great majority of the executives we surveyed preferred internal development to external sourcing when they needed to develop differentiated products and services. We get similar results in other industries, though the preferred growth mode may differ.
Venture capitalists exhibit some strange behaviors, but none is more bizarre than the near-inevitable scheming to remove a company's founder-CEO. Odder still is that these plans are often hatched just as the company begins to really perform.
A 2012 Road King Classic in all its spaghetti-piped splendor lists for $19,599—and that becomes a hard sell when the economy goes soft. But a bigger challenge lay not with the bike or its price, but the ever-changing image of the rider. As the ads here show, the ability to shift gears quickly can apply to the marketing just as much as the motorcycle.
“What’s becoming clear is that in order to stay relevant and remain competitive in today’s uber-digital and social world, the CIO and the CMO must work together. Today and in the future you’ll see this connection grow tighter than ever before,” said Jeff Schick, VP, Social Software.
This year, more than 4.9 billion people (including 211 million Americans) are expected to tune into the games. The IOC is anticipating a record-breaking “Socialympics,” and with all the feel-good stories, athlete spokespeople and corporate sponsorships surrounding the games, it’s hard to imagine it any other way.
On the heels of a deal with Facebook to promote Olympic conversations on NBC’s Facebook page, the broadcast network today is taking one more step to improve its social standing during the big sports event. It is linking up with Storify, the social-media “story creator”, to put streams of real-time Olympic content, curated by NBC journalists, across Today.com as well as NBC’s 10 owned TV station websites.
The projected growth of data from all kinds of sources is staggering—to the point where some worry that in the foreseeable future our digital systems of storage and dissemination will not be able to keep up with the simple act of finding places to keep the data and move it around to all those who are interested in it. How could Big Data be significant? A 2011 industry report by global management consulting firm McKinsey argued that five new kinds of value might come from abundant data.
One daring digital news operation seems to be failing; simultaneously, another expands and appears to march forward, recruiting more journalists as it goes. And there’s an awkward question that links these swings and roundabouts. Simply: has the typical general newspaper, conventionally conceived and structured, had its day? Is it, as a concept, what evolving news online is about?
Co-design from business to product design solutions is seen as a potential new avenue for breakthrough innovation in design. Co-design is when firms and non-design users jointly design offerings. Examples range from surgical tools and sport equipment to Lego elements and software.
In the race to find culpability, what doesn't get talked about is the very climate that creates the conditions for people to behave badly and feel perfectly justified in their behavior. It is, in fact, the very same thing that creates an environment and provides the fuel for people to conversely do great, generous and far-reaching things. It boils down to cultural permission.
Our future is as much threatened by the lack of imaginative connection making as it is from a dearth of engineers or mathematicians. Here are practical lessons from 35 years of writing poetry that can help individuals and teams deliver more innovative products, processes and services.
Jeremy Lin has just made the news again, as he leaves New York for Houston. Personally, as a New Yorker, I am terribly saddened, because he is not only a compelling player, who set a great tone for the Knicks…but he is also a savvy professional, who has pulled some interesting moves off the court, as well as on it. In fact, Jeremy Lin has taken personal branding to the next level – by trade marking his personal brand of mass hysteria – “Linsanity.”
In another sign that big brewers are starting to think small, Anheuser-Busch InBev is launching a series of Budweiser-branded brews named for the zip codes where they were created. Called "Project 12," the effort began when brewmasters at 12 AB InBev breweries created their own small-batch "tribute" beers, each with a distinct style.
The connected TV, sometimes called the smart TV (and even branded as such by Samsung) is a growing phenomenon: TV makers are adding limited apps, Net connectivity, and even streaming media powers to their newer TVs in the hope they'll persuade you to upgrade your newish LCD for a flatter, smarter unit. They're desperate to, given how flat this market is. But according to new research from Pew, the future of TV may actually be a little more closely aligned with the notion of a "connected TV viewer," an important distinction
Honest Tea has moved steadily toward the mainstream of the U.S. beverage business in recent years, as Coca-Cola has invested more and more in the brand. But since it was purchased outright by Coke last year, the Bethesda, Md.-based organic-tea and -juice startup has moved at the even faster pace that would be expected of a tiny company now backed by the immense marketing and distribution resources of the world's biggest soft-drink concern.
Hilton is evolving its current campaign to feature experiences that guests have at properties worldwide. Still using the two-year-old tagline “Stay Hilton. Go Everywhere,” the new interpretations include a series of print, online and out-of-home advertisements. Developed in collaboration with Cramer-Krasselt, the three creative executions are "Go Chill," "Go Refresh" and "Go Foodie."
Some view it as a scandal that the CEO of J.P. Morgan "knew" about the risky trades long ago. Or that the Bush administration knew "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.." Or that the average cell phone customer can know when they're roaming, and yet still be surprised by the data charges from vacation, whether it's $100 to upload a photo to Facebook, or $62,000 for downloading Wall-E. What is rarely mentioned is the amount of information that lands on the desk of a CEO or a President, or every single one of us, every day.
A member of my wife's family and a few of her friends told me recently that they are enamored with Twitter. They love its rapid-fire updates, and the sense Twitter provides of being right in the moment. Over a weekend they were constantly checking and posting updates on their smartphones, and when it came to socializing with friends, she and her peers simply preferred Twitter to Facebook. This isn't earth-shattering news, but here's the catch – all were in high school.
Most national brands are strategically positioned at the national Web level with strong awareness and branding, but these companies often lack insight into how their brands are represented at this level. Their local presence becomes clear when you conduct local searches on national brands using the “Local Web Test.”
Last year, new advertising for Harley-Davidson was greeted with skepticism. The company had eschewed working with traditional ad agencies on the campaign, and instead became one of the very first marketers to pursue consumer-created work through crowd sourcing. Now Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer is having the last laugh: Harley expects to repeat last year’s sales uptick of 6%, and its market share has been up 12 points in the last 4 years despite the Great Recession.
Ralph Lauren, Armani, Victoria's Secret, and Major League Sports Brands Among the 2012 Fashion Brand
For those of you out there who think brand and fashion have broken up and don’t even go to the same parties anymore, think again.
Avi Savar, founder and chief creative officer of social media agency Big Fuel, led the inaugural Branded Content and Entertainment jury at Cannes, awarding a Grand Prix to Chipotle and CAA for the burrito brand’s sustainable farming “Cultivate” campaign. Adweek caught up with Savar to chat about the category and where it’s headed.
The 2012 Olympics in London are being touted by some as the world’s “first social Games.” While some question just how social they’ll actually be, there’s no doubt that networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will play an unprecedented role in how information is disseminated from London, and how the global sports conversation is driven during July and August. Why the big shift? It’s simple: Four years is an eternity in Internet time and since the last Summer Olympics in 2008, social media has exploded.
Best practices in exceptional customer service -- top CEOs share insights including...handwritten le
As corporations seek new ways to connect with customers, I set out to uncover insights from some of the top CEOs. Interestingly what emerged are some unexpected answers, like the value of simplicity and the power of the handwritten letter – both of which have elevated in importance in a complex fast-moving digital world.
Texas Ranger outfielder Josh Hamilton got there because he deserves it. But please, three San Francisco Giants were voted onto the All Star team? In what election process is that fair? Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera maybe, but when you consider the perpetually injured Pablo Sandoval there is clearly something else at play when it comes to the All Star voting. For the Giants, and even the Rangers, it’s all about All Star tech savvy.
It’s impossible to become a great business leader without being a great communicator—not a big talker, but a great communicator—as well. Famous entrepreneurs are known for their skilled communication with employees, vendors, investors and clients. It is one of the most vital traits they must have. Whether the news is positive or negative, they know it is best to be forthright, honest and timely. They know that people appreciate transparency and truth.
A monumental question for leaders in any organization to consider is: How much greatness are we willing to grant people? Because it makes all the difference at every level who it is we decide we are leading. The activity of leadership is not limited to conductors, presidents, and CEOs, of course — the player who energizes the orchestra by communicating his newfound appreciation for the tasks of the conductor, or a parent who fashions in her own mind that her children desire to contribute, is exercising leadership of the most profound kind.
A seminal memory of childhood for many Americans of my age was the arrival of the magazine Highlights for Children every month. The magazine was chock full of goodness, but my favorite part was the Goofus & Gallant cartoon. For those who didn't have the pleasure of reading the magazine, the cartoon taught life lessons through contrasts. Not surprisingly, Gallant was always polite, did his chores, and thought things through, whereas Goofus wasn't polite, didn't do his chores, and definitely didn't think things through.
If you are of a certain age (around 50-60), Atari made the first computer games you ever played. Pong, anyone? Joystick? If you are a hip gamester today, Atari is a retro brand. Now in its 40th year, Atari is still in the games game. Recently, I spoke to Atari's design director, Kris Johns (whose team is responsible for the Atari timeline below) about the legacy, inventions, and future of this legendary brand.
Today’s fast, furious and instantaneous news cycles allow leaders the opportunity to become active in media conversations and get discovered on a moment’s notice. As such, you must become more informed about the news that impacts your voice both directly and indirectly. Whether it’s a Twitter hashtag discussion, LinkedIn or Facebook group conversation, your local news, blog or national news story, you must be prepared to address the issues in a succinct and objective manner.
Marketers have tried targeting consumers in stores with QR codes and barcode scanners that so far have gotten limited traction. Now IBM is testing a new approach, dubbed augmented reality, which is a bit like applying search or a personalized version of Google Goggles to the world of physical store shelves.
A renaissance in the customer loyalty program has been long promised, but so far the reality has failed to live up to hype. Mass-adoption of smart-phones and the availability of location and social data mean the consumer loyalty program is ripe for a makeover but so far programs haven't really taken off with consumers and merchants. That's about to change and I believe the next twelve months will be critical in the growth of the mobile loyalty program.
When it comes to learning about food, nearly half of consumers use social networking sites, and 40% use Web sites, apps or blogs, according to a new study from The Hartman Group and Publicis Consultants USA. Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/177904/leveraging-social-media-in-food-marketing.html#ixzz1zE5w9Vb4
When the concept of a social media "fan" emerged a few years ago, it held out the promise of enabling meaningful, one-to-one conversations between brands and consumers at unprecedented scale. But that promise has yet to be delivered. Think about it: do you know whether your fans are moms, or sports enthusiasts or country-music aficionados? Do you know which ones are "superfans" and consistently engage with your programs, and systematically use that information to increase word-of-mouth?
The rise of Millennials and the aging of Baby Boomers represent significant challenges for established food brands and traditional grocery stores, according to new study from investment bank Jeffries and business advisory firm AlixPartners. Over the next decade, Millennials (born between 1982 and 2001) will come of age and Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) will enter the next phase of their lives and spending patterns. As a result, established food brands and traditional grocery stores will be pressured at both ends by consumers with different value equations.
PepsiCo’s archrival Coca-Cola may be sinking $5 billion into India, but it is finding a different way of reaching the international market: the Super Bowl.
People may be using their smartphones as a shopping tool in the stores, but that doesn’t mean they’re buying less from the retailers. In fact, the influence these mobile devices will have on annual in-store sales is expected to increase more than three-fold over the next four years.
Google "Nordstrom tire legend" and you get over 800,000 hits describing a legendary example of great customer service. Zappos has established legends of its own through bend-over-backwards customer service. Apple has topped the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) for years, perceived as the best company in terms of customer satisfaction. Of course, there are other companies with great customer service, but no one should confuse great customer service with being customer-centric.
Arguing against immigration policies that force foreign-born innovators to leave the United States, a new study to be released on Tuesday shows that immigrants played a role in more than three out of four patents at the nation’s top research universities.
It’s been two months since Jeff Jones stepped into his role as executive VP and CMO at Target Corp. In that time, he’s adjusted to his move from the agency world, as president of McKinney, back to the client side. Jones, only the third CMO in Target’s 50-year history, met me in a busy Brooklyn Target store this morning to talk for the first time since his appointment–his “dream job,” he said–about the challenges Target faces, the experience he brings and what makes him an ideal candidate for the role, and how he plans to lead marketing for the discount retailer at a time when that task has never been more daunting.
Starbucks has announced plans to open its first tea-only shop by the fall. The concept store, named Tazo after the tea brand they bought in 1999, will be located in Seattle. This follows the company’s first juice bar, ‘Evolution Fresh,’ which opened in the city in March.
As Wall Street embraces the inevitable tide of social media, fiduciary responsibility is taking on new parameters. In a different kind of security risk as Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is stepping up its social media reach, granting its 17,000 financial advisers partial access to Twitter and LinkedIn over the next several months. The move expands a year-long experiment with 600 employees to test whether social media would be a helpful tool for its employees.
Social agency 1000heads have set up a social machine in the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai that gives gifts in exchange for Foursquare check-ins and NFC interactions. Prizes include candies, Nokia devices, movie tickets and other goodies that drop out the bottom of the machine when a user shares their check-in.
When a brand becomes a bully, it loses something vital. So much money, so many egos and so many governments are involved in the Olympics now (and they have so little competition) that it has become a sterling example of what happens when you let greed and lawyers run amok over common sense and generosity.
On a sweltering Wednesday night in New York, three unlikely things merged: electronica god Steve Aoki, Duran Duran and Trident Gum. As part of its first global campaign, "See What Unfolds," the gum brand is planning a series of events around the world, seeking to engage with fans over "the serious business of fun."
It was just reported that Barnes & Noble fell short of market expectations, reporting a fourth-quarter loss of $57.7 million this week. Giving Barnes & Noble a much-needed lift for its growing but expensive digital business, Microsoft announced that it would invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division, valuing the unit at $1.7 billion. But, while a nice infusion of cash never hurts, it will only go so far, unless it’s directed toward creating consumer engagement with the brand.
A mobile-display ad from none other than one of world's biggest mobile-ad sellers, Google, won the first Mobile Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions ad festival today. In what's essentially business-to-business marketing, Google's winning campaign "Hilltop Reimagined for Coca-Cola" was designed to show adland that online and mobile display advertising aren't as low-rent or constraining as is often thought.
We’ve many innovative ways to award customers with discounts based on performance, from rewarding social influence to charity work. Now the Bull and Bear Steakhouse at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York is cutting back the prices of its cocktails in line with stock market drops.
The Sunday New York Times reported one more brick removed from traditional media’s wall, as the Huff Post introduced an online weekly, available for the tablet via the Apple Store. As the article’s writer, David Carr, points out, a few years ago this wouldn’t have even been called a magazine. Ah, but how that has changed, with Arianna Huffington a powerful general leading the charge into the digital future.
That headline is a big promise. But here it is: The economic history of the world going back to Year 1 showing the major powers' share of world GDP, from a research letter written by Michael Cembalest, an analyst at JP Morgan.
Microsoft Corp. unveiled its own Windows-powered tablet computer called Surface, altering its strategy of focusing on software and relying on partners to make the machines in a renewed attempt to take on Apple iPad.
In the sea of horror and despair that is the American shopping mall, the Apple Store is often a singular source of refuge. Check your email -- for as long as you want! Play a game of Angry Birds -- on the iPad of your choice! Ask a bearded blue-shirt named Jon anything at all about about the new MacBook Pro -- he'd be totally happy to talk about whatever! Beneath all the chillness and chirpiness, though, there's one more bit of precision required to make the Apple Store so Apple-y.
"We don't have any interest in being the biggest," said the senior VP-marketing and product management at Caribou. "We don't want to be in every aisle of the grocery chains in America. We'd rather be great at what we do." But Caribou, despite an acceptance of its stature as a smaller chain, hasn't sat idly by.
“Myanmar is one of only three countries on the globe where Coca-Cola does not do business. The other two are Cuba and North Korea,” Coca-Cola stated this week. That's about to change. The global beverage giant has not done business in Myanmar, a.k.a., Burma, for more than 60 years, but The Coca-Cola Foundation just announced plans to grant $3 million to support women's economic empowerment job creation.
Eager to define itself as a major entertainment player, YouTube is exploring charging subscriptions for cable content as it has already pledged $100 million to create a slew of premium channels.
Android users are correct to complain that the iPhone often gets new features that are old for Android, but as loud as they may shout, they're the only ones listening. Apple truly flexes its muscles at the power of its brand.
The shaving brand, Gillette, (Procter & Gamble) has been running a television commercial which shows actor Brandon Quinn in far-flung locations, and claims one ProGlide cartridge blade lasted him 5 weeks on the road. It is impossible to put a reliable number on how long a shaving blade lasts, not least because all the variables are personal: including skin type, hair type, tolerance for drag, etc. But the news is that the huge and successful marketing machine behind the Gillette brand has seen *now* as the moment to come forward with a blade longevity number.
Why are investors engaged in a “dash for cash” (or a flight into any havens that they can find)? It is not hard to think of reasons: doubts are rising about the future of the eurozone, the underlying developed world economic data are grim – and in the US there is concern about the prospect of a “fiscal cliff”, or new debt debacle. Ever since the computing revolution took hold on Wall Street and the City of London in the 1970s, finance has been treated not as an art but a science – and banks have operated as if computer models could not just explain the past but predict the future, too.
Carat USA President Doug Ray explains how to use content marketing in a media plan -- and why it's a bad idea to leave content out.
When Apple executive alumn Ron Johnson took the helm of J.C. Penney one of his goals was to wean customers off of the concept of “sale” and “coupon”. In their place he wanted to introduce a new pricing and merchandising strategy that was all about low prices all the time. It failed miserably as J.C. Penney’s recent earnings show and now word is that Johnson is bringing “sale” back into its advertising. Johnson miscalculated, gravely, about the love affair Americans have with coupons and discounts.
Southwest Airlines just recorded its 39th consecutive year of profitability—in a business sector where profits can be excruciatingly tough to come by. How does Southwest do it? In part, by keeping operations simple. Simpler operations mean fewer things that can go awry and botch up the whole process.
One of the three founders of Victors & Spoils, which touts itself as the first agency built on crowdsourcing principles, is preparing to exit the firm. Claudia Batten, whose most recent title at the shop is exec VP-new business, is leaving the Boulder-based company after its sale of a majority stake to Paris-based holding company Havas. Her next move is expected to be a startup.
There will be plenty of bits spilled over the next few days about whether Apple is going extinct, whether Jobs’ touch was integral to the Apple experience, and whether this was “The.Worst.Keynote.Ever.” I posit, however, that Apple still has a few good years left and this keynote – a precise and well-orchestrated experience dedicated mostly to software – is proof that the Apple vision runs far deeper than the efforts of a figurehead CEO.
It’s a fact of life in the taxi business that cabs must often return back to base empty after dropping off a customer — particularly when that drop-off was at an airport. That return drive is essentially a wasted trip, but UK-based TaxiBack aims to change that. Specifically, the startup offers a service which connects passengers with cabs that would otherwise be returning empty and enables them to reserve rides at reduced rates.
PepsiCo has tapped Mauro Porcini, 3M's longtime design guru, as its first chief design officer. Mr. Porcini will be charged with creating a culture of design at PepsiCo as well as globally managing design for a variety of key food and beverage brands. His reach will extend from package design to advertising, industrial design and digital experiences.
Twitter made its most aggressive grab for TV marketing dollars, with the release of a TV ad during the Pocono 400 and the launch of the corresponding Twitter.com/#NASCAR hashtag page. See Twitter, like AOL before it, wants to be the destination for users who wish to engage with a certain brand. It wants to own the URL that runs at the end of an ad. Actually, scratch that — it wants to own the hashtag that appears during the ad or TV show, to become synonymous with where the conversation happens.
Canadian franchise Tim Horton is pairing fresh coffee with fresh news in the UAE. Recognizing the parallels between news and coffee, Y&R Dubai adapted Tim Hortons’ coffee cup sleeves turning them into an advertising medium for Gulf News.
Three companies have warned users in the last 24 hours that their customers' passwords appear to be floating around on the Internet, including on a Russian forum where hackers boasted about cracking them. I suspect more companies will follow suit. Curious about what this all means to you?
Behold, the Twitter rebranding. Starting today, there will be no more logo text or the lowercase 't' that users have gotten to know so well. Instead, the social network announced a slight rebrand via blog post, declaring the iconic, ascending bird as the "universally recognizable symbol of Twitter."
These news items recently caught our attention: P&G shifting money from marketing to social media. And GM walking away from advertising on Facebook. Question: Are these events contradictory or complementary?
Pepsi’s celebrity-infused “Live for Now” global ad campaign, which launched May 7, will get digital boost this summer from media conglomerate Viacom. Viacom’s Twitter accounts for MTV, VH1, CMT and Comedy Central will aid in the campaign’s mission of “inviting and inspiring” people to live in the moment — and sharing those moments on social networks with relevant hashtags.
Which new media platform has rocketed to hundreds of millions of unique visitors, provides both utility and entertainment for the masses, and has become the destination of choice for its generation? If this were 1999, Yahoo! would be your answer. Today, that torch has been handed to Facebook. And with good reason, since they have embedded their ubiquitous social network of nearly 1 billion members into a large part of people’s lives and the digital ecosystem. But Yahoo!’s challenges tell a cautionary tale for Facebook.
As the cable landscape has changed dramatically, so too have networks' branding challenges. When there were just a handful of cable networks, it was easy to sort your news from your reality channels. But as choices proliferate and programming blurs, networks are increasingly introducing revamped slogans and logos to set them apart.
Apple Inc. occupies an enviable position in the tech world. But it also faces unique challenges—including charting its course after the death of the visionary Steve Jobs. The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher spoke with Apple's new chief executive officer, Tim Cook, about the future of the company's signature product lines, and what he plans to change.
72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion video views, which is 140 views for every person on the planet. Among all the hours of uploads and billions of views, nonprofits, educators, and activists have a strong presence on YouTube. “Nonprofits and activism” and “Education” are among the fastest growing categories on YouTube.
Travel is an experience people like to discuss with their friends as they share the details of where they’re going and how they’ll get there. Hertz knew customers’ social activity and conversations were impacting purchase decisions but the company didn’t know how much until now.
When I was a kid and we got to the end of the ketchup or mustard after smacking the container with my palm and shaking it side-to-side I’d ask for a new bottle. But before a new one could be opened my mother would always require that I scraped out what was stuck inside the bottle with a knife or spoon. Her rationale for this was that leaving anything in the bottle was wasteful … and she’d invariably add “That’s how Mr. Heinz got rich.” My mother would have appreciated a new product called “LiquiGlide.”
Ah! The great P word. Scott McNealy famously declared "you have zero privacy anyway -- get over it". Eric Schmidt told us that anyone concerned about online privacy "had something to hide". But privacy isn't dying. It's being reinvented.
It was Giorgio Armani's obsession with health that led to his brush with death. For 10 days in May 2009, Armani, one of the most influential fashion designers and entrepreneurs of our time, lay in a hospital bed with what he describes as "a very serious" case of hepatitis. The cause of his illness wasn't the stress that comes from juggling a global empire of clothes, accessories, furniture, cosmetics and real estate. It was the supplements. Even though Giorgio Armani single-handedly built a billion-dollar brand his own way, where does his empire go from here?
Google+ rolled out on Wednesday a new ‘Local’ tool that allows users to share and find information about nearby places — from museums and spas to restaurants and hotels. In addition to tapping a user’s network or “Circles,” the new service also incorporates information from Zagat, which Google bought last year.
Most leaders are unbalanced. They are relatively stronger in some areas than others. The secret to making them more productive is to let them play to their strengths, while at the same time bringing in someone to work with them that has complementary strengths.
Technology has simplified communications for most businesses, but the increased use of conference calls, video conferencing, and instant messaging has created a new list of off-putting behaviors that could land your business in an awkward situation. Here is a list of some pet peeves and how to avoid them.
As tourists start returning to the Gulf of Mexico two years after the disaster that marred its name, BP would like to rebuild its image as an oil company that actually gives a hoot about the environment.
The iPhone maker rejects a donation-focused third-party payment system, saying it violates the App Store's terms and conditions. But does it actually have more to do with competition?
In one sense, perhaps the most important sense, a brand is a promise. Think of some top brands and you immediately know what they promise: McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Budweiser, Ford, Apple, MetLife. It takes a lot of time, money and very hard work to build and maintain great brands like that, brands that can speak volumes in just a few syllables.
Back in April you may have tweeted how much you hate doing taxes. Sometime later you may have been browsing the Web and noticed ads for TurboTax popping up. That probably wasn't an accident.
The Lipitor For You “Recipes 2 Go” app is aimed at helping consumers manage their heart health on the go. The launch marks the first time that Pfizer has released a consumer mobile app for a prescription product in the U.S.
Every company is struggling to nail down their core target group. If only they could define it, life--or at least business--would be a whole lot easier. They could then channel resources and focus energy in the right direction.
Target was already announced as a shopkick partner, but until now, it was limited to testing integration in seven cities. Now, thanks to what the company says were “rave reviews,” it’s expanding its shopkick integration to all of its 1,764 stores in the United States, making it the largest shopkick retailer.
With more companies preferring an open space layout, this has led to rising complaints of office noise and the lack of privacy for informal chats. Software company Autodesk has come up with a solution that tackles the issues.
Tablets are on track to fundamentally change the computing landscape. The handheld devices of various shapes and sizes will be in the hands of 34 percent of the U.S. population by 2016, predicts James McQuivey, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
I don’t blame you if your first reaction after reading the headline is to say, “Only 2?” There are probably dozens of significant leadership lessons to be drawn from the JPMorgan Chase debacle. But it’s unlikely I will live long enough to write such a comprehensive piece – so we’ll go for the Big 2.
The Huffington Post is expanding the way it works with brands in an effort to cash in on the popular brand-as-publisher trend.
If you find yourself with Siri envy but don't want to pony up the $600 for a phone, you may be able to get that same level of convenience and computerized companionship in your car. Nuance's Dragon Drive enables automotive manufacturers to offer natural language voice commands for vehicle telematics, which will enhance usability and could reduce distracted driving.
J.C. Penney's "Fair and Square Everyday Low Pricing Strategy" is not as successful as new CEO Ron Johnson expected. During its first quarter under the new pricing strategy, same store sales dropped by 18.9%, store visits decreased by 10%, and the average spend was down by 5%. As a result, the retailer lost $163 million (compared to earning $64 million in the first quarter of 2011) and suspended its quarterly dividend. J.C. Penny's stock, which bounced above $43 per share after CEO Ron Johnson enthusiastically announced the new pricing strategy in January, now trades below $30.
McDonald’s UK has launched a new social media-integrated content portal that offers a different approach to sharing and listening to its consumers called 'What Makes McDonald's?'
House Beautiful is letting users post photos from its print edition directly to Pinterest using smartphone apps, the latest effort by a magazine to make print more interactive.
It’s become practically mandatory that brands incorporate social media into their business strategy, causing retailers to compete for popularity in stores and on the Internet, too. Campalyst has provided this infographic, which covers the largest Internet retailers in the U.S., and their presence on the five key social networks: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest.
Patagonia has long been a sustainability leader, and pokes its competitors in the eye with programs, from asking consumers to buy less to working with fisheries to the preservation of salmon populations while rolling out new snacks. Now the outdoor clothing and gear company is pushing supply chain transparency to a new level.
We sat down with Julia Fitzgerald, Chief Digital Officer, Fitness, Sporting Goods & Toys at Sears Holdings and Gilad de Vries from best of breed content discovery platform, Outbrain.
For some companies, one Page might not be enough. For example, if a restaurant chain prides itself on local ingredients or a business seeks to cultivate a strong community around each brick-and-mortar outlet, it might make sense to have a Brand Page for each location. But then again, does a brand really want to divvy up its audience and dilute it among several similar pages?
The longest-term impact of the $2 billion dollar loss will not be on the bank itself, and maybe not even on future regulation, but on the overall perceptions of a society as it clings to the hope that someone somewhere is doing the right thing and always will
Publishers are bleeding themselves dry, giving up the very customer data that hold the promise of their continued relevance in the digital age. They struggle to monetize online users, as the dimes from digital will never replace the analog dollars they no longer receive from print. They see social sharing as a way to drive page views on their traffic-starved websites. But many of these social-sharing tools are data vampires.
According to a new report from Nielsen, mobile consumers are downloading more apps than ever before, with the average number of apps owned by a smartphone user now at 41 — a rise of 28 percent on the 32 apps owned on average last year.
If customers suspect you’re using their data in less-than-desirable ways, they may lash out and possibly stop using your product. What’s a data-driven business owner to do?
Online, men are shopping more and at rates higher than before, according to an iProspect study of men with a household income of $100,000 plus.
As the marketplace undergoes a rapid transformation, it’s forcing leading brands to rethink everything—from where and how they compete to what capabilities they will need to thrive in this new world order. The fast-changing world of consumer products is at the confluence of a number of significant trends.
The strategy address recently delivered by the corporation's new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, earned press coverage that verged on mocking, with The Wall Street Journal noting that the brand's "once-sterling cachet has deteriorated," and The New York Times going further, placing Sony in "a fight for its life," and accusing it of "an astonishing lack of ideas." Both observations are correct, but they only hint at the underlying question: why is the strategy that once served Sony so well now failing so badly?
Design has finally become democratized, and we marketers find ourselves with new standards to meet in this new “era of design.” To illustrate, Apple, the epitome of a design-led organization, now has a market capitalization of $570 billion, larger than the GDP of Switzerland. Its revenue is double Microsoft’s, a similar type of technology organization but one not truly led by design.
All kinds of media companies are trying to crack the social TV code -- and those that produce live sports are no exception. The traditional TV platform will persist at least as well in sports as in any other genre, Mr. Bowman suggested. "People will always watch sports on the largest screen they can find," he said. The second screen is just complementing viewers' traditional experience.
Social media is important. CMOs get it. There are plenty of articles that detail how important social media is and many others talking about how unprepared CMOs are to handle it. However, few articles focus on the gap – the space between knowing social media is important and being able to successfully leverage it.
Roger McNamee, the managing director and co-founder of venture capital firm Elevation Partners, has a theory about how Apple became the biggest U.S. technology growth story of all time: “The thing that made Apple successful was betting against the web,” he said.
Innovation is the name of the game in many industries, certainly in all of those that we recruit for. Innovation fosters new products, new categories and new consumerism -- which leads to what we are all in business for: to make money.
Users’ ability to access data immediately through apps and web browsers and through contact with their social networks is creating a new culture of real-time information seekers and problem solvers. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has documented some of the ways that people perform just-in-time services with their cell phones.
As far as phone sensors go, the GPS sensor appears to be one of the most coveted by developers, after the camera. For a consumer, the trade is quite simple: offer your location at a specific point in time, or your patterns, and in exchange for that information, an application will offer you something — a deal, a coupon, or information about who and/or what is around you.
We sat with Shapiro and asked him why he feels television isn’t dead and to explain how marketers can attain the most value from this evolving medium.
The future of media on mobile devices isn't with applications but with the Web. For publishers whose businesses evolved during the long day of print newspapers and magazines, the expansion of the Internet was tremendously disorienting. The Internet taught readers they might read stories whenever they liked without charge, and it offered companies more efficient ways to advertise. Both parties spent less.
'The Guardian' huffed and puffed and made one of the year's best ads. Did it sell papers? Newspapers aren't known for their compelling self-promotion. Yet in the grip of their existential crisis, that's what they need—a riveting argument for their own value, evolution and place in the cultural conversation. In late February, London ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty delivered just that for The Guardian.
Popular game Draw Something is now rolling out a new type of ad model–instead of seeing traditional banner ads, users will be actually drawing the ads, as the new model integrates ads into the game in the form of branded word choices.
Sometimes, user interfaces come together at the last minute. And not very well. In devices that should be up to date in the interface department you see multiple personalities fighting. It's like being a fly on the wall of the meeting where the designers and engineers all just said, when they had to finalize the design of a product, "Oh, screw it. Let's go get lunch."
Most of the luster of the company is gone and recent reports worry me and I wonder if the company can reverse its course and will survive. Essentially I ask myself if Sears is a dynamic merchandising company or an albatross in the making.
When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion last month, it raised a lot of questions about which buzzed-about start-ups might be on track for similar success. The start-up scene is flooded with apps and services that are attracting users and backing from investors. But it can be hard to work out which companies are worthy of the kind of attention Instagram was receiving when Facebook came calling.
Today’s marketers are under-utilizing the large amounts of personal data their customers are sharing publicly every day, according to Adobe’s senior manager of social-media products, Chad Warren. By looking at their customers’ activity not just on social networks but all over the web, brands can potentially engage with them in ways that are much more meaningful.
According to Pied Piper's yearly Prospect Satisfaction Index for the U.S. motorcycle business, Harley-Davidson is number one at retail. In the study, conducted between July 2011 and April 2012 using 1,653 hired “mystery shoppers,” BMW and Ducati finished in a tie for second, followed by Triumph and the Victory and Indian brands from Polaris Industries, in a three-way tie for fourth.
A fascinating trend is consuming Silicon Valley and beginning to eat away at rest of the world: the radical simplification of everything. Want to spot the next great technology or business opportunity? Just look for any market that lacks a minimally complex solution to a sufficiently large problem.
What do you get when you combine a photo-sharing mobile platform like Instagram with more geo-location awareness and a Reddit-style voting system for stories breaking all over the world? Answer: Signal, the app citizen journalism may well have been been waiting for.
A couple of years ago, Yvon Chouinard—founder of the outdoor-clothing brand Patagonia—gave a talk at a sustainable-fisheries conference in Vancouver. He'd been invited to speak in recognition of Patagonia's longtime commitment to environmental issues and its reputation as a company that manages to churn out profit while minimizing ecological impact. Chouinard delivered his spiel, but he came away frustrated by the surprising ignorance of his audience.
Beth Comstock is the chief marketing officer at General Electric-–a company that no one would accuse of having a free-wheeling or laissez-faire culture. Yet Comstock, along with GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt and fellow senior executives, have embraced the fact that the challenges they face—in areas from healthcare to energy to transportation—are too ‘wicked’ to be solved by GE alone.
In adjusting its style guide to use calendar days instead of “yesterday,” “today,” or “tomorrow,” the Globe is trying to adapt to the pace of online news.
What no one seems to do is go back and ask: Why did Kodak make the poor strategic decisions they made? In 1993 they brought in from the outside a technology expert to be CEO. George Fisher was believed to be almost as good as Jack Welch or Lou Gerstner. Great CEO, people buried in the hierarchy who had all sorts of good ideas, and still poor strategic decisions. Why?
While Google keeps cramming its search results pages full of tools and social content, today Bing confirmed with me the full roll out a redesigned search results page that completely clears the left sidebar, and replaces the tabbed header with a cleaner set of links.
Yahoo says that it has helped millions of businesses get online and grow their presence on the web. Today, the company is debuting a new marketing dashboard to give users additional insight into online reputation, web metrics and more.
Dolby Laboratories, Inc and CIM announced a 20-year agreement to name the Dolby Theatre™ — the iconic theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center® and home of the Academy Awards since 2002– a showcase of technology innovation.
We like to think of habits as traits that can't be changed, but it turns out that habits are malleable and knowing how to change them has profound implications, not just at the personal level, but also for companies and governments.
There’s a new search program at Google, but one without a magic algorithm. This program lets you search inside yourself so you can find, well, yourself. Cleverly titled “Search Inside Yourself,” it’s a free course Google provides employees that is designed to teach emotional intelligence through meditation, a practical real-world meditation you take with you wherever you go.
Take a look at the first-class section on any airplane today; it’s full of corporate leaders lugging around Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, searching for insights they can use to make their companies as successful as Apple.
Hulu could soon start requiring its users to prove that they also have a cable or satellite subscription. This would obviously turn Hulu’s current business model on its head. It’s not clear how many of the service’s 31 million users currently don’t subscribe to cable TV, but chances are that the service’s audience would shrink after this move.
Already, data shows that more than one third of American teens own an iPhone and the one-tablet-per-child initiative is a mainstay in South Korean and Thai schools. It’s easy to see what life will look like for the next generation of consumers, but will marketers be prepared? That will largely depend on whether they’ve considered these five post-mobile trends.
Google, Apple and Amazon are vying to become literature's new gatekeepers. But good publishing is about more than market share.
From Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal’s former CEO. In talking about digital video, he said: “Our challenge with all these ventures is to effectively monetize them so that we do not end up trading analog dollars for digital pennies.”
NPR is taking another stab at creating new programming, but the approach looks quite different. What’s different this time? The network seems to be taking a page from agile software development, the philosophy that products should be released early and iterated often.
Stanford University might have been the cradle for a hundred Silicon Valley startups and the hothouse for some of its greatest technical innovations, but the Singularity University is an institution that has been made in the valley's own image: highly networked, fuelled by a cocktail of philanthro-capitalism and endowed with an almost mystical sense of its own destiny.
If you have a Facebook page, you likely know how important it is to get likes and comments. Without those, your EdgeRank suffers, and your posts are seen by fewer fans in the future. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind as you determine how best to engage your Facebook customers.
The publishing industry has a problem. The old guard haven't innovated. And neither their business models nor their products embrace the digital books revolution.
With an estimated $2.1 trillion in spending power, moms influence 85% of all purchase decisions and buy nearly everything for everybody. What’s more, we now know that moms are even better shoppers than might be perceived in the marketplace due in large part to neurological research that didn’t exist until recently.
Having a helpful and knowledgeable sales staff and making the shopping process easy are key drivers of customer satisfaction, according to the study, which measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retail stores based on performance in five factors.
At one time or another all great leaders experience something so big and so impactful it literally changes the landscape – it’s what I call a “Game Changer.” A game changer is that ah-ha moment where you see something others don’t. It’s the transformational magic that takes organizations from a slow idle to redline.
On the heels of acquiring sales data analytics company Varicent last week, Big Blue is making another buy in the data space today— Vivisimo. Vivisimo provides enterprises with search software that helps organizations access and analyze big data across the enterprise.
Innovative digital journalism played a starring role in the wake of a massive document release during an inquiry into British media ethics. Three major news organizations sifted through the information and collaboratively covered the investigation stemming from British journalism’s biggest scandal in recent memory.
Amidst falling sales, a revolving door of chief executives, countless attempts to be cool with “The King,” and even a fresh rift with pop diva, Mary J. Blige, we’re told in the latest Burger King ad campaign that “Exciting things are happening at Burger King.” Oh really?
You'll see Flyknit on the feet of olympic marathoners this year. This limited-edition collection shows the real-world application of Nike's newfangled technology. The limited-edition HTM is intended for the rest of us: plain old sneaker geeks.
The New York Times company's latest quarterly numbers contain a rich trove of data regarding the health of the digital news industry. Today, we'll focus on the transition from traditional advertising to paywall strategies being implemented across the world. Paywalls appear as a credible way to offset – alas too partially – the declining revenue from print operations.
Recently, PSFK launched our inaugural print magazine: the first offline publication that we hope to release every quarter. Some reasoning why a new media entity like PSFK.com decided to trial the analog.
What does a brand do when most of its competitors are recasting or overhauling themselves in a highly competitive industry? If you're McDonald's, well, you keep doing what you've been doing. Because everyone else is — still — trying to catch you.
Intense competition drives the U.S. wireless industry. When one looks at major market indicators, competition is the reason why we lead the world in efficiency and value for consumers. These indicators include capital expenditures and network investments; infrastructure deployments; subscriber levels; subscriber growth; continued evolution of operating system choices; and application development.
Consumers today can no longer rely on a few trusted editorial sources to filter the noise and deliver the most important news and information. Instead, consumers must make sense of the vast amount of information that reaches them daily and constantly make decisions about what to take seriously and what to ignore. Increasingly, they are turning to Social Curation
Avon remains slow to catch up to the Internet, a platform that is increasingly important for hooking new consumers on brands. The New York-based beauty company has dabbled with iPhone and Android apps for smaller brands like Mark and has developed e-catalogs, but sales representatives say it isn't doing enough to help them win customers through new tools like social media, smartphones and tablets.
It can be a bit comical when tech companies inch their way into media. They usually do so after decrying ad models and living off venture capital. But everyone grows up, even tech platforms. Tumblr is the latest tech service to travel this road, announcing that it would allow advertisers to buy a “Radar” placement on the dashboard where Tumblr users aggregate their feeds.
Two-thirds of advertising spending is brand advertising, but online only one quarter is. In fact, if brand advertising dollars moved online in the same proportion that sales advertising has, it would almost exactly close the famous gap between time spent online and ad dollars spent online.
UK-based Black+Blum’s Eau Good water bottle embraces the centuries-old use of active charcoal to make every day tap water taste better.
Every day, more and more brands are creating compelling, original content, and the medium of choice for these initiatives is Web video. The latest example is Ford Motor Company’s collaboration with eco-focused media company SHFT.com, “The Big SHFT: 10 Innovators Changing Our World”, a documentary series profiling industry professionals who are trying to transform their industries with eco-friendly sustainability solutions.
After releasing two generations of iPhones with exactly the same form factor, Apple is expected to show off a new chassis design — and possibly new materials — in its sixth-generation smartphone. And a little-known alloy that Apple has quietly been using for the past two years could be just the ticket to make consumers swoon.
Best Buy should use Dunn’s departure as an opportunity to rethink how it sells gadgets. In particular, it’s time to abandon the idea of endless selection. If Best Buy wants to survive, it’s got to replace its hulking, teeming stores with smaller, less crowded, more intimate spaces.
Just a few months after the Nest’s introduction, it’s clear that Fadell and his new company also took another Apple lesson to heart: the constant need for tiny tweaks that are laser focused on making the user’s life easier. And also: the need to introduce big changes to the consumer slowly, over time. By looking at how Nest’s second-generation thermostat has evolved, we can see those two crucial ideals at work.
Call it a strategic inflection point for these companies, a common trend in the Valley, where scrappy startups are always a threat to stagnant corporations--not so much because of some new piece of technology but because of the disruptive idea behind it.
IBM has partnered with Honda and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to develop a pilot project that will allow electric vehicles to communicate with the power grid, receiving and responding to charge instructions based on the grid and the vehicle’s battery level.
Bringing Ms. Minaj on board to pinch-hit for Pepsi is clearly a strategic move, and a reaction to the drop that Pepsi took this year in the marketplace. The results of 2012’s Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Index reveal that both Pepsi and Diet Pepsi fell flat this year, trailing Coke and Diet Coke for the first time in years. Loyalty is, alas, not a forever thing if you don’t know how best to engage your audience.
It’s a new era where consumers will punish a company for taking a wrong stand, but also for taking no stands at all. In these volatile times, brands actually should become more willing to take a stand.
Sony, which once defined Japan’s technological prowess, wowed the world with the Walkman and the Trinitron TV and shocked Hollywood with bold acquisitions like Columbia Pictures, is now in the fight of its life.
Amazing design is not enough. It is like fashion. Everybody is excited about it at the beginning, but then people are getting used to it and eventually it wears out. After it does, the user is left with the essence of the user experience.
Why do human beings collaborate? Ever since Darwin, biologists have been vexed by the question, because in evolutionary terms, self-less behavior makes no sense. We would expect altruists who act contrary to their own interest to be systematically eliminated from the species.
With the recent software available to allow easy creation of interactive books and with the race to bring these products to market, there seems to be a more and more dilution of quality and a loss for the meaning of interactivity. When publishers create new eBook titles or convert a traditional printed book to a digital interactive eBook, they often miss the added value this new medium can provide.
Susan Fournier looks back on the rocky journey behind her seminal study, and discusses how far the literature on consumer behavior has come and why she despises society's eagerness to equate materialism with consumerism.
Two out of every three adults who are online use social media. That’s amazing. It truly is. Wonder how many are still out there who still think social media is just a fad?
Paul Matsen can only shake his head when he reads yet another study about marketers failing to measure the impact of their work, especially in today’s bottom-line-driven environment. As chief marketing officer at Cleveland Clinic, a highly rated non-profit academic medical center, Matsen says measurement is as critical to marketing success as understanding consumer insights, developing strategy, and evaluating creative.
Adidas will embed its miCoach data tracker in uniforms worn by players competing in the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 25. The “professional soccer team tracking system” riffs on the miCoach Speed Cell introduced last year, and Adidas says it will provide coaches with real-time data about player position and performance.
One of the first clues to Tumblr's future as a business came in February with the launch of "highlighted posts," which allow Tumblr users to pay $1 to gain more visibility for their work. In 2010, Tumblr CEO David Karp told the Los Angeles Times that the thought of ads "turns our stomachs." But can it be a business without them?
A South Korean Dunkin’ Donuts campaign is reinventing the traditional radio advertisement using unique technology and the smell of coffee. The campaign, named, Flavor Radio releases coffee aroma via sound recognition technology.
California-based company Stacked Wines offers a change from the traditional wine bottle, with four individually-sealed containers stacked on top of each other. Consumers are free from the hassle of a bottle, corkscrew or stemware, and they could be sold at venues that don’t permit glass.
While so many eyes have been on magazine and newspaper media and their desperate embrace of mobile technology, one of the most interesting sectors of old media on new platforms is the comics. Long before Apple instituted its newsstand, for instance, DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse and others like powerhouse distributor Comixology were demonstrating how mobile or tablet apps could make superb periodical merchandising machine and reader/library.
There's a lot of speculation today about why Facebook would spend $1 billion to acquire the uber-hip photo-sharing app Instagram. To some, it seems obvious; to others, it's the biggest sign yet of a growing Web bubble. To me, it just raises question after question, and the biggest one is "why." What does Facebook gain from buying Instagram?
In an era when entire companies and long-time brands are disappearing, why do Americans trust certain brands and not others? What is trust?
New research from analytics firm Nielsen confirms what most have suspected about the symbiotic relationship between tablets and television, and offers some hope for a growing crop of startups looking to capitalize on the second screen experience.
There are legitimate reasons why naming companies is a bit more challenging than it used to be. Marketers must contend with instant backlash from critics on social media and the global reality that one phrase in English might take on a completely different meaning overseas (see Kraft). And they must ensure the moniker is not already trademarked.
For my daughter, and my assistant, and other people I know in their 20s and 30s, using social media is part of their native language. They built websites in college (or even high school); they explore and evolve their use of facebook and/or twitter and/or Pinterest and/or iGoogle as easily as they change clothes.
The summer batch of Hacker School will be 40 students, and our goal is to have them accept at least 20 women, with Hacker School retaining full control over the admissions process. In other words, 20 times the number of women in the current batch. What will it take to get there?
Math nerds and historians, it’s time to get excited. Minds of Modern Mathematics, a new iPad app released Thursday by IBM, presents an interactive timeline of the history of mathematics and its impact on society from 1000 to 1960. The app is based on an original, 50-foot-long “Men of Modern Mathematics” installation created in 1964 by Charles and Ray Eames. Minds of Modern Mathematics users can view a digitized version of the original infographic as well as browse through an interactive timeline with more than 500 biographies, math milestones and images of relevant artifacts.
Hidden Valley Foods has improved its ranch dressing to be thicker and creamier in hopes to appeal to younger consumers. The company is labeling the dressing as ‘The New Ketchup’ and is calling it the ‘Hidden Valley for Everything’ that be used as a topping or a dip.
In an age when anyone can share, download and create not just digital files but also physical things, thanks to the proliferation of cheap 3-D printers, are companies at risk of losing control of the objects they sell? In March Levin and his former student Shawn Sims released a set of digital blueprints that a 3-D printer can use to create more than 45 plastic objects, each of which provides the missing interface between pieces from toy construction sets. They call it the Free Universal Construction Kit.
Integrating design into your company involves more than just hiring superstar designers. It takes a long-term commitment and developing a culture that brings everyone up to speed.
Coca-Cola is looking at restructuring and expanding its in-house content creation team as it experiments with longform branded content. The soft drink giant’s VP of global advertising strategy and creative excellence Jonathan Mildenhall told C21 recent campaigns around the Olympics and Coke Zero, which both included longform video, had prompted him to look at how it manages this type of content from its Atlanta headquarters.
There's two weeks left until Ad Age Digital 2012, where six promising startups will fast-pitch Anheuser Busch-InBev execs for the chance to work on one of two iconic brands: Budweiser and Bud Light.
Siri is about to get one-upped by Google. The company on Wednesday unveiled a long-rumored concept called "Project Glass," which takes all the functionality of a smartphone and places it into a wearable device that resembles eyeglasses. The see-through lens could display everything from text messages to maps to reminders.
Following a sales increase of 26 percent in 2011, and 20 percent in 2010, this is a far cry for a company that considered pulling out of the U.S. market in the early 1990’s, when sales plummeted to 40,000 vehicles. The company plans to deliver double-digit growth this year and next, CMO Tim Mahoney told me, terming it “Quality growth”, meaning it has to be profitable and sustainable. That should put VW comfortably over the 400,000 vehicles mark.
The gadgets of your smart home now come with software updates. Nest Labs today released the equivalent of version 2.0 software for its smart thermostat available for the Web, iOS or Android. The software tweaks for the $249 Learning Thermostat are designed to help people better understand how thermostat changes affect energy usage.
When PSFK asked if they were concerned about how the next generation of car-buyers are reportedly disinterested in ownership, the Rolls-Royce team spoke about how buying a car is about the owner rewarding themselves. The team described how a billionaire in India in his 20s has a check list of all the good things in life and Rolls Royce is part of it.
Nike is milking its moment in the sports world spotlight, with fans and football players alike buzzing about its new National Football League uniforms. Between the heavily-hyped unveiling ceremony in Brooklyn, the massive pop-up shop in Manhattan showcasing the new look, and the big anticipation of the draft April 26, it looks like Nike is barreling into its five-year NFL contract just fine. And outgoing Reebok’s fan jerseys are finding their way into bargain bins.
Adam Lashinsky's new book Inside Apple offers lots of intriguing material about Steve Jobs and the strategic choices, design principles, and business tactics that created the most valuable company on earth. But for all of Lashinsky's behind-the-scenes material about Apple's legendary leader, it was a public story about Apple's new leader, CEO Tim Cook, that captured my attention — and offered a powerful insight for leaders everywhere looking to create value in their organizations.
Remember Next Issue Media, the “Hulu for Digital Magazines” consortium made up of the biggest names in publishing? It has finally delivered something worth talking about: Call it Netflix for Magazines. The pitch is simple and intuitive: All the magazines you want, delivered digitally to your tablet, for a flat fee of either $10 or $15 a month.
After a couple of seconds of scanning this article, and maybe reading parts of the introduction, you may have started to ask yourself whether the information that you’re consuming at the moment is actually relevant to you—the user. Unfortunately (and as certain as death and taxes), if users cannot find the information they are looking for, chances are they will abandon their track, never to return.
Sports apparel giant Under Armour is taking its message across the pond. On Monday, the apparel company owned by billionaire Kevin Plank announced it was hiring former Adidas executive Karl-Heinz Maurath to run its international business.
How does a multi-national mega-brand, responsible for crafting a consistent image all over the globe, manage to navigate the potentially treacherous waters of hot-button cultural and political issues in the places where it does business?
Spotify and Hulu are among the companies that have taken advantage of the Facebook Timeline format to create long histories despite their relative youth. It’s an accessible form of brand content, but what happens when the novelty wears off?
It’s not uncommon for hotels to extend frequent customers the courtesy of a late check-out option, but Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide recently announced an initiative that takes that premise even further. Now available to top-tier members of the company’s loyalty program, Your24 is a new service that lets guests choose their own check-in and check-out times.
Every day it seems that we read about the launch of a new startup or technology application claiming to disrupt and reinvent the health care system. This flood of activity comes at a time when the health care industry is in dire need of entrepreneurial spirit, fresh perspectives and new skills. But to create products and services that have the potential to make a large impact, entrepreneurs and health care professionals need to work together.
The forthcoming Facebook IPO, set for May, will be one of the greatest events in recent tech memory. It’s an irrefutable indicator of how far social networking has come and where it’s going. But what does this mean for the workplace? Is enterprise social networking, the so-called Facebook-like model at work, starting to take off as well or is it still in its infancy?
The era of social media is bringing more transparency to ski resorts' daily snow reports, with skiers and riders using smartphone apps, websites, tweets and video to spread the word in real time, particularly if traditional reports are off. And the industry itself has been quick to embrace social media to get the word out
Marketers overwhelmingly recognize that leveraging massive data sets can help them improve business, but most feel they lack the tools to mine customer insights adequately, according to a study from marketing technology company DataXu Inc.
While Apple and Google are busy getting bad press for their privacy issues, labor practices and general big-evil-company wrongdoings, Microsoft has done some brand regeneration, making it look like the hippest tech company on the block these days.
The Internet isn’t really a technology. It’s a belief system, a philosophy about the effectiveness of decentralized, bottom-up innovation. And it’s a philosophy that has begun to change how we think about creativity itself.
What may be as out-of-date today is the fast-growing, feisty, focused, powerhouse’s core name. The .com part went out-of-fashion with the implosion of a bubble more than a decade ago, and as was made resoundingly clear last week, the San Francisco-based global entity is about a lot more than sales force automation. In fact, that is no longer the core focus. I spent a day at Cloudforce Expo Worldtour in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. The company updates were significant.
When an aircraft crashes, investigators are able to retrieve useful information about what went wrong from the flight data recorder, more commonly known as the black box. (The data recorder itself is actually not black, not until it’s retrieved from charred remains.) Statistically speaking, plane crashes are rare occurrences compared to car crashes, so why not install a black box for cars?
Auto makers are deeply concerned that Millennials don’t care about vehicles nearly as much as they do about the next iPhone. So the companies have become decidedly more intent on roping in these car-reluctant twenty-somethings. That’s one big reason why, for instance, Ford has decided to set up shop, literally, in Silicon Valley, and why General Motors has turned for marketing advice to MTV.
Emirates is launching a campaign aimed at evolving the airline from a travel brand to a global lifestyle brand. With the tagline “Hello Tomorrow,” the creative seeks to paint the Dubai-based airline as an “enabler of global connectivity and meaningful experiences,” according to the company.
When Best Buy Co. (BBY) said yesterday it was closing 50 big stores and opening 100 smaller ones, the world’s largest electronics retailer was adjusting to reality: The era of big-box retail dominance is coming to an end. The new mantra is small box.
Wikipedia’s Next Big Thing: Wikidata, A Machine-Readable, User-Editable Database Funded By Google, P
Wikidata, the first new project to emerge from the Wikimedia Foundation since 2006, is now beginning development. The organization, known best for its user-edited encyclopedia of knowledge Wikipedia, recently announced the new project at February’s Semantic Tech & Business Conference in Berlin, describing Wikidata as new effort to provide a database of knowledge that can be read and edited by humans and machines alike.
Best Buy is on the same track that two former train wrecks were on, CompUSA and Circuit City. Today, Best Buy reported a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of $1.7 billion and announced it is closing 50 stores. The basic pattern that CompUSA (closed brick-and-mortar stores in 2007) and Circuit City (closed stores in 2008) followed was: first select stores were closed, then more were closed, then all stores were shuttered or sold off.
You might not be willing to fork over a monthly subscription fee to read some of your favorite news sites, but would you answer a survey question? That’s what Google and a handful of well-known online publishers are aiming to find out.
What ideas are you building your company on? It’s an important question for all organizations, and some companies are responding with innovative and inspiring answers. Ideas shape our thinking, animate our endeavors, and serve as the foundation upon which we scale our institutions and companies.
Human nature: our curiosity can often be provoked when a conference is prefaced by NDAs that prevent participants from sharing the discussion externally. The net-net? That “next big thing” appears to be for brands to use ‘social’ more strategically, connecting with and engaging their customers more holistically to drive business growth.
Magazines more than doubled their paid digital circulation in the most recent reporting period, but print remains the overwhelming majority of their business, according to a new analysis by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Digital circulation soared to an estimated 3.29 million in the second half of 2012 from 1.46 million in the year-earlier period, a 125% increase, according to publishers' reports with the Audit Bureau.
When marketing is in alignment with the business, you are more likely to travel in the same direction. Alignment and accountability are the first steps every aspiring marketing organization must take to improve its performance management and measurement.
Local TV stations are using social media to extend their coverage and conversations with viewers. They're also working to create more integration with advertisers and device companies, according to panelists at the Socializing Local TV session during the 4A's Transformation Conference in L.A.
There are a couple of things that make a brand great: engendering good feelings to consumers and using those feelings to inspire them to make a purchase.
Companies are learning to turn Big Data into Big Dollars. How are they doing it? With the help of data scientists, a new generation of business leaders who understand that today, data drives revenue.
Brand mascots are rebounding as marketers redeploy old characters in new ways, create fresh ones from scratch and use digital media to spin out rich storylines not possible in the past, when critters and cartoon characters were pretty much confined to TV. While it might be too early to declare a full-fledged mascot revival, brand characters are undoubtedly regaining attention.
Brand architecture often comes down to an evaluation of tradeoffs. In my experience, there’s rarely a cost-free benefit or a no-foul cost. That’s why I have found the concept of brand value so helpful. It focuses on the net effect of an initiative -- are the benefits worth more than the costs of getting those benefits or are cost-saving initiatives doing more harm than good?
Google is marching steadily towards Larry Page’s reported goal of a “single, unified, ‘beautiful’ product, across everything.” It started last year, as redesigns came to all of Google’s big products, Search, Maps, Translate, Reader, Gmail, YouTube, etc, etc. A black navbar appeared, which Google later announced it was removing, only to then reverse course and keep it. And then, earlier this month, it announced Google Play.
Enter Red Tomato Pizza, a single wood-fired joint in Dubai, UAE, and their disruptive new model for easy ordering: The idea is nothing short of brilliant.
With its 2011 corporate revenue estimated at $54 billion and brands in practically every aisle of the grocery store, Kraft is the largest producer of branded, packaged food and beverages in America. So it’s hard to believe that before MiO, the last new category Kraft created was DiGiorno frozen pizza in 1995 and its last new beverage brand was Crystal Light, launched in 1988.
The innovation game is changing. Delivering great products is no longer sufficient for success. And as the Fire's limited memory, ho-hum processor, and and lack of camera demonstrate, great products may not even be necessary. Rather, what matters is delivering great solutions.
Noting that arthritis and MS sufferers can experience difficulties with standard designs, Xeni Collection is now offering fashionable attire that is designed to be easier to put on.
Today, Eventbrite, the online ticketing startup, got terrestrial too. It's launched the At The Door Card Reader, a credit-card swiping accessory for the iPad that enables merchants to sell tickets, merchandise, drinks, and more on-site. Until now, Eventbrite has focused on pre-sale online transactions. But since a significant number of event attendees are still purchasing tickets at the door, the company figured out a way to tap into that market--without help from Square or another solution.
Yesterday, it was official: Wendy's has usurped Burger King as America's second largest burger chain. It finished 2011 with more U.S. revenue, despite operating 1,300 fewer stores. The news, though largely expected -- The Wall Street Journal anticipated the "palace coup" back in December -- is a milestone in the history of fast food.
If your brand isn’t on Pinterest, you could be missing out on a growing stream of potential customers.
While Board of Directors, CEOs, and CFOs these days are demanding proof that marketing dollars work, a new study reveals that 57% of CMOs are simply going with their gut feeling when setting marketing budgets, without any consideration for Return On Investment analysis.
Pinterest has rolled out its first significant makeover since gaining popular attention in a move that sees it streamline the look of profile pages on the service.
Which one is best for you? We took a look at the various features for each offering to help you make the decision:
In the faltering economy, the importance of customer service has reached new highs, overtaking even price as a purchase determinant, according to a J.D. Power report.
Nike has opened the world’s first NikeFuel Station at the Boxpark in Shoreditch, London. The retail space breaks new boundaries in digital displays and design, aiming to appeal to today’s digitally-enabled athlete.
Conde Nast, the publisher of magazines such as Glamour and Wired, recently gave advertisers metrics concerning tablet editions of its January issues. It now plans to give advertisers data on each new issue about 10 weeks after it comes out.
The role of business linguist for the CMO is probably one of the more challenging aspects of the job. Translating marketing value and priority to other areas of the corporate enterprise, if done ineffectively or ignored, can lead to disaster.
It’s hard to ignore Pinterest‘s explosive growth over the past year. In a very short period of time, the social network has gone from relative obscurity to a top 100 site, with 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors. But how many referrals does Pinterest generate?
Encyclopaedia Britannica will stop publishing print editions and go digital-only — a huge step for the encyclopedia which has been in print since 1768. The sales of Britannica print editions has been on the decline since 1990, when 120,000 32-volume sets were sold.
David Carr, media reporter for The New York Times, wrote an article on Monday about a group of editors who plan to establish guidelines for ethical aggregation and blogging and another journalism duo who have created symbols they call the Curator’s Code.
PayPal is expected to launch a mobile payment dongle that would allow small businesses to process credit card transactions with a smartphone, according to a GigaOm report.
Playing a kind of “smartball” on brand teams today means insisting that digital players be leveraged against a larger strategy. In short, that a brand’s playbook is not a story of technological possibilities, but a diagram of brand profitability.
The most recent commercial for the BMW i3 and i8 concept cars is a great example of something enlightened marketers have known for years: emotion is the key driver behind purchasing decisions. Yet, today, most businesspeople still follow the old adage, “Emotions and business don’t mix,” relying on rational data to drive decisions instead.
Today at SXSW, Marvel announced a partnership with Autonomy’s Aurasma platform to lets users watch video trailers of books they see in stores, as well as 3D animation, recaps, and other augmented reality extras by holding their phones up to comics.
LinkedIn and the Council of Economic Advisors mapped the fastest-growing and fastest-shrinking industries since 2007, the year the Great Recession started. Renewables are at the top and newspapers are at the bottom.
Buying someone a drink in person is a nice gesture, but buying someone a drink via Twitter is, well, not something you do often. Online networking app Tweet-A-Beer hopes to change that and make paying for other Twitter users’ drinks more of a habit.
In what may be the most overdue brand extension in history, Kraft is using the 100-year-old Planters name to speed growth of its mature grocery business.
In most well-meaning organizations, once important information comes to light, it cannot be ignored, no matter what level of an organization is affected.
A CFO won't make decisions without reliable metrics based on time-tested performance indicators. So why do so many sane, rational marketers think they'll get a pass when it comes to social media?
Brands are spending a great deal of time and energy investing in platforms to get likes or pluses, and not really being social at all.
Brands have historically paid for media to deliver their messages. But now, those brands are becoming the media, attracting their own audiences. And not just within social networks, but through their own online publications. This new strategy is known as content marketing, and it has been embraced by leading brands like American Express, IBM, and General Mills, with more joining the ranks every day.
One Romanian man's tribute to the end of the space shuttle era may leave you slightly misty-eyed.
Have you heard of Pinterest? It’s a (relatively) new social site where users share — or “pin” – visual content. Brands such as GE, HGTV and Martha Stewart Living have made deft use of Pinterest already. As a marketer, you should be too.
Attention all those who like to gripe about lousy customer service and companies (I'm looking at you AT&T and airlines everywhere) that tend to provide it: there's a new place for people to get their complaints heard, and it means business. The site is called Gripevine, and it's more than a platform like Facebook and Twitter on which frustrated customers can broadcast their complaints and hope for a response.
The Power of Habit, by New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, examines habits good and bad. Duhigg talks us through four companies that found success by swapping business-as-usual routines with smarter habits.
Best Practices: From First To Worst - Continental In A Post United World, Lessons In Next Gen Custom
Despite the numerous attempts by CEO Jeff Smisek to gloss over the issue with increasingly slicked up, feel good, on board welcome ads, Continental’s customer satisfaction numbers have reached the abyss of United’s. While United Holdings may tout their most admired status in the airline industry by Fortune, the award is measured by corporate executives, airline executives, boards of directors and industry analysts
The New York Times' Facebook Timeline goes all the way back to 1851, and it's filled with some choice photos and milestones from the paper's history. It also tells the story of how technology changed the business of keeping you informed.
I have been exploring the importance of brand meaning. My basic premise is that the brands which people find to be different in a good way are the ones they will be willing to pay a price premium for. But as I have explored this topic, I have come to realize that there are some very distinct layers of meaning (how a brand is perceived) and brand marketers need to work differently to motivate people within each level.
"Experience" is the marketing buzzword of our time. It seems like every week someone is extolling the vast untapped potential of experience to move your customers: Starcom recently created a Chief Experience Officer position; SMG Global CEO Laura Desmond has called experience the "future of advertising," and Starbucks is revitalizating through a focus on moments of "human connection."
If you pay attention to advertising, you may have seen some charming, pencil-figured ads entitled “Good to Know” about managing your privacy options. After midnight, Google will start linking your data across all of Google’s products.
When you get into work on Monday you’ll find that the Continental Airlines brand has vanished for good. That’s when the airline and United, the 4th and 3rd largest carriers respectively, will adopt a single passenger reservation system.
Facebook brand timelines went live this morning, and though we've known about these for a while, some of the executions are pretty impressive, including founding documents, early advertising, memos, news clips and photos. It's as if dozens of little corporate museums just launched on Facebook.
MTV has introduced a mobile app in Europe that fits somewhere on between HBO Go and social-TV platforms, letting users watch the network's shows on demand and invite friends to chat. Don't Expect a U.S. Version Anytime Soon.
If there’s one thing Burstein has learned over the years of producing the arts and culture radio show Studio 360, it’s that telling stories is the best way to learn about empathy. So now she tells of four qualities she believes help us all when looking to embrace our own creativity
FastCompany recently released its list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies. Many of the names on the list come as no surprise, especially the top three (Apple, Facebook, and Google). But what caught my attention was the diversity of companies and industries represented.
Back in November, Square told us that 20,000 merchants had signed up for Card Case, and four months later that number has more than doubled to over 40,000 businesses using the loyalty and mobile wallet platform.
As the volume of data skyrockets, it's useful to step back and consider the different types of data, where they come from and how they can be used most effectively. Unique and highly focused data can be used as a signal booster for more effective intent-based targeting.
Design company QA Graphics has created an interactive digital kiosk for a McDonald’s franchise in Richardson, Texas, that provides customers with nutritional information about the menu items and lets them make an informed choice about their meal.
Pinterest hasn’t just become a significant source of referral traffic for retailers; it’s also becoming a top traffic driver for women’s lifestyle, home decor and cooking magazines, some of which are seeing bigger referral numbers from the image-collecting service than from major portals like Facebook and Yahoo.
As both an avid golf fan and a curious marketer, I’ve noticed a renewed enthusiasm for the premier professional ladies golf tour, the LPGA. To learn more about the LPGA’s turnaround, I had a conversation with the organization’s CMO, Jon Podany.
why is it that consumers are still paying through the nose for e-book titles that ought to cost a fraction of the price charged for the used hardcover version?
If you’re tired of seeing the same news as everyone else, The Washington Post is now experimenting with personalized headlines. That experiment is called Personal Post, and it’s available at personal.washingtonpost.com, where you’ll see a river of content that you can customize.
According to a survey by Symantec, enterprises officially understand that “application culture” isn’t going away, and in order to succeed they need to be competitive both online and in the App Store. Both the iPhone and Android have significantly altered a phone’s function, making it a productivity tool, as opposed to a simple mode of communication. Currently, 71 percent of enterprises are either looking to, or are actively deploying their own mobile applications.
None of us would agree to play a card game with cards missing from the deck. We would know that the odds of winning would be significantly diminished. Yet surprisingly, many marketers are willing to implement marketing programs sans analytics.
"People are 'Fancy-ing' what they like, forming communities around these products or experiences, and now we allow merchants and brands to come in and fill that interest and demand in real-time, which no one is doing," says founder Joseph Einhorn.
Since January 2010, the health care giant has recalled tens of millions of products, mostly over-the-counter items such as Tylenol, Benadryl and Motrin, but also syringes, hip replacements, contact lenses and prescription drugs, due to manufacturing problems that seemed to permeate every corporate nook and cranny.
A Bloomberg report this weekend pointed out that Gap, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and GameStop have all opened and closed shops on Facebook within the past year — undermining expectations that the social network will become a major revenue driver for retailers over the next decade.
What do superheroes ride? Unless they're from a Japanese Manga comic, it would probably be an American motorcycle brand. Harley-Davidson, to be specific. The Milwaukee-based, all-American bike maker has signed a pact with the iconic American comic book and production company Marvel
Microsoft and Apple should hate one another right now. I mean, really hate each other. After decades of domination, Microsoft has watched their rival move from death’s door to become the most valuable company in the world
A strong culture is important, and for all the reasons Parr mentions: employee engagement, alignment, motivation, focus, and brand burnishing. But is it the most important element of company success, as the more ferocious of the culture warriors assert?
The trends that are rocking B2C companies are just as relevant to the B2B world: multiplying customer touch points, changing customer behaviors, massive floods of big data. And like their B2C counterparts, B2B companies need to put the customer at the center of everything they do.
Tucked in an area north of Cincinnati is an office-warehouse building that looks like a movie set. It contains fully functional mockups of two homes (one upper-middle class, one lower-income) complete with kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. It has two mock grocery stores and a virtual-reality lab where you can fly over store shelves. This is the Beckett Ridge Innovation Center, or BRIC, in P&G parlance. And P&G, whose innovation record has come under growing scrutiny, hopes it can deliver.
While some may pronounce that Facebook is all the social we’d ever need, users clearly haven’t gotten the memo. Instead, users are rapidly adopting new interest-based social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, Thumb, Foodspotting, and even the very new Fitocracy.
Is now a good time to have a Jerry Maguire moment? To refresh your memory, the story goes when a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him. We say people matter, do we mean it?
Jeremy Levine, who led Bessemer's investment, tells us about all the ways Pinterest can make money, why it's not thinking about that right now, and why the company is more like Google than you might imagine.
People seem really intent these days on fusing television with the Internet. On one level this makes no sense. Television technology works just fine and we all understand how to use it. We’re also in the midst of a golden age when it comes to programming; I can’t remember another time when there were this many good shows on. Also, television advertising rates are enormous compared to the Internet. There are people on YouTube who have more subscribers than top network sitcoms have viewers, yet they earn a minuscule fraction of the revenue. Television, as an industry, is strong. So there is the scent of blood in the water, and out of the resulting frenzy a few lessons have appeared. Here are four of them.
Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that?”
NBC Universal's broadcasts of the Olympics from London this summer will be filled with the usual athletic contests: synchronized swimming, basketball and canoe sprinting, among others. Behind the scenes, however, NBC will engage in a different sort of game: tablet counting. Mindful that audiences are no longer relying solely on TV to get all their video content, NBC Universal will use the Olympics to set up a system that purports to count viewers across all the different ways they now watch their shows.
The future of shopping means every garment--and shopping experience--can be customized to fit both your body and your thirst for discovery.
Facebook, KickStarter, Kiva, Twitter, and other companies thriving in the social era are operating by the rules of the Social Era. They get it. They live it. And to them, it's ridiculously obvious. But too many major companies — Bank of America, Sony, Gap, Yahoo, Nokia — that need to get it, don't.
There’s a new movement underway. If you haven’t come across Pinterest yet, you soon will do. It’s a new virtual pinboard site that everyone’s talking about. It allows you to easily share visual things you’ve discovered online with your followers. You simply browse the web, spot something that inspires you and ‘pin’ it onto one of your boards. It’s as simple as that.
The 54th Annual Grammy Awards was a huge hit across social, digital and broadcast platforms. Excitement for the return of Adele, as well as the tribute to the late Whitney Houston kept viewers engaged online and off. CBS reported that 39.9 million viewers tuned in to Sunday’s award show, the second-largest Grammy audience ever and the best ratings since 1984.
What do you get when you cross Walmart with Mother Teresa? Who would be the Square Deal candidate in 2012? And how in the world do you compare--and rank--such dynamic, eclectic businesses as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google?
Kodak is going to stop doing what they were once the first to ever do. No, not produce Kodachrome. They stopped that 10 years ago. They’re stopping the manufacture of digital cameras. “Did Kodak manufacture digital cameras?” I hear you ask. They invented digital.
Love just isn't enough anymore. In brand relationships, good customer service, high customer satisfaction and even professed brand loyalty won't keep consumers from ditching a product for the competition. In fact, more than half of U.S. consumers did so last year. A global study by Accenture found that even though consumers are more satisfied with customer service than ever before, they are switching brands at a high rate.
ON a Sunday in early December, Marcus Brauchli, the executive editor of The Washington Post, summoned some of the newspaper’s most celebrated journalists to a lunch at his home, a red brick arts-and-crafts style in the suburb of Bethesda, Md. The Post faces the same problems as other daily newspapers, whose revenues have sunk as the Web and the tough economy have sapped advertising. But in some ways, its situation is even more daunting.
It’s no mystery that the area with the most important long-term implications for an organization is recruiting and staffing employees. One of the biggest and oldest problems for companies revolves around acquiring a talented and creative team — and digital gives the old, traditional methods a new spin.
Every company wants customers talking about their products. But before they can sing your praises on social media or evangelize to their friends, they need to remember your product’s name. It seems obvious, but many companies – especially in the technology sector – overlook this easy way to connect with their audience.
The burrito chain is revolutionizing food: Why doesn’t it get more respect? Hunting for business success stories in a recession is a difficult (and sometimes depressing) task. Most of the feel-good stories seem to come from the high-tech world and the burgeoning app economy. One important exception is Chipotle Mexican Grill, a company that shows there’s clearly room for growth and innovation in even the most basic sectors of the economy.
Apple, Inc. is on fire. The Cupertino-based company's stock soared past $490 per share on Thursday and is now hovering around $495. Shortly after 3 p.m. on Thursday, the company's market cap was valued at $461 billion, according to Google Finance. This makes Apple slightly bigger than both Microsoft and Google combined. Currently, Microsoft's market cap sits close to $258 billion, and Google's is $199 billion.
We spoke with Colin Westcott-Pitt, VP Marketing, Dos Equis, Amstel Light, Newcastle Brown Ale at Heineken USA, about what’s keeping the Most Interesting Man in the World campaign successful. Delivering consumer craving content and utilizing Facebook as both a research tool and a marketing channel is making Dos Equis a category leader.
The BBC, Sky News and CNN are trying to figure out how to make Twitter play nicely with traditional newsrooms. Sky News and the BBC released new social media guidelines this week, while CNN has suspended an analyst for controversial tweets.
Apple has edged out IBM to become the top brand of 2011, according to an annual list from marketing strategy firm Davis Brand Capital. The Cupertino-based company ousted IBM, which topped the list in 2009 and 2010.
Coca-Cola is the only Atlanta-headquartered company to make the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking which “provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.” The annual ranking measures brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
Microsoft had the third most "brand capital" among companies in 2011, according to a new report by a company whose business is helping clients boost this. Microsoft held the same spot in Davis Brand Capital's 2010 report, one place up from 2009. Longtime rival Apple topped the list for the first time, moving up from seventh place last year. IBM, whose decision to use Microsoft for its operating system three decades ago made the Redmond tech giant, fell from first to second. Davis' ranking looks at brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
Brands are valuable, everyone agrees. But it's hard to say just how valuable because of all the intangibles. Davis Brand Capital, an Atlanta firm that analyzes intangible assets for global clients, just published its list of the top 25 companies with the most brand capital in 2011. Irving-based Exxon Mobil ranked 17th and Dallas-based AT&T ranked 22nd.
The iPhone, iPad, and Mac maker topped the Davis list for the first time this year, ousting IBM, which had come in first in 2009 and 2010. Following those two are a handful of other technology companies including Microsoft, Google, and Hewlett-Packard. "(Apple's) rise in this year's rankings was driven largely by its competitive performance and added brand value," Davis said in a press release. So how does the company come up with these rankings?
We all learned you’re not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition. But from where did this alleged rule come? And why does it encumber us with such labored sentences as the one preceding this?
More than ever, the core drivers of brand loyalty are emotional rather than rational. That’s the takeaway from the 2012 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI), which marks the survey’s 16th year. While emotional engagement factors have become more critical each year, the influence of two core, overarching components rose markedly in 2012: the brand’s “values” and the consumer’s brand “experience.”
Super Bowl ad prices have risen faster than inflation or viewership. Can they really be worth it? The most-expensive 30-second slot during this weekend’s Super Bowl cost a shocking $4 million. That’s a hundred-fold increase in the inflation-adjusted average price of a spot since Super Bowl I in 1967. Even at the recent 2010 low point, ads sold for $2.65 million, up more than 20 percent from where they stood in 2000. What drives increases of this scale, and how can it possibly make sense for companies to pay such sky-high prices?
Jacq and I just watched Adele Live At The Royal Albert Hall (amazon affiliate link), and though every song was just wonderfully done, I found myself fascinated by what Adele was doing in between each song. Because even though most people would be interested in hearing her belt out her amazing repertoire of hits, what I took away from the performance was Adele’s real magical ability: the ability to resonate with her audience.
Discount voucher sites are all the rage. Groupon, Living Social and a host of other players are entering the mushrooming markdown market. This begs the question if discount sites are good news for brand value? In summary we don’t think so. It may be good for short term revenue spikes and potentially contribution margin boosts but not long term brand value. This is based on our experience with hotels, spas and restaurants to name a few. Let us share how we arrived at this position.
Facebook Inc., the social network that filed for an initial public offering yesterday, listed rivalry with Google Inc., regulatory scrutiny, hacker attacks and the shift to mobile technology among the risks it faces. Facebook’s competition with Google, Twitter Inc. and other social-networking providers could impede growth, the company said in the risk-factors section of its filing. Facebook also said it would face competition in China if it manages to gain access to that market, where it’s currently restricted.
To get a glimpse of what tomorrow's young global managers might be like as leaders, take a look at how today's young people think about communications.
While most companies are all over Facebook and Twitter, CMOs confess they are at sixes and sevens with their digital marketing strategy. The Boston Consulting Group reports that 77% aren’t sure where best to reach their customers, a critical component of any digital strategy. And 55% say they have only “minimal or informal metrics to measure the impact and return on investment of digital marketing efforts.”
Most every company says it values its customers, and hates to 'walk away' from them. Leaders are called on to make tough decisions they believe are in the best interests of their companies. And sometimes, these decisions advantage some customers at the expense of others. That doesn't make them bad decisions, just risky ones. But leaders of some of our greatest brands act like they have forgotten (or never knew) what every junior brand manager surely knows --- to test potentially risky messages and find ways to mitigate their negative impact. Instead, senior leaders are acting like bulls in a china shop, awkwardly and prematurely broadcasting their strategic decisions in ways that destroy their company's (and their own) reputation and value.
Good design is like pornography: You know it when you see it. Incredibly subtle Supreme Court justice jokes aside, design really can make or break a company--especially for an “early adopter” technology that hasn’t quite caught on yet. Convincing people to do anything that’s out of their comfort zone (in our case, getting them to pay with their phones using LevelUp) is tough. But one of the benefits of being somewhat early to a market is getting to define what an entirely new experience means for a person. In this instance, design, function, and brand can become one
Puma can’t yet legally discuss its Olympics marketing strategy, according to Remi Carlioz, the company’s head of digital marketing. But to get an idea of how Puma will promote its star athlete and three-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt, one need only turn to the Middle East. In mid-January, Puma sent 10 bloggers to Abu Dhabi to cover the company’s sponsored boat, Mar Mostro, as it competed in the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Puma has recruited bloggers to talk about the brand before, but this event marked the first time it tested Tumblr. (The bloggers were also encouraged to post to Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #marmostro.)
When Ridley Scott created Apple's iconic "1984," the company's board didn't want it to air. Newly hired CEO John Sculley, veteran of many a Super Bowl ad as CEO of Pepsi-Cola Co., agreed with the consensus: It's a waste to run an ad that doesn't even show the product. Apple ended up selling off some of its planned Super Bowl ad time and ran "1984" in the 60-second slot it couldn't unload. The rest, as they say, is history. The Macintosh did change the world as Steve Jobs said it would, and Apple is the most valuable company on the planet.
There are many people who have gifts for selecting the best items, and helping you buy wisely. This has always been a hot trend. Reviews have an impact on buying behaviors. Aside from trying to game or buy reviews, which I don't recommend, how can you find what really affects behavior? Social influences is part of that. Which is why tools that allow people to display what they read, listen to, and buy are making such strong inroads. For example, my boards on Pinterest are a mix of things I have done, and things I might like to do.
Trying to figure out what’s on sale when and then waiting for the next sale to buy particular items can be frustrating to consumers so J.C. Penney Co. — in its first major overhaul of its retail arm since former Apple exec Ron Johnson took over as CEO in November — is attempting to make things much easier. The company this week announced that its stores are doing away with having seven kazillion different items on different sales simultaneously and just “marking down all of its merchandise by at least 40% so shoppers will no longer have to wait for a sale to get the lowest prices in its stores.” The move comes as jcpenney, as the chain rebranded itself at the 2011 Oscars, is re-rebranding with a new logo — following the previous year's rebrand at the 2010 Oscars (check out the logo progression below). What was that about trying to avoid consumer confusion?
The brand new Land Rover Range Rover Evoque started 2012 off right – with a prestigious North American Truck of the Year win at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. This topped off a terrific 2011 for the Tata Motors-owned brand, with Land Rover sales up an impressive 19.6% to 38,099 in a new car market that grew by 10.6%. The success of this off-road brand is in stark contrast to its former competitor, GM’s Hummer, which logged no new sales last year and like so many Hollywood marriages, failed to survive to the 10-year anniversary it would have celebrated this year. As you may recall, on February 24, 2010, eight months into its post-bankruptcy life, and nearly eight years after debuting the H2, GM officially announced they would begin the wind-down process for the Hummer brand. The last Hummer rolled off the Shreveport production line in 2010. So how did these two brands with arguably analogous products end up with such different fortunes?
Establishing consumer relationships through mobile marketing, as with any successful, productive relationship, inherently requires a mutual exchange of value. Whether consumers are opting-in for brand communications via SMS or engaging with the brand in a single instance through scanning a QR code, the onus is on the brand to deliver value in return for customers’ valuable time and information. Without the perception that value has been exchanged for value, the relationship becomes essentially one-sided and unrequited attempts at interaction on the part of the consumer will spell the end of the relationship – perhaps permanently.
Shortly after taking the top job at J.C. Penney Co. last fall, Chief Executive Ron Johnson signed up for the company's email alerts. He was shocked by what landed in his inbox. The former Apple Inc. retail executive was deluged by sales announcements, sometimes two a day. He and his team counted 590 separate sales last year. They didn't bring in shoppers—Mr. Johnson's team found the average customer purchased only four times a year—but they did crush prices. Alarmingly, he learned nearly three-quarters of Penney's products sold at discounts of 50% or more. Three months into the job, J.C. Penney Chief Executive Ron Johnson is planning a far-reaching but risky overhaul of the department store format.
Risk has come to Facebook. Scrabble is one of the top iPhone apps. And several board games are enjoying a long life on game consoles. In the digital age, you better be ready to Hasbro-down. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away families had a game night--once a week they'd pull out a stack of boxes from a closet and everyone would flex their knowledge of trivia (Trivial Pursuit), vocabulary (Scrabble), or even their real-estate management skills (Monopoly, natch).
Senior management teams set the course for their organizations and are often the leaders who first recognize when big change is needed. These teams are also often made up of people with drastically different styles, personalities, and visions. Bringing these voices into alignment around key goals and opportunities is the essential first step toward accelerating strategic results for the organization.
Carnival has a massive PR crisis on its hands, and its handling of it is making things even worse for the cruise line. The Costa Concordia disaster has left at least 16 people dead, with 17 still missing. But it's not so much the circumstances of the crash ruining the brand, it's the company's terrible management of the crisis.
Usually the question comes right after I tell an audience that I put former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley on my "Innovation Mount Rushmore" as a reminder of the importance of investing time and energy to understand the target market.
There is an old saying that hindsight is the only exact science, and it's true. The news that Kodak's long fade to black has finally ended with the company filing for Chapter 11 protection (a way of protecting it from bankruptcy while it attempts to restructure) has prompted an avalanche of retrospective wisdom about great companies "fumbling the future" (as the title of a book about Xerox once put it). And it's easy to see why. Kodak is like Coca-Cola, a brand-name that defined an industry. One of its products – the color film Kodachrome – even became the title of one of Paul Simon's most famous songs. You can't get more iconic than that. And the company was an industrial giant – at one time (1976), for example, it had 90% of film and 85% of camera sales in the US and was regularly rated one of the world's five most valuable brands. So it seemed inconceivable that a company as large and successful could disappear. And yet it might.
Esquire magazine, a monument to male vitality, seemed about to keel over in 2009. Famous for laying down a much-followed literary track with an article in 1966 by Gay Talese titled “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” the magazine found itself gasping for breath and fighting for survival. Amid the plague that hit the magazine industry back then, Esquire was worse off than most. Beaten up by a crop of lad magazines like Maxim, then hammered by the flight of advertisers and readers to the Web, Esquire suffered a 24.3 percent loss in advertising pages compared with 2008, which was almost as bad, by the way. A Web site for investors, 24/7 Wall Street, predicted in 2009 that Esquire would be one of “Twelve Major Brands that Will Disappear” the following year.
Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who made the BlackBerry a leading business tool but then presided over its precipitous decline, said they would step down on Monday as co-chairmen and co-chief executives of Research in Motion. The two men, in developing the innovative device that was the first to reliably deliver e-mail over airwaves, turned a tiny Canadian company into a global electronics giant. But they are stepping aside after disappointing investors and leaving customers wondering whether RIM still has the ability to compete, and perhaps even survive, in the rapidly changing markets for smartphones and tablet computers.
Some years ago, I hosted a blind tasting beer party where everyone voted for their favorite and least favorite beers from a collection of microbrews and mainstream brands. Although there was no clear winner, there was definitely an outright loser. I was thinking about that party when I read about Coke’s decision to kill its White Coke can before the scheduled end of its holiday season run. This was primarily a story about customer confusion -- there was not enough difference between the White Coke can and the Diet Coke can and people were getting confused and buying the wrong one. But there was a side-story that some people thought that the Coke from the white can did not taste the same/as good as the Coke from the red can. Ridiculous, you might say. Not that surprising, I thought, based on my own experience from that beer-tasting party.
In the 20th century, a select group of leaders — General Motor's Alfred Sloan, HP's David Packard and Bill Hewlett, and GE's Jack Welch — set the standard for the way corporations are run. In the 21st century only IBM's Sam Palmisano has done so. When Palmisano retired this month, the media chronicled his success by focusing on IBM's 21% annual growth in earnings per share and its increase in market capitalization to $218 billion. But IBM hasn't flourished because it kowtows to Wall Street. In fact, five years after Palmisano took over, IBM stock was stuck where it had been when his tenure began.
Barbara Scott just hit the trifecta of computer security breaches. Since the New Year, Ms. Scott has been a victim of three separate cyberattacks. Two weeks ago, the online auction site eBay said in an e-mail to her that there had been suspicious activity on her account. On Monday, she received an e-mail from Zappos and another from 6PM, two online shoe retailers owned by Amazon. Both messages alerted her that — once again — her information had been compromised.
In its midcentury heyday, Sears, Roebuck & Co. was the Wal-Mart of its era—the largest retailer in the world with more than 350,000 employees. But it is in an epic freefall. After decades of decline, the Sears ended up in the hands of investment manager Edward Lampert, who purchased the company in 2004 and merged it with Kmart. The new combined entity, known as Sears Holdings Corporation, was consistently losing money even before the recession. The Sears Tower, the company’s iconic skyscraper, no longer houses any Sears’ employees and—the ultimate indignity—had its name changed to the Willis Tower in 2009. On Dec. 27, it announced that in light of poor holiday sales, 100-120 Sears and Kmart stores would have to close. An even bigger blow came last Friday when CIT Group said it would no longer provide loans to Sears vendors.
It’s an age-old question that small businesses and corporations alike seem to be divided on at the start of each year and beyond. When business is slow, is it better to market your business more using every marketing and social media tool available or taper off until the economy picks up? Or in some cases, just stop marketing altogether?
Customers, employees, shareholders and taxpayers hate large corporations for many reasons. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a lengthy list of corporations for which there is substantial research data to choose the 10 most hated in America.
Google is taking Googling yourself to a whole new level, by folding users’ personal data into Google search results. The personalized search results pull data from users’ Google accounts such as Picasa and Google+, and offers users the option to toggle between searching their own personal data and searching the Web as a whole.
The acquisition of Twitter by Google is the ultimate strategic buyout. We know that Twitter turned down a $10 billion buyout offer from Google sometime in early 2011. There have also been other overtures made over the past several years by Google, Facebook and Microsoft. Surprisingly, Twitter is still independent. Why hasn’t Google paid up with all of that cash on its balance sheet? How could Twitter turn down $10 billion when the company isn’t worth anywhere near that based on earnings or even projected earnings (1999 style)?
The business climate, it turns out, is a lot like the weather. And we've entered a next-two-hours era. The pace of change in our economy and our culture is accelerating--fueled by global adoption of social, mobile, and other new technologies--and our visibility about the future is declining. From the rise of Facebook to the fall of Blockbuster, from the downgrading of U.S. government debt to the resurgence of Brazil, predicting what will happen next has gotten exponentially harder. Uncertainty has taken hold in boardrooms and cubicles, as executives and workers (employed and unemployed) struggle with core questions: Which competitive advantages have staying power? What skills matter most? How can you weigh risk and opportunity when the fundamentals of your business may change overnight?
Barnes & Noble lowered guidance and its stock is getting crushed. It's thinking about spinning off its Nook business--both hardware and digital ecosystem. That won't save it.
The differences between social media influencers and the online strategies of other groups are so marked that it is worth asking the question what do social media influencers do that the rest of us don’t? What can we learn from these differences?
It takes years to build a good reputation, but seconds to damage it beyond repair, as executives at companies from Dell to Domino’s certainly have found out. This was a sentiment echoed by executives at the Senior Corporate Communication Management Conference in New York when discussing social media and corporate reputation and how to embrace the new reality of immediate communications.
The New York Times raised its daily price to $2.50 today. I thought back to the penny press at the turn of the last century and wondered what such a paper would cost today, inflation adjusted. Answer: a quarter. So, in inflation-adjusted current pennies, The New York Times today costs 10 times more than a newspaper in 1890. Granted, Today’s Times is better than a product of the penny press. But is it worth 10x? Should it cost 10x?
Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth, Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, published “Why Smart Executives Fail” 8 years ago. In it, he shared some of his research on what over 50 former high-flying companies – like Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Rubbermaid, and Schwinn – did to become complete failures. It turns out that the senior executives at the companies all had 7 Habits in common. Finkelstein calls them the Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives.
The lead producer of festivalslab Rohan Gunatillake gives four reasons why new thinking and tools can produce better experiences
It’s not easy being the Ford Motor of the Internet. And that, in short, is the predicament facing AOL, according to its chief executive, Timothy M. Armstrong, who spoke Tuesday as part of the three-day UBS media conference in New York.
On Black Friday, Patagonia ran a full-page ad in The New York Times telling consumers not to buy one of their jackets because it takes so much water and energy to make. This was one element of the company's Common Threads initiative, a brilliant brand-within-a-brand that offers a roadmap for companies trying to promote themselves as environmentally friendly.
When Chief Marketing Officer Leontyne Green joined Ikea in 2006, it was experiencing explosive growth, adding multiple locations a year. Today, the U.S. is still a top-performing market for the Swedish company, but the brand is in transition.
Most often, analysis of brand strategy is focused on a name brand consumer product and its conventional efforts, such as John Deere's social marketing strategy, Benetton's scandalized ad campaign, Dr.Pepper's questionable "men only" positioning or Apple doing... anything.
If you're a retailer and you're not generating a non-stop flow of customized, interactive content, the writing's on the wall: Publish or perish.
Everyone wants their own mobile application. In the last year, I have heard this consistently. In fact, mobile analytics firm Distimo claims 91 of the top 100 brands have their own mobile app (up from 51 just 18 months ago). On the surface this sounds great, right? I can use my big brand name to get people to install my application, and then I can market to them via the palm of their hand whenever I want. If you're a big brand, I have no doubt you will get a ton of downloads. But downloads are a vanity metric; they don't measure success.
How do you make a decentralized global apparel company without a single, cohesive voice around the world, no e-commerce, and a lagging digital presence into a unified global brand with a vibrant digital, social and e-commerce strategy, with eight million Facebook fans, dwarfing any other jeans marketer and e-commerce growing 40% per year?
Our fifth annual survey on the way organizations use social tools and technologies finds that they continue to seep into many organizations, transforming business processes and raising performance.
L’eggs has launched its first ad campaign in 15 years—but it may be too late to pull nylons back from the brink of extinction.
Google+ Pages is the game-changer for brand presence on the web in a leap over the social networking garden wall and the next digital manifest destiny combining search and social.
What if 70 percent of brands in the world disappeared overnight? Most people wouldn’t care, according to a new study of 50,000 people in 14 global markets performed by Havas Media, an international communications firm.
Google+ has been billed as a Facebook killer, its user homepage layout borrows heavily from Facebook, and now there are free self-service branded pages for marketers similar conceptually to what Facebook introduced in November 2007 – almost four years ago to the day. Despite all of this, Google+ is different. This is largely because Facebook the company has only one eponymous flagship product, and Google the company is using Google+ as both a networking hub and a social layer across its diverse suite of digital products.
Google officially launched brand pages on Google+, ending months of waiting. The Web giant's pitch to convince businesses and brands to sign up (and unseat Facebook's dominance as the go-to social destination for businesses):
Most global packaged-goods and beauty marketers focus predominantly where the growth is these days: developing markets. Others are benefiting by catering mainly to upscale households left unscathed by the recession in developed markets. But L'Oreal has stood apart by actually stepping up its focus on the U.S., from where it expects to provide 70 million of the billion new consumers it hopes to add globally by 2021, ranking it just behind China and India in strategic importance. And it is doing so with the broadest portfolio in the business, operating in mass, prestige and even retail via such outlets as Kiehl's and Body Shop units.
After months of speculation with almost no official confirmation, YouTube has finally announced its long-awaited channel strategy in a post to the company’s blog late Friday evening. The announcement falls in line with what had previously been reported in the press: namely that YouTube will be expanding its lineup of channels to include new offerings from a variety of partners, including well-known personalities and brands in the Hollywood, music, news, and sports worlds.
What Peter Drucker would say about the e-tailer's foray into book publishing.
Between 2006 and 2010, American brand loyalty has declined sharply. During that same time span, fewer consumers self-reported that “owning the best brand is important to me.” Why did this happen? One glaring reason was that the recession diverted priorities, particularly among the jobless, away from brand names and toward lower prices.
In 2006, Dove launched its True Colors campaign to spark a global conversation about the definition and perception of beauty among women of all ages. Its research found only 2% of women considered themselves beautiful; and body anxieties begin at an early age with 72% feeling great pressure to be beautiful, when girls feel badly about their looks, 60% disconnect from life, avoiding normal daily activities like attending school or even giving their opinion.
Apple television rumors have swirled for years. But only now do we know that when speaking to his official biographer, Steve Jobs was keen to reinvent the television. And after ages trying to polish it into a user-friendly interface to video content he finally felt he'd "cracked it." Excitement has grown quickly since this revelation, but one analyst--Gene Munster--has checked with his sources and says that test HDTV prototypes are already in the pipeline, suggesting the device could be en route sooner than we thought.
"Happy chic" designer Jonathan Adler took some time away from whatever he's doing now to help put together eBay's first storefront. It's located in New York City, naturally. Each item in the storefront has a QR code; if you scan a code with your eBay phone app, you're directed to a special purchasing page within the app. What's that, you say? No, it's not a slightly more complicated version of browsing the site on your computer. Shut up. It's a dynamic and totally new 24-hour shopping experience.
Google+ is the fastest-growing social network in history, with 40 million users since its June launch. To help them focus, Google’s quietly shuttered a number of products, removing iGoogle and Google Reader’s social features and closing Google Labs, Buzz, Jaiku and Code Search in the last two weeks alone. But in doing so, they also killed off one of its oldest and most useful tools, from its most popular product.
The days of holding up two fingers to a bartender and getting a couple of glasses filled with generic beer from a tap are long gone. Instead, today’s pub-goers select their frosty-cold beverage from a long row of branded taps and receive their suds in a glass emblazoned with the particular logo. This is not your grandfather’s glass of draught.
When it comes to brand love, consumers are notoriously fickle -- particularly when it comes to technology. That's apparent when combing New Media Metrics' Leap Index, which measures emotional attachment to brands to predict purchase behavior.
Despite online video and commercial-skipping DVRs, companies still spend 38 percent of their advertising budgets on television ads and just 1 percent on online video. YouTube is trying to change that.
If we're headed into a second-dip of the recession, no one told Google. The company turned in a 33% surge in revenue in the third quarter on big increases in search, display, and increasingly, mobile advertising.
Last month, CEO Reed Hastings announced that the company's DVD and streaming businesses would be split: The DVD-by-mail service would be rebranded as Qwikster, while the streaming service would remain under Netflix. Consumer reaction was overwhelmingly negative, just as it had been for the company's recent price hikes. Many found the announcement confusing (customers would now have to deal with separate websites, usernames and passwords, movie queues, credit card bills, and ratings systems), and senior Netflix execs came out to reaffirm the decision, calling it a "natural progression" and part of a "long-term marketing opportunity."
She's just Jenny from the block? Come on, no one believes that. And you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks Jennifer Lopez actually drives a teeny-tiny $20,000 Fiat.
One constant of the outpouring of grief over the death of Steve Jobs has been modified Apple logos, including creative use of apples in front of Apple stores. What few realize is that this capacity to fiddle with Apple's most recognizable bit of brand identity, and at the same time not lose any of that identity, speaks to the power of even the simplest element of what the Apple brand is.
Ahh, July. We miss you so. The world was newer then, the air fresher, the people a little nicer, and there used to be something called Qwikster.
After a decade at the helm of Target's marketing, CMO Michael Francis is leaving the company to join JCPenney.
Nike is setting up a a venture capital fund -- the Sustainable Business & Innovation Lab -- to invest in startups working on alternative energy and green innovation, reports Bloomberg.
Jeff Bezos announced a new family of Kindle’s today, including the Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch. But he also had one more thing. The Kindle Fire tablet is coming with an entirely new mobile browser called Amazon Silk. The browser is “cloud-accelerated” in that it splits tasks between the cloud and the device.
On a conference call earlier this year while discussing Target’s (TGT) 2011 same-store sales forecast, Chief Financial Officer Douglas Scovanner noted that his company’s biggest rival, Wal-Mart (WMT), had been taking heat from Wall Street for its weak retailing performance. The largest player in the marketplace had yet another quarter of negative same-store sales, he said: “People are picking on my big brother.” For years, Target has benefited from such comparisons. Target’s merchandise was trendier, its commercials hipper, its employees happier—or so the meme went. Of late, however, Target has found it increasingly difficult to tell that story.
Walmart Labs Senior VP-Global E-Commerce Anand Rajaraman took the stage at Ad Age Digital today in San Francisco to explain why exactly the world's largest retailer would buy a social media startup.
Is Facebook a friend of news companies, or is it a rival? No matter how much success publishers have piggybacking off its traffic, they can’t escape the cruel math: The more of their time consumers spend on Facebook and other social networking hubs, the less they have left over for news sites.
Every now and then, the business world presents us with a lab experiment that we can observe in realtime. Netflix's announcement that it is splitting off its DVD-by-mail business from its streaming business is just such an experiment.
Movie delivery service Netflix has just announced that it is rebranding its DVD-by-mail service as Qwikster and that it will keep calling its streaming service Netflix. Shocking news yes, but already the Internet has found one immediate chink in the company’s rebranded armor, other than the fact that, like a multitude of other failed companies, the name ends in “ster” …
Walmart is in a bind. Its retail empire is based on a simple proposition -- everyday low pricing -- but recent surveys show price gaps between it and rivals have actually narrowed or disappeared. And, in fact, most of its shoppers no longer believe Walmart has the lowest prices.
Plum TV appears to be dying on the vine — and on the Vineyard, as the lifestyle channel geared at America's playgrounds of the wealthy is in the pits of despair
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz's message about finding common grounds for action has nothing to do with coffee grounds. Shultz is on a campaign to restore confidence in America and the American economy. He wants to ignite a contagious upward spiral of confidence.
Amazon.com Inc. said it is testing a major redesign of its website, an overhaul that could refashion the way people shop on the world's largest online retailer. The new site appears to have been streamlined for use on a tablet computer, online-commerce experts say, indicating that the Seattle-based retailer is trying to improve the shopping experience on Apple Inc.'s iPad—or its own competing device. Amazon is expected to release a tablet in coming weeks, people familiar with the device have said.
In January 2010, Toyota faced a nightmare situation for any brand, but particularly for one that staked its reputation on safety and quality: The company had to recall 2.3 million vehicles because of faulty accelerator pedals.
There's now measurable evidence that a brand’s philanthropic activities can influence shopper behavior and ultimately purchase decisions, and that gender nuance is a factor. The Integer Group queried 1,200 Americans about factors influencing brand preference when choosing between two companies with both benefiting a cause, and selling a product similar in price and quality. The top answer for both men and women was "personal relevance of cause" (70%).
For many of Apple’s customers, investors and fans, the most important thing about new chief executive Tim Cook is that he is not Steve Jobs.
When Russell Weiner took the helm as CMO of Domino’s Pizza, he knew that the status quo was not acceptable. The company had been experiencing same store sales declines for three straight years and change was needed.
Last night in after-hours trading, Apple's stock dropped precipitously. The prophets of Apple's doom emerged after a very long hibernation. Even those bullish on Apple's prospects could hardly muster more than lukewarm praise of Tim Cook's appointment to CEO of Apple Inc, saying, "he's pretty good, but he's no Steve Jobs." We believe they're all missing the point. Jobs has managed to perform the ultimate feat of leadership — he's embedded himself so deeply within the cultural fabric of Apple that the company no longer needs him.
At first blush, the consumer appeal of a business like Groupon seems pretty obvious. The popular deal-of-the-day Internet start-up sells vouchers to restaurants, spas, and other local businesses at major markdowns--and who wouldn't want to score a 100-dollar sports massage for 50 bucks?
It’s always a danger to look into the crystal ball, everything is so distorted by the glass. But if everything remains as is, it’s hard to look at Google and not foresee the California company winning the future of social media, social technology, and all the bitstreams in between.
As IBM celebrates its 100th birthday, many observers are rightly calling attention to the many strategic changes the company put itself through to remain relevant amidst dramatic technological and economic change. But one of the biggest transformations IBM went through is less about computers and more about culture. Over the last decade and a half, the company has realigned its HR practices and strategies to move away from the analog ways of the past and to embrace a variety of 21st century approaches, including some highly unconventional ones.
I will confess I don’t believe I’ve ever had a meal that actually progressed from soup to nuts. Maybe “from salad to ice cream” might be a better way to give the impression of tracking a meal from beginning to end, but “soup to nuts” is the idiom we’re stuck with. And now Google can say that Android fulfills it, with its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility. (That’s assuming regulator approval, which we probably shouldn’t just assume at this point.) Instead of being simply the provider of an operating system for smartphones and tablets, a Google+Moto pairing would also produce some of those phones and tablets itself, rather than relying exclusively on a network of producers (HTC, Samsung, LG, etc.) to actually design, build, and distribute the hardware.
Google has made its largest and boldest acquisition yet with the $12.5bn purchase of Motorola’s mobile-phone division, a deal the search company hopes will bolster its Android smartphone system.
Since the daily deals site Groupon launched in November 2008, its story has been about huge numbers, giant savings, and astronomical growth. According to one accounting, it is the fastest-growing company, ever. According to its own accounting, it has become profitable far sooner than most tech startups. Wall Street seems poised to reward it with an initial public offering valuing the company at as much as $30 billion. But are all these big numbers based on questionable metrics? And can Groupon really keep up the soar-away growth justifying that fantastic valuation?
Levi Strauss is working hard to make itself a global brand. To that end, Levi’s has been beefing up its human capital, the better to bring its global campaign and corporate citizenship message to the world.
There is a fundamental shift that social media necessitates in business today – the need to transition from “Me First” to “We First” thinking. For decades Me First thinking and behavior has dominated how we have conducted business, treated the environment, and how consumers and brands have interacted. Despite decades of short-term profits, the long-term consequences of this approach have been catastrophic. They include the economic meltdown of 2008, the global recession, and the persistent economic problems that plague countries and societies around the world today. As a result, there is a growing awareness that we must begin shifting business towards a more collective and socially responsible mentality in which companies and consumers think about building a better world as much as they think about profits. Given this, the question is, how can brands move towards this responsible and collective mentality? The answer is, by adopting We First thinking.
The label on the bag of coffee stated that it was "private reserve" as if it were a glorious handmade cabernet sauvignon that had been lovingly and fastidiously set aside by the proprietor and made available to an appreciative soul such as me who had discerning taste and an extra dollar or two to spend on a hedonistic treat.
Microfinance has come under fire in the past 18 months, triggered in part by SKS Microfinance's IPO. Critics complain that the institutions supporting microfinance have become too greedy, and many are using this as an argument to deeply regulate or, even more, cut support to microfinance operations.
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV is redesigning the Budweiser can for the first time in a decade, seeking to reinvigorate sales of the storied brew. The company unveiled a new, bolder look Wednesday that makes the Budweiser "bowtie" symbol the centerpiece of the label and goes much heavier on the color red than previous versions.
I was astounded recently to see a Pepsi ad that shows Santa on vacation somewhere in the Caribbean. There he is in a Hawaiian shirt, dancing in the sand, surrounded by noisy, happy sun-seekers. The tune is Montell Jordan's new jack swing staple from 1995, "This Is How We Do It."
Two weeks ago I published an excerpt from a research paper titled “Pastel Injustice: The Corporate Use of Pinkwashing For Profit” that highlighted the business practices of companies who promote breast cancer awareness through the use of pink products and messages to consumers.
You're aware by now that Fabio is the summer stand-in for Isaiah Mustafa, and that Old Spice's ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, is producing content for YouTube and Twitter that plays off the work it did for the "Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign. As of this writing, there's a spokesguy "duel" going on (Mano a Mano in El Bano) involving playful videos that consumers can comment on. It's sure to win some brand-engagement award later this year. Look for it to get referenced as a stroke of genius in pop marketing books, too. Every CMO needs to see this exercise for the time-waster it is.
A recent story in the Wall Street Journal brought into stark relief the mistake of thinking that exceptional creative doth a strong brand make.
Not long ago, market research shop Millward Brown released a ranking of the world's most valuable brands. For the first time, Apple topped the list. The value of its brand was $153 billion, up 84 percent year on year. Yes, Apple spends lavishly on promoting its brand, but the study attributed the spike in brand valuation to the impact of two products — the iPad and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone.
Strolling along 42nd Street I overheard a mischievous, baseless and ill-informed comment by a millennial to his friend, “There is no such thing as voice or text or music or TV shows – they’re all just data.” He’s right, but our need for words is ancient, and a powerful brand voice can make us question everything we think and do.
For years now, Netflix has been among the Web's most loved companies, scoring tops (or, this past year, second) in customer satisfaction for online retail. Netflix deserves this respect because it delivers a complex service that, 99 times out of 100, just works. DVDs arrive remarkably quickly. Streaming is synchronized across your many devices. And, prices match or beat competitive options. So it was surprising that such a firestorm sprang up when Netflix announced its pricing changes for DVD+streaming.
Samsung's journey from low-cost OEM producer to a global brand name synonymous with innovation is an admirable one. The process of turning away from the basic elements responsible for your original success is a perilous and brave move. I can only imagine the resistance involved when an established, hierarchical company like the old Samsung decides to introduce practices that threaten the status quo.
“The recession has been good for us,” says Steve Cannon, Mercedes-Benz’s vice president of marketing, only half kidding. While this quintessential luxury brand faced a more challenging environment, Mercedes still managed to emerge from the recession with renewed momentum, launching five new models and building share of market, as it is looking to its 14th consecutive year of sales growth in 2011.
Let social media mavens debate whether Google+ will succeed as a 'Facebook killer' where Buzz did not. I think they'd benefit from a quick look back at a failed innovation Google quietly DNR'ed. It offers a sobering reality check for anyone who believes that great people, great skills, great wealth, a great brand, and a great opportunity invariably lead to great innovation, They don't. Not even for Google. There's a valuable lesson here.
If sex sells, then nudity cannot be far behind. At least that is what Zappos, the online retailer, hopes with its new advertising campaign featuring naked models doing everyday things like jogging, hailing a cab and playing Frisbee in public
The whole world seems to have woken up to the notion that great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. Exhibit A is the effort to write a new constitution in Iceland where the surge of crowdsourcing, mass collaboration, co-creation, and open innovation initiatives is seeking to channel those ideas and leverage that talent in every realm of endeavor. But when it comes to taking those ideas and turning them into a comprehensive view of the future, a compelling set of priorities, and a genuinely involving and ongoing collaboration with a community of stakeholders, there aren't many instructive models.
In 2009, I purchased a Flip HD camcorder. Around the same time, Cisco purchased Flip, the company, for about $600 million. It was never clear precisely what Cisco was up to, but with YouTube being a big deal, some form of Internet connectivity seemed to top the list of the possible "synergies." It took Cisco just a year to change its mind, announcing in April of this year that it would shut Flip down.
It's one of the toughest challenges in retailing: appealing to new, often younger customers without alienating shoppers who have long been loyal fans. When the transition is handled badly, things can go south in a hurry. Ask Talbots, which tried to entice thirtysomethings with cocktail dresses and frilly tank tops and left the pearl-wearing career women who had shopped there for decades feeling jilted.
The other day, a legal firm asked whether strategic brand building could help grow market-share in today’s economy. I thought this was an interesting question. In our discussions, we talked about what branding could mean for legal firms. I have seen remarkable advertising from all sorts of professional services firms, but rarely if ever have I seen marketing from a leading law firm.
Steve Jobs turned Apple Inc. into the world's most valuable technology company with high-tech products like the iPad and iPhone. But one anchor of Apple's success is surprisingly low tech: its chain of brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Lots of organizations come to our company, Advertising for Humanity, asking for "a new brand." They typically mean a new name, or icon, or a new look and feel for their existing name. Lots of people think that brand begins and ends there — that once we shine up the name they can stick it below their email signature, pop it on their website, and, voila, they have a new brand. Much of our work consists of disabusing people of this notion. Brand is much more than a name or a logo. Brand is everything, and everything is brand.
Brand marketers have long been intrigued with the use of scent as a potential differentiating feature. Maybe it all started with Smell-O-Vision, an ill-fated technology that was used to pump different smells throughout movie theaters in 1960. Smell-O-Vision stunk — it died after just one movie. Nowadays, scent is a key part of any number of beauty and cosmetic products, typically targeting women. Increasingly, though, scent plays an important role in men's products, especially deodorants. And the latest innovation is a masculine knock-off of a concept that was first aimed at women in 2005 — the scented razor.
Italian jeweler Bulgari SpA and sports-car maker Maserati SpA have succeeded in China largely by portraying themselves as the ultimate male status symbols. But the two recently joined a growing number of luxury brands in China that have revamped their marketing tactics to also appeal to self-made female entrepreneurs, a rapidly emerging market segment that also wants high-end baubles and toys.
Diversity management is the key to growth in today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace. No longer can America’s corporations hide behind their lack of cultural intelligence. Organizations that seek global market relevancy must embrace diversity – in how they think, act and innovate. Diversity can no longer just be about making the numbers, but rather how an organization treats its people authentically down to the roots of its business model. In today’s new workplace, diversity management is a time-sensitive business imperative.
A series of recent stumbles at Target Corp. has some retail experts questioning whether the cheap-chic discounter is losing its cachet.
Executives usually don’t badmouth their former companies, but the ones that are no longer with Pabst Blue Ribbon after it was sold last year to billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos and his two sons don’t mince words. “If our core PBR drinker knew that what they were drinking is owned by guys like these, it's the last beer they'd want to drink,” stated the former director of marketing to the Chicago Tribune.
TOMS Shoes is ready to kick off the "Shoes" in its brand identity, rebranding with a campaign (which we previewed in March) dubbed "What's Your Next Chapter?" that will be unveiled in a series of events with its partners across the US tomorrow.
The ‘emotional’ revolution that has engulfed the marketing world is undeniable: brands are constantly seeking to win our wallets by way of our hearts. The mythmakers of Madison Ave did so by crafting poignant stores that masked products’ imperfections or downright uselessness. Though today’s marketers are forced to meet a slightly higher standard of credibility, their goal is still to teach us how their brand is supposed to make us feel. It seems it’s not enough for soap to clean and moisturize – it must also compel us to philosophize about what it means to be beautiful
Brand advertising seems to be on its way out. Take Starbucks, which used to advertise its coffee shops. And very effectively, too. Today, the brand is strongly positioned at the top of the coffee-shop market. What's next for Starbucks? The company's recent decision to drop the words "Starbucks coffee" from its logotype seems to indicate where the company is going. According to media reports, Starbucks is in the midst of a transformation from a coffee company to a food and beverage organization
June's Harvard Business Review features a story by Procter & Gamble Chief Technology Officer Bruce Brown and me on "How P&G Tripled Its Innovation Success Rate." The article's core message is that P&G achieved that result by approaching the creation of new growth businesses in a highly systematic way, building what Brown and I call the "new-growth factory."
The New York Times has reported that brands have started to turn their attention to the one group of people amongst us who may still have disposable income during these times of recession – the over 50s. And for good reason. Statistics show that they not only have more money to spare, they earn more, spend more and have more job security than younger consumers. They also avidly consume more media.
You know the bag. The chocolate-brown leather canvas emblazoned with quatrefoils and the LV monogram is immediately recognizable as the international symbol of globetrotting luxury. The Louis Vuitton brand is the most valuable brand in luxury, according to a new study from Millward Brown. But in a world with knock offs on street tables from New York to New Dehli and rappers like Kanye West pronouncing himself the "Louis Vuitton don," how does the world's most famous luxury brand protect its image?
When Puma transformed a venerable soccer cleat made famous by Brazilian footballer Pelé into a sneaker in 1998, the shoe known as the King sparked a global fashion sensation and an eightfold surge in Puma revenue in as many years. Yet ever since the German sporting-goods maker was bought by French luxury house PPR in 2007, the brand has performed like David Beckham during his Los Angeles Galaxy years.
In the annals of shady public relations stunts, Facebook’s attempt to surreptitiously plant negative — and highly misleading — stories about Google into leading media outlets will surely go down as one of the most ham-handed in recent memory.
Your brand is your favorite. After all, it's yours. You understand it, you helped build it, you're obsessed with the nuance behind it. Your organization's actions make sense to you, you sat in the room as they were being argued about... you might even have helped make some of the decisions.
Anheuser-Busch named Wm. Wrigley Jr. executive Paul Chibe as its VP-marketing in the U.S., tapping the longtime food marketer to boost its struggling U.S. beer brands.
Few publishing executives have gotten a closer look at how quickly digital technology is transforming businesses around the globe than John Makinson, chief executive of Pearson PLC's book publishing arm, Penguin Group. The house publishes 4,000 fiction and nonfiction titles globally, and does business in a wide variety of markets, including India. Deciding how and where to sell those books is significantly more complicated than when Mr. Makinson took over as CEO in 2002. At the time, e-books were a minor enterprise, and the full impact of online discounting hadn't yet been felt.
In many ways, Martha Stewart, lifestyle mogul extraordinaire, is the original maker.
In the same way China approached its preparations for the Beijing Olympics, businesses have fully detailed each sensory impression a product will have on consumers. One company's ultimate objective: Become a global leader in car manufacturing. Look out, Detroit.
A lot of us remember when the role of the CMO was much simpler. Information flowed in one direction: from companies to consumers. When we drew up our plans and budgets, the key metric was consumer impressions: how many people would see, hear or read our ad? Today the only place that approach still works is on Mad Men. Now information flows in many directions, consumer touch points have multiplied, and the old, one-size-fits-all approach has given way to precision marketing and one-to-one communications.
What makes one brand survive a reputation crisis better than others? While it would take a PR and branding genius to help, for instance, BP restore its tarnished image, how about less extreme examples? Consider the recent New York Times expose on General Electric that revealed how the corporate behemoth paid no taxes in 2010. GE made $14 billion in profits in 2010, $5 billion of that in the US — but its US tax bill is negative $3.5 billion. And yet, GE's reputation has not suffered as much as BP, Toyota or Goldman Sachs, at least so far, according to YouGov BrandIndex, the consumer perception brand research service.
The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton might seem entirely frothy and unworthy of the time of busy executives. It seems an inconsequential event — no new international alliances are formed, no policies will change within their home nation, and the young couple doesn't seem all that interesting. But the April 29 nuptials are one more example of the coming of the experience economy, in which people pay for the chance to participate at particular times (Farmville, anyone?), and expenditures on goods and services come in bundles tied to particular events.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has swung its bulk into the fast-changing world of social networks by acquiring a small California company that it will use to explore new ways of reaching shoppers digitally.
Many companies now have senior officers in charge of customer experience. The executives' role is to define the attributes of the customer experience in partnership with their operational colleagues, organize the customer-satisfaction-measurement process against those attributes, and encourage remedial action wherever warranted. What they hardly ever have, though, is an approach to evolve the design of the customer experience, let alone create a new experience.
BEIJING—Burberry Group PLC is outfitting its stores in China with the latest digital technology, including touchscreens for customers and iPads for staff, at the start of a world-wide campaign to shake its stiff, older image and win over younger customers.
Toys "R" Us will soon be selling iPads alongside G.I. Joes, PlayStation games, and Legos. And did you know? One in five U.S. teens owns a tablet PC (which basically means an iPad). iPads: Apple's doin' it for the kids.
Google Inc. is working on a major overhaul of YouTube as it tries to position itself for the rise of televisions that let people watch online video in their living rooms, according to people familiar with the matter. YouTube is looking to compete with broadcast and cable television, some of these people said, a goal that requires it to entice users to stay on the website longer, and to convince advertisers that it will reach desirable consumers.
Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, is not an empty suit. It's not just that Schultz doesn't favor suits (at the talk I heard him give last week, he was wearing a cardigan sweater) but also that he has a heart, which he is willing to wear on his sleeve, and a mission in life that's not limited to profit.
In business, a brand is like a baby: Yours is never ugly. No matter what shape your brand is in, you put your blood, sweat, and tears into building it and, despite whatever shortcomings it may have, you're proud of it. As you should be. Still, it can be helpful to take a step back and try to evaluate the results of your branding efforts from an objective standpoint.
Just 13 years ago, Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy. Today, it is the world's most admired tech company. Steve Jobs can be credited for the drastic turnaround. But how did he do it? By thinking differently, innovating, and being controversial.
From a Lady Gaga prayer bracelet to special sushi rolls at restaurants, the disaster in Japan has led to a rash of relief efforts. But as consumers become increasingly skeptical of cause-related marketing, celebrities, organizations and major marketers have to walk a fine line, trying to help without appearing to exploit the tragedy for profits.
Much is being written about the impact that new communication technologies and channels (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) have on traditional marketing. The deeper question is: Will these new communication channels actually force material changes not just in the way companies market their products but in the strategies and operations they use to develop and build those products as well? In my view, the answer is an emphatic yes. It's another instance of the proverbial medium that changes the content.
Netflix Inc. is in advanced talks to distribute a forthcoming television series directed by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey, said people familiar with the talks. If such a deal were to come to fruition it would add a new competitor to the television industry by increasing the degree to which Netflix vies with premium-cable television channels like Time Warner Inc.'s HBO.
The magic lies in how it's managed, and that must come from the very top of the company.
At SXSW, the chief of one of America's favorite online shoe stores lets Fast Company in on his newest idea, a lifestyle and business brand with partner Jenn Lim named after his bestselling business book, "Delivering Happiness."
Starting this week, Progressive's perky sales clerk will push a new in-car product the company claims will be as transformative for the insurance industry as the iPod was for music -- a device that plugs in your car and tracks how and when you drive.
Well, that didn't last very long. About a month after announcing a major exclusive deal with retailer Target, Lady Gaga has dissolved the partnership citing Target's corporate culture of anti-gay rights political donations.
To no one’s surprise, including mine, Apple once again has the industry all abuzz about their latest innovation – the iPad2. After months of speculation and free press, Apple unveiled—through their charismatic and enigmatic leader, Steve Jobs—how they intend to extend their dominance over the rapidly expanding tablet market with the iPad2. As much as I admire Apple’s relentless pursuit and delivery of innovation, it’s their stranglehold on customer sentiment and the media in particular that I find even more impressive and, frankly, enviable. The question is, “Is it sustainable?”
Over the past five years Forrester Research has observed an increase in the number of companies with a single executive leading customer experience efforts across a business unit or an entire company. These individuals often serve as top executives, with the mandate and power to design, orchestrate and improve customer experiences across every customer interaction. And whether firms call them Chief Customer Officers (CCOs) or give them some other label, these leaders sit at high levels of power at companies as diverse as Allstate, Dunkin' Brands, Oracle and USAA.
Joel Martin, principal of Eight Mile Style Music and co-owner of Eminem's song catalog, is used to getting the cold shoulder from Michigan automakers who have generally found the rap artist's song lyrics too spicy for their mainstream audiences. So, imagine his surprise when he got a call on his cellphone one day last December from an assistant at his Ferndale, Mich., office that said "The president of Chrysler is here looking for you."
Mark Zuckerberg says social dynamics of the kind Facebook pioneered will one day be a core part of every industry. In the first installment of our new series, we take a look at some companies that are "baking in" social right from the start.
As the network replaces 'Playhouse Disney' with 'Disney Jr.,' preschool shows will shift emphasis from teaching ABCs and 1-2-3s to imparting social values in their storytelling.
Me, I got my Valentine early: I didn't have to watch the Super Bowl ads this year until, you know, the Super Bowl. It was fannnnnntastic. I got to experience the game like a normal slob, with a lap full of taco dip and genuine curiosity about how unfunny the Bud Light spots would be this year. It fell to my colleague Ken Wheaton to harvest the crop ahead of time.
America needs poets and thinkers as well as engineers.
#1 Thing You Need to Learn from This Post: Your brand is at greater danger for its complicity in events on other side of the world than for a social media blunder.
With familiar and storied brands like Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer and Mercury recently heading for the automotive graveyard, the idea of bringing back Italian brand Fiat to U.S. showrooms this month after a 27-year hiatus may seem like fool's errand. But don't tell that to Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, who is also CEO of Chrysler.
It's getting hard to not like Walmart, or at least the way it has been throwing around its considerable weight to make the world a better place for the last three years or so. I never thought I'd write that.
When Gap introduced a new logo in October, public response was overwhelmingly negative. With Internet speed, someone created a microsite where readers could render their own Gap-like logo. With the outcry of resistance, the logo was quickly pulled and mea culpas were quickly issued by the retailing giant.
Microsoft managers probably shouldn't bring iPhones to business meetings. Ford employees shouldn't commute to work in BMWs. Coca-Cola employees likely shouldn't drink Pepsi on their lunch breaks. As a rule, companies with strong brands and competitive cultures expect more than a modicum of brand loyalty from their employees and contractors. But with employment opportunities tight and economic recovery slow, a profound organizational transformation is taking hold. "Loyalty to the brand" is mutating into "Living the brand." Brand values — not just brand value — are seen as core competitive differentiators.
Another iconic brand is messing with its logo. To commemorate its 40th anniversary, Starbucks today unveiled what its PR team calls a "subtle but meaningful update." We'd call it a hot mess. Meaningful? Only to Starbucks. Subtle? Not at all. In fact, the focus on the brand's mermaid and scuttling of its name jettisons the distinctive black and green color combination that nearly everyone associates with Starbucks.
Pepsi's Superbowl ad campaign is looking to be a mind-bending exercise in crowdsourcing. First, Pepsi and Doritos announced "the 10 finalists in the Crash the Super Bowl challenge" which will "compete to be one of six consumer-created ads – three for Doritos and three for Pepsi MAX – airing during the Super Bowl XLV broadcast." That same day, Catholic activists announced their own crowdsourcing effort: "Ask Pepsi-Doritos to reject a commercial that blasphemes the Holy Eucharist as Doritos Chips and Pepsi."
Some things sell for not much more than they cost to make. Things like steel. Others? They sell for high multiples of cost. Spa services, fancy ties, long haul airplane tickets, coaching, books--these are things that might cost a bunch to set up, but once the factory is rolling, the marginal cost of one more unit is really low. The challenge, then, is to find a way to get new customers without alienating the folks that have paid full price. Even better, to turn those new trial customers into loyal customers.
Change happens. That’s not just a bumper sticker slogan; it’s the state of business today. Mastering change requires new ways of thinking, talking about, and doing business. I believe the leading companies in 2011 and beyond will distinguish themselves by embracing these five ideas
Brands have been in the content business for more than 50 years, but some of the biggest marketers in the world -- including General Electric and Johnson & Johnson -- are today finding that emerging media and digital platforms are dramatically changing the game in terms of how that content is distributed and how consumer conversations can be controlled.
Amazon's cloud computing has revolutionized American small business, but can Amazon beat rising competitors?
Corporate reputation is very fragile. What takes years to build can be ruined overnight. Just ask BP, Toyota or Goldman Sachs. This year some of the nation's biggest companies and corporate brands faced disasters, privacy breaches and product recalls that underscore the fragility of corporate reputation and consumer trust in big companies.
So I was talking Monday to John Mackey, the co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. We were getting ready to do an interview that will appear in the January-February issue of HBR and on the website Big Think. But the Big Think cameras weren't quite ready yet, so we were just chatting. I asked Mackey about the more-vegan-than-thou diet that he's been following for the past couple of years. One of its distinguishing characteristics is that it bans the consumption of many non-whole — that is to say, processed — foods. Such as olive oil.
Which corporate brands are the world's most influential? Each year we at TLG try to answer that question in the International Index of Thought Leadership. We ask influential "opinion formers" from business, politics, the media, and NGOs in the U.S. and the UK to rank companies on five behaviors identified by Henley Business School as common to high-impact or "thought leader" organizations: a pioneering spirit, rigor, objectivity, authenticity, and clarity, with clarity as the most critical.
Leaders from the tech and finance sectors are having an ever greater impact on the nonprofit world. Nowhere is this most apparent than at the Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Procter & Gamble and Levi Strauss are using pop-up stores to connect with customers and build their brands in new ways
When it comes to luxury store retailing, properly rewarding a customer who spends $200,000 a year could be as easy as a walk in the park, or Park Avenue. But recognizing those dedicated shoppers who spend upwards of $1 million a year takes more than diamond points – this kind of shopper requires sincere eloquence.
Project RE:Brand is a web series that pairs five design and branding experts with five small business owners to assess and revitalize their brand identities. PSFK reached out to some of the participants in Project RE:Brand to ask the question; “Does Branding Still Matter?”
It's a languid, late-summer Wednesday afternoon at the offices of online handmade-goods marketplace Etsy, and Chief Technology Officer Chad Dickerson is sitting at a table in a conference room decorated to look like a cartoonish version of the interior of a Mercury-era space capsule. Surrounded by fake panic-button consoles, plush jet packs, and quilts depicting outer-space views of moons and planets, Dickerson is peering at his laptop screen to report a particularly important number that he's just been asked to look up: "We've got 263 search results for 'Justin Bieber.'"
We all know the fundamental issue: consumers are suffering from attention deficit disorder brought on by too much choice. Now the moral imperatives brought on by concerns over global warming—to buy local, to buy green—are layered on top of an already bewildering variety of alternatives. People are recognizing that every purchase decision has consequences, but figuring out what the consequences really are is tough.
Many North Americans would scarcely believe their ears if they heard what Gina Burton has done. A Toronto mother of two in her early 50s, Ms Burton drove a Volvo for 10 years. But, she says, “I just don’t think that the last Volvo drove as well as the others.” So in August, she traded in her Cross Country estate for a Buick Enclave, one of GM’s upscale crossover sport-utility vehicles.
So was the Gap's logo debacle really a debacle, or was it a clever sleight of hand? In response to my post last week, some of you said: wait a second — what if this was a genius move by the Gap, garnering a boatload attention with minimum effort?
Who is Kiva’s biggest competitor? If you rattled off a list of non-profit-centric startups, the micro-lending site’s President Premal Shah would tell you that you’re dead wrong. Try Zynga, the gaming behemoth that has given rise to Farmville and Mafia Wars and other disturbingly ubiquitous internet classics. What does virtual fertilizer have to do with micro-finance? Shah says a lot: It’s a never-ending fight for eyeballs and discretionary income.
“Big cities have international people,” Ralph Lauren said. “Tourists come wanting to buy souvenirs.” So the biggest one-man brand in fashion is getting bigger on Friday, when Polo Ralph Lauren opens a 22,000-square-foot store at Madison Avenue and 72nd Street in Manhattan. The store, built to resemble a mansion, will be the brand’s largest women’s store and will also feature home collections and new lines of lingerie and fine jewelry.
10 changes that will continue to affect the top marketing job going Into 2011.
At TEDxChange, Melinda Gates makes a provocative case for nonprofits taking a cue from corporations such as Coca-Cola, whose plugged-in, global network of marketers and distributors ensures that every remote village wants -- and can get -- a Coke. Why shouldn't this work for condoms, sanitation, vaccinations too?
Gap has announced on its Facebook Page that it is scrapping its new logo design efforts, acquiescing to a torrent of criticism coming primarily from Facebook and Twitter users. Last week, Gap unveiled a new logo, one it called “a more contemporary, modern expression.” The retailer’s customers were not so thrilled about the change, and Gap decided to ask users for their logo design ideas instead. However, that course of action has now been reversed, as well.
Gap has finally shed some light on its new logo, which has had the industry buzzing and wondering why the retailer ditched its previous iconic mark. The logo, created with Laird & Partners, New York, is meant to be the latest "evolution" for the brand, which has been updating its product, rolling out pop-up stores and tapping hot designers such as Patrick Robinson. The logo is also in line with the label on Gap's popular 1969 jeans line.
In the last decade, we've had two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), two automobile bankruptcies (General Motors and Chrysler) and two radically new social-media sites (Facebook and Twitter). We've had a housing crisis, a banking crisis and a dot-com bubble. Three of our four leading airlines have gone bankrupt. And the fourth one (American Airlines) is losing money. We've witnessed the incredible rise of Google and Apple. And the incredible fall of A.I.G. and Lehman Brothers. "Everything has changed" is the message marketers have been reacting to recently. And because everything has changed, marketers believe they have to change everything in their marketing programs.
Levi's makes pants; jeans, specifically, but its brand aspires to art and beyond. I used to think this was utter nonsense, but now I'm wondering whether the company's marketers shouldn't get some credit for being so wantonly experimental. It might put them out of business, but it sure won't do so boringly.
Taking a government bailout, getting hit with accusations of fraud and now a class-action discrimination suit have all led to Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs' steep decline in public reputation. According to YouGov, at one point it fell further than even BP and Toyota. But now that it's settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman is trying to put a new face on the company -- one that associates Goldman with companies such as clean-energy firms and with the creation of jobs.
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong told Ad Age today that he wants a "build-first" culture at his company, in which the growth is sparked internally, like the world's oldest startup. So why did he also just pay a reported $30 million, including incentives, to buy TechCrunch, the tech and startup news blog founded by former attorney and impresario Michael Arrington?
Elon Musk looks like a kid who just walked into a toy factory. The 39-year-old CEO of upstart car company Tesla Motors stands on the main floor of the New United Motor Manufacturing plant and looks with awe from one giant piece of machinery to the next. The car factory, known as Nummi, is located in Fremont, California, but it’s an industrial city unto itself. It encompasses 5.5 million square feet and contains a plastics molding factory, two paint facilities, 1.5 miles of assembly lines, and a 50-megawatt power plant. Since 1984, Toyota and General Motors had run Nummi together, producing as many as 450,000 cars a year here until it was shuttered in April. Now, in a remarkable turn of events, Musk owns the place.
If you want to be a 21st century company (or economy), if you want to survive and thrive during this Great Stagnation, you've got to to have the courage, foresight, and determination to step up to a higher rung on the ladder of innovation. It's time to master what I sometimes call "I-squared": the art and practice of institutional innovation.
I’m a capitalist by conviction and profession. I believe the best economic system is one that rewards entrepreneurship and risk-taking, maximizes customer choice, uses markets to allocate scarce resources and minimizes the regulatory burden on business. If there’s a better recipe for creating prosperity I haven’t seen it. So why do fewer than four out of ten consumers in the developed world believe that large corporations make a “somewhat” or “generally” positive contribution to society?
Interbrand, perhaps the world's leading branding consultancy, has published its annual ranking of brands. Mainstream newspapers like the Wall Street Journal have already reported on it with dutiful seriousness, and I expect there'll be a special section on the ups and downs of big brand names in a forthcoming issue of BusinessWeek, if past experience holds true. Too bad the ranking is nonsense.
Inside the $2.4 billion plan to change the way you think about the most iconic restaurant on the planet.
Interbrand has released its 2010 ranking of the world's best global brands. The 11th annual assessment of the world's most successful brands for the first time doesn't include BP, which lost billions of dollars of value, and brand equity, due to the Gulf Oil spill.
The thriving Internet shoe retailer has made its name and a lot of money by being eccentric.
Pepsi is so happy with its "Refresh Project" social media marketing campaign that it has renewed funding for 2011 and will expand it to the rest of the world. This year it will give away $20 million to the good works projects that win the most supportive votes from consumers, representing "true democratization of the philanthropic process," according to a company spokesman. I say it's really dumb, and not just slightly dishonest.
As the digital and social opportunities risk morphing into that all-too-familiar blend of noise and clutter, the simple foundations and "boring basics" really matter. So while the brand "app" may at times feel like yet another one-off, it may in fact represent the most important cornerstone of digital strategy.
As we get more engrossed in the idea and practice of digital experiences, are we missing out on the opportunity to build better physical experiences with brands? There's a huge opportunity here to fuse the world's of design and art with technology and create something new. As way of inspiration, I think it's good to look at the work of artist Olafur Eliasson- who's spent a lot of time trying to understand how we "see", manage, react to and interact with space.
A recent post from BBH Labs turned our attention to a short video clip from management consultant Tom Peters, in which he discusses his perspective on how storytelling isn’t just a marketing hot topic of the day, but rather something that is in our genes as human beings – we translate everything that happens to us in life into stories. If we communicate this way amongst each other as people, why should it be any different when brands speak to consumers?
Meet Jack. He has an abiding interest in soy protein isolate. Or carob-seed gum. Or high-oleic sunflower oil. And can't stop talking about any of it. Jack just met Jill. Yet Jill is edging away from Jack at the gallery opening. Or "unfriending" him on Facebook. And we don't blame Jill. Yet, this is precisely the opening gambit used by many marketers trying to engage with people. This self-absorbed approach is incompatible with basic human nature. And this should come as no surprise, as it is also incompatible with common sense. Yet, it's a trap brands fall into too often, obsessing over the minutiae of what separates them from other brands within a particular category.
What does winning look like at your organization? Defining success may sound simple, but few strategic plans come to grips with this question. Instead, management teams fall back on broad-brushed vision statements. "To be the best ... the biggest ... the leading ..." that lack the specificity employees need to implement the strategy or provide the benchmarks that leaders can use to measure progress. Should growth strategies be visionary? Certainly. But they should also be concrete. That's what Plan to Win is all about.
In this installment we review the various aspects and formalities of bringing a brand alive, truly alive in social media. Everything begins with establishing the rules of engagement in order to define the boundaries, context, and objectives for conversations. Guidelines such as “don’t be stupid,” “use common sense,” “stay positive,” is not the most useful approach to steering representatives or consumer experiences. While many brands possess a brand style guide, many have yet to adapt it to the social Web.
After coping with the global economic crisis, companies are beginning to aim for growth again. But their approach to managing innovation and the challenges they face haven’t changed. The survey results suggest a few ways to improve.
The growing dominance of social media compels marketers to abandon their old hard sell in favor of a content-driven marketing conversation that can facilitate meaningful brand relationships with customers and prospects. In this challenging environment, content is a key tool to fostering relationships, but publishing a blog, creating a Facebook fan page or launching a Twitter feed is only the beginning of a strategic content marketing program. Content marketing differs from traditional methods that employ interruption techniques in the belief that delivering helpful, relevant information drives profitable consumer action. The idea of sharing content is increasingly driving marketers to make proprietary intellectual assets available to influential audiences. Savvy content marketers create fresh information to share via all available media channels, on and off-line.
If for one reason or another, you’d slept through the past five years, only to find yourself suddenly awake in August 2010, you’d quickly realize the world of advertising and marketing has fundamentally changed in three major ways. First, subconscious or subliminal communication (and research) has become part of the vocabulary of most marketers. Second, power has shifted from brand owners to consumers - even the most powerful brands know that successful campaigns have to systematically engage consumers, who will in turn use their mighty word of mouth to spread the messages opposed to relying on big media budgets do the work. Third, 2010 is shaping up to be dominated by guilt. Guilt for spending money in the midst of a debilitating global recession, guilt for polluting the world, and finally, parental guilt, as kids increasingly engage in their own online world, far removed from traditional values that were previously the exclusive domain of the family. So what does this mean for a marketer in 2010?
Can companies do well by doing good? Yes—sometimes. But the idea that companies have a responsibility to act in the public interest and will profit from doing so is fundamentally flawed.
Tracking the effectiveness of advertising on the web was hard enough. Tracking it in the era of "walled gardens" could become that much tougher. The rapid shift of web audiences and marketer attention toward closely controlled properties such as Facebook or Apple's iAd platform is presenting a growing challenge for web analytics. Nearly a quarter of online time at the PC is now spent with social media, the lion's share of that on Facebook, according to Nielsen Co.
To some, Google has been looking a bit sallow lately. The stock is down. Where once everything seemed to go the company's way, along came Apple's iPhone, launching a new wave of Web growth on a platform that largely bypassed the browser and Google's search box. The "app" revolution was going to spell an end to Google's dominance of Web advertising. But that's all so six-months-ago. When a group of Journal editors sat down with Eric Schmidt on a recent Friday, Google's CEO sounded nothing like a man whose company was facing a midlife crisis, let alone intimations of mortality.
Andrew Mason figured out how to inject hysteria into the process of bargain hunting on the Web. The result is an overnight success story called Groupon.
It's 2010, and we still don't know how to describe the archetypal magnates of the next economy. We don't have a word for it, so we resort to awkward neologisms, like "information entrepreneur" or "green mogul." It's as if we're still not quite sure just what kinds of "capital" tomorrow's tycoons will be "ists" of. What are the kernels of tomorrow's prosperity?
The second tenet of the Marketers' Constitution states, "Marketing must build real, enduring, tangible brand value." A marketing environment in which brands are launched, built, tracked and precisely valued will allow businesses, across the marketing ecosystem, to make strategic decisions about how best to build and protect their brand.
Nike's Mark Parker brings together extreme talents, whether they're basketball stars, tattooists, or designers obsessed with shoes.
K-Mart and Marc Jacobs have something in common: low- and high-end fashion products tend to have less conspicuous brand markers than midprice goods, according to a paper soon to be published in The Journal of Consumer Research. Rather than rely on obvious logos, expensive products use more discreet markers, such as distinctive design or detailing. High-end consumers prefer markers of status that are not decipherable by the mainstream. These signal group identity only to others with the connoisseurship to recognize their insider standing.
Mark Anderson, the high-tech industry’s most accurate prognosticator, foresees an economic landscape still under the stress of too much liquidity — and decision makers still in denial.
How often do we hear about how many millions of dollars a start-up raised in this round or that? Venture capital is likely the most oft-cited figure for measuring the potential for a new business' success, but research firm CB Insights aims to change that misconception in a new report measuring human capital--not venture capital. "When we ask venture capitalists what gets them excited about the young, emerging, and often unproven companies in which they invest, we never hear about deals and dollars," reads part I of the report, released this morning. "Rather, the first answer is frequently 'the team' or 'the founders.'" In their first-ever VC Human Capital Report, CB Insights attempts to apply the "same rigor we apply to our quarterly tally of deals and dollars to provide an objective, data-driven perspective into the people dimension behind the deals and dollars we so often read about."
Product cycles aren’t getting shorter. They’re disappearing. Retailers are concentrating on their store brands and giving shorter shrift to national brands and manufacturer partnerships. They’re culling nationally branded products that fall short of sales and turn expectations from shelves. Sometimes, these metrics aren’t even used as justification!
To identify the world's most valuable brands we looked at more than 100 with leadership positions in their respective industries. Forbes evaluated these brands along with Jeffrey Parkhurst, managing director of business strategy at Mindshare, a WPP-owned media agency. We required that brands have at least some presence in the United States, because if a brand is to be considered global, it needs to be a player in the United States.
Now that Saab is Swedish again -- or at least Scandinavian, having been wrested from General Motors by Danish company Spyker earlier this year -- the automaker is hoping to bring back consumers who have departed over the years.
In psychology, the term "identified patient" refers to a family member — often a child or a teenager — who gets scapegoated for behavior that is actually just a predictable response to dealing with an unhealthy family. Tony Hayward is BP's identified patient.
BP’s board is expected on Monday to name an American, Robert Dudley, as its chief executive, replacing Tony Hayward, whose repeated stumbles during the company’s three-month oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico alienated federal and state officials as well as residents of the Gulf Coast. The planned appointment of an American to run the London-based company, which was confirmed by a person close to BP’s board, would underscore how vital the United States has become to BP.
A couple of months or so after becoming Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron wanted a few tips from somebody who could tell him how it felt to be responsible for, and accountable to, many millions of people: people who expected things from him, even though in most cases he would never shake their hands. He turned not to a fellow head of government but to…Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and boss of Facebook, the phenomenally successful social network.
The trouble: the T400 doesn’t have “it” quality. It is a business machine in the most pedestrian sense of the term. No trace of elegance. No claim to being the pick of the technological litter. No “wow” factor. The T410 is just another business machine. This takes us into one of the thorniest issue in the branding world. What is “it?” And what’s “it” worth?
A brand crisis can take many forms, which can linger differing lengths of time, depending on the survivability of the brand. Every corporate brand crisis is unique; each has a starting point when the CEO becomes responsible for the survival of the company. BP's bumbling management of its Gulf crisis, its seemingly endless decision-making process, not to mention post-crisis effects that will last decades, make this crisis unprecedented. Tyco, Texaco, Dynegy, IBM, Enron, Worldcom and Citigroup are a few of the crises we've studied. Some companies survived not only intact but emerged stronger than ever. Others were destroyed, or forced to merge. A handful limped on, weakened but not ruined.
If social media warranted a mantra, it would sound something like this, "Always pay it forward and never forget to pay it back...it's how you got here and it defines where you're going." This intentional form of alternative giving is referred to as "generalized reciprocity" or "generalized exchange." The capital of this social economy is measured in these productive relationships and those relationships are earned through the acts of reciprocity, recognition, respect and benevolence. So how can businesses, which, one could argue, typically represent a "pay it backward" approach (ie, "pay me for my goods and services"), thrive in this environment?
Audi has spent several years building brand awareness and consideration in the U.S. market. Now the company, which saw sales increase 28% in June, is hoping to join the ranks of bona fide luxury brands. The company has focused much of its marketing muscle on vehicles like the A4, but the next phase will be a raft of premium vehicles positioned against vehicles like Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series, says Loren Angelo, Audi's U.S. brand marketing manager.
The world may not need another social network. But Google does. Google needs a place where people can easily congregate and communicate. A place that's as easy to understand and use as Google.com. A place that people "like." Why?
Mr. Steinbrenner became a marketing asset who not only enhanced the Yankees' brand, but helped rebuild the U.S. Olympic Committee's brand and transformed his own personal image through TV commercials, a hosting gig on "Saturday Night Live" and signing off on the self-deprecating pop-culture portrayal of him on "Seinfeld."
Designing a new brand platform for a 160-year-old organization is no easy task, particularly when that organization is as diverse and well-known as the YMCA. The new brand platform involved a two-year development process that looked to reflect the character of the more than 2,600 individual "Y" organizations around the country.