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Category: Measurement

Davis ThinkingDavis Thinking } analysis and interpretation

Davis Names Top 25 Brand Leaders for 2012

Davis Brand Capital
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

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.

#FounderBrands: Microsoft

Monday, August 6, 2012

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.

From Bots to Spimes: Emerging Technologies Offer Early Glimpse of Our A.I. Future

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

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.

How Google Will Shape CMO Strategy

Monday, April 9, 2012

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?

Davis Names Top-25 Companies with Most Brand Capital in 2011

Davis Brand Capital
Monday, February 6, 2012

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.

Coupon, If You Dare

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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.

Google+, Minus Active Users?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Public posts to Google+ have decreased 41 percent month over month, according to 89n data cited on TechCrunch. After a fast start out of the gates, quickly gaining 25 million users, is Google+ losing steam?

Physics of Culture

Monday, July 25, 2011

Davis Brand Capital friend and collaborator Kevin Slavin spoke at TED Global this month about how algorithms are increasingly shaping our world. Think that doesn't concern you, your business or your life? Think again.

Davis Names Top-25 Companies with Most Brand Capital in 2010

Davis Brand Capital
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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.

Facebook "Likes" Locking and Leveraging Your Data

Friday, April 23, 2010

Facebook seems unstoppable. The community boasts more than 400 million users, half of whom log on at least once a day, and 35 million of whom update their status at least once a day. In the first week of March, its traffic increased 185 percent compared to the same time last year, briefly beating out Google for most-visited site in the U.S. And according to comScore, it commands a 41 percent share of unique visitors to top social media sites, including Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and Ning. But history suggests that when it comes to destination sites, what goes up must come down. And Facebook has apparently learned a few lessons from AOL, Friendster and MySpace. Facebook Connect and Facebook's recent announcement to extend its popular "Like" feature to the rest of the Internet point to strategic shifts intended to help it avoid a similar fate. In a decidedly Google-like move, Facebook wants to follow you outside of its walls to become a more integral part of your entire Internet experience.

Search Buddy Check: Man or Machine?

Jacco de Bruijn, Brian Canning and Kevin Ament
Friday, April 16, 2010

Every second, unfiltered information streams fill a growing data ocean. To sift through the depths, sort the finds and bring exactly what we need to the surface, we rely on the mapping and ranking algorithms of Google and other search leviathans. Their technology fuels our virtual treasure hunt, but without the right coordinates, there's little guarantee we'll salvage anything of value. Two startups, Aardvark and Hunch, think a greater emphasis on the people on both sides of the search will improve their chances of striking gold.

CBS: Classic Super Bowl Coverage, at a Price

Manon F. Herzog and J. Kevin Ament
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

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.

Goosed by Data Gandering

Friday, January 22, 2010

In what seemed like a tribute to the cute little kid from Jerry Maguire who kept repeating "the human head weighs 8 lbs," Fast Company recently published a Mr. Egghead infographic that illustrated an astounding fact from the brainiacs at UC San Diego: the average American, on the average day, consumes 34 gigabytes of information. And from 1980-2008, bytes consumed increased 350%. That eight pounds can sure pack a punch. For the purposes of explaining the infographic, writer Maccabee Montandon uses information, content and data interchangeably to argue that Americans are ravenous for "data." But hold up -- do we want to gorge on data? I'm not sure I buy his conclusion about our appetite.

Mobile Apps from Car Brands Blur Lines Between Branded Utilities and Product Features

Monday, January 11, 2010

New mobile applications from automakers GM, Mercedes, Ford and BMW advance the concept of branded utility in profound ways. Recent apps from these brands blur the lines between branded utilities and pure product features. And there are important implications in the auto industry and beyond.

General Electric: Brand Reimagined

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

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.

UE's Most Read Posts of 2009

Unbound Edition's Editorial Team
Thursday, December 31, 2009

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.

Davis Names Top-25 Companies with Most Brand Capital

Davis Brand Capital
Monday, December 7, 2009

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 Announces Davis Brand Capital

Davis Brand Capital
Thursday, December 3, 2009

Patrick Davis Partners, the brand capital consultancy, today announced an expanded portfolio of services and a name change to Davis Brand Capital.

Data Drama

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two autumns ago, Chevron, working with the Economist Group, launched Energyville as part of its "Will You Join Us" campaign. Not surprisingly, the campaign, the site, and the game drew a lot of criticism and vitriol for alleged greenwashing and hypocrisy. By posing a question the way it did, Chevron also invited negative answers (“No, I will not join you” on the blog) and word play that twisted the URL (Will you join us in protesting Chevron?). Despite all this, Chevron has persisted.

Post-Agency II: Mad Man Market Thyself

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It is no news that advertising agencies are in crisis, struggling to survive under the multiple pressures of reduced client budgets, degraded media effectiveness, and connected, informed consumers. What is news: agencies are proving themselves unable to adapt and to fix their own business problems; client-side solutions are winning. This, more than anything, illustrates the disconnect too often experienced between “the business” and “the creative” sides of marketing. The marketer’s role, in the end, is to navigate the markets — to succeed even amidst change — not just to razzle and dazzle though sales don’t come in the door. This applies to clients and to marketers alike. Mad Man: market thyself.

Prediction: Predictive Analytics will Proliferate Marketing

Thursday, May 21, 2009

“Quantiphobes” be forewarned. Marketing metrics are about to move to the forefront. The predictive power of advanced statistical analyses used to calculate risk in the credit and insurance industries for years are quickly becoming an integral part of marketers’ jobs. According to an Association of National Advertisers survey conducted in partnership with Interbrand, 80 percent of CMOs and senior marketers say the board and C-suite are increasingly demanding that marketers be more accountable. And marketers should welcome the change.

Real-time Data for the ADD Internet Addict is Glimpse of the Future

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pop culture is a constant, complex data stream unfolding in real time all around us. And you can watch it flow by in text and pictures at Digg Labs using its Stacks, Swarm, BigSpy, Arc, and Pics.

The Devil in the Details

J. Kevin Ament
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Advertising Age’s Garrick Schmitt recently wrote that “Data Visualization Is Reinventing Online Storytelling.” He celebrates the brilliant New York Times/IBM Visualization Lab and others for “turning bits and bytes of data... into stories for our digital age.” Admittedly, the Times’ work is groundbreaking, and I applaud Many Eyes and other “visual scientists” for their valuable work in helping us see complex data in clear, useful ways. But storytelling it is not.

Crowd-sourced Research Models for Consumer-driven Innovation

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Social media platforms, blogs, smart phones, online video conferencing and a host of other technologies will facilitate revolutionary changes for brand research and innovation. Many companies are already leveraging these technologies for more traditional types of data collection, such as survey research. However, few have taken advantage of the real opportunity these technologies collectively provide: crowd-sourced research models for consumer-driven innovation.

Thou Shalt Not Steal My Cola

J. Kevin Ament
Sunday, March 22, 2009

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely has a cool job. He studies why people cheat, then devises variables to increase or decrease how likely they are to do so. In this TED talk, Ariely discusses his findings and suggests many of our current Wall Street woes further validate them. Turns out we may not be so different than the hedge fund managers and derivatives traders at whom we’re currently pointing our collective (middle) finger. And maybe the Ten Commandments have a place in our schools after all...

New Priorities for the Post-Agency Market

Friday, November 7, 2008

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.

Markets, Marketers and Marketing: The End of the Road for Imposters

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

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.

Brand Tags

Monday, August 11, 2008

It is addictive, fun and maybe dangerous.

How Do Companies Value Intangibles? Hey, How 'Bout Those Cubs?

Kristen M. Jamski
Thursday, March 27, 2008

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.

Resolutions for Marketers in 2008 #1

R. Eric Raymond
Thursday, January 3, 2008

{self}Value both direct marketing and narrative marketing.{/self}

Beverage Companies Tap Into Consumers as Brand Evangelists

R. Eric Raymond
Friday, August 31, 2007

Alcohol companies, by nature of their product, have a greater degree of permission from consumers.  People bring their beverage of choice into golden moments of relaxation, celebration, and even hard times.  In a hotly competitive market such as alcoholic beverages, it’s vital to capitalize on this permission and the social nature of sharing a drink with a friend.

Five Maxims for a Successful Digital Content Strategy

R. Eric Raymond
Monday, August 20, 2007

{self}No longer is “we have a website” a sufficient response to the question “What’s your company’s digital content strategy?”{/self}

Are Your Intellectual Assets Collecting Strategic Dust?

Kristen M. Jamski
Wednesday, May 2, 2007

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.

At Issue } essential reading

Millennials Trust User-Generated Content 50% More Than Other Media

Max Knoblauch
Apr 9, 2014

It seems as if millennials have avoided traditional media ever since they learned how to read. The results of new research by marketing startup Crowdtap and the global research company Ipsos shed new light on how the connected generation gets its news. When it comes to trust, it turns out, millennials almost always choose their peers over professionals.

Mobile App Usage Increases In 2014, As Mobile Web Surfing Declines

Sarah Perez
Apr 1, 2014

New data from app analytics provider Flurry released today states that native app usage on smartphones is continuing to grow at the expense of the mobile web. The company claims that users are now spending 2 hours and 42 minutes per day on mobile devices as of March 2014, up from 2 hours, 38 minutes as of a year ago.

Get the Right Data Scientists Asking the “Wrong” Questions

Josh Sullivan
Mar 19, 2014

Wouldn’t it be great to catch the next Bernie Madoff well before his pyramid scheme collapsed around us? That’s not a rhetorical question. Advances in the field of data science have brought us to the point where it’s reasonable to expect that an ongoing program of fraud could be identified in its early stages by people with access to the right data to cross-reference and query.

Do Millennials Believe in Data Security?

Sarah Green
Feb 18, 2014

Millennials have a reputation for being the most plugged-in generation in the workplace. Experts have even suggested “reverse mentoring” so that younger workers can inculcate their “tech-savvy” habits in older generations. But a new survey from Softchoice shows that those may actually be bad habits when it comes to keeping data secure.

Ad Age Survey: What Advertisers Really Think About Twitter

Michael Learmonth
Dec 13, 2013

There's little question that Twitter's intial public offering in October was a success, but what about its ad business? Still a work in progress, but with plenty of upside, according to Ad Age readers. Between late November and early December, Ad Age conducted its fourth major survey of marketer attitudes toward social media in conjunction with RBC Capital Markets. This time, 953 execs at marketers, agencies and media companies weighed in on Twitter.

The World's Most Powerful People 2013

Caroline Howard
Oct 30, 2013

Who’s more powerful: the omnipotent head of a corroding but still feisty superpower or the handcuffed commander in chief of the most dominant country in the world?

You Are Connected To Everyone On Earth By Just 4 Degrees Now

Jessica Leber
Oct 28, 2013

The old six degrees of separation has shrunk, and it's because of Facebook.

There Are Three Americas Hiding Inside Our Country--Which Do You Live In?

Ben Schiller
Oct 18, 2013

America is divided by politics, economics and geography. But it also turns out that we also tend to cluster around people who act the same as us.

Why TV Execs are Still Skeptical of Twitter's Power to Attract Eyeballs

Nicole Laporte
Oct 9, 2013

On Monday, Nielsen unveiled its much-anticipated Twitter TV ratings, showing which television shows had the greatest reach on the social networking platform. The report heightened the already deafening buzz surrounding Twitter, which, as it nears an IPO, has been stressing its cozy relationship with TV and the ad revenue that it generates from that relationship.

The Anatomy of the World's Top CEOs

Rebecca Hiscott
Sep 23, 2013

Using data compiled by the Harvard Business Review, Domo and CEO.com created an infographic to show us what a top-performing CEO looks like.

The 10 Happiest Countries In The World, And Why We're Not One Of Them

Ben Schiller
Sep 10, 2013

The United Nations just released its second World Happiness Report, which ranks countries according to happiness levels.

See the Sizzle: Infrared Photos Reveal the Brutal Urban Heatscape

Betsy Mason
Aug 30, 2013

Armed with a thermal imaging camera that detects infrared radiation, artist Nickolay Lamm spent the afternoon in NYC capturing the city's heat signatures on August 15, 2013. The results are a compelling illustration of why it feels like you might melt there in the summer.

Here’s What Brick-And-Mortar Stores See When They Track You

Sarah Kessler
Aug 1, 2013

Retailers are already able to track your movements and activities in the physical world like websites do on the Internet. is that creepy? Decide for yourself.

There Are More Eyes On Your Facebook Posts Than You Can Even Imagine

Sarah Kessler
Jul 12, 2013

A recent report from Stanford University and Facebook suggests we consistently underestimate the size of our audience on social media.

Calculate The Pathetic Amount Your Personal Data Is Worth

Stan Alcorn
Jun 14, 2013

The NSA might be able to tap into your electronic data just like every other company, but it turns out that your personal information isn’t worth much at all--and you can calculate it just to make sure.

Y’all Vs. You All: Mapping The Linguistic Peculiarities Of American English

Zak Stone
Jun 6, 2013

These heat maps of the U.S. break down how people use language and pronounce words differently in different parts of the country: Soda vs. pop, sub vs. hero, water fountain vs. … bubbler?

Tornadoes in America: The Oklahoma Disaster in Context

Alexis Madrigal
May 21, 2013

A backgrounder for understanding the storm that hit Moore, Oklahoma.

Men Are More Likely Than Women to Use Mobile Shopping Technology

Lucia Moses
Apr 24, 2013

When it comes to mobile shopping, the gender gap is alive and well.

Who's Grabbing Consumer Data from Publishers?

Kate Kaye
Mar 20, 2013

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.

The Nielsen Family is Dead

Tom Vanderbilt
Mar 19, 2013

The new rules of the hyper-social, data-driven, actor-friendly, super-seductive platinum age of television.

The Purchase-to-Ad Data Trail: From Your Wallet to the World

Kate Kaye
Mar 18, 2013

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 electronic tattoo that can monitor patient symptoms remotely

Oliver Wainwright
Mar 15, 2013

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.

Big Bucks Are Backing Big Data's Lobbying Efforts on Capitol Hill By: Kate Kaye Published: March 1

Kate Kaye
Mar 11, 2013

Data is becoming a very expensive topic on Capitol Hill.

The Limits Of Big Data Marketing

Greg Satell
Mar 6, 2013

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.

Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport

Michael Bierut
Mar 4, 2013

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?

How To Give Your Business A Stress Test

Deborah L. Jacobs,
Mar 1, 2013

To succeed and to stay successful, companies must be “on their game” 24/7. That warrior mindset begins and ends with the business owner.

Four Big Data Misconceptions

David Booth
Feb 27, 2013

Big data is quickly becoming a bigger buzzword in 2013, and it clearly cannot be ignored by today's marketer.

Report Reveals How Consumers Use Mobile Phones Worldwide

Anita Li
Feb 26, 2013

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.

Social Interactions Affect Brand Perception

Aaron Baar
Feb 19, 2013

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.

Dealers Must Adapt To Mobile Millennials

Karl Greenberg
Feb 15, 2013

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.

Think Like The Competition

Laura Patterson
Feb 15, 2013

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?

Barnes & Noble Nook business to sink deeper this year

Lance Whitney
Feb 14, 2013

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.

Marketing's Push-Pull Problem

Robert Wollan
Feb 11, 2013

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.

Beware the Big Errors of ‘Big Data’

Nassim Taleb
Feb 8, 2013

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.

Emotional Engagement: Where Brands Strike Gold. And Make Money

Robert Passikoff
Feb 7, 2013

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.

How The Social Sector Can Better Use Data

Joshua Middleman
Feb 6, 2013

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.

Bill Gates: My Plan to Fix The World's Biggest Problems

Bill Gates
Jan 28, 2013

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.

A Craft Chemist Making Over Big Beer

Mike Esterl
Jan 28, 2013

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.

The Future of Commerce Starts With a Tap

Mark Bonchek
Jan 16, 2013

So what's NFC? It technically stands for Near Field Communications, and it enables mobile devices like smartphones to communicate with nearby devices and objects with a simple tap.

Data Points: Brand Fans People have more brands as friends than ever on Facebook

Lucia Moses
Jan 16, 2013

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.

Infographic: Mining Pinterest To Discover Our Color Preferences, By Room

Mark Wilson
Jan 16, 2013

Colour and Space is a project by designers Mie Frey Damgaard and Peter Ørntoft for decorative paint brand Jotun (Turkey). It digs through Turkish Pinterest boards, analyzing two fairly basic but powerful categories: color and location.

Don't Struggle With Big Data

Joelle Kaufman
Jan 14, 2013

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.

Focus Groups Are Dangerous. Know When To Use Them

Gianfranco Zaccai
Jan 9, 2013

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.

Disney to make standing in line — and cash — passe

Brooks Barnes
Jan 7, 2013

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.

New Marketing Machine Has Powerful Engine But Bad Drivers, Few Mechanics

Ted McConnell
Jan 7, 2013

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

Your Friendly Barista Secretly Hates You

Sarah Green
Jan 7, 2013

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.

Nielsen and Twitter Establish Social TV Rating

Matt Anchin and Rachael Horwitz
Dec 18, 2012

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.

A Look at Newspapers Turning a Profit -- Yes, There Are Some

Nat Ives
Dec 18, 2012

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.

New Report: We're Not As Connected As We Think

Pankaj Ghemawat and Steven A. Altman
Dec 12, 2012

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.

Purpose: How Truly Great Leaders Measure Their Companies

Joey Reiman
Dec 10, 2012

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.

CMOs: Here's How To Stay Relevant In 2013

Lisa Arthur
Dec 6, 2012

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?

Data: The New Creative

Louis Winokur
Dec 3, 2012

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.

Tesco is Retrenching -- It May Be The New Mandate for Global Companies

Walter Loeb
Nov 28, 2012

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.

Half of mobile phone users get online with their device

Dara Kerr
Nov 28, 2012

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.

The Social Commerce Attribution Problem: IBM Says Twitter Referred 0% Of Black Friday Traffic

Josh Constine
Nov 27, 2012

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.

Why Apple stores are raking in bags full of cash, and no one can dupe the formula

Geoff Duncan
Nov 26, 2012

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?

Rethinking Social Media's ROI

Bryan Urbick
Nov 19, 2012

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.

3 Big Insights From Today’s Top Design Thinkers

Mark Wilson
Nov 16, 2012

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.

Calculating The Economics Of Loyalty

Rob Markey and Fred Reichheld
Nov 15, 2012

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?

What's Going to Kill the TV Business?

Derek Thompson
Nov 9, 2012

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.

Is This The #1 Thing That Keeps Marketers Up At Night?

Steve Olenski
Nov 7, 2012

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.

4 Big Data Insights From 42 Billion Page Views

Dave Feinleib
Nov 7, 2012

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.

Hurricane Sandy Boosts Local Online News Brands

Cotton Delo
Oct 31, 2012

"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.

Big Data's Big Image Problem

Christopher Heine
Oct 30, 2012

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.

Is the Cost of Innovation Falling?

Bright B. Simons
Oct 29, 2012

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.

Reducing the Risks of a Deadly Diversification

Robert Sher
Oct 26, 2012

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 Politics of Social Networks

Robert Passikoff
Oct 16, 2012

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 -- Some things are very wrong

Walter Loeb
Oct 16, 2012

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.

Big Brother, Now at the Mall

Evan Ramstad
Oct 12, 2012

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 Tale Of TiVo And Why Great Brands Fall From Grace

Bruce Levinson
Oct 11, 2012

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.

Marketers Continue To Struggle With Big Data

Steve Olenski
Oct 5, 2012

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.

Service Helps Businesses Identify Their Key Social Media Influencers

Karen Summerson
Oct 4, 2012

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.

The Four Data Waves And How They Help Us Meet Marketing Goals

Mark Marinacci
Oct 2, 2012

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.

Get Started with Big Data: Tie Strategy to Performance

Dominic Barton and David Court
Oct 1, 2012

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.

Can You Live Without a Data Scientist?

Tom Davenport
Sep 26, 2012

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.

72% of Consumers Expect Brands to Have Mobile-Friendly Sites

Tim Peterson
Sep 25, 2012

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.

Mining Big Data to Find New Markets

Jason Sylva
Sep 24, 2012

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

What Executives Don't Understand About Big Data

Michael Schrage
Sep 14, 2012

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.

Wolfram|Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook

Stephen Wolfram
Aug 31, 2012

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.

The Currency of Digital Media: Views, Shares, and Comments

Ken Krogue
Aug 30, 2012

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.

Embracing Brand Equity While Changing Perception To Reach New Customers

Avi Dan
Aug 29, 2012

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.

The Meaning of Ownership in an Era of Digital Objects

Tim Ryan
Aug 28, 2012

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.

In Customer Relationships, Context Is King

Don Peppers
Aug 28, 2012

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.

What Data Can't Tell You About Customers

Lara Lee and Daniel Sobol
Aug 28, 2012

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.

Understanding Customers in the Solution Economy

David Midgley
Aug 27, 2012

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?

Is It Possible To Gather Too Much Customer Data? No!

David K. Williams
Aug 27, 2012

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?

Mintel: Brand Loyalty In The Dumps For Body Care

Karl Greenberg
Aug 24, 2012

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.

Need For Data Forces CIO-CMO Alliance

Baiju Shah
Aug 23, 2012

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?

How FedEx Revamped Its Brand Perception By Fixing Its "Leaning Tower Of Packages"

Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine
Aug 21, 2012

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.

A New Spin on an Old Topic

Andrew McMains
Aug 21, 2012

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.

Turning Customer Intelligence into Innovation

Scott Anthony
Aug 20, 2012

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 Clash

Alexia Tsotsis
Aug 20, 2012

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.

Business Model Innovation Through Process Change

Brad Power
Aug 20, 2012

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.

What Google Gets That Others Don’t: Innovation Evolves Customers

Michael Schrage
Aug 17, 2012

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.

Retailers target grey spending power

Louise Lucas
Aug 16, 2012

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.

Marketers Flunk the Big Data Test

Patrick Spenner and Anna Bird
Aug 16, 2012

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.

Magazines Make Branded Content, So Why Don't They Act More Like Brands?

Todd Pruzan
Aug 15, 2012

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.

Keeping zombies out of the mall

Philip Delves Broughton
Aug 15, 2012

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.

So Long, Segmentation

Neil Capel
Aug 14, 2012

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.

When Will The Penny Finally Drop For J.C. Penney's Ron Johnson

Robert Passikoff
Aug 14, 2012

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.

Social still can't beat search in online shopping

Donna Tam
Aug 10, 2012

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.

Why NBC Dropped the Ball on Olympics Coverage

Guardian
Aug 9, 2012

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.

Viacom Ad Sales Decline the Most Since Early 2009

Bloomberg
Aug 3, 2012

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.

So How Are the Olympics Performing Online? NBC Won't Say

Charlie Warzel
Aug 2, 2012

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?

Is FB Becoming BS?

Patrick Hanlon
Aug 1, 2012

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.

Instead Of Tracking Your Activities, Saga Tracks You

Sarah Kessler
Jul 31, 2012

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

Use Big Data to Find New Micromarkets

Manish Goyal, Maryanne Q. Hancock, and Homayoun Hatami
Jul 31, 2012

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.

Time For Biopharma To Jump On The "Big Data" Train?

David Shaywitz
Jul 27, 2012

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.

The Future of Big Data

Janna Anderson
Jul 24, 2012

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.

The Future Of TV Is Two Screens, One Held Firmly In Your Hands

Kit Eaton
Jul 18, 2012

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

Yes, College Essays Are Ruining Our Economy

David Silverman
Jul 12, 2012

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.

Some MLB All Stars Should Thank Twitter As Much As Talent

Sarah Mitroff
Jul 6, 2012

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.

The End of the Facebook 'Fan' As We Know It

Victoria Ransom
Jun 28, 2012

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?

Industry Must Respond To Generational Shifts

Karlene Lukovitz
Jun 28, 2012

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.

Deloitte: Smartphones Helping, Not Hurting, Retail Sales

Aaron Baar
Jun 27, 2012

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.

Cocktail bar offers discounts based on stock market drops

Hemanth Chandrasekar
Jun 20, 2012

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 Economic History of the Last 2,000 Years in 1 Little Graph

Derek Thompson
Jun 19, 2012

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.

The Screen of Each Laptop in the Apple Store Is Set to the Exact Same Angle

Megan Garber
Jun 18, 2012

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.

Our volatile age defies spreadsheet strategy

Gillian Tett
Jun 13, 2012

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.

Twitter Rebrands, Modifies Logo: Social network drops text for iconic bird image

Charlie Warzel
Jun 6, 2012

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."

Why Content Is The New Currency

Todd Copilevitz
Jun 6, 2012

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?

Why YouTube is the Ultimate Platform for Global Social Change

Rahim Kanani
Jun 4, 2012

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.

Be Careful What You Tweet, Pin or Check Into—Someone's Watching

Tim Peterson
May 24, 2012

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.

Tablet power is in the platform

Dan Farber
May 23, 2012

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.

CEOs Get(ting) Social, Per IBM Study Data divides top execs from the rest

Tim Peterson
May 22, 2012

The hierarchy of customer interaction methods starts with face-to-face, followed by websites, channel partners, call centers, traditional media, advisory groups and finally, social media. That won’t be the case in a few years. According to an IBM survey of 1,709 CEOs from 64 countries and 18 industries, social media will leap to the number-two spot while traditional media plunges to the bottom within the next three-to-five years.

Who Are the Top Retailers on Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Christine Erickson
May 18, 2012

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.

Nielsen: U.S. Consumers App Downloads Up 28% To 41

Ingrid Lunden
May 16, 2012

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.

Data Points: Online, There Are No Crowds [Infographic]

Lucia Moses
May 16, 2012

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.

For Brands, The Need To Rethink Everything

Bain Insights
May 16, 2012

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.

5 Steps CMOs Can Take To Make Social Media Work

Kimberly Whitler
May 10, 2012

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.

Just-in-time Information through Mobile Connections

Lee Rainie and Susannah Fox
May 9, 2012

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.

Why Location-Based Services Will Create Multiple Winners At The Application Layer

Semil Shah
May 9, 2012

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.

Why Marketers Should Get to Know Customers' 'Digital Selves'

Peter Pachal
May 7, 2012

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.

Study: Harley-Davidson Rules Retail

Karl Greenberg
May 7, 2012

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.

Yahoo Launches Online Marketing Dashboard For Small Businesses

Leena Rao
May 2, 2012

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.

Power: Ace Hardware Top Home Improvement Retailer

Tanya Irwin
Apr 26, 2012

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.

IBM Acquires Enterprise Search Software Company Vivisimo To Boost Big Data Analytics

Leena Rao
Apr 25, 2012

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.

Is the New York Times making paywalls pay?

Frédéric Filloux
Apr 24, 2012

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.

What If Online Doesn’t Work For Branding?

Jerry Neumann
Apr 19, 2012

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.

Coke Clobbers Pepsi

Robert Passikoff
Apr 17, 2012

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.

Most adults follow local news closely, relying on local newspapers and other sources

Carolyn Miller
Apr 17, 2012

Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others.

Men Are From Google+, Women Are From Pinterest [Infographic]

Steve Olenski
Apr 13, 2012

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?

Measurement-Driven Marketer

Ken Beaulieu
Apr 13, 2012

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 Brings You the First ‘Smart’ Soccer Match

Chuck Squatriglia
Apr 12, 2012

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.

Dunkin’ Donuts Interactive Bus Ad Sprays The Aroma Of Coffee

Jeremy D. Williams
Apr 11, 2012

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.

Facebook buys Instagram ...but for what?

Molly Wood
Apr 10, 2012

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?

10 of the most trusted brands in America

Paul Sakuma
Apr 9, 2012

In an era when entire companies and long-time brands are disappearing, why do Americans trust certain brands and not others? What is trust?

Tablets taking over the living room: 88% of owners use them while watching TV

Jennifer Van Grove
Apr 9, 2012

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.

Companies Spend Money, Time on New Corporate Names

EJ Schultz
Apr 9, 2012

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.

Etsy Hacker Grants: Supporting Women in Technology

Marc Hedlund
Apr 6, 2012

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?

6 Keys For Turning Your Company Into A Design Powerhouse

Jeneanne Rae
Apr 6, 2012

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.

How Rolls-Royce Differentiates With Personal Experience

Piers Fawkes
Apr 5, 2012

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.

Study: 'Big Data' poses opportunities, challenges

BtoB Online
Apr 2, 2012

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.

Cars in the Cloud: Trackable and Time-Stamped

Victor Cruz
Apr 2, 2012

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?

Wikipedia’s Next Big Thing: Wikidata, A Machine-Readable, User-Editable Database Funded By Google, P

Sarah Perez
Mar 30, 2012

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.

Is Best Buy following CompUSA, Circuit City to certain doom?

Brooke Crothers
Mar 30, 2012

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.

The Future Of Social Media Is Holistic Engagement

Paloma M Vazquez
Mar 29, 2012

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.

What Does it Take to Turn Big Data into Big Dollars?

Lisa Arthur
Mar 28, 2012

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.

Eventbrite Launches iPad Credit-Card Reader At The Door: A Lost Opportunity For Square?

Mar 21, 2012

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.

Dethroned! How Wendy's Slayed Burger King in the Fast Food Wars

Jordan Weissmann
Mar 21, 2012

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.

Is Marketing Too Undisciplined For Its Own Good?

Avi Dan
Mar 19, 2012

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.

50 Brands Named 'Customer Service Champions'

Tanya Irwin
Mar 16, 2012

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.

Two Years Into Tablet Editions, Conde Nast Begins Regular Readership Reports

Nat Ives
Mar 15, 2012

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.

How to Track Traffic From Pinterest in Google Analytics

Jim Gianoglio
Mar 14, 2012

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 Gives Up On Print Edition

Stan Schroeder
Mar 14, 2012

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.

Moneyball in the Digital Space

Robert Passikoff
Mar 13, 2012

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 Economics Of Emotion

Alan Zorfas
Mar 12, 2012

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.

Marvel and Aurasma Show Off New Line Of Augmented Reality Comics

Josh Constine
Mar 12, 2012

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.

Newspapers Are America's Fastest-Shrinking Industry

Derek Thompson
Mar 12, 2012

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.

How A Major Hospital Got Healthier With Big Data

Dan Woods
Mar 9, 2012

In most well-meaning organizations, once important information comes to light, it cannot be ignored, no matter what level of an organization is affected.

It's New Media, But You Can Measure ROI Using Old Tools

Brian Cavoli
Mar 8, 2012

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?

Why Social Marketing Is So Hard

Nilofer Merchant
Mar 8, 2012

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.

Best Practices: From First To Worst - Continental In A Post United World, Lessons In Next Gen Custom

Ray Wang
Mar 2, 2012

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 Three Layers Of Brand Perception

Nigel Hollis
Mar 2, 2012

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 Next Frontier In Marketing

Jacob Braude
Mar 1, 2012

"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."

Did Google Break The Brand At Midnight?

David Vinjamuri
Mar 1, 2012

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.

How to Be a Top 50 Innovator

Holly Green
Feb 29, 2012

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.

Focused Data and Intent-Based Targeting

Mark Rabe
Feb 27, 2012

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.

71 percent of enterprises creating their own mobile apps, says Symantec

Meghan Kelly
Feb 24, 2012

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.

Analytics: The Essential Ace in Every Hand

Laura Patterson
Feb 24, 2012

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.

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend

MG Siegler
Feb 21, 2012

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

Culture Vs. Strategy Is A False Choice

Bob Frisch
Feb 21, 2012

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?

B2B Marketers: It's time to become a growth engine

McKinsey and Company
Feb 21, 2012

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.

Why Some Think P&G's Innovation Is Slipping

Jack Neff
Feb 20, 2012

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.

IBM's Anjul Bhambhri on What Is a Data Scientist?

Dan Woods
Feb 16, 2012

To fully exploit the opportunity presented by big data, a value chain must be created that helps address the challenges of acquiring data, evaluating its value, distilling it, building models both manually and automatically, analyzing the data, creating applications, and changing business processes based on what is discovered.

How Companies Learn Your Secrets

Charles Duhigg
Feb 16, 2012

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 New Olympics Challenge: Screen-Jumping

Brian Steinberg
Feb 15, 2012

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.

Social Media Helps Grammys Achieve Huge Ratings in Broadcast and Social TV

Christina Warren
Feb 14, 2012

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.

Letter From The Editor: The Lessons Of Innovation

Robert Safian
Feb 14, 2012

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?

Why Brand Love, Satisfaction Aren't Keeping Shoppers Faithful

Beth Snyder Bulik
Feb 13, 2012

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.

Apple Market Cap Now Worth More Than Google And Microsoft Together

Catharine Smith
Feb 9, 2012

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.

Stick It To Pinterest: Move Fast To Cash In On Your Own Pins

Meghan Casserly
Feb 9, 2012

Darling social media site Pinterest is taking heat after being revealed to have made a practice of embedding tracking code into links users post on their “boards” to generate revenue.

Bitly Fights for Social Analytics With Weapons-Grade Math

Caleb Garling
Feb 9, 2012

Bitly shortens URLs on web services like Twitter where space is at a premium. But nowadays, it’s also offering software for big businesses: Bitly Enterprise. With the help of the Kalman Filter, this software identifies which of your shortened URLs are generating the most interest amidst the sea of noise that is the internet. It’s not unlike locking onto a Soviet helicopter simply by turning your head.

Apple Edges Out IBM to Become the Top Brand of 2011

Dan Graziano
Feb 8, 2012

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 ranked 9th in brand capital; Apple tops

David Markiewicz
Feb 7, 2012

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 stays at No. 3 for 'brand capital'

Aubrey Cohen
Feb 7, 2012

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.

Exxon, AT&T among companies with most brand capital in 2011

Gary Jacobson
Feb 6, 2012

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.

Apple knocks IBM off top of Davis brands list

Josh Lowensohn
Feb 6, 2012

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?

Brand Experience, Values Increasingly Drive Loyalty

Karlene Lukovitz
Feb 6, 2012

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.”

Hulu And TiVo Announce Top Super Bowl Commercials, But Where’s The Tech?

Rip Empson
Feb 6, 2012

Of course, in the wrap up of every Super Bowl, the people want to get a taste of which commercials were the most popular. This morning Hulu released its list of winners, and it looks like nostalgia took the blue ribbon. Of the ads that ran during game time, Honda’s “Matthew’s Day Off” (a Ferris Bueller tribute) just narrowly edged out Volkswagen’s “The Dog Strikes Back,” with the “most liked” ad on Hulu AdZone being Volkswagen’s “The Bark Side” preview ad.

I Paid $4 Million for This?

Matthew Yglesias
Feb 3, 2012

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?

Discount Voucher Sites: Threat To Brand Value?

Dr. Darren Coleman
Feb 3, 2012

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 Cites Google+ With Mobile Shift Among Potential Risks

Brian Womack
Feb 2, 2012

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.

77% Of CMOs Unsure Where To Reach Consumer

Sarah Mahoney
Feb 1, 2012

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.”

Brand Threat: The Out-Of-Touch CEO

Carol Phillips and Judy Hopelain
Feb 1, 2012

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.

Puma Takes to The High Seas For Social Trials

Tim Peterson
Jan 31, 2012

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.)

The Coming Tech-led Boom

Mark P. Mills And Julio M. Ottino
Jan 30, 2012

In January 2012, we sit again on the cusp of three grand technological transformations with the potential to rival that of the past century. All find their epicenters in America: big data, smart manufacturing and the wireless revolution. Information technology has entered a big-data era. Processing power and data storage are virtually free. A hand-held device, the iPhone, has computing power that shames the 1970s-era IBM mainframe. The Internet is evolving into the "cloud"—a network of thousands of data centers any one of which makes a 1990 supercomputer look antediluvian. From social media to medical revolutions anchored in metadata analyses, wherein astronomical feats of data crunching enable heretofore unimaginable services and businesses, we are on the cusp of unimaginable new markets.

Why Internal Culture Is Much More Important than Employee Social Media Guidelines

Michael Learmonth
Jan 30, 2012

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.

Online Ambitions, and a Dash of Real Estate, Drive Newspaper Deals

Tanzina Vega
Jan 30, 2012

IF the future of media is digital, who would want to buy a newspaper? Many people, it turns out. The notion of newspaper pages whipping through printing presses, then being bundled with twine and tossed onto street corners might be considered romantic by some while others view it as bad business. But while newspaper companies can be bought on the cheap these days, some investors seem persuaded they can turn a quick profit while others may view owning a paper as a civic duty.

Changes to the Way Customers Buy

Valeria Maltoni
Jan 30, 2012

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.

JCPenney Re-Refreshes Brand - Third Time's the Charm?

Mark J. Miller
Jan 27, 2012

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?

Consumer Behavior: From Trading Up To Trading Off

J. Walker Smith
Jan 27, 2012

The opposite of trading up is not trading down. In fact, there is no opposite of trading up; shopping behavior is more nuanced than that. When shopping hit the skids after the financial crisis, there was a lot of talk about a new normal of frugality, as if the only thing possible after a decade-plus of trading up was a generation to come of nothing but trading down. It’s clear now that those prognostications were flawed, not to mention overly pessimistic.

A Tale of Two Brands: How Land Rover Makes 14 MPG Sexy

Rebecca Lindland
Jan 26, 2012

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?

In Taste, Brand Matters

Martin Bishop
Jan 19, 2012

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.

Training Yourself To See New Strategic Options

KAIHAN KRIPPENDORFF
Jan 19, 2012

The strategic choices we make every day are determined by the “strategic narratives” we tell ourselves. We face a challenge and we don’t ask, “What does Porter’s Five Forces tell me to think about?” or “What does Clayton Christensen’s Disruptive Innovation model tell me to do?” No, we ask ourselves, “What does this remind me of?”

How IBM's Sam Palmisano Redefined the Global Corporation

Bill George
Jan 19, 2012

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.

Even Big Companies Cannot Protect Their Data

NICOLE PERLROTH
Jan 18, 2012

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.

The End of Retail

Matthew Yglesias
Jan 18, 2012

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.

The End of the Echo Chamber

Farhad Manjoo
Jan 18, 2012

Today, Facebook is publishing a study that disproves some hoary conventional wisdom about the Web. According to this new research, the online echo chamber doesn’t exist. This is of particular interest to me. In 2008, I wrote True Enough, a book that argued that digital technology is splitting society into discrete, ideologically like-minded tribes that read, watch, or listen only to news that confirms their own beliefs. I’m not the only one who’s worried about this. Eli Pariser, the former executive director of MoveOn.org, argued in his recent book The Filter Bubble that Web personalization algorithms like Facebook’s News Feed force us to consume a dangerously narrow range of news. The echo chamber was also central to Cass Sunstein’s thesis, in his book Republic.com, that the Web may be incompatible with democracy itself. If we’re all just echoing our friends’ ideas about the world, is society doomed to become ever more polarized and solipsistic?

The 10 Most Hated Companies in America

Douglas A. McIntyre
Jan 13, 2012

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 launches personal search tool linked with social media

Hayley Tsukayama
Jan 10, 2012

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.

What Do Social Media Influencers Do That You Don't (but Could)

Haydn Shaughnessy
Jan 4, 2012

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?

6 Steps for Protecting Corporate Reputation in the Social Media Age

Layla Revis
Jan 3, 2012

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.

So much for the penny press

Jeff Jarvis
Jan 3, 2012

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?

Building a Mobile App Is Not a Mobile Strategy

Jason Gurwin
Nov 22, 2011

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.

Google+, the Holy Grail of Search and Social

Shiela Shayon
Nov 10, 2011

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.

McKinsey Says Big Data Can Change The Way Business Operates

Tom Groenfeldt
Nov 3, 2011

Big data can change corporate strategy, according to McKinsey. Big Data is a pretty abstract concept, especially in finance where it can be a challenge to see where differences in the quantity of data an shift into a change in the business. This article from McKinsey Global Institute uses concrete, although anonymous, examples for one of the clearest explanations I have seen.

Steve Jobs's Legacy: Design Your Own Life

Nilofer Merchant
Oct 6, 2011

While there are many things worth celebrating of Steve Jobs's life, the greatest gift Steve gave us is a way to design our own lives.

Prepare Yourselves: Facebook To Be Profoundly Changed

Ben Parr
Sep 22, 2011

Facebook is driven by a single, unique goal. Its priority isn’t to gain more users (it already has 750 million of those), nor does it feel compelled to find stupid ways to increase pageviews. Its primary goal right now isn’t to increase revenue, either — that will come later. No, Facebook’s goal is to become the social layer that supports, powers and connects every single piece of the web, no matter who or what it is or where it lives.

Netflix's Bold Disruptive Innovation

Adam Richardson
Sep 20, 2011

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.

The Elusive Big Idea

Neal Gabler
Aug 15, 2011

The July/August issue of The Atlantic trumpets the “14 Biggest Ideas of the Year.” Take a deep breath. The ideas include “The Players Own the Game” (No. 12), “Wall Street: Same as it Ever Was” (No. 6), “Nothing Stays Secret” (No. 2), and the very biggest idea of the year, “The Rise of the Middle Class — Just Not Ours,” which refers to growing economies in Brazil, Russia, India and China. Now exhale. It may strike you that none of these ideas seem particularly breathtaking. In fact, none of them are ideas. They are more on the order of observations. But one can’t really fault The Atlantic for mistaking commonplaces for intellectual vision. Ideas just aren’t what they used to be.

Build Brands Apple's Way

Jeffrey F. Rayport
Jul 26, 2011

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.

Five Reasons Google+ Is Exploding -- and Could Actually Hurt Facebook

Simon Dumenco
Jul 25, 2011

So Google+ obviously has some traction. Just a few weeks after its launch, Google CEO Larry Page revealed that the nascent social network already had 10 million users. But will it ultimately blow up enough -- and matter enough -- to become a problem for Facebook? Yeah, I think so. (Ad Age Managing Editor Ken Wheaton isn't so sure.) Here's why:

Why Spotify Will Kill iTunes

Maxwell Wessel
Jul 25, 2011

iTunes as we know it is over. It is walking, talking, and continuing to pretend it's alive, but Spotify, Europe's outrageously successful streaming music product, has just shown us the future.

How We Brought in New Thinking

Frederico R. Lopez
Jul 21, 2011

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.

Inventing the Future of Management is Everybody's Job

Polly La Barre
Jul 8, 2011

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.

Local Food or Less Meat? Data Tells The Real Story

Andrew Winston
Jun 20, 2011

In recent years, one part of the food business has rivaled organics as the hot growth area: "local" food (defined vaguely as coming from the same state or from less than 100 miles away, for example). It's a market segment that has just about doubled in sales and number of outlets over the last decade. The world's biggest food buyer, Wal-Mart, jumped on the bandwagon last fall and announced that it would double the amount of local food it sells (to 9 percent of all its food sales). The idea of buying locally is not new, and farmers' markets have been big for years. It's become almost gospel that the food on our plates has traveled about 1500 miles to get to us. So it would seem logical that the best way to shrink your food-related carbon footprint associated would be to buy from near by. But it turns out that this assumption is wrong.

Clay Christensen's Milkshake Marketing

Carmen Noble
Feb 17, 2011

When planning new products, companies often start by segmenting their markets and positioning their merchandise accordingly. This segmentation involves either dividing the market into product categories, such as function or price, or dividing the customer base into target demographics, such as age, gender, education, or income level. Unfortunately, neither way works very well, according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, who notes that each year 30,000 new consumer products are launched—and 95 percent of them fail.

An HTML for Numbers

Chris Wilson
Feb 17, 2011

Is Google's Public Data Explorer the first step toward a universal data format?

The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value

Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer
Jan 12, 2011

The capitalist system is under siege. In recent years business increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. Companies are widely perceived to be prospering at the expense of the broader community. Even worse, the more business has begun to embrace corporate responsibility, the more it has been blamed for society’s failures. The legitimacy of business has fallen to levels not seen in recent history. This diminished trust in business leads political leaders to set policies that undermine competitiveness and sap economic growth. Business is caught in a vicious circle.

The New Normal for CMOs

Avi Dan
Oct 13, 2010

10 changes that will continue to affect the top marketing job going Into 2011.

Cleaning the Crystal Ball

Tim Laseter, Casey Lichtendahl, and Yael Grushka-Cockayne
Oct 13, 2010

Peter Drucker once commented that “trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.” Though we agree with Drucker that forecasting is hard, managers are constantly asked to predict the future — be it to project future product sales, anticipate company profits, or plan for investment returns. Good forecasts hold the key to good plans. Simply complaining about the difficulty does not help.

Why Sales and Marketing Are at Odds — or Even War

Steve W. Martin
Sep 30, 2010

Struggling companies all share something in common. Their sales and marketing efforts are at odds. Sometimes, they are even at war. The marketing team lectures the sales department, saying that if only the salespeople would follow their advice, their problems would be solved. Meanwhile, the sales department always says it needs something else from marketing. The salespeople are clamoring for the silver bullet that will convince the most ardent skeptic to buy. The root cause of this situation is that sales and marketing have different views of the world.

Exploring and Defining Influence

Brian Solis
Sep 29, 2010

Influence is bliss… The socialization of media is as transformative as it is empowering. As individuals, we’re tweeting, updating, blogging, commenting, curating, liking and friending our way toward varying levels of stature within our social graphs. With every response and action that results from our engagement, we are slowly introduced to the laws of social physics: for every action there is a reaction – even if that reaction is silence. And, the extent of this resulting activity is measured by levels of influence and other factors such as the size and shape of nicheworks as well as attention aperture and time.

ESPN Advances Cross-media Metrics for World Cup, Football

Andrew Hampp
Sep 28, 2010

For all the hype about cross-platform media measurement in recent years, there hasn't been much progress made. From Nielsen and Arbitron's aborted $45 million-plus market-research initiative Project Apollo, canceled in 2008, to the year-old Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, still months away from launching its first major study for its 22 members, most efforts have been slow at best. So it's no small feat that Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN was able to pull off something of a media miracle this past summer. ESPN XP, the company's landmark research initiative launched in conjunction with the World Cup, was the first program of its kind to track event-based cross-platform media behavior in the U.S., recruiting 15 different research partners and nine major sponsors including Cisco, AT&T, Sony and Anheuser Busch.

Mobile Phone Ranked Most Used Electronic Device

Giselle Tsirulnik
Sep 23, 2010

Forrester Research’s largest annual survey of Americans’ technology adoption finds that 73 percent of the 37,000 respondents claim the mobile phone is the electronic device they use the most.

Interbrand's Rankings Are Nonsense

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Sep 20, 2010

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.

Economic Conditions Snapshot, September 2010

Global Survey Results
Sep 20, 2010

Two years after the economic crisis, executives’ confidence has returned—albeit tenuously—suggesting a better ability to cope with and manage economic volatility.

Interbrand's 2010 Best Global Brands: Who's In, Who's Out

Shirley Brady
Sep 16, 2010

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.

Americans Spending More Time Following the News

Survey Report
Sep 13, 2010

There are many more ways to get the news these days, and as a consequence Americans are spending more time with the news than over much of the past decade. Digital platforms are playing a larger role in news consumption, and they seem to be more than making up for modest declines in the audience for traditional platforms. As a result, the average time Americans spend with the news on a given day is as high as it was in the mid-1990s, when audiences for traditional news sources were much larger.

Some Newspapers, Tracking Readers Online, Shift Coverage

Jeremy W. Peters
Sep 7, 2010

In most businesses, not knowing how well a particular product is performing would be almost unthinkable. But newspapers have always been a peculiar business, one that has stubbornly, proudly clung to a sense that focusing too much on the bottom line can lead nowhere good. Now, because of technology that can pinpoint what people online are viewing and commenting on, how much time they spend with an article and even how much money an article makes in advertising revenue, newspapers can make more scientific decisions about allocating their ever scarcer resources.

Balancing Wealth and the Public Good

Zafer Achi
Sep 3, 2010

Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi discusses Mubadala’s double bottom line, bridging investment and development.

Customer Loyalty: Warmth, Competence Are Key

Chris Malone
Sep 2, 2010

We've all had the experience of knowing someone we would recommend for a job but wouldn't bring home to dinner. The reverse is also familiar: There is someone we're happy to have to dinner but wouldn't recommend for a job. In the first instance, we're sure our colleague is competent, but we feel no real personal bond. In the second instance, we respond to the warmth of our friend but don't feel he is competent for a particular role. According to a recent study of more than a thousand representative U.S. consumers, people respond to brands in much the same way they instinctively perceive and judge one another--on the basis of warmth and competence.

CMO Matrix: How Social Technology Must Integrate with Traditional Marketing, a Horizontal Approach

Jeremiah Owyang
Aug 30, 2010

Although social technologies have been capturing marketers time for over four+ years in corporate, they’ve often been operated in a silo as experimental, or a separate deployment from traditional marketing. Yet the savvy marketing leader knows that reaching customers is increasingly becoming challenging as their touchpoints continue to fragment. To reach the fragmented customer, marketers must apply an integrated approach.

Facebook, Apple's 'Walled Gardens' Make Analytics That Much Harder for Brands

Jack Neff
Aug 24, 2010

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.

The Beauty of Data Visualization

David McCandless
Aug 24, 2010

David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut -- and it may just change the way we see the world.

Big Tech Hunts for Profits in Data Mountains

Joseph Menn
Aug 24, 2010

The second move in about a year for a little-known data storage company highlights how big technology companies are scrambling to help their larger customers do more with the massive amounts of information they are collecting.

How Our Brains are Wired to Read

Gord Hotchkiss
Aug 20, 2010

How do we read? How do we take the arbitrary, human-made code that is the written word and translate it into thoughts and images that mean something to our brain, an organ that had its basic wiring designed thousands of generations before the appearance of the first written word? What is going on in your skull right now as your eyes scan the black squiggly lines that make up this column?

Marketers' Constitution Tenet #3

Bob Liodice
Aug 20, 2010

The third tenet of the Marketers' Constitution states, "Marketing must become more effective -- more creative, insightful and accountable." Marketing as a whole encompasses a wide range of activities geared to address and inform the consumer and provide a return on that marketing investment. However, business leaders are challenged to measure the impact of their marketing strategies. A successful plan involves the implementation of three pillars which serve as the basis for marketing effectiveness: Smart consumer insights, Great creative, and Accountability.

Marketers' Constitution Tenet #2

Bob Liodice
Aug 11, 2010

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.

Google Agonizes on Privacy as Ad World Vaults Ahead

Jessica E. Vascellaro
Aug 10, 2010

A confidential, seven-page Google Inc. "vision statement" shows the information-age giant in a deep round of soul-searching over a basic question: How far should it go in profiting from its crown jewels—the vast trove of data it possesses about people's activities?

Marketers Still Looking for More Data, Lower Costs for IPad Ads

Kunur Patel
Aug 9, 2010

As early data on iPad apps trickle in, one thing is clear: It's going to require mountains of metrics for advertisers to pony up for the new platform's ads -- and their high prices. But early data from Conde Nast will bolster the argument the iPad is worth a premium, as it's delivering on reader attention better than other media channels.

Hot or Not: E-mail Marketing vs. Social-Media Marketing

Steve Rubel
Aug 9, 2010

Contrary to popular belief, video didn't kill the radio star, YouTube didn't knock off TV and Twitter didn't shut down blogging. However, in each case the steady advance of new technology definitely forced the incumbents to evolve. One can argue, for example, that some of the more established blogs on the web benefited greatly from building content strategies that engender massive link sharing on Twitter. Much the same, TV ad creative has changed to facilitate additional exposure on YouTube. Enter e-mail marketing, which, to some degree, has been beaten down by regulation, and has taken a backseat to social networking. Nielsen revealed last week that e-mail's share of time declined 28%, putting it in third place, while social networking, the leader, climbed 43%.

Consumer Spending Stagnates in June

Aug 4, 2010

Consumer spending and personal incomes were flat in June, according to government statistics released on Tuesday, the latest indication that the economy would continue to struggle in the second half of the year. The Commerce Department figures, which were seasonally adjusted, showed that personal income was steady in June, compared with a slight 0.3 percent rise in May. It was the lowest level this year and the first time in nearly a year that personal incomes have not risen compared with previous months.

Time Spent on Facebook, Gaming Surges

Jack Neff
Aug 3, 2010

The time Americans spent on social media has surged 43% in the past year, leading a substantial shift in how the country spends its online time. That time spent online has also sent e-mail to third behind gaming, according to research by Nielsen Co. The time spent on social media accessed from PCs rose from 15.8% in June 2009 to 22.7% in June 2010, according to Nielsen, while online gaming gained more modestly to 10.2% of online time from 9.3% a year earlier. But that was enough to push gaming past e-mail, which fell to 8.3% of online time spent at the PC from 10.5% a year earlier.

Report: Is Human Capital the New Venture Capital?

Austin Carr
Aug 3, 2010

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."

Your Brand Isn’t Selling? You’re Disconnected.

Ted Mininni
Aug 2, 2010

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!

Microsoft Quashed Effort to Boost Online Privacy

Nick Wingfield
Aug 2, 2010

In early 2008, Microsoft Corp.'s product planners for the Internet Explorer 8.0 browser intended to give users a simple, effective way to avoid being tracked online. They wanted to design the software to automatically thwart common tracking tools, unless a user deliberately switched to settings affording less privacy. That triggered heated debate inside Microsoft.

Unlike Media Brands, Marketers Slow to Embrace the iPad

Kunur Patel
Aug 2, 2010

While 2009 was arguably the year brands embraced the iPhone, developing apps left and right, the iPad doesn't seem to have inspired the same enthusiasm. Magazines have embraced the iPad, but despite the product's hype, larger screen and dual-touch technology, brands haven't followed suit.

Aggression: A Worthy Brand Builder

Mark Ritson
Jul 29, 2010

At the heart of the Ryanair business model is differentiation of the finest and most deliberate kind. I would - in all seriousness - rank Ryanair next to Hermès or Pret a Manger in terms of brand positioning and execution. Ryanair’s brand associations centre on three key themes: low-price, no nonsense and aggression. Don’t underestimate points two and three.

The World's Most Valuable Brands

Kurt Badenhausen
Jul 29, 2010

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.

Forrester: Why Most Marketers Should Forgo Foursquare

Kunur Patel
Jul 27, 2010

In a study out today, Forrester finds that only 4% of U.S. online adults have ever used location-based mobile apps such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt. Only 1% update these services more than once per week. What's more, 84% of respondents said they are not familiar with such apps, leaving the vast majority of Americans online still in the dark about location-based apps, which have had the marketing world obsessing over them in recent months.

Pro Football Is One Game Major Marketers Want to Play (and Buy)

Rich Thomaselli
Jul 27, 2010

Marketer interest in the NFL has been so strong that the league actually moved to reduce its number of sponsors to 21 for the upcoming season from 30 corporate partners in 2001 and 24 in 2008. The purpose was to avoid the sponsor-overload of, say, a Nascar, which has done a good job of delineating the categories for its partners so there are no conflicts but, nonetheless, still has 49 corporate sponsors.

Understanding the Digital Natives

Frederic Filloux
Jul 26, 2010

They see life as a game. They enjoy nothing more than outsmarting the system. They don’t trust politicians, medias, nor brands. They see corporations as inefficient and plagued by an outmoded hierarchy. Even if they harbor little hope of doing better than their parents, they don’t see themselves as unhappy. They belong to a group — several, actually — they trust and rely upon. “They”, are the Digital Natives.

The Future is Another Country

The Economist
Jul 26, 2010

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.

Getting to Scale: Direct Marketing vs. Mass Market Thinking

Seth Godin
Jul 21, 2010

A mass marketer needs to reach the masses, and to do it in many ways, simultaneously. The mass marketer needs retail outlets and fliers and a website and public relations and tv ads and more more more and then... bam... critical mass is reached and success occurs. Best Buy is a mass marketer, but so are Microsoft and the Red Cross. Ubiquity, once achieved, brings them revenue, which advances the cycle and they reach scale. The direct marketer, on the other hand, must get it right in the small.

Amazon Says E-Book Sales Outpace Hardcovers

Geoffrey A. Fowler and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
Jul 20, 2010

Amazon.com Inc. said it reached a milestone, selling more e-books than hardbacks over the past three months. But publishers said it is still too early to gauge for the entire industry whether the growth of e-books is cannibalizing sales of paperback books, a huge and crucial market.

Forrester: If You Think Social Media Marketing is Worthless, You're Doing it Wrong

Mike Melanson
Jul 19, 2010

Has your company spent seemingly countless hours tweeting on Twitter, networking on Facebook and writing the company blog? Have you found yourself wondering if it's all a waste of time? Maybe that last Facebook fan page contest saw fewer entries than you'd hoped for, or that last Twitter-only coupon had fewer redemptions than you'd expected, but perhaps that's not all that matters. According to the the latest report by analyst firm Forrester, many people are looking at the face value dollars and cents of social media marketing and, put simply, they're doing it wrong. Beyond clicks and coupon redemptions, there lies a case for social media marketing that shows its value is well beyond what we see on the surface.

Now What?

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Jul 19, 2010

Old Spice has made history, dominating YouTube last week with 8 of the 11 most-watched videos on Friday and racking up tens of millions of views. Its "Smell Like a Man" campaign, in which its spokesmodel quickly shot mostly unscripted and hilariously funny replies to nearly 200 online inquiries (including some from famous people). It prompted numerous copycat videos and got covered by just about every news outlet in America. Now what?

The New Rich: What Success And Wealth Mean To Consumers In 2010

Andrew Benett and Ann O'Reilly
Jul 16, 2010

All year long Forbes comes out with lists of the world's richest people--the youngest billionaires, the most eligible billionaires, the richest women, the wealthiest families on each continent. People find it fascinating to track the waning and waxing of personal wealth, watching as perennial front-runners Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are eclipsed by a Mexican telecom titan and chased by various silver-spoon princes of Asia and the Middle East. To be among the world's wealthiest is the stuff of many a daydream. And yet our communal vision of what it means to be "rich" is changing.

Twitter, Twitter, Little Stars

Felix Gillette
Jul 16, 2010

As customers make or break brands online, companies rush to hire social media directors…and figure out what they do.

Audi Focuses On Making Premium Leap

Karl Greenberg
Jul 16, 2010

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.

Social Media Buzz. Advantage: Old Spice

Jul 14, 2010

The Cannes Film Grand Prix-winning Old Spice campaign has evolved over the last 24 hours to dominate discussion in social media, in what is sure to become the ‘case study du jour’ for the foreseeable future. Yesterday, however, the marketing campaign took a different turn and really got ‘social media right’. It’s been updated and sees Isaiah Mustafa respond directly to YouTube comments, Tweets, Yahoo! Answers and blog posts about him in 117 publicly available, timely and pesonalised video messages. So what are the results? It’s still early to tell, but a few things are apparent.

What the Detroit Public Schools Can Teach Marketers

Shiv Singh and Peter Carter
Jul 13, 2010

It wasn't a multi-million dollar television campaign for a Fortune 50 company, nor was it a digital media program for some new-age service. Instead, the Grand Effie award was given to the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) for a very simple, and cost-efficient word-of-mouth program to encourage student enrollment. Here's what they did.

How LeBron's Entourage Got His 'Decision' on ESPN

Rich Thomaselli
Jul 12, 2010

By now you've heard the offense against basketball star LeBron James' one-hour TV special to announce his team choice -- that it was narcissistic, sullied his brand and blurred the journalistic line for ESPN. But what you haven't heard is the defense of the man who helped put the show together: uber-agent Ari Emanuel, who says "The Decision" forwarded the paradigm for advertiser-funded programming.

As Domino's Gets Real, Its Sales Get Really Good

Todd Wasserman
Jul 12, 2010

Domino’s last week introduced an industry first: A transparent pizza. The chain, working with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, attempted to one-up competitors on the authenticity front by announcing that all the photographs of its pizza that will appear in ads will from now on be devoid of “fancy food artistry” or “fancy touch-ups.”

A Sharp Focus on Design When the Package Is Part of the Product

Andrew Adam Newman
Jul 9, 2010

Now Kleenex, the brand that invented facial tissues 86 years ago, is hoping to bolster summer sales with packages that resemble wedges of fruit and look more at home on a picnic table than a bedside table. The A-frame packages, featuring fruits like watermelon, orange and lime, were available only at Target last summer, and are being sold at all major retailers this summer.

The Medium Is the Medium

David Brooks
Jul 9, 2010

A citizen of the Internet has a very different experience. The Internet smashes hierarchy and is not marked by deference. Maybe it would be different if it had been invented in Victorian England, but Internet culture is set in contemporary America. Internet culture is egalitarian. The young are more accomplished than the old. The new media is supposedly savvier than the old media. The dominant activity is free-wheeling, disrespectful, antiauthority disputation.

To Get LeBron, ESPN Cedes Control Over Ads, News

Brian Steinberg
Jul 8, 2010

Did ESPN just get "mediajacked"? Come Thursday, in prime time no less, ESPN gets the exclusive. But to do it, the Disney sports network appears to have sacrificed revenue -- and even some journalistic control by letting Mr. James choose one of his interviewers -- in exchange for the ratings and buzz the event is likely to provide. Commercial revenue from the special program -- which is being called "The Decision" -- will be donated to Boys & Girls Club of America, a charity that ESPN and Disney also support.

Are Your Ears Burning? In Social Networks, One-Third of Consumers Talk Brands Every Week

Brian Solis
Jul 6, 2010

Social media didn’t invent conversations, it provided us with tools to surface and organize them. Conversations about brands predates the mediums used to connect messages and aspirations with consumers. The motivation for brands to engage in social networks varies based on the culture and agility of each company, but what is constant is the aspiration to connect with customers and prospects to earn awareness, attention and connections.

Wal-Mart's Green Strategy Raises Serious Issues

Bob Lurie
Jul 1, 2010

Wal-Mart's move to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from its supply chain in the next five years is impressive. It's also an example of the world's largest retailer exerting a blunt form of regulatory vigilantism.

Is The Hispanic Market Right For Your Brand?

Federico Murara
Jun 30, 2010

Did you know that the US is the world’s second-largest Spanish-speaking country? It’s true. In fact, there are 46.3 million Hispanics in the US today, and 20 million of them use the internet. Are you targeting the Hispanic market with search? If not, perhaps it’s time you considered doing so.

Detox the Branding Business

Christoph Burmann and Jan-Philipp Weers
Jun 29, 2010

Calling on brands to help consumers simplify their selection and purchase experiences makes sense; in the past, brands have served as the most important institution and clarifying mechanism there is in the marketing world. They have acted as liaisons between company and customer; they're descriptors, promises, expectations and attitudes, all together. But brands themselves have caused great consumer confusion of late. We recently completed an in-depth study of 1,488 consumers; as the results attest, 70% perceive the brands they know, based on memory, in the categories they want to go shopping for, as confusing. And at the point of sale, brand confusion more often increased rather than decreased.

When Brand Relevance Is A Relevant Metric

Laura Patterson
Jun 25, 2010

Brands identify the source or maker of a product. Based on what customers know about the brand, they can form reasonable expectations about its benefits. Companies believe that brands contribute to reducing risk by helping buyers avoid a purchasing mistake. It is also a widely held belief that brands are financially important to companies.

Facebook Upgrade: How New Features Will Help Brands Connect With Fans

Aaron Strout and Kevin Tate
Jun 25, 2010

There is a good chance that if you are reading this article you already have a personal Facebook account. There's also a possibility that many of you may be trying your hand at tapping into the power of the 400 million-plus members on Facebook. However, Facebook's recent announcements on how its platform is evolving may be as clear as mud. To that end, the goal of this article is to break the latest news into four areas: 1. Graph API 2. Analytics 3. Storable data 4. Social plug-ins. Within each area, we'll translate the technical into what it means (at a high level) and, most important, how brands will benefit.

The Reality of Social Media

Adrian Chan
Jun 23, 2010

I will try to demonstrate here the manner in which social acts and communication result in mediated social realities. And suggest that the relational connections and value-added associations which are the byproduct of social media use create a marketplace of content whose highest value, individually motivated subjective choices, we are only beginning to capture and mine.

AOL, IPG Race To Keep Up With Consumer Habits Online

Laurie Burkitt
Jun 18, 2010

John Ross, president of the research and development arm of Interpublic Group's Mediabrands, thinks retailers have a big problem. Their circulars, which worked in the offline world for decades, haven't caught up with consumer habits online.

Why Twitter's New Ads are Ingenious

Pete Cashmore
Jun 18, 2010

Twitter this week began testing a new type of advertising: "Promoted Trends." Under the new system, brands can pay to appear below the "Trending Topics," the most talked-about terms on Twitter at any given moment. The idea is, in a word, ingenious -- the perfect way to generate revenue from the popular social network without infuriating users.

Consensus on Retail

Denise Lee Yohn
Jun 18, 2010

Consensus Advisors just released their 2009-2010 Retailer Health Ratings (RHRs) report. The RHRs measure and compare retailers over a five-year period on: healthy growth, asset utilization, pricing power and balance sheet strength.

Meet Me Exclusively @Target

Laurent Bourscheidt
Jun 17, 2010

Although luxury brands remained surprisingly isolated from the downturn in 2007 and 2008, 2009 was tough on all sectors, including haute couture. Even the acclaimed Christian Lacroix was driven out of business. Naturally, when circumstances call for bold actions, it's tempting to expand your market to enhance your bottom line. But is it possible without compromising the luxury nature of your brand?

Off-Field Action Heats Up As FIFA Chases Marketers

Will Connors and Christine Passariello
Jun 17, 2010

At this year's World Cup in South Africa, which kicked off Friday, soccer's governing body FIFA is trying to squelch guerrilla-marketing tactics by those who haven't paid for official sponsorships. It created new "exclusion zones" that restrict companies from advertising close to its venues and hired agents to help enforce the zones. But big-name advertisers including Nike, Puma AG, PepsiCo Inc. and others are finding ways to go over and around them.

BP Agrees to $20 Billion Fund

Jonathan Weisman and Guy Chazan
Jun 17, 2010

BP PLC, under intense legal and political pressure from President Barack Obama, agreed Wednesday to put $20 billion into a fund to compensate victims of the Gulf oil spill, and said it would cancel shareholder dividends for the first three quarters of this year to offset that cost. BP said it would pay another $100 million to a separate fund to help oil-industry workers sidelined by the Obama administration's moratorium on deepwater drilling.

What Mountain Dew Learned from 'DEWmocracy'

Elaine Wong
Jun 16, 2010

Consumers generated word-of-mouth buzz about the brand, in many cases, without any incentives—something O’Brien sees as being crucial to long-term engagement with fans. In an interview with Brandweek, O’Brien discussed the results of both "DEWmocracy" campaigns, and how, moving forward, social media and crowdsourcing will play a bigger role in the brand’s innovation.

Why a Museum Is the UK’s Top Brand on Twitter

Matt Rhodes
Jun 15, 2010

Last week we looked a ranking of the top ten brands on Facebook globally, based on the number of people who ‘like’ them. There were no real surprises – Starbucks came top and the rest of the top ten was filled with well-known consumer and fashion brands. The same dataset, from Famecount, can be used to look at brands on Twitter and, unlike with Facebook, it throws up some unexpected findings. For example the most followed brand in the UK isn’t a consumer or fashion brand, an airline or a bank. It’s a museum: @Tate.

A World of Inspirational Problem-Solving, Savvy Brands and Smart Marketing

Ann Marie Kerwin
Jun 14, 2010

They are among the World's Hottest Brands, an Ad Age Insights global report that tells the stories of 30 brands succeeding on a global, regional and local level. The goal was not to create a list of the largest global marketers or rank the brands that contribute the most to their company's market value -- plenty of others tackle those lofty questions. Rather, we sought to chronicle the brands percolating at the local and regional level; sometimes great marketing lessons can happen in your backyard, sometimes halfway around the world.

McDigital McDonald's Gets Social With Moms

Mark J. Miller
Jun 14, 2010

Brandchannel’s weekly Digital Watch feature takes a deeper look at brands’ digital strategy. Our latest case study, McDonald’s, takes a multi-tiered approach to digital branding that cozies up to moms to reinforce its nutritional, family values.

Pepsi Community Effort Finds Fans on Social Nets

Elaine Wong
Jun 9, 2010

Pepsi's social media-backed community change effort, dubbed “Refresh Project,” is off to a good start. So far, the soft beverage giant has funded more than 100 projects and given back approximately $5 million to local communities, according to Ana Maria Irazabal, marketing director for Pepsi. With new entries and winners announced every month, the brand is on track to hit its goal of $20 million in grant money this year. "Refresh Project" is also helping Pepsi expands its already massive presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social nets. The initiative has sparked human interaction and is affecting change in communities, Irazabal said.

Time For New Market Research Paradigm?

Karlene Lukovitz
Jun 9, 2010

While the Internet and social media are a potential boon to market researchers, they've also raised concerns and ongoing debate about methodology and the ability to project results. Now, one social media-based research firm is charging into the fray with a report that maintains that today's empowered consumers and marketers' need for faster, actionable insights requires an approach that combines the strengths of newer, "humanistic" approaches with those of traditional, experimentally-based research.

Competition Comes to a Head for World Cup Sponsors

Eric Pfanner
Jun 7, 2010

The first decisive marketing goal of World Cup 2010 was scored nearly three years before the opening match of the soccer tournament, in which Mexico will face South Africa on Friday. It came when Nike, the American sports shoe and clothing maker, acquired Umbro, a British supplier of soccer gear that is a longtime sponsor of the English national team. The deal signaled a new determination by Nike to challenge Adidas, the German soccer apparel powerhouse, on its European home turf.

What Generation Gap?

Gregg Lipman
Jun 4, 2010

Will the idea of a "generation gap" eventually atrophy into obsolescence? We see this not only in the video-game world, but also in other brands: moms and daughters with matching Ugg boots, Juicy Couture sweatsuits, Abercrombie hoodies and Coach handbags. Fathers and sons comparing fantasy football rankings on matching iPhones or killing precious productivity hours on YouTube. Teachers and students sipping from matching Starbucks latte cups or ordering the same items from Pinkberry. Moms and daughters rooting feverishly for their favorite "American Idol" contestants or shaking their heads in utter disgust at the shameless and hygienically dubious conduct of the latest batch of "The Real World" participants.

Step Aside, Brand Loyalty; We’re Loyal to Information Now

Gina Chen
Jun 3, 2010

The Pew Research Center released an interesting study last week that offers some sobering — if unsurprising — insights for the news business. Researchers examined top news stories in the mainstream press as well as what news got traction on blogs, Twitter and YouTube. A main finding was that what’s hot on social media differs — a lot — from what leads in the mainstream press. But what’s even more interesting, I think, is that what’s popular on one form of social media differs significantly from what’s trendy on another. For example, Twitter’s domain is technology, not surprisingly. Blogs and the mainstream press focus more on politics and government. Also not a shocker. As my kids might say: “No duh.” But what isn’t so obvious is what this might mean. I’ve written before about how I believe the real reason many people don’t subscribe to news online — or in print — is about commitment, not money. This study crystallizes my thoughts. I suggest these findings illustrate the radically different way today’s consumers think of news, compared with the past. It’s not brand based. It’s not even platform based. It’s based on niche, which many have said before. But the niche isn’t just in the content or the subject matter; it’s in the mechanism of transmission.

AT&T Dials Up Limits on Web Data

Andrew Dowell and Roger Cheng
Jun 3, 2010

In a significant shift in how phone carriers bill customers, AT&T Inc. will stop selling unlimited Internet data plans to new customers that buy smartphones and iPads, and will instead begin charging more for heavy bandwidth users. New AT&T customers will have to chose between two data plans with monthly usage limits—and pay additional fees for extra use. Existing customers, however, can stick with their current plans, AT&T said.

Too Many Brands Make Hollow Claims

Brad VanAuken
Jun 2, 2010

Is quality important? Yes. Is Innovation important? Absolutely. Is service important? Of course. Is it desirable to be the industry leader? Sure. However, in more and more categories, as I perform brand audits, I find that large numbers of companies in many categories make these claims, so much so that the claims have become hollow.

Companies' Good Deeds Resonate with Consumers

Laurie Burkitt
May 28, 2010

How does a company inspire its consumers and what does it mean for business growth? Inspiration Blvd, a brand-consulting firm in Alpharetta, Ga., surveyed 1,752 consumers to identify America's top motivating companies. Conducted online, the survey asked consumers to pinpoint influential indicators--such as innovation, reliability, growth, charity--and to freely describe companies they see as inspiring. The goal was to determine a correlation between successful companies and companies that inspire their consumers, says Terry Barber, chief inspiration officer of Inspiration Blvd. "We set out asking whether companies that inspired others were more likely to connect and draw shoppers," Barber says. "We see now there's a strong link between the message consumers take away and how they act on it."

Freer Ad Spending Buoys TV's Upfront

Suzanne Vranica and Sam Schechner
May 27, 2010

The upfront market, the annual mating dance in which ad buyers and major broadcast networks haggle over ad time for the new TV season, is heating up, and could be sold out in a matter of weeks, ad buyers and marketers say. It's a major reversal from last year when talks dragged on through much of the summer in a harsh economic climate.

We Are The Champions

Brian Solis
May 27, 2010

Social Media marketing is not new nor is it widely established or even understood. However in 2010, it will completely transform the way businesses attract customers and the way consumers find the businesses and services that matter to them. And like that, an overnight landmark, which really is over a decade in the making, will challenge business owners, more so than today, as they now compete for the future, right now. Social Networks are no longer the playgrounds we once perceived. The simple truth is this; social networking is not for just for kids or people with too much free time on their hands.

Apple Overtakes Microsoft, Becoming 2nd Largest US Company

David Benoit and Shara Tibken
May 26, 2010

With a slide in the value of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) on Wednesday, Apple Inc. (AAPL) took over its long-time rival in terms of market capitalization, another notch in its impressive 2010 performance. The move by Apple, despite its own shares slipping 0.5% to $244.11, makes it the second-largest U.S. company behind oil behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM). Apple's shares have soared during the year, pushing it first past retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and now past Microsoft, two highly regarded blue chips. Apple has gained 16% in 2010 and hit an all-time high of $272.46 one month ago as its products have continued to fly off the shelves and its newly released tablet computer has garnered much attention.

Mountain Dew Fans Crowdsource Ad Media Buys

Laurie Sullivan
May 25, 2010

Mountain Dew took three new Dew flavors to fans, asking for feedback on placing ad media buys. The move represents the latest in a series of attempts through Dew Labs to turn over the entire product development cycle and marketing process to consumers who love the brand most.

World's Most Reputable Companies

Laurie Burkitt
May 24, 2010

When top executives set out to build well-regarded companies, most start in their home countries. If they're successful, strong business practices and values they craft there will translate overseas. As companies become more connected and businesses more international, creating a first-class reputation across borders is critical. For some companies, this can be the difference between success and failure. So what is the secret to earning esteem that spans the world? And which companies are best at doing it?

What Surprising Number Will Change Your Business?

Bill Taylor
May 24, 2010

Numbers are the universal language of business. We use them to attract investors for our startup ideas, to win approval for product introductions, to make the case for expanding into new markets or entering new categories. In other words, numbers, when used well, tell a compelling story. So why is it that so many of the numbers we encounter in business — from endless Excel spreadsheets to bloodless calculations in business plans — make our eyes glaze over rather than set our minds racing?

E-Books Rewrite Bookselling

Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
May 21, 2010

In the massive new Barnes & Noble superstore on Manhattan's Upper East Side, generous display space is devoted to baby blankets, Art Deco flight clocks, stationery and adult games like Risk and Stratego. The eclectic merchandise, which has nothing to do with books, may be a glimpse into the future of Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest book chain. Electronic books are still in their infancy, comprising an estimated 3% to 5% of the market today. But they are fast accelerating the decline of physical books, forcing retailers, publishers, authors and agents to reinvent their business models or be painfully crippled.

Growth through Focus: A Blueprint for Driving Profitable Expansion

Sanjay Khosla and Mohanbir Sawhney
May 19, 2010

Rather than seek increased revenues and profits by expanding products and markets, companies should follow a seven-step strategy for achieving more with less.

Three Critical Innovation Lessons from Apple

Scott Anthony
May 19, 2010

Since late 2005, Apple's stock has quintupled. With a market capitalization of close to $250 billion, Apple is (at least today) the third most valuable company in the world, behind ExxonMobil and Microsoft. It's a stunning story that's been dissected to death, but still remarkable enough to warrant reflection. Ten years ago — three years after Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs had returned to "rescue" Apple — the company was still largely treading water, with a relatively meager $3 billion market capitalization. Its personal computer products had a loyal following in niche markets, but that was about it. Over the past decade, Apple has launched five legitimately game-changing innovations.

Sustainability Faceoff: McDonald's vs. Starbucks

Ariel Schwartz
May 19, 2010

Comparing Starbucks and McDonald's may not seem to make sense at first, but the two chains actually have a lot in common--namely, they both promise quickie and easy food and beverages on the go, and both companies have recently ramped up sustainability efforts. In the new book The HIP Investor, author R. Paul Herman attempts to compare the two mega-chains. Below, we do the same.

Our Measurement Problem Begins With Definitions

Jonathan Salem Baskin
May 18, 2010

What's a brand? You realize that no two people, let alone two marketers, agree on the answer. It's a word, a metaphor, an analogy, a concept or some sort of thing with an existence and personality dependent on whomever is doing the defining, where they're doing it, and what they hope to accomplish.

World Cup Kicks Off Marketing Games on Epic Scale

Jeremy Mullman
May 17, 2010

Global marketers such as Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Nike are describing the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a larger event than even the 2008 Beijing Olympics. That scale -- combined with the intensity of interest in the sport, the national pride of fans and the fact that it's the first major global sporting event ever held on the African continent -- figures to sell a lot of sneakers and soft drinks.

Why Betterness Is Good Business

Umair Haque
May 14, 2010

Striving to do more good is associated with greater profitability, equity and asset returns, and shareholder value creation. But that's still not good enough. Today, the bar is being raised: success is itself changing. Those are yesterday's metrics of success — more importantly, maximizing good lets companies outperform on tomorrow's measures of success.

Comeback Companies

Laurie Burkitt
May 14, 2010

For big companies, bounding back from corporate scandal, financial malfeasance or public disaster is difficult--but it isn't impossible. Looking at companies that have come back after business downturns, product problems or corporate scandal, several experts on corporate reputation and crisis management helped Forbes identify 10 companies that have made, or are making, turnarounds after corporate hard times.

Computing a Theory of Everything

Stephen Wolfram
May 13, 2010

Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica, talks about his quest to make all knowledge computational -- able to be searched, processed and manipulated. His new search engine, Wolfram Alpha, has no lesser goal than to model and explain the physics underlying the universe.

RIM's Strategy to Stay on Top in Smartphones

Marguerite Reardon
May 12, 2010

For Research in Motion, the maker of the popular BlackBerry smartphone, staying No. 1 isn't about apps or fancy hardware, it's about cost effectiveness. For all the hoopla surrounding Apple's iPhone and the various Android smartphones that have hit the market recently, many forget what is still, by a healthy margin tops in the market: RIM's modest BlackBerry. And RIM intends to stay on top by doing what it does best: offering something that's more affordable and can operate on wireless networks more efficiently than its flashier competition.

Starbucks' Via: One Doorway to Worldwide Synergies

Karlene Lukovitz
May 10, 2010

After a concentrated period of regrouping and refocusing, Starbucks is on the move -- and its expansion of Via Ready Brew in the U.S. and other markets is a pivotal component of a worldwide push to leverage synergies across business segments, channels and media platforms. It's still early in the game for Via, introduced last September, but the new line's roles within that global game plan as a revenue stream, door-opener and template for ongoing brand expansion is becoming increasingly visible.

Coke Goes High-Tech to Mix Its Sodas

Valerie Bauerlein
May 10, 2010

Coca-Cola Co. hopes a new high-tech soda fountain will add some life to listless soft-drink sales by letting restaurant-goers mix up 104 different drinks, creating inventions such as Caffeine-Free Diet Raspberry Coke. The soda fountain has been the touchstone of Coke's business since 1886, when a pharmacist John Pembertoncreated the secret-recipe syrup and mixed it with carbonated water. But the technology hasn't changed much since the 1950s, as a line of nozzles spit out big-name sodas.

GM Appoints New U.S. Marketing Chief

Sharon Terlep
May 6, 2010

General Motors Co. removed a recently named marketing chief Wednesday and replaced her with an executive known in the car industry for a clever campaign that helped Hyundai Motor Co. bolster its U.S. sales. The move reflects the urgency Chairman and Chief Executive Edward E. Whitacre Jr. places on winning customers and increasing sales in the critical U.S. market. Since becoming chairman last summer, Mr. Whitacre has made it no secret that he expects GM to gain share in the U.S. market, and sees raising sales as critical to its turnaround.

Beyond the Balance Sheet: Platinum Brands

Christina Settimi and Kurt Badenhausen
May 5, 2010

Last year was the worst year ever for global luxury goods, with worldwide sales falling 8%. But in a look at the world's most valuable luxury brands, Forbes identifies 10 that are poised to thrive in better economic times. These brands, including BMW and Louis Vuitton, share some qualities that help keep them strong even when wealthy consumers are curtailing spending.

Consumer Groups Say Proposed Privacy Bill is Flawed

Stephanie Clifford
May 5, 2010

Consumer groups have been fighting what they see as the prevalence of online tracking, where online advertising is selected for a certain user — perhaps because he once visited a company’s home page, perhaps because he showed an interest in automobiles or baby products, or perhaps because he is a middle-aged man. As opposition has intensified, companies like Google and Yahoo have adjusted their own privacy policies in response to consumer concern. Industry groups, while arguing that free Internet content depends on this type of sophisticated advertising, have issued their own self-regulatory principles.

Investment by Companies Is Robust

Mark Whitehouse
May 1, 2010

U.S. companies from industrial giant Caterpillar Inc. to apparel maker Guess Inc. are plowing money back into their businesses at a rate that demonstrates growing confidence in the economy's recovery, but still leaves questions about its strength.

Meet the Brands Hiding on Google

Beth Snyder Bulik
Apr 28, 2010

If a consumer types a brand name into the Google search box, a home-page link should -- and likely will -- appear as one of the top listings. But does the same thing happen when typing in a generic keyword relevant to that business? Say, "home repair" for Home Depot or "gifts" for Harry & David? That depends on how well they're optimized for Google. And in the case of those two examples, Home Depot and Harry & David website links don't even make it to the first page of Google, according to a recent study by Covario that evaluated the search-engine optimization health of 100 branded websites.

How Europeans Engage With Social Media

Bas van den Beld
Apr 27, 2010

You seemingly can’t live without social media these days, or at least, that is what many in our industry believe. Why? Because “everybody” is using it. Everybody is communicating, “everybody is a publisher.” But does that mean that every European is publishing through social media? Well, not exactly. Yes, Europeans are online en masse and are using social media in big numbers. But how are they using social media?

Say Hello to Mass Media 2.0?

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Apr 27, 2010

Reckitt Benckiser ("RB") made ad trade headlines last week when it announced a record-setting $40 million web video buy for 2010. What shocked everyone wasn't the dollar amount but rather that the company pretty much doesn't care where the ads run. "This kind of strategy echoes planning/buying 101 back in 1970," said a comment on the news article in Advertising Age, "It's a senseless approach that abandons all facets of leveraging for optimization and efficiency." Spoken like a true technonut, I say. At risk of overly analyzing the move I wonder if it heralds a realistic approach to web advertising. Say hello to mass media 2.0?

Humor Can Create Engagements

Aaron Perlut
Apr 27, 2010

Millions are embracing a hot steaming plate of serious issues served with a side of mockery of the politicians, businessmen and celebrities who populate conventional news. And given this, how big a leap is it for companies to mock themselves as a means to reach audiences? It can be done effectively. Last fall, for instance, we worked with Intuit subsidiary Quicken, issuing a report on Mustached Americans being in greater financial need due to their profligate spending habits on ladies, leather pants and teeth whitening. The result was the most publicity Quicken had ever received and the company reached new consumers in a humorous way.

The Imitation Economy

Drake Bennett
Apr 26, 2010

Invaluable as innovation may be, our relentless focus on it may be obscuring the value of its much-maligned relative, imitation. Imitation has always had a faintly disreputable ring to it — presidents do not normally give speeches extolling the virtues of the copycat. But where innovation brings new things into the world, imitation spreads them; where innovators break the old mold, imitators perfect the new one; and while innovators can win big, imitators often win bigger.

Too Many Shops, Not Enough Business

Brian Sheehan
Apr 26, 2010

In college, my economics professor used to say that the difference between too much supply and not enough is one unit. Such is the tenuous nature of economic equilibrium. But when it comes to the advertising industry, the basics of supply and demand seem to be permanently suspended. The bottom line? There are far too many agencies chasing too few dollars.

McDonald's Dillon Splits Up Advertising to Make Shops Say 'I'm Lovin' It'

Emily Bryson York
Apr 26, 2010

What's it take to get cut-throat agency competitors to play nice? A $2 billion global budget doesn't hurt. It's at least one reason McDonald's can get its agencies to collaborate on strategy and major messaging before releasing them to develop their own spins. But McDonald's doesn't pit them against each other in winner-take-all shoot-outs; rather, it asks clients for their best work and often goes with multiple agencies contributing to the campaign, as it did with the recent "I'm Lovin' It" update. The company sees that collaboration as crucial to its advertising success.

Gatorade, Before and After

Valerie Bauerlein
Apr 23, 2010

PepsiCo Inc. is launching a new ad campaign during Friday night's NBA playoffs meant to boost its struggling Gatorade business by getting athletes to gulp its iconic sports drink before, during, and after the game. The campaign, promoting the Purchase, N.Y., food and beverage giant's new lineup of "G Series" drinks for athletes, aims to demonstrate that Gatorade isn't just a sports drink that replaces nutrients sweated out during the game, but a system with three steps: a carbohydrate-loaded "Prime" concentrated liquid before play; the traditional "Perform" sports drink during; and a light, protein-rich "Recover" drink after.

From Pampers to Pizza: How Travel Industry Has Taken on Volcano

Rich Thomaselli
Apr 22, 2010

After a week in which an estimated 102,000 flights were canceled in and out of Europe due to the Icelandic volcano eruption -- costing airlines, travel agencies and the like tens to potentially hundreds of millions of dollars -- nearly every airline was back on schedule today as airports lifted travel restrictions. Even so, an estimated 250 people were still stuck at JFK and living in a veritable "Cot City" on the fourth floor of Terminal Four, waiting to be re-booked or fly stand-by, meaning it was another day for marketers to try to engender some goodwill for their respective brands by offering aid to frustrated flyers.

Word of Mouth Has Greater Impact Than Ads

McKinsey & Warc
Apr 21, 2010

Marketing campaigns that encourage considerable word of mouth among consumers have a greater impact on sales than more traditional forms of advertising, according to McKinsey. The consultancy argued that word of mouth is the "primary factor" behind between 20% and 50% of purchases, with a particular relevance in relation to expensive products and first-time acquisitions. It added that an advertising "overload", growing mistrust of marketing and the social media-driven shift in control away from companies and towards consumers have all encouraged this trend.

The State and Future of Twitter 2010: Part Two

Brian Solis
Apr 21, 2010

To truly capture the State and Future of Twitter and all that was revealed during its first official conference, requires additional time and space. In Part One, we examined the sociological impact of Twitter on society, the true size of the network, as well as equally exploring its challenges and opportunities. In Part Two, we’ll review and interpret streams, interest graphs, and Twitters new advertising platform.

America's Most Popular Companies

Laurie Burkitt
Apr 20, 2010

With big names like Tiger Woods and Toyota Motor stepping into the spotlight of public scrutiny this year, reputation is a hot topic in the media and in corporate boardrooms. No company wants its public image to be the reason it has a hard time rebounding from the recession. So what factors shape the public's image of American businesses? Which companies do consumers trust and admire?

Marketing To Men

Bob Deutsch
Apr 20, 2010

Men are, well, men. They live in the 'now.' They are concrete thinkers that like to consummate, finish. A male axiom is "complete what you set out to do." Men are interested in power and in looking good, even more than being good. In short, that's the nature of beauty for the beast. You cannot market to men the same way you market to women. It's not a simple transformation of changing colors, fonts or packaging. Men and women are different biologically, psychologically and socially.

Web Coupons Know Lots About You, and They Tell

Stephanie Clifford
Apr 19, 2010

For decades, shoppers have taken advantage of coupons. Now, the coupons are taking advantage of the shoppers. A new breed of coupon, printed from the Internet or sent to mobile phones, is packed with information about the customer who uses it. While the coupons look standard, their bar codes can be loaded with a startling amount of data, including identification about the customer, Internet address, Facebook page information and even the search terms the customer used to find the coupon in the first place.

Spinning Straw Into Online Gold Through Science of Data

Michael Learmonth
Apr 19, 2010

Marketers have always sought that secret sauce, the data that gives them an edge over their competition. And online, where data is generated faster than anyone can make sense of it, that arms race has taken on an extreme dimension.

Serious Games Get UPS Rookies Ready for the Road

Eliane Alhadeff & Jennifer Levitz
Apr 16, 2010

With the aid of a US$1.8 million grant from the Department of Labor, they studied the way young people learn in a world of video games and smart phones. In collaboration with MIT; Virginia Tech; and the Institute of the Future, they build a high-tech, next-generation training facility called UPS Integrad. This facility offers 3-D simulations and webcasts along with traditional classroom instruction. Trainees are recorded to show them how they look in action. UPS teach them to drive in a replica outdoor city called Clarkville that has real streets, street signs, sidewalks, and simulated commercial and residential delivery and pickup sites.

The Real Value Of Web Analytics

Evan LaPointe
Apr 16, 2010

OK, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something that might not make sense at first: the most important outcome of successful web analytics (or SEO effort or landing page testing, etc.) is not a better web site. The most important outcome is a better, more functional company.

Marketers Watch as Friends Interact Online

Emily Steel
Apr 15, 2010

Birds of a feather flock together. Or, in the Internet age, a customer's friend is a potential customer. Embracing those truisms, some big marketers, including Sprint and eBay, are turning to small start-ups to help them tap social-networking data to find would-be clients among the friends and acquaintances of existing customers, to the dismay of some privacy advocates.

Twitter Brand Raises Questions

Mark Ritson
Apr 15, 2010

Twitter. The privately held company received a new round of investment last fall, believed to be $100m, which values the business at a whopping $1bn (£624m). That makes Twitter roughly as valuable as WH Smith - which provides an excellent point of comparison. WH Smith has done well this year. Its annual revenues are likely to be about £1.3bn, and most analysts are expecting those revenues to result in pre-tax profits of about £80m. Over at Twitter, for all its glorious PR and amazing technological impact, there is nothing. Not a cent. Because Twitter does not charge for its service.

Identity Crisis - Brand vs. User?

Dr. Sharon Livingston
Apr 14, 2010

Everyone knows there's a critical difference between Brand imagery and User imagery. A brand's personality tells a story about the product. It tells its target market what to expect. It suggests heritage, quality, flavor, status, effectiveness, attractiveness, service, value, when to use it, where to use it, how to use it, etc. Potent brands create rich pictures in the eye of the consumer. User imagery, on the other hand, generally refers to one of two possibilities.

The Brand Stand

J. Jennings Moss
Apr 12, 2010

For the second year in a row, Southwest Airlines is the top-rated brand among the nation’s small- and midsize-business owners and top executives. That’s the conclusion of a new survey of men and women who lead businesses with less than 500 employees that was conducted by American City Business Journals, the parent company of Portfolio.com. Although this is the sixth year of the survey, it’s the first year ACBJ has released the findings to the general public.

Rebranding Resuscitates 90-Year-Old Radio Shack

Natalie Zmuda
Apr 12, 2010

When Lee Applbaum joined RadioShack in September 2008, he had his work cut out for him. Circuit City had filed for bankruptcy, and retailers across the country found themselves enduring the worst holiday season on record. A year and a half later, Mr. Applbaum, 39, an alumnus of Schottenstein Stores, Coca-Cola and David's Bridal, is presiding over what may well be the beginning of a massive turnaround for the staid brand that many consumers had long ago abandoned.

Bringing a Smarter Search to Twitter, With Fees

Todd Woody
Apr 12, 2010

Bill Gross, the serial entrepreneur who pioneered search advertising, is unveiling a venture on Monday that aims to make money by allowing people using Twitter to bid on key words to give their posts top ranking. Called TweetUp, the service will also organize the posts according to their popularity as measured by how often readers repost them and click on links they contain.

Talbots Politely Shows Granny the Door

Elizabeth Holmes
Apr 12, 2010

After spending last year atop the retail death-watch list, Talbots Inc. is now a favorite on Wall Street, thanks to cost cuts and a complex financial arrangement for unloading its enormous debt. But to solidify its comeback and boost sales, Talbots must complete a merchandise and image overhaul aimed at attracting younger customers. And that's a tall order for a brand that many women think of as perfect for their grandmothers.

Consumer-Goods Makers Pour Out Ads

Ellen Byron
Apr 12, 2010

As wary Americans start to crack open their wallets, household-goods makers like Procter & Gamble Co., Colgate-Palmolive Co., Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Clorox Co. are cranking up their advertising, hoping to coax consumers farther out of their shells. Amid signs of an improving economy, recent survey data show consumers are more willing to splurge by eating out or buying new shoes, but the same doesn't necessarily hold for everyday household goods.

The Well-Off Are Spending Again — but Carefully

Geraldine Fabrikant
Apr 10, 2010

The wealthy are cautiously opening their wallets again. Some experts contend that much of the high-end spending before the recession was fueled by money borrowed by people who were trying to live beyond their means. Today there is a trend to reducing risk by cutting debt. But even people who came out of the financial crisis relatively unscathed are pulling back. The possibility of losing their wealth has become more real.

Turning Data Into Money

Laurie Burkitt
Apr 9, 2010

Companies are figuring out how to profit from anonomized customer data.

Apple Edges Into Selling of App Ads

Brad Stone
Apr 9, 2010

Apple, the maker of popular gadgets, is getting into the business of selling advertising, ratcheting up its rivalry with Google. On Thursday the company gave a preview of a new version of the basic software for its mobile devices, including the iPhone. The software has a built-in advertising system, meant to be used by the developers who have created the more than 185,000 applications in Apple’s App Store.

When Good Brands Go Bad

Mike Linton
Apr 8, 2010

How does a great brand like Toyota, built over decades, lose its way so quickly? For that matter, how did General Motors stumble? And how about Kmart, Washington Mutual and Circuit City suddenly become irrelevant? One day these companies were global leaders. The next, seemingly, they were flat on their backs, bleeding years of brand building and future sales and profits.

When Star Power Finds the Rough

Paul J Davies
Apr 8, 2010

As Tiger Woods prepares to tee off at The Masters on Thursday, the humbled athlete is not the only one counting the cost of his fall from grace. The 34-year-old golfer’s reputation as a clean-living and dedicated sportsman and husband was undone when his infidelities were spilled across television, newspapers and internet sites in the wake of a mysterious car accident at his home in late November. Mr Woods’ success on the course had enabled him to line up lucrative sponsorship deals off of it, with brands including Accenture, Nike, Gillette, Electronic Arts and Gatorade signing him up to lucrative sponsorship deals. Some estimates suggest that the arrangements made him the world’s first sports star to make $1bn in career earnings.

Facebook & Siebel: A Tale of Two Decades

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Apr 8, 2010

Advanced technology. Ideas that promise to revolutionize the way businesses are run. Out with the old, in with the new. Not sure how it'll make any money? Mere details. Get going or risk getting left behind. Great riches will come to those with the guts to throw caution and experience to the wind. CRM. Social media. We've seen the story before, and comparisons between the two phenomenon aren't new, either. But looking at things at the company level reveals a sobering possibility: we're about due for The Crash. The parallels are imprecise and sometimes the histories are outright apples and oranges. Get over it. If I'm even partially right, there's a reckoning a'coming.

Why the Spirit Airlines Baggage Fee Won't Fly

WIlliam C. Taylor
Apr 8, 2010

That sound you hear is the cry of outrage over the decision by Spirit Airlines to charge customers as much as $45 to stow carry-on baggage. It's a horrible idea, but not for the easy, airline-bashing reasons cited by most critics. In fact, this decision is a pretty interesting case study in the wrong ways for companies to respond to tough economic times--a reminder of how so many leaders manage to make bad situations worse.

Upbeat Signs Revive Consumers’ Mood for Spending

Stephanie Rosenbloom
Apr 7, 2010

American consumers are finally coming out of hiding. After months of penny-pinching amid the recession, new figures — showing an improving job market, rising factory output and increased retail sales — suggest that consumers are no longer restricting their budgets to necessities like food and medicine. They are starting to buy clothes, jewelry and even cars again.

Is Luxury Dead? Maybe Not

Tim Arnold
Apr 7, 2010

Guess who says the following attributes are most influential in making "important purchases" today: value, price, overall quality, good design and functionality? A clue: 84% of this group texts from cellphones; 78% use social networking; 66% use the mobile web and 57% use mobile apps. It's not who you think it is. In fact, it's a group whose median age is 45, not 19.

Nokia Brand Needs Firm Direction

Marketing Magazine
Apr 6, 2010

Nokia retains a massive share of the global mobile phone market, but cracks are beginning to appear in its once-impenetrable leadership. In particular, the electronics brand is struggling to defend its lead in smartphones - the fastest-growing and most profitable part of the mobile phone business.

Mercedes Takes A Class In Social Media

Karl Greenberg
Apr 6, 2010

Last fall, Mercedes-Benz ran a competition among business schools like Harvard, New York University, Wharton and Kellogg, in cooperation with NYU, to find out what the next critical market for the brand actually thinks of the brand.

For iPad, Lines but No Shortage

Geoffrey A. Fowler and Shira Ovide
Apr 5, 2010

Apple Inc.'s iPad appeared to get off to a strong start over the weekend as swarms of buyers flocked to stores after weeks of publicity about the tablet-style computer. But the long lines soon faded, and few stores sold out of the device, which continues to face questions about how broadly demand for it will spread beyond technology enthusiasts.

2010 Post-Recession Consumer Study

Ogilvy & Mather and Communispace
Apr 2, 2010

Today’s consumer is emerging from the recession with a radically new definition of the American Dream and a renewed sense in their own resourcefulness and priorities according to a just released quantitative study of 1200 consumers and qualitative research with nearly 700, conducted by Ogilvy & Mather Chicago in partnership with leading consumer insight company Communispace.

How Ford’s Sync Technology Will Turn It Into America’s Most Surprising Consumer Electronics Company

Paul Hochman
Apr 1, 2010

The next generation of Ford's Sync technology will turn its cars into rolling, talking, socially networked, cloud-connected supermachines. Introducing America's most surprising consumer-electronics company.

Looking at the iPad From Two Angles

David Pogue
Apr 1, 2010

In 10 years of reviewing tech products for The New York Times, I’ve never seen a product as polarizing as Apple’s iPad, which arrives in stores on Saturday. “This device is laughably absurd,” goes a typical remark on a tech blog’s comments board. “How can they expect anyone to get serious computer work done without a mouse?” “This truly is a magical revolution,” goes another. “I can’t imagine why anyone will want to go back to using a mouse and keyboard once they’ve experienced Apple’s visionary user interface!” The haters tend to be techies; the fans tend to be regular people. Therefore, no single write-up can serve both readerships adequately. There’s but one solution: Write separate reviews for these two audiences.

Heinz Private Label Strategy Proves Masterful

Mark Ritson
Mar 31, 2010

David Jason's voice wafts into British living rooms as images of everyday life fill the screen. 'Some things in life just have to be,' he intones. It's not meant to be prize-winning creative work. It's the latest part of Heinz's increasingly successful strategy to fight private labels. The food giant offers a playbook on how to survive and prosper in an age of own-label brands.

How To Survive Geolocation's Looming Apocalypse

Dave Curry
Mar 30, 2010

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that everyone is buzzing, blogging, tweeting, and talking about geolocation. Research firm Borrel forecasts that location-based mobile spending will hit $4 billion in 2015, an increase of nearly 12,000% from the $34 million spent in 2009. With highly anticipated location-centric announcements looming from both Facebook and Apple, the buzz over geolocation is not expected to diminish any time soon.

Rethinking Normal: The Newest In Marketing Research From The ARF’s Annual Conference

Tim McAtee
Mar 29, 2010

I attend a lot of marketing conferences where I hear over-excited pitch people telling me all about The New Thing that will Change Every Paradigm Forever. So much over-enthusiasm can jade just about anyone, so it was with relief that I joined a much more sober group for their conference. I spent the last few days at the Advertising Research Federation’s (ARF) re:Think 2010 conference taking place in New York City. I found, however, that even here among the stodgiest of marketing researchers, there’s talk of … a paradigm shift.

The Return of History

David Brooks
Mar 26, 2010

Some brilliant scholar has to write a comprehensive history of modern economics because the evolution of this field is clearly one of the most consequential things happening in the world today.

Brand Leaders Should Have A 'What If' Disaster Strategy

Allen Adamson
Mar 26, 2010

The announcement that Tiger Woods would finally begin his 2010 PGA season with an appearance at the Masters Tournament didn't surprise me. My belief has always been that he would step forward to rebuild his brand. The love of the game, if not the love of the fame, is just too important to him. This announcement, along with the continuous bad news about Toyota and other long-standing brands under duress did, however, get me thinking about how much harder it is to transition and reposition a brand in the digital world than it was in pre-Internet days. With information about everything from culture to commerce immediately accessible and sharable on social media, no topic is immune to scrutiny or commentary. This has marketing folks asking some very good questions about strategies for working through both planned and unavoidable changes in brand status.

Use Price To Profit And Grow

Rafi Mohammed
Mar 26, 2010

Pricing is one of the most powerful--yet underutilized--strategies available to businesses. A McKinsey & Company study of the Global 1200 found that if companies increased prices by just 1%, and demand remained constant, on average operating profits would increase by 11%. Using a 1% increase in price, some companies would see even more growth in percentage of profit: Sears, 155%; McKesson, 100%, Tyson, 81%, Land O'Lakes, 58%, Whirlpool, 35%. Just as important, price is a key attribute that consumers consider before making a purchase.

For Troubled Heineken, Why Image and Status is Not Enough

Jeremy Mullman
Mar 26, 2010

From the moment it was the first premium beer imported into the U.S. after Prohibition up until the middle of the last decade, Heineken lager was a fast-growing brand fueled by its social cache. But that seems like a long time ago now.

The Secret to Meaningful Customer Relationships

Roger Martin
Mar 25, 2010

A smart subordinate should actually want the relationship with the firm to be based at least in some part on things that are qualitative — that require judgment and interpretation because these are what makes it necessary and optimal for him to be an actual part of the firm. A quantitatively based relationship is a shallow one while one that has an important qualitative dimension is a deeper one. The same logic applies to a firm's relationships with customers. If our understanding of customers is based entirely on quantitative analysis, we will have a shallow rather than deep relationship with them.

In Viacom vs. Google, Legal Shenanigans Abound

Greg Sandoval
Mar 24, 2010

Since March 2007, when Viacom first accused Google in a $1 billion lawsuit of profiting off thousands of unauthorized copyrighted clips that once appeared on YouTube, most of the conflict had smoldered out of public view. Once the case documents were unsealed on Thursday, all the spite roared into the open. Google attacked Viacom for chopping up e-mails from YouTube's founders in an obvious attempt to invent sinister-sounding messages. In Viacom's motion for summary judgment, the parent company of Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures railed against Google and YouTube for developing "serial amnesia" during depositions and also for failing "to preserve and produce" key documents--a no-no in civil proceedings. So, is this just legal gamesmanship, or have both sides gone too far?

Behaviorgraphics Humanize the Social Web

Brian Solis
Mar 23, 2010

In 2007 Charlene Li, then at Forrester Research, now running the Altimeter Group, along with Forrester ’s Josh Bernoff, Remy Fiorentino, and Sarah Glass released a report that introduced us to Social Technographics. Forrester’s research segmented participation behavior on the social web into six categories, visualized through a ladder metaphor with the rungs at the high end of the ladder indicating a greater level of participation. Social Technographics were designed to help businesses engage in social media with a more human approach, catering to individuals where, when, and how they are participating and contributing to the social Web. According to Forrester research…

The Brand Promise:Reality Gap

Denise Lee Yohn
Mar 23, 2010

Attention: fast food marketers – you’re wasting half of your advertising. But I’m not talking about the waste that John Wanamaker was referring to in his famous quip about not knowing which half of his advertising was being wasted. I’m talking about the average of 48% of people who say there’s a big difference between what you promise in your advertising and what they experience at your restaurants.

Walmart Reversal Marks Victory for Brands

Jack Neff
Mar 22, 2010

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

Rebranding Playboy

Alex Cornell
Mar 19, 2010

A little while ago, I wrote about my current class assignment to reinvigorate a brand that is “dead, dying or defunct”. As we are nearing the semester’s end next month, I thought it would be a good time to begin describing the process of this project. The final deliverable is a book, in which we describe the history of our chosen brand (and why it’s time for a update), outline the new identity guidelines (visual standards manuals, usage considerations etc), and show potential extensions (mock ups of storefronts, products, etc). For this process post I’ll describe my brand choice and eventual logo development.

The New Consumer Frugality

Matthew Egol, Andrew Clyde, and Kasturi Rangan
Mar 17, 2010

A new survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers, the second issued by Booz & Company since the early days of the recession in October 2008, confirms that a “new frugality,” born of the Great Recession and evidenced by two consecutive years of declining per capita consumption, is now becoming entrenched among U.S. consumers and is reshaping their consumption patterns in ways that will persist even as the economy starts to recover.

Exploring Ways to Build a Better Consumer Profile

Emily Steel
Mar 15, 2010

Digital-marketing companies are rapidly moving to blend information about consumers' Web-surfing behavior with reams of other personal data available offline, seeking to make it easier for online advertisers to reach their target audiences. Advertisers say the push could enhance their ability to target ads at specific types of consumers, but it is drawing scrutiny from Congress, federal regulators and privacy watchdogs, who are already concerned about the use of Web-surfing data.

How Brands Should Appeal To Women

Bob Deutsch
Mar 15, 2010

In my work as a cognitive anthropologist I study how the mind works, how people "make meaning," how people form attachments to things (brands), and how people make decisions. Decisions like how to select what to invest in, whether stocks or mates; why and under what conditions, people prefer Coke over Pepsi (or vice versa), Charmin over Cottonelle; why a person believes in one God over another. In that search I have inadvertently uncovered something about viva la difference: WOMEN CYCLE, MEN CONSUMMATE.

Great Brands Make Great Investments

Allen Adamson
Mar 12, 2010

For years marketing professionals have been telling Wall Street that brand value confers a genuine competitive advantage. For years Wall Street has smiled politely, pulled down its green eyeshades and told us to stick to our knitting. So you can imagine my surprise when a senior manager from Credit Suisse reported recently that, after undertaking an in-depth, facts-and-figures research study on the topic, the company had determined that brand value gives companies a genuine competitive advantage.

Disney Narrows Its Movie Focus, Building on Known Characters

Ethan Smith
Mar 12, 2010

The Disney studio, which is to unveil its production slate this spring, is backing away from one-off comedies like "When in Rome" and "Confessions of a Shopaholic," according to people familiar with the studio's new gameplan. In their place, Disney plans to focus on films that are essentially brands—like a planned Muppets movie—that can be exploited across its network of theme parks, videogames and commercial products. The recent success with "Alice in Wonderland" has given a new team of executives who run the studio confidence in their approach.

H-P to Brandish Its Technology Credentials

Suzanne Vranica and Justin Scheck
Mar 11, 2010

In need of an image makeover after an aggressive acquisition spree, Hewlett-Packard is launching its first corporate advertising campaign in more than five years. The company, which consumers know primarily for its printers, says it is seeking to recast itself as a broader technology concern with a campaign featuring, among others, rapper Dr. Dre and stand-up comedian Rhys Darby, star of the HBO series "Flight of the Conchords." A person familiar with the matter estimated that the eight-week campaign will cost $40 million.

2010 is the Year of Location-based Social Media Tools

Matt Rhodes
Mar 11, 2010

It is a truth universally acknowledged that everybody makes predictions at the end of a year about ‘the big thing for next year’. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong. And sometimes you only really start to notice trends and change when you are in them. In social media it is becoming clearer and clearer that the big thing for 2010 is location-based tools.

Does Media Coverage of Toyota Recalls Reflect Reality?

Vikas Mittal, Rajan Sambandam, and Utpal M. Dholakia
Mar 10, 2010

Toyota has announced three major recalls covering a total of eight million vehicles globally since October 2009. The recalls are for defects that have been associated with 52 fatalities and 38 injuries so far. Not surprisingly, the business media and notable Toyota experts are starkly pessimistic. We looked at 108 Wall Street Journal articles discussing Toyota during February, 2010, and found that 106 were negative to Toyota. In a recent column by Dennis Seid, Jeffrey Liker, an economist and author of The Toyota Way observed that the hearings and the resultant lawsuits could severely damage the company in many ways.

Stuck-in-middle Walmart Starts to Lose Share

Jack Neff
Mar 9, 2010

Recessionary darling Walmart saw the first down sales quarter in its history and a surprisingly weak top-line over the holidays as aggressively expanding dollar stores and hard discounters swiped at its positioning. Additionally, last year it lost modest market share in package-goods sales for the first time since Information Resources Inc. began tracking the data -- while supermarkets, dollar and club stores all gained. In short, Walmart is increasingly finding itself caught in the middle between higher-end retailers and value players and, at least in recent quarters, is losing share to both.

Six Best Practices in Retail

Denise Lee Yohn
Mar 9, 2010

I’ve been working with a major retail brand and my engagement has included an audit and assessment of retail best practices. Although most of my work is proprietary, I wanted to share some of my findings here because I’ve found some really interesting patterns.

Great Brands of Tomorrow

Martin Bishop
Mar 9, 2010

Credit Suisse's report picks its 27 elite brands of tomorrow based on a deeper analysis of their potential. Most of the picks are brands that are "transforming," making the leap from niche/emerging players into powerful mainstream brands. Brands like Trader Joe's and Hyundai. These are brands that offer investors attractive returns, some risk but not as much as early-stage brands that may never make it over the hump once the initial rush of growth and enthusiasm is over. Only two early stage brands make the list: Facebook and Comac, a Chinese aircraft start-up.

Brands Hype Social Network Presence

Steve Rubel
Mar 8, 2010

Today many marketers are tripping over one another to invade social networks in force. There is a social media land grab underway as businesses rush to set up hubs on the "big three:" Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. All at once, businesses large and small recognize that they need to go where the people congregate. And with 100 million Facebook users in the U.S., this movement is understandable. When your local pizzeria is promoting their Facebook page at the register, as mine does, then you know that marketing has changed.

Tapping Into a New Generation

Alan Murray
Mar 8, 2010

If any company seems well-positioned to both influence and profit from a generation of environmentally aware youth, it's Walt Disney Co. And Robert Iger, president and chief executive of Disney, insists the company is doing just that. Mr. Iger sat down with The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray to talk about the new green strategies the company applies to everything from its theme parks to its movie studios, as well as changes Disney has seen in consumer attitudes. They began the conversation by talking about the company's conservation campaign—Friends for Change—which so far has reached more than a million children, he says.

Branded Foods Tick Up

Timothy W. Martin
Mar 5, 2010

Consumers appear to be slowly returning to big-name brands after fleeing to lower-cost, private labels in the past year. Store brands rose 3.2% at retailers for the four-week period ended Feb. 20, according to a Thursday report released by Credit Suisse analyst Robert Moskow. Such brands account for about 20% of unit sales of food. Figures exclude sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. But the increase is down from a 4% gain in January and an about 6% gain, excluding dairy, last July. At the same time, branded-food unit sales rose 2.4% for the February period compared to a 0.2% decline for the four weeks ended Jan. 23. Mr. Moskow said the gains in part could be due to shoppers stocking up on items before and during the recent winter storms.

Retail Crocuses in the Snow

Elizabeth Holmes and Rachel Dodes
Mar 5, 2010

U.S. consumers haven't stopped pinching pennies, but two months of sales gains show that they are in better shape than feared and have begun the year with a return to more normal buying habits. After spending much of 2009 in a defensive crouch, shoppers braved bad weather and took to the malls in February, snapping up spring merchandise at close to full price. Hard-hit teen retailers, including American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and higher-priced department store chain Nordstrom Inc., both of which reported big sales drops a year earlier, reported sharp improvements from a year ago. The results, on the heels of similar gains in recent months, signal consumers, even if they aren't returning to free-spending ways, are giving up the ultra-frugal habits of last year.

Why Baby Boomers Can't Be Put in One Box

Jerry Shereshewsky
Mar 3, 2010

It seems like the American marketing community is poised on the brink of an astounding discovery: the value of the post-war baby boom market! With the upcoming (and much anticipated) Tom Brokaw special, "Tom Brokaw Reports: Boomer$," it seems like everyone is trying to jump on this particular wagon. On March 1, Advertising Age published a fun piece by Judann Pollack called "The 15 Biggest Baby Boomer Brands" in which Pollack attempts to lay out the iconic products and their ad campaigns of her generation. This is precisely why marketing to boomers is in such a state of disarray. Folks are trying to take 20 pounds and shove it into a five-pound bag.

Feeling Heat From Ford, GM Reshuffles Managers

Sharon Terlep and Neal E. Boudette
Mar 3, 2010

Ford Motor Co. surpassed General Motors Co. in sales last month for the first time in at least 50 years, presenting a new headache for the government-owned car maker as it struggles to return to profitability. Hours after the sales results were disclosed Tuesday, GM announced an overhaul of its top managers—the second executive shuffle in three months. The news underscored the impatience of GM Chief Executive Edward E. Whitacre Jr. and the heat the company is feeling from a resurgent Ford.

Green with Ennui

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Mar 2, 2010

Judging from its branding and the griping of its competitors, Apple customers are hip, aware, and enlightened, yet its shareholders recently defeated resolutions to make the company more environmentally responsible and affirmed instead their uncool unconcern about anything other than profits. There isn't just a disconnect here, but an entirely topsy-turvy arrangement.

Do You Need All That Data?

Ron Ashkenas
Mar 2, 2010

Organizations love data: numbers, reports, trend lines, graphs, spreadsheets — the more the better. And, as a result, many organizations have a substantial internal factory that churns out data on a regular basis, as well as external resources on call that produce data for onetime studies and questions. But what's the evidence (or dare I say "the data") that all of this data is worth the cost and indeed leads to better business decisions? Is some amount of data collection unnecessary, perhaps even damaging by creating complexity and confusion?

Medals for Ads During NBC’s Winter Olympics Coverage

Stuart Elliot
Mar 2, 2010

The seemingly continuous commercials during the coverage of the Winter Games on the networks of NBC Universal gave a new meaning to the term “snow job.” It was as if every spot showed snow, or ice, or both, in which skiers, skaters and snowboarders cavorted. That made it difficult for ad-weary, ad-bleary viewers to distinguish the commercials from the actual coverage of the Vancouver Olympics. Perhaps that was the sponsors’ fiendish intent: to perpetrate the ultimate blurring of the line between advertising and content.

Data, Data Everywhere

Kenneth Cukier
Mar 1, 2010

All these examples tell the same story: that the world contains an unimaginably vast amount of digital information which is getting ever vaster ever more rapidly. This makes it possible to do many things that previously could not be done: spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on. Managed well, the data can be used to unlock new sources of economic value, provide fresh insights into science and hold governments to account.

Why the New Caribou Coffee Logo Features Less Caribou

Noreen O'Leary
Mar 1, 2010

Caribou Coffee, a distant No. 2 in the coffee chain category next to Starbucks, is attempting to bolster its appeal as a branded coffee company by playing down the ski lodge imagery and, yes, the caribou, with a sweeping rebranding. The push, which includes a new logo and print work, comes as the brand attempts to foster a more contemporary, less regional image. With locations in 15 Midwestern and Eastern states, Caribou doesn’t have the national retail footprint of Starbucks and has a fraction of the marketing budget. But it is known for its quality—Consumer Reports ranked it No.1 among java purveyors—and a new management team wants to expand upon that and build a national presence. One way to do that is by rolling out branded ground coffee on other retailers’ shelves. Such sales rose 77 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, per the company. Caribou is now in 7,000 U.S. grocery stores.

Operational Transparency

Jeff Jarvis
Feb 28, 2010

I am in Tampa waiting to fly back home to New Jersey and, thanks to the snowicane but rather than sitting in the usual information vacuum to which airlines subject us, I am watching as Continental shows us the status of the flights that were supposed to bring our jet in from LA to Cleveland to Newark to Tampa. I saw the flight to Cleveland canceled, then the one to Newark canceled, and I figured we were doomed when I saw the aircraft number for my flight erased. But then I saw us assigned a new jet, one that flew into Tampa from Houston last night. That’s simply amazing. Continental is practicing operational transparency. It opened up information is already has to us, the customers, so we can be informed and empowered.

How the Global Fortune 100 are Using Social Media: Some Statistics

Matt Rhodes
Feb 26, 2010

A useful survey from global PR firm Burson-Marsteller this week looks at the ways in which the Global Fortune 100 companies are using social media. The tools they are using and how they are developing a social media strategy. The survey looked at 100 firms in the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and examined how these firms are using social media.

Measuring the Strength of Brand Identity

Larry Ackerman
Feb 25, 2010

Ever wonder what is really behind this thing we call "identity? " It's one of those words that attracts a variety of meanings, ranging from a company's name and logo, to its business definition (Fuji: We're a digital imaging company), to its image in the marketplace, to its values.

Blockbuster Plots a Remake

Mike Spector
Feb 24, 2010

With its traditional video-rental business under assault, Blockbuster Inc. has brought in restructuring advisers, looking to buy yet more time to remake itself in the face of new rivals and technologies. In recent days, Blockbuster tapped law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges and investment bank Rothschild Inc. to look at ways to reduce its roughly $1 billion debt load and explore other strategies, such as acquisitions or partnerships, said people familiar with the matter.

Why Sears Is Rebranding Kenmore

Elaine Wong
Feb 24, 2010

Sears Holding Corp. has undertaken a huge task: To completely revamp and relaunch approximately 450 Kenmore appliance models. The move is part of a larger effort for the home appliance brand, which is sold exclusively at Sears. Right now, the changes are rolling out on washing machines, and soon, on refrigerator units. Kitchen appliances will follow later this year. The goal is to contemporize Kenmore, an 83-year-old, iconic American brand, said Betsy Owens, Kenmore vp and general manager. Female consumers, primarily, saw Kenmore as a brand that their grandmothers and mothers bought, but that didn’t necessarily speak to them, Owens said. So to update the brand and its image, a new television, in-store and social media campaign was launched.

Services Combine Social Media, Marketing

Sarah E. Needleman
Feb 23, 2010

Some small businesses are experimenting with new Web-marketing services that integrate social media. While entrepreneurs say they've seen some positive results, some of the services carry hefty fees and their long-term value remains unclear. Start-ups like Groupon Inc., LivingSocial, BuyWithMe Inc. and IMshopping Inc.'s NimbleBuy let merchants offer one-day promotions, sometimes requiring a minimum number of customers to participate in order for the promotion to be valid.

Brand Management and the 10:45 Per Day Generation

John Sviokla
Feb 22, 2010

The Kaiser Foundation recently released a study documenting the astounding fact that 8-18 year olds in the United States have increased their media use from 8hrs 33 mins per day in 2004 to 10hrs 45 mins in 2009, which means that except for when they sleeping or in school they are almost always consuming media. I call them the 10:45 generation. Regardless of whether you think this is bad news signaling the demise of our children, or good news expecting our progeny are on the way to be becoming more literate in rich media world, as a business leaders we all must face this new reality. In particular, this short post will deal with the issue of managing your brand for the 10:45 generation.

Four Ways of Looking at Twitter

Scott Berinato
Feb 19, 2010

Data visualization is cool. It's also becoming ever more useful, as the vibrant online community of data visualizers (programmers, designers, artists, and statisticians — sometimes all in one person) grows and the tools to execute their visions improve. Jeff Clark is part of this community. He, like many data visualization enthusiasts, fell into it after being inspired by pioneer Martin Wattenberg's landmark treemap that visualized the stock market. Clark's latest work shows much promise. He's built four engines that visualize that giant pile of data known as Twitter. All four basically search words used in tweets, then look for relationships to other words or to other Tweeters. They function in almost real time.

A Trickle of Live Streams on the Web

Brian Stelter
Feb 18, 2010

NBC Universal’s television coverage of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver this month is exhaustive, as viewers have come to expect. But its Web coverage, at least when compared with the Summer Games in Beijing 18 months ago, is limited. NBC’s Web site is live-streaming fewer sports than it did in Beijing, marking a step backward in online access to marquee events. The company is making no secret that it would prefer for viewers to watch the Olympics on television, especially in prime time, even though a growing number of people are accustomed to watching TV on the Internet.

Digital Branded Content Syndication

Pete Caban
Feb 17, 2010

Think of someone you know who is graduating from high school in 2010. Maybe it’s your younger cousin, or a niece or nephew. Perhaps it’s your son or daughter. Or perhaps it’s some young folks in your town you may know. Take a minute to think about someone you have watched grow up for the past 15 or so years. Furthermore, let’s acknowledge that your young high school graduate represents, quite literally, the “18” in the coveted “18-35 demographic” that many marketers are constantly trying to reach. Now think about the fact that the high school graduating “Class of 2010” was born around the time that Netscape Navigator arrived—the time when the Web was born.

The Emotional Quotient of Soup Shopping

Ilan Brat
Feb 17, 2010

The bowls are getting bigger and steamier, but the soup spoons are going away. Those are among the biggest changes Campbell Soup Co. is making in decades to the iconic labels and shelf displays of its condensed soups—the company's biggest single business, with more than $1 billion in sales. The changes—expected to be announced Wednesday—will culminate a two-year effort by Campbell to figure out how to get consumers to buy more soup. Condensed soup has been a slow-growing category in which budget-conscious consumers have little tolerance for price increases.

Kraft: Cadbury-Merger Savings to Support Marketing

Karlene Lukovitz
Feb 17, 2010

Kraft Foods expects to realize annual pre-tax cost savings of at least $675 million by the end of 2012, some of which will be used to further increase advertising and consumer spending as a percentage of revenue, chairman/CEO Irene Rosenfeld reported during the company's Q4/year-end fiscal 2009 earnings call on Tuesday. The global food giant increased advertising and consumer spending to 7.2% of net revenues in 2009, versus 6.7% in 2008, she pointed out. The increased advertising support for key brands, including the Philadelphia Cream Cheese "Spread a Little Love" and Miracle Whip "We Will Not Tone It Down" television campaigns, have been "extremely well received" and effective at building the brands' franchises, Rosenfeld said.

Carolina Herrera Sees Signs of Life in Luxury

Rachel Dodes
Feb 16, 2010

Fashion designer Carolina Herrera says she was "shocked" a few months ago when she noticed her $7,990 gray sequined tulle gowns were "selling like hotcakes," relatively speaking. During the downturn, she has had to walk a fine line, trying to cater to frugal consumers without damaging quality or image. But in December, she also opened an elaborate high-end boutique in Las Vegas that sells what she's known for: $3,000 cocktail frocks, $10,000-plus ball gowns and $1,800 skirts. Women who used to buy three dresses at a time and had cut down to one or none have started to spend again, she says.

Does Social Sell?

Brian Morrissey
Feb 16, 2010

For all the excitement about social media, there's a specter hanging over its use by companies. Is all this tweeting, blogging and Facebooking paying off? For some proponents, the question is irrelevant. They agree with the view encapsulated in the social media bible The Cluetrain Manifesto -- markets are conversations. Companies have to participate in the conversations where they're happening, ROI be damned. Their dismissal of metrics is summed up in an oft-repeated question, "What's the ROI of putting on your pants in the morning?"

Social Media Optimization: SMO is the New SEO – Part 1

Brian Solis
Feb 16, 2010

As a brand, publisher, designer, photographer, artist, or filmmaker, the social web is your new distribution channel as well as your portfolio for intellectual assets. Whether you’re in the business of creating, marketing, selling, or distributing media, the social Web is an incredible medium that can create a brand, establish visibility, and build demand, all without active promotion. It’s about letting your expertise or work market itself through the practice of a socialized form of inbound marketing that helps make content discoverable when people search.

NBC Rallies for the Count

Amy Chozick
Feb 16, 2010

NBC calls it "the world's biggest focus group." With an estimated 185 million unique viewers over a 17-day period, the Olympic Games provide a special audience microcosm, and one that NBC believes will be particularly useful for measuring new-media consumption habits and trends. NBC touts all the different platforms it is bringing to bear for the Games, which began Friday in Vancouver. Viewers can watch on the network, NBC Universal's many cable channels and NBCOlympics.com. They can download clips to their iPhones and receive mobile updates on a favorite skier or figure skater.

Secret to Breaking the 2-Year Curse: It's the Sales, Stupid

Mark Chmiel
Feb 15, 2010

We all know the statistic and scratch our heads: The average tenure of a CMO is around two years or less. Why? Usually it takes that long to fully understand the intricacies and true insights of most industries, companies and brands. Repeating an action over and over again anticipating a different outcome is a humorous definition of insanity. So are CEOs and boards insane?

For G.E., a Human Face on Its Role in Health Care

Stephanie Clifford
Feb 12, 2010

General Electric, for one, still believes in advertising. As the Olympics begin, the company is introducing its biggest campaign ever aimed at consumers. Called Healthymagination, it publicizes G.E.’s role in the world of doctors and hospitals. In the United States alone, G.E. expects to spend more than $80 million this year on the campaign. Its role in health care is technical: G.E. makes and sells medical devices, like machines that measure bone density and perform M.R.I. scans. But the advertising focuses on the personal.

The Information Divide: The Socialization of News

Brian Solis
Feb 10, 2010

In the era of the real-time Web, information travels at a greater velocity than the infrastructure of mainstream media can support as it exists today. As events materialize, the access to social publishing and syndication platforms propels information across attentive and connected nodes that link social graphs all over the world. Current events are now at the epicenter of global attention as social media makes the world a much smaller place.

Dan Ariely: Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions

Karen Christensen
Feb 10, 2010

For years, my colleagues and I have been conducting experiments about human irrationality. When we present our results, the ‘rational’ economists say, ‘These are very nice experiments that make for great dinner conversation; but when it comes to professionals making decisions that involve money, irrationality simply doesn’t occur’. I never bought this argument: why would the human brain develop two different approaches to decisions that depend upon the importance of the decision? While I allowed that the market could possibly mitigate some irrational behaviour, I also felt that it could increase it.

Why Advertising Needs Behavioural Economics

Rory Sutherland
Feb 10, 2010

Julian Barnes observed that "when you buy a newspaper in America, you watch your country disappear". If you work in advertising or marketing, you can pull off a similar trick: just buy a copy of the Financial Times or The Economist and "watch your discipline disappear". Anyone exposed to current business publications would be forced to conclude that the best means of creating business value and growth lies in mergers, balance-sheet manipulation, takeovers, outsourcing, off-shoring, downsizing, tax-avoidance, restructuring, leverage ... Anything, in other words, that does not involve the tedious business of finding out what people might want and then providing it profitably over time within a relationship of deepening trust.

Why Brands Should Strive for Imperfection

Martin Lindstrom
Feb 9, 2010

We've seen and heard this commercial a thousand times, the one with the flawless model posing in an ad for facial-blemish cream... an extremely powerful cleaner that removes every trace of dirt in one effortless wipe... the picture-perfect baby modeling the 100% waterproof diaper. In these scenarios, there's not even a hint of a single red spot, a stubborn stain, or a bedraggled mother. This is the story of the past 50 years of commercials, and they all have one thing in common: perfect brands in perfect environments. But there is a strong case to be made for imperfection. Nothing is ever perfect, and even when it appears to be so, we are subconsciously looking for the flaw. Because our point of connection lies in imperfection--it's what makes something unique and, ultimately, authentic.

Do-It-Yourself Super Ads

Stuart Elliott
Feb 9, 2010

Be afraid, Madison Avenue. Be very afraid. That seems to be the message in the aftermath of the crowded, frenetic advertising bowl that took place inside Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Among those commercials consistently deemed most effective, memorable and talked-about, many were created or suggested by consumers — or produced internally by the sponsors — rather than the work of agency professionals.

Denny's, Doritos, Snickers Score Big in Ad Bowl

Suzanne Vranica
Feb 8, 2010

Panicky poultry, a battered Betty White and a series of violent ads for Doritos provided plenty of laughs during Sunday night's Super Bowl, even with the weak economy prompting several heavy-hitting advertisers to sit out the Big Game.

Pass or Fail, Pepsi's Refresh Will Be Case for Marketing Textbooks

Natalie Zmuda
Feb 8, 2010

Pepsi's Refresh Project, a first-of-its-kind experiment in social media that invests the brand in community-building projects, won't simply leave a legacy for the recipients of its financial grants. It's also a pivotal test case for other brands trying to navigate an ad-cluttered, cynic-rich marketing landscape.

The Tweet Hereafter

Todd Wasserman
Feb 8, 2010

If you're a marketer who has steered clear of Twitter, your (non)strategy may be paying off! It's possible that this Twitter thing may just take care of itself. In the middle of last year, Twitter's growth slowed from 7.8 million new users a month to 6.2 million, according to a recent study from RJ Metrics. That report also found that only 17 percent of Twitter users updated their accounts in December -- an all-time low. An earlier study by the Nielsen Co. revealed 60 percent of Twitter users do not return from one month to the next. Taking that into account, it's tempting to conclude that Twitter is following in the footsteps of another social-media ghost town, Second Life.

Real Brand Opportunities in a Virtual Economy

Jennifer Bartlett
Feb 8, 2010

Chances are, a good portion of your target audience is actively engaged in online games. And if they're there, you should be there, too. Gamers are not passive observers; they're active and motivated participants. Brands have a chance to be part of that experience -- often in the very moment when players are willing to give something to get ahead in the game. This is a level of attention that few, if any, other media can offer.

What Your Choice of Search Engine Says About You

Michael Bush
Feb 5, 2010

What does your search engine say about you? Well, if it's Bing, you're probably an early adopter, but you also visit, shop and ultimately make purchases from Walmart more than other search-engine users. Google searchers, on the other hand, are partial to Target and Amazon, and Yahoo searchers have a strong preference for wireless service from AT&T and Sprint.

The Roles of Facebook and Twitter in Social Media Marketing

Brian Solis
Feb 5, 2010

Social Media marketing is rapidly earning a role in the integrated marketing mix of small and enterprise businesses and as such, it’s transforming every division from the inside out. What starts with one champion in any given division, be it customer service, marketing, public relations, advertising, interactive, et al, eventually inspires an entire organization to socialize. What starts with one, a domino effect usually ensues toppling each department, gaining momentum, and triggering a sense of urgency through its path. And, it also marks the beginning of our journey through the ten stages of social media integration. But where do we start?

Four Ways To Create Intangible Value

Norm Smallwood
Feb 4, 2010

Several years ago, my colleague Dave Ulrich and I looked at how leaders build value by building employee confidence in the future. Our findings bear revisiting as companies begin to emerge after the devastation of the last 18 months and work to create new value.

Haiti Is a Marketing Lesson

Dan Pallotta
Feb 4, 2010

$560 million and counting in 17 days — that's how much donors have given to 40 U.S. charities surveyed by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Why the outpouring of cash? It's not just because people are dying. Innocent people are dying by the hundreds of thousands every day under the most horrific circumstances, but we don't see $560 million pouring into any of their causes in two and a half weeks. It's not because people are buried alive. People are buried alive every day by the scourge of AIDS and malaria, and literally in diamond and precious metals mines, but we don't see half a billion dollars materializing overnight for these causes.

Loyalty Programs Need to Engage

Jack Loechner
Feb 3, 2010

A new report from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council report indicates that marketers are under-valuing perks, discounts, deals and additional service opportunities, as customers give them high marks. Both customers and marketers agree that deeper engagement and personalized contact drives loyalty.

Good Intentions

Julian Evans
Feb 3, 2010

When the going gets tough, costly good intentions can go out the window. Company spending has been squeezed by the global recession and budgets for corporate social responsibility have suffered disproportionately. A survey of U.K. businesses by KPMG and Business In The Community found a third of companies cut their corporate social responsibility budgets in 2009. Corporate philanthropy has also been hit, with a study by the Giving USA Foundation revealing that charitable donations by U.S. companies fell by 8% in inflation-adjusted terms in 2008.

Mobile Internet Market to Eclipse Desktop Internet

Brian Solis
Feb 3, 2010

Sounds like a sensationalistic headline, but if you read Morgan Stanley’s latest series of reports on the Mobile Internet, you’ll walk away with the same impression. Morgan Stanley’s global technology and telecom analysts documented the rapidly changing mobile Internet market to provide a framework for emerging trends and direction. To set the stage, Morgan Stanley forecasts that the mobile Internet market will be at least 2x the size of desktop Internet when comparing Internet users to mobile subscribers.

A Short (and Personal) History of Social Media

Pete Blackshaw
Feb 3, 2010

My first exposure to the term "social media" came courtesy of Ted Leonsis, former VP of AOL, back in 1998. At the time, I was one of the leaders of Procter & Gamble's first interactive marketing team, and Leonsis was briefing us on a new tool called ICQ ("I Seek You"), created by an Israeli company AOL had just purchased, Mirabelis. What Leonsis put on our lap was akin to instant messaging on steroids. He had no clue how P&G might take advantage of this curious tool. There was no "ad model," per se, and he even had doubts whether advertising was appropriate. He just thought we needed to internalize its capabilities -- what with tens of millions of global consumers, mostly teens, using an insanely wired and networked desktop device with so many hieroglyphic style icons, it would make your head spin.

How Young People Are Changing the World

Marian Salzman
Feb 3, 2010

The opinions of young adults--which today have solidified into values--are not to be ignored. Not only are people in their 20s powerful voices within their communities, but they're also consumers. These first adults of the millennial generation (roughly, the people born between 1981 and 2000) are bellwethers for a group that's already estimated to earn more than $200 billion a year, of which they spend about $127 billion in the U.S. alone.

US Companies Set for Upbeat Earnings

Courtney Weaver and Michael Mackenzie
Feb 2, 2010

Corporate USA is on track to report one of the best quarterly earnings seasons on record in terms of the number of companies that beat market expectations with their profits. Nearly four out of five S&P 500 companies that have reported fourth-quarter earnings have beaten consensus forecasts on the back of higher-than-expected jumps in revenue, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters. S&P companies are now set to break a run of nine consecutive quarterly declines in profits. But the performances have not translated into increased optimism over the outlook for 2010, with many analysts cautious over the impact of the withdrawal of economic stimulus programmes and reduced rebuilding of inventories held by companies.

Coca-Cola Goes Completely Green at Olympics

Natalie Zmuda
Feb 1, 2010

When the Vancouver Olympic Games kick off on Feb. 12, visitors will find café furniture made from pine-beetle-salvaged wood, drink out of bottles made from 30% plant-based materials, and their beverages will be delivered via hybrid vehicles and electric cart. All are elements of Coca-Cola's first zero-waste, carbon-neutral sponsorship. The effort has been years in the making, beginning with a relatively simple recycling effort for the Athens Olympic Games in 2000. Since then the company has layered in additional elements, like environmentally friendly coolers and shirts made out of plastic bottles.

Who is the ME in Social Media?

Brian Solis
Jan 29, 2010

Good friend Stowe Boyd recently shared a quote by Gabriel García Márquez, “Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life.” Indeed, quite simply many of us live life allowing specific, trusted individuals to know us in one or more of our personae. Our moral compass as well as outside influences affect how we balance our three lives. The size and permeability of our personal dividers vary in the separation of each life and resemble doors that open and close based on our desires. We nurture each individually with slight coalescence, but concentrate on the establishment of a distinct ecosystem for cultivating and grooming who we are in public, private, and in secret.

NBC Expands Research into Massive Olympics Audience

Brian Steinberg
Jan 29, 2010

NBC Universal likely won't turn a profit off its broadcast of the Winter Olympics this year, but it hopes the research it performs on the event's massive audience might generate additional ad revenue in the days and months after the last gold-medal hockey skate has left the ice. The media giant, in the midst of parent General Electric's transfer of majority ownership to Comcast Corp., intends to ratchet up its examination of Olympics viewers' media-consumption habits, building off a big test it performed during the 2008 Summer Olympics broadcast from Beijing.

The Age of Customer Capitalism

Roger Martin
Jan 27, 2010

Modern capitalism can be broken down into two major eras. The first, managerial capitalism, began in 1932 and was defined by the then radical notion that firms ought to have professional management. The second, shareholder value capitalism, began in 1976. Its governing premise is that the purpose of every corporation should be to maximize shareholders’ wealth. If firms pursue this goal, the thinking goes, both shareholders and society will benefit. This is a tragically flawed premise, and it is time we abandoned it and made the shift to a third era: customer-driven capitalism.

Davos to Hear of Tentative Rebound in Public Trust

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
Jan 26, 2010

Public confidence in companies, governments and non-governmental organisations has staged a recovery since last year's "trust Armageddon", but the rebound is patchy and fragile, according to data to be presented at the World Economic Forum tomorrow in Davos. Trust in business has risen from 49 per cent to 53 per cent around the world year-on-year, says the annual "trust barometer" of well-educated, highly paid and engaged "informed publics", conducted by Edelman, a communications consultancy.

Why Effective Word-of-Mouth Disrupts Schemas

Steve Knox
Jan 26, 2010

There is a lot of talk today about word-of-mouth, social media and all the technologies that surround them. But have you ever wondered why consumers talk? It turns out that understanding why consumers choose to communicate is rooted in the cognitive psychological sciences. Before you nod off, read on, because this just might make you think differently about your marketing. The brain is designed not to think.

The Myth of Control in New Media

Brian Solis
Jan 25, 2010

One of the most common fears I focus on defeating among executives and brand managers is that in new media brands lose control by publishing content and engaging in social networks. The general sentiment is that by sharing information and creating presences within public communities that they, by the nature of democratized participation, invite negative responses in addition to potentially positive and neutral interaction. By not fully embracing the social Web, many believe that they retain a semblance of control. The idea is that if brands abstain from providing a forum for hosting potentially disparaging commentary, it will prevent it from earning an audience – in this case, an audience that can impact the business and the reputation of the brand.

Ambushed!

Simon Chadwick and Nicholas Burton
Jan 25, 2010

There's a war going on in the business of sports. On one side are the sponsors that pay millions of dollars for their brands to bask in the publicity surrounding certain teams and events. On the other: a growing number of companies that crowd into the spotlight without paying—sometimes by bending, or breaking, the rules.

American Consumers Want A Dialog With Business

Jack Loechner
Jan 22, 2010

According to the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, an online survey by Opinion Research Corporation among a representative U.S. sample of 1,048 adults, comprising "new media users," 44% of American new media users are searching for, sharing or discussing information about corporate responsibility (CR) efforts and programs and are highly confident they can have an effect on business.

A New Framework for Business Models

Mark W. Johnson
Jan 22, 2010

Quick: Describe your company's business model. Having trouble? That wouldn't surprise me. In reality, there isn't really any consensus about what the term "business model" even means. Suggestions range from the all-encompassing, everything-in-your-value-chain approach to the reductionist "A business model is nothing else than a representation of how an organization makes (or intends to make) money."

NBC Gears Up to Fix Prime Time

Sam Schechner
Jan 22, 2010

NBC has mopped up its late-night mess. The network now faces a more challenging task: rebuilding its evening hours after years of cost cuts and creative missteps. NBC executives are saying they plan to spend at least 30% more than last year to develop TV series for the fall, and 20% more to market the shows, although they didn't attach a dollar figure to the estimate. The General Electric Co. network, which has seen its ratings and profit slide since 2005, is working on 18 to 20 pilot episodes for new shows, up from 11 last spring.

Now at Starbucks: A Rebound

Claire Cain Miller
Jan 21, 2010

Young people wearing hoodies and chunky glasses are sipping microbrew beers and espressos, nibbling on cheese and baguettes made at a local bakery and listening to a guitarist strum and sing. The scene could be at any independent coffeehouse around the country. Instead, it is at a Starbucks-owned shop called 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea. The new store, one of two in Seattle’s trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood, grew out of a series of brainstorming sessions by a group of Starbucks employees after Howard D. Schultz, Starbucks’ chief executive, told them to “break the rules and do things for yourself.”

Why Brands Should Embrace Technological Change

Avi Dan
Jan 20, 2010

It took the telephone 45 years to penetrate half the homes in America; radio, less than 20; color TV, 15; computers, 10; cellphones, eight; and the internet, a mere six years. The speed of change is accelerating. Five years ago Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Hulu and the iPhone didn't exist. Today Facebook has 350 million members; Twitter boasts 30 million; and Hulu is the second biggest "channel" in America, having surpassed Time Warner Cable. Technology now has profound impact on consumer behavior. Take brand loyalty, for example. Smartphones enable consumers to comparison shop on the basis of price at the point of sale. The democratization of information may result in commoditization of brands as consumers make purchase decisions by searching for the lowest-priced product. Technology may also alter the purchase cycle and give rise to powerful third-party influencers, counterbalancing paid media's "management" of the purchase cycle. These are transformational shifts for brands.

How Corporate Branding is Taking Over America

Naomi Klein
Jan 20, 2010

In May 2009, Absolut Vodka launched a limited edition line called "Absolut No ­Label." The company's global public relations manager, Kristina Hagbard, explained that "For the first time we dare to face the world completely naked. We launch a bottle with no label and no logo, to manifest the idea that no matter what's on the outside, it's the inside that really matters."

The Cockeyed Economics of Metering Reading

Jeff Jarvis
Jan 18, 2010

The irony of the report that The New York Times is going to start metering readers and charging those who come back more often is this: They would would end up charging — and, they should fear, sending away — the readers who are worth the most while serving free those who are worth least.

A New Age for Social Media Marketing

Brian Solis
Jan 15, 2010

In 2010, Social Media will rapidly escalate from novelty or perceived necessity to an integrated and strategic business communications, service, and information community and ecosystem. Our experiences and education will foster growth and propel us through each stage of the Social Media Marketing evolution. As MarketingSherpa observes, “2010 is the year where social media marketers gain the experience required to advance from novice to competent practitioner capable of achieving social marketing objectives and proving ROI.” It’s a powerful prediction and it’s one that I also believe. This is your year to excel, teach, and create your own destiny.

Concern About Prices May Delay Bidding for Olympics

Matthew Futterman And Shira Ovide
Jan 15, 2010

After years of bidding up fees for the rights to televise sports, U.S. media companies are putting on the brakes. Richard Carrion, a member of the International Olympic Committee's executive board, said the organization is seriously considering delaying until next year the bidding for the U.S. media rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics because of the ongoing struggles of broadcasters hurt by a rocky advertising market.

The Transformer: Why VW Is The Car Giant To Watch

David Welch
Jan 14, 2010

When Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said two years ago that he was determined to zoom past Toyota to become the world's biggest automaker, the notion seemed laughable. At the time, the German automaker sold 3 million fewer vehicles than Toyota, was losing ground in the U.S., and had a reputation for iffy quality. Toyota, then set to pass General Motors as the best-selling carmaker on the planet, seemed unassailable.

Build Your Customer Experience Roadmap

Bruce D. Temkin
Jan 13, 2010

What makes Barnes & Noble a better brand than Charter Communications--and many others? Customer experience. Forrester Research recently released its third annual Customer Experience Index. The study ranked 133 US companies across 14 industries using feedback from more than 4,600 consumers. Barnes & Noble came in at the top for the second year in a row, slightly ahead of Marriott Hotels and Hampton Inn. Other winners: Amazon.com and Costco. At the other end of the spectrum, Charter Communications took the bottom spot for the third consecutive year. Also at the bottom: Cigna and Medicaid.

The Most Relevant Identity Work of the Decade

Armin
Jan 13, 2010

I gave myself a deadline of January 15 to do a recap of identity work in the 2000s, assuming that it wouldn’t be an editorial faux pas to do a list of this sort well into the new year. So here it is. An admittedly incomplete — it would take months to do this exhaustively — compilation of the most relevant identities of the past decade. The choices are listed chronologically and there is no ranking system, they are simply there as records of the corporations, products and services that shaped the decade and the identities that helped (or didn’t help) shape their perception in consumers’ eyes and minds.

Why Good Spreadsheets Make Bad Strategies

Roger Martin
Jan 12, 2010

We live in a world obsessed with science, preoccupied with predictability and control, and enraptured with quantitative analysis. Economic forecasters crank out precision predictions of economic growth with their massive econometric models. CEOs give to-the-penny guidance to capital markets on next quarter's predicted earnings. We live by adages like: "Show me the numbers" and truisms such as "If you can't measure it, it doesn't count." What has this obsession gotten us? The economists have gotten it consistently wrong.

Retail-Sales Gain Is Most In Year

Miguel Bustillo and Elizabeth Holmes
Jan 8, 2010

A number of retailers raised earnings forecasts Thursday after reporting healthy December sales gains, the fourth month in a row of year-over-year sales increases. Sales for the five weeks ended in early January rose 2.9% compared with the prior year, the best monthly showing since April 2008, according to a Thomson Reuters index of 30 retailers. Total holiday-season sales grew 1.8%, overcoming a tepid start in November with a late surge before Christmas, according to a similar index of 33 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers.

GM's Bold Outlook: a Profit This Year

Sharon Terlep and Neal E. Boudette
Jan 7, 2010

General Motors Co. will make money in 2010, its chairman said Wednesday, a bold and surprising forecast for a business that exited bankruptcy proceedings just last summer and hasn't turned an annual profit since 2004. "My prediction is we will be" profitable in 2010, Edward E. Whitacre Jr. told reporters at GM's Detroit headquarters, a sign of rising confidence that also sets a tough benchmark for the still-struggling car maker's employees. "Do we have obstacles in the way? Yes. But we have a good management team and a good plan in place."

They All Laughed When Sci Fi Switched to SyFy

Andrew Hampp
Jan 6, 2010

When it comes to rebrands, few were more ridiculed in 2009 than the Sci Fi Channel's much-ballyhooed switch to Syfy, a respelling that prompted an outcry of negative feedback from hardcore fans and marketing gurus alike (including our very own Adages, which asked, "Is Arnell involved in this somehow?") But unlike the ill-fated redesign of the Tropicana logo that Peter Arnell oversaw last February and that Pepsico eventually pulled, the switch to Syfy is so far a success, with the network logging its highest-rated year, quarter (fourth) and series ("Warehouse 13") ever after its July 7 rebranding. The newfound ratings momentum also seems to have had a halo effect on its ad dollars, which were already up to $264.8 million by November 2009. That means the network is on track to surpass the $274.9 million logged in measured ad spending it recorded for all of 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Ad Influx Brightens Hopes For Newspapers, Magazines

Russell Adams and Shira Ovide
Jan 4, 2010

A year-end flurry of ad spending helped moderate steep declines at some newspapers and magazines, and has fueled an uptick at others, raising hopes for a recovery in 2010. Still, following a brutal 2009, when scores of publications closed or made drastic cutbacks, publishers remain wary of declaring an ad rebound as marketers selectively reopen their wallets. Publishing executives attribute the recent influx of ad money in part to marketers hurrying to spend the remainder of their annual ad budgets after doling out those funds sparingly earlier in the year amid fears of an economic collapse.

Novartis Seeks Full Control of Alcon

Anita Greil
Jan 4, 2010

Novartis AG aims to get full ownership of Alcon Inc. through the purchase of a 52% stake in the U.S. eyecare company from Nestlé SA and by buying out minority shareholders, in a deal that will bring the Swiss drug maker much closer to its goal of becoming a global health-care conglomerate. Getting a strong foothold in the market for eyecare products is part of Novartis's strategy of branching out into fast-growing areas of health care to make up for slowing sales of branded prescription drugs. The Swiss group is also investing heavily to build its generic drugs and vaccines businesses, two sectors with double-digit annual sales growth.

A Data Explosion Remakes Retailing

Steve Lohr
Jan 3, 2010

Most people think of the grand challenges in computing as big science projects, like simulating nuclear explosions or protein folding. But with the holiday shopping season just ended, consider another: retail marketing.

Online Shoppers Were More Satisfied This Season

Claire Cain Miller
Dec 30, 2009

Customers were more satisfied than ever with e-commerce sites while holiday shopping, according to ForeSee Results’ E-Retail Satisfaction Index, which uses methodology developed at the University of Michigan to study consumer satisfaction. Satisfaction rose 7 percent to 79 out of 100, the highest since the survey began in 2001.

Back From the Brink (but Watch Your Step)

Julie Creswell
Dec 28, 2009

Last year, most Americans felt as if they had been hit in the head by a 4-iron. Wall Street nearly collapsed. The economy plunged into its deepest recession in decades. As housing prices sank, many homeowners realized that they owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. Millions lost their jobs, and even those who didn’t hunkered down, burying their wallets in the backyard. This year — with more than a few bumps along the way — the situation brightened. With that, here’s a look back at five of the biggest business stories of this year — and what to look for in the next 12 months.

Marketing in 2010: It’s All About the Data

Josh Jones-Dilworth
Dec 24, 2009

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain Remember that quote. In 2010 the very best marketers, PR professionals, and social media consultants will put data at the center of everything they do. For anyone unfamiliar with these concepts, just as with social media, data marketing may seem opaque or intimidating at the beginning. The only way you ever learn is by jumping in headfirst — become a data nerd, because data nerds are changing the world.

Creativity, Meet Destruction

Scott Thurm
Dec 21, 2009

To understand the challenges that faced businesses the past 10 years, consider the household names that didn't make it through the decade: Anheuser-Busch, Compaq, Gillette, Enron, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, WorldCom. Companies always fail or get acquired. But the past decade was unusually tumultuous: Two investment bubbles grew, then burst, each followed by a recession. The Internet matured into a crucial cog of commerce and spawned innovative upstarts while ravaging one traditional industry after another. Global players from emerging economies muscled their way into business's top ranks. Wall Street was remade almost overnight by the financial crisis. And governments reversed a decades-long retreat to lay a more forceful hand on the global economy.

Musts of Marketing for the Next 100 Years

Bob Liodice
Dec 18, 2009

As we begin a one-year celebration of the ANA's 100th anniversary, we have created the Marketers' Constitution, which contains 10 essentials of marketing for the next 100 years. Its purpose is to ensure that our industry continues to thrive and contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy and to the well-being of our society.

RIM Logs Strong Sales; Palm Posts Loss

Yukari Iwatani Kane And Phred Dvorak
Dec 18, 2009

Research In Motion Ltd. reported surging profits and sales of its BlackBerry devices while rival Palm Inc. posted another quarterly loss amid signs that consumer demand waned for its newest smart phones. The results showed the diverging paths of a market leader and an underdog in an increasingly competitive smart-phone market. Shares of the two companies moved in opposite directions in after-hours trading. RIM's shares jumped 12% to $71.21, while Palm's shares fell 8.7% to $10.70.

Oracle Sees Signs of Industry Recovery

Ben Worthen
Dec 18, 2009

Oracle Corp.'s quarterly profit jumped 12% and sales exceeded its expectations, a sign that corporate technology spending may be poised to rebound from one of the sector's worst-ever slumps. The business software company also said it expects European antitrust regulators—after months of delays—to approve its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems in January without conditions. Oracle, based in Redwood Shores, Calif., is seen as an industry barometer because it sells a wide variety of software to a broad mix of businesses. It is also among the first tech companies to report results that include the month of November. Throughout the fall, a number of companies in the sector have released upbeat forecasts or earnings results, but most still posted year-on-year revenue declines.

Why Marketing Must Leverage an 'Artscience' Philosophy

Michael Fassnacht and James Shuttleworth
Dec 17, 2009

Popular culture, including TV shows such as "Mad Men," would have us believe the practice of marketing in an ad agency is a straightforward exercise, calling only for understanding the customer, coming up with a big idea, then creating something interesting and relevant to engage consumers. Not quite. Marketing organizations today are under the gun as never before -- from a media landscape growing increasingly convoluted and a fleeting consumer universe to the mounting pressure of accountability for any marketing dollar spent. Today's new universe demands a different approach to the design and execution of any marketing effort. And yet, little intellectual brain power or emotional energy is being invested in improving the fundamental marketing process.

RIM May Feel Android Effect

Arik Hesseldahl
Dec 17, 2009

Verizon Wireless made clear from the start that its Droid smartphone was designed to put pressure on Apple, the maker of the iPhone, and AT&T (T), the exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier. As part of a $100 million marketing push, Verizon Wireless enumerates several ways it believes the Droid outperforms the iPhone. Yet analysts say the Droid and other devices that sport the Android operating system may also take a toll on Research In Motion, the maker of another smartphone, the BlackBerry. "It's clear there's been a lot of marketing at Verizon around the Droid, so that is going to hurt RIM," says Raymond James (RJF) analyst Steve Li.

Retail Sales Gained In November

Jeff Bater and Luca di Leo
Dec 11, 2009

U.S. retail sales rose in November nearly twice as much as expected, making a broad-based increase that suggested consumers were buying aggressively and supporting the economy in the holiday shopping season. Retail sales rose 1.3% last month, the Commerce Department said Friday. Wall Street had predicted a 0.7% increase.

Are Your Sources Of Strategic Advantage Eroding?

John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison
Dec 11, 2009

Until now, executives have focused on two forms of strategic advantage: structural and capability-based. The Big Shift challenges both. It undermines traditional approaches to structural advantage by systematically reducing barriers to entry and movement. Static capabilities are also increasingly vulnerable - they represent knowledge stocks that depreciate at an accelerating rate. Unless they are rapidly refreshed by knowledge flows, these capabilities rapidly lose their power to differentiate. The findings from our recently released 2009 Shift Index provide graphic evidence on these points. Our analysis shows a sustained and significant deterioration in ROA for all public companies in the US since 1965 - ROA declined by over 75% during this period.

Part of The Daily American Diet, 34 Gigabytes Of Data

Nick Bilton
Dec 10, 2009

The average American consumes about 34 gigabytes of data and information each day — an increase of about 350 percent over nearly three decades — according to a report published Wednesday by researchers at the University of California, San Diego. According to calculations in the report, that daily information diet includes about 100,000 words, both those read in print and on the Web as well as those heard on television and the radio. By comparison, Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” contains about 460,000 words.

The Data That Turns Browsing to Buying

Steve Lohr
Dec 6, 2009

Next Jump may well be the most intriguing Internet business that you’ve never heard of — though that’s likely to change as the company seeks a wider audience. The handful of industry analysts who were invited into the company’s New York offices recently have come away impressed. Next Jump, they say, represents the future of online commerce and could emerge as a counterweight to Amazon, the giant Web merchant. And this patiently gestated start-up, they add, shows one path to the still-elusive promise of Internet advertising: using data to greatly improve the efficiency of marketing.

Comcast Bid Values NBCU at $37bn

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, Kenneth Li and Francesco Guerrera
Dec 3, 2009

Comcast's long-awaited bid for control of NBC Universal will value the joint venture with General Electric at a larger-than-expected $37.25bn, including a higher valuation on the US cable group's pay-television stations and the potential for a larger cash outlay than analysts had foreseen. Final terms of the deal had been settled in preparation for an announcement this morning, people familiar with the negotiations said, after months of haggling with GE, NBCU's 80 per cent owner, and Vivendi, the French media and telecoms group that holds a 20 per cent stake.

Shoppers Showed Up, but Spent on Bargains

Stephanie Rosenbloom
Nov 30, 2009

More consumers flooded the nation’s stores on Thanksgiving weekend in search of bargains. But with retailers dangling rock-bottom prices and consumers only biting at less expensive merchandise like small appliances and winter clothes, the average amount spent by each shopper declined from last year.

Study Finds Companies Not Fully Capitalizing on Research

Paloma Vazquez
Nov 25, 2009

A new study from The Boston Consulting Group confirms what many on the agency or consultancy side already suspect – that many large organizations aren’t fully capitalizing on the potential of marketing research. The study, titled “The Consumer’s Voice – Can Your Company Hear It?”, finds that most companies are using marketing research tactically – to validate and optimize marketing messages with consumers, or to develop new products – vs. designing and executing research strategically to impact a company or brand’s direction moving forward. BCG finds that more than 70 percent of the study participants apply research in those two more tactical contexts, whereas less than 40 percent use consumer insights to set product prices, develop promotions, forecast financial results and forge channel and distribution strategies.

Submitting Culture to the Rack of Metrification

Grant McCracken
Nov 20, 2009

It's an unpleasant, abominable idea, submitting something as delicate as culture to the rack of metrification. But here's why it's necessary. There's so much going on "out there" in culture, so many different people creating so many different innovations, subject to change so violent and frequent, that unless we have metrics at our disposal, well, we're done for. We have no real hope of canvassing all that water front.

Five Ways To Use (Green) Data To Make Money

Andrew Winston
Nov 19, 2009

If you put an energy meter inside a home and show people total usage in real time, a miraculous thing happens: they use about 10 percent less energy. The simple act of placing data in front of people changes their behavior. Data makes people smarter and inspires them to make small changes to save money and energy. You can use this powerful tool in business not only to cut costs, but to drive innovation and revenues.

Measuring

Anjali Ramachandran
Nov 19, 2009

I’ve been thinking of how to measure engagement in the digital space for a while now, so I wanted to aggregate my thoughts and put them in one place. This post is intended to be provocative and get people thinking about how the current thinking of measurement of social media should change. It isn’t meant to be a one-size-fits-all solution – more an articulation of things that people should consider more and more when they embark on work in the online social space.

Prioritize Your Social Media Efforts

Chris Brogan
Nov 18, 2009

There aren’t enough hours in the day for all the chores that social media puts in front of us. The best writing I’ve found on how to manage your time in social media is via Amber Naslund’s social media time management series. Her efforts in crafting this should become a little ebook that you hand around to everyone. If you skipped over that link, go back, click it to open a new tab/window, and then read it when you’re done with this (or skip mine and read Amber’s- it’s that good). If you’re still with me, here’s what I want to say on the matter.

Talk at Society of the Query

Matteo Pasquinelli
Nov 16, 2009

The origin of Google’s power and monopoly is to be traced to the invisible algorithm PageRank. The diagram of this technology is proposed here as the most fitting description of the value machine at the core of what is diversely called knowledge economy, attention economy or cognitive capitalism. This essay stresses the need of a political economy of the PageRank algorithm rather than expanding the dominant critique of Google’s monopoly based on the Panopticon model and similar ‘Big Brother’ issues (dataveillance, privacy, political censorship). First and foremost Google’s power is understood from the perspective of value production (in different forms: attention value, cognitive value, network value, etc.): the biopolitical consequences of its data monopoly come logically later.

Listen Up, Marketers: Women Aren't Telling You The Whole Truth

Mary Lou Quinlan
Nov 13, 2009

With Black Friday approaching, there isn't a CMO around who isn't wondering if consumers are going to be in the mood to spend over the holidays. With a sluggish year almost behind us, many are interested in what will make women--who buy 85% of what is sold in the U.S.--open their wallets.

The Digital Economy's Coming Subprime Crisis (And What You Can Learn From It)

Umair Haque
Nov 12, 2009

Are crises predictable? That's what most economists are thinking about these days. The great Hyman Minsky spent a lifetime building a model of macroeconomic crisis, striving to do exactly that. I spent an afternoon building, presented for you here, a tiny model of microeconomic crises: how industries crash and collapse. Our subject? Why media just might be the new Wall Street.

Why 2010 Is the Year to Rethink Discounts, Pricing Strategy

Chris Dickey
Nov 11, 2009

General business strategy dictates that there are two ways a business responds to a dramatic downturn in consumer spending. They cut costs and/or discount heavily to drive traffic and lure beaten consumers out of their malaise. Both approaches are easy levers to pull because they have a salient short-term impact. The rub lies in not knowing what the long-term impact of these short-term decisions will be. While the long-term implications of cost-cutting is an article in itself, today many retailers find that their most immediate issue is working their way back out of discount-driven brand-price erosion.

User Stories: A Strategic Design Tool

Penny Hagen & Michelle Gilmore
Nov 11, 2009

Collaborative design methods play a key role in aligning team members towards a shared and strategic project vision. In this article we describe how user stories stimulate and facilitate discussion and decision making with clients in the development of a User Experience Strategy. In our context (the development of online projects) the User Experience Strategy becomes an ‘in principle agreement’ on the shape of the project (what), its purpose (why), and provides potential implementation strategies (how). It takes into account all perspectives (e.g business, technical, marketing, brand) but privileges the intended user experience.

Razorfish's FEED Study: Brands Are the New Celebrity

Stephanie Schomer
Nov 10, 2009

You know social media is a powerful tool for business when a grocery store attracts more Twitter followers than pop star Lady Gaga and almost as many as Miley Cyrus, whose departure drove her 2 million fans to make #MileyComeBack a trending topic for more than a day. If Whole Foods Market ever followed suit, its 1.5 million registered fans would surely start a virtual food fight.

Fighting Digital Attention Deficit Begins at Home

Steve Rubel
Nov 9, 2009

Every day, there's a barrage of numbers from ComScore, Forrester and others that quantifies our enthusiasm for consuming all things digital. But we're in danger of overlooking three Nielsen metrics that are downright frightening and point to a staggering digital attention deficit. The first: The average American visited 87 domains in September. The second: He or she browsed 2,645 web pages that month. And the third: All of 57 seconds is the average time he or she spent per page.

The Secret to Brand Social Popularity: Discounts

Brian Morrissey
Nov 9, 2009

Brands are busily trying to figure out how to build their followings on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The secret to success may lie in the most old school of marketing techniques: give people a deal. A new consumer study of "digitally connected" consumers commissioned by Razorfish found that 43 percent of those following brands on Twitter do so because of exclusive deals or offers. That tops interesting content (23 percent), current customers (24 percent) and service support (4 percent). Overall, more than 25 percent said they followed a brand on Twitter

Forget About Harley and Apple

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Nov 5, 2009

Have you noticed that most conversations about branding inevitably include references to Harley-Davidson and Apple? Sprinkle in mentions of Coke, Facebook, and Zappos, and you get the context of every agency pitch for more spending on brand engagement, loyalty, or whatever else these examples might suggest. I suggest you ban these references from your next conversation. Forget about them altogether.

Hal Varian: The Google Ad Economy

Helen Coster
Nov 5, 2009

Google's Android software will soon be powering Motorola phones, but for the 11-year-old Internet giant, advertising is still king. Google beat analysts' estimates last quarter, thanks to brisk advertising sales. In October the company announced that its third-quarter revenue increased 7% from the same period last year, to $5.94 billion. Net income rose 27% to $1.64 billion. Google accounts for roughly a third of all online ad spending in the U.S.

How Ritz-Carlton Stays At The Top

Robert Reiss
Nov 4, 2009

Ritz-Carlton has become a leading brand in luxury lodging by rigorously adhering to its own standards. It is the only service company in America that has won the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award twice, and Training Magazine has called it the best company in the nation for employee training. Its unique culture starts with a motto: "We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen." One of its remarkable policies is to permit every employee to spend up to $2,000 making any single guest satisfied. Ritz-Carlton codifies its expectations regarding service in "The 12 Service Values," "The Credo," "The Three Steps of Service," "The 6th Diamond" and other proprietary statements that are taught to all 38,000 employees throughout 73 properties in 24 countries. Simon Cooper, who has led Ritz-Carlton for the past eight years, talks about what makes Ritz-Carlton, well, the Ritz.

Service Design: An Appraisal

Roberto M. Saco and Alexis P. Goncalves
Nov 4, 2009

In this thoughtful analysis, Roberto Saco and Alexis Goncalves map the landscape of service design. They define the discipline and key players, and sketch its potential vis-à-vis growth and profitability. Saco and Goncalves elaborate on the multi-faceted realities of this work with examples from the Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Herman Miller, and Egg Banking. And they wrap things up with a discussion of key principles related to practice.

K-C Makes an Upscale Zag as Competition Focuses on Value Plays During Recession

Jack Neff
Nov 2, 2009

A recession seems like a funny time to move your product mix upscale, but Kimberly-Clark Corp. has been doing just that of late, focusing more on premium and super-premium offerings and brands such as Cottonelle, Viva and Huggies Pure and Natural, while watching distribution of its Scott value brand shrink. It's a bold strategy to zag upscale as most of the market, including archrival Procter & Gamble Co., have been zigging more toward value products and private-label sales have been rising.

U.S. Consumer Confidence Up For First Time Since 2007

Susan Fenton
Oct 28, 2009

Global consumer confidence is rebounding, and in the United States has risen for the first time since 2007, amid signs the world economy is picking up although spending is still restrained, a survey showed on Wednesday. Confidence was highest in India, followed by Indonesia and Norway, and was weakest in Japan, Latvia, Portugal and South Korea, although in Korea it had improved markedly, according to a quarterly survey by The Nielsen Company, conducted between September 28 and October 16.

Today’s Private Label is a Lesson in Branding

Michelle Barry
Oct 28, 2009

Private label is at something of a crossroads. Rising out of the shadows of its humble, “no-name” generic past, private label today has blossomed into a $100 billion industry. While the media and analysts are fixated on sales numbers and growth expectations another story frequently gets little air play: Private label has the freedom (and not the baggage) to seize opportunities to leapfrog name brands in such critical areas as ingredients, flavors, preparations and even packaging. Looking through the lens of contemporary consumers and shoppers, we see that the rapidly changing private label landscape is far too complicated to be adequately explained by aggregate sales or customer transaction sales data alone. Our Private Label 2010: Redefining Meaning of Brand report moves beyond simplified discussions of sales data to present a holistic consumer and shopper perspective on private label that accounts for the role of the economy, new meaning of value, distinctions in retail formats, product categories, name brands and, of course, private label brands.

Privacy is Dead, and Social Media Hold Smoking Gun

Pete Cashmore
Oct 28, 2009

A U.K. firm is set to launch a camera to capture every moment of a person's life. While you may reel at the privacy implications, I'd wager that the high price of not capturing and sharing every moment of our lives will soon dwarf the cost to our privacy.

Open Up!

Alex Do
Oct 27, 2009

Open source, open access, open standards, open architecture — all are part of why so many have fallen in love with Facebook, Firefox, WordPress, and — I’ll say it because everyone else is saying it — Twitter. They’re all flexible platforms, invite user opinions, and enable co-development and co-creation to varying degrees. The “open web” and its underlying set of technologies have indeed made a big impact on how we interact and engage with online properties, sites, social networks, and the like.

How an Economist's Cry for Ethical Capitalism was Heard

Danielle Sacks
Oct 26, 2009

Noreena Hertz had to seduce Bono. The Cambridge University economist was writing a book on the developing world, and Bono's personal saga of getting the U.S. government to cancel more than $400 million of debt was just the pop-culture bridge she needed to move her ideas beyond the wonkish corridors of academia. After all, Hertz's motive for The Debt Threat -- a deep dive into the debt trap that, she argued, would have global consequences for all -- was to juice the campaign that had been building slowly in activist ranks. The book itself would be a battle cry (a postcard inside made it easy for U.K. readers to urge the prime minister to cancel billions owed by the world's poorest countries), and its release was pegged to hit before the 2005 G8 meeting. Hertz sent Bono an email, unsure if it would find him. To her astonishment, it did: "I'm so glad you got in touch," read the rock star's reply. "I'm a real fan of your work. Bono."

Business Spending Looks Up

Timothey Aeppel, Cari Tuna & Justin Lahart
Oct 21, 2009

Big companies that sell to corporate customers are growing more bullish about their prospects for 2010, a sign that a revival of business investment could buoy the sluggish U.S. economy in coming quarters. Reporting on results for the latest quarter, bulldozer maker Caterpillar Inc. and hydraulic-parts maker Parker Hannifin Corp. on Tuesday joined a chorus of companies that are saying the worst of the recession is past and customers are buying anew rather than simply drawing down inventories.

Cause Marketing Even More Important for Women In Down Economy

Stepahnie Schomer
Oct 21, 2009

In 2007, Self magazine released results from a study titled GOOD, which examined how women react to cause marketing. Its findings encouraged cause-supporting companies to make the move from telling consumers about how the company was giving back, to telling consumers how they were helping the company give back--the consumer feels better about herself when she supports "good" companies. Self recently released GOOD 1.5, which delves deeper into women's responses to cause marketing and is relevant given how different the economy is from 2007. Cynthia Walsh, executive director of marketing for Self, said that while many marketers expect consumers to care less about "good" in this environment, the opposite is actually true.

Biggest Ad Markets Will See No Growth Until 2011

Tim Bradshaw
Oct 19, 2009

The world’s largest media markets will return to growth in 2011, according to the latest advertising spending forecast, but with only a “meagre” recovery as emerging markets take a greater share of global ad budgets.

Search-Titan Google Makes Display Play With ROI Tool

Michael Learmonth
Oct 19, 2009

Fact: Most people never click on web ads. And that poses a problem for marketers who want to know if their display ads are working. Google, though, is starting to provide an answer. In a bid to build a brand-advertising business, the search giant is using its vast trove of data culled from search queries and web traffic to measure the effectiveness of brand advertising. The system, called Campaign Insights, has been in beta test in the past year with marketers like PayPal and Simplexity and beginning today, the company will start offering it to its bigger advertisers in the U.S. and U.K. Ultimately, like Google Analytics, Google will offer it to all of its display advertisers for free.

We're Spending More Time with Social Media: Advertisers Follow

Brian Solis
Oct 16, 2009

The attention dashboard is rapidly emerging as the online hub for sharing and discovering information, connecting us to people, content, and events in real-time. According to research, we’re already spending more time in social networks than we are in email. New studies are only fortifying these findings, documenting an increase time spent specifically in Social Media and blogs. In fact, the Nielsen Company reports reports that time spent on social networks and blogs accounted for 17 percent of total time spent on the Internet in August 2009. Most notably, but not surprising, however, is that this discovery represents nearly triple the percentage of time spent using Social Media just one year ago.

The Great Social Divide: Twitter, Facebook Traffic Surges, Myspace Fades

Brian Solis
Oct 14, 2009

Honestly, categorizing human behavior and activities in social networks by financial status appears incomplete and almost insular. If we are learning anything in the study of and participation in social networks, it’s that individuals are forming networks that traverse across multiple social networks – and, they will continue to do so, forming one larger, expansive human network in the process. We’re bound by context and interests and it’s why psychographic data overcomes demographics when assessing how to best reach, engage, and galvanize the people who define our communities online.

Why It's Time to Do Away With the Brand Manager

Jack Neff
Oct 12, 2009

Managing a brand has always been a slightly odd concept, given that consumers are the real arbiters of brand meaning, and it's become increasingly outmoded in today's two-way world. That's why a new report is going to recommend changing the name "brand manager" to "brand advocate," and fundamentally changing marketer organizations in response to the onset of the digital age. The report, due out next week from Forrester, finally puts the onus on marketers to change their structures -- a welcome conclusion for media owners and agencies who keep hearing how they should change, but often complain that their clients have done little to shift their organizations to cope with an increasingly complex world of media fragmentation and rising retailer and consumer power.

Toward a New Macro Economic Theory

Kimball Corson
Oct 12, 2009

It is well know that Keynesianism deals with flow variables, looking to current income or GDP, current consumption, current savings and current investment. Income and interest rates are largely the adjusting variables. The presumption is that we want to maximize consumption subject to various restraints because that maximizes utility. Stock variables like wealth and total debt are out of the loop and are not really considered. That is why Keynesian economists are so willing to run big current deficits to stimulate the economy and hopefully increase GDP and consumption, even though it means incurring more public debt, and why they do not worry about the consequences of that debt. Keynesians, of course, have their critics, me included, but our criticisms have obviously been less than effective.

Retail and the Rise of the Frugal Consumer

Paul Vigna
Oct 7, 2009

As far as economic indicators go, consumer credit isn't a market-mover. But it is telling a pretty compelling story. A tally of outstanding borrowing, ranging from credit cards to auto loans, shows consumer credit contracted for six straight months through July, when it slid a record $21.6 billion to $2.47 trillion. August is expected to show a seventh contraction, by $7.5 billion, according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The Federal Reserve reports the number Wednesday afternoon. Usually consumer credit doesn't move markets because of the hefty delay in the timing of the report, and because -- until lately -- it usually rose. And, ultimately, it is good for consumers to start living within their means.

ROI Is a Marketing Problem -- and a Brand Problem Too

Douglas Brooks and Liz Cahill
Oct 7, 2009

For all the focus on marketing ROI, some companies miss the forest for the trees, because improvements won't happen through tactics alone. They need a new approach, applying marketing analytics to business decisions -- call it return on brand -- that can more than double marketing ROI through a cross-functional implementation of integrated business analytics. Many companies use accountability programs to measure and optimize marketing and media investments; their valuable insights can dramatically increase revenue and profits if implemented correctly. They often fall short, however, in their ability to act on this information and realize true marketing accountability ROI.

Revealing the People Defining Social Networks

Brian Solis
Oct 1, 2009

Social Networks are among the most powerful examples of socialized media. They create a dynamic ecosystem that incubates and nurtures relationships between people and the content they create and share. As these communities permeate and reshape our lifestyle and how we communicate with one another, we’re involuntarily forcing advertisers and marketers to rapidly evolve how they vie for our attention.

I Am Not A Number

Jonathan Salem Baskin
Sep 30, 2009

Neuroscientists have found patterns in brain activity that correlate with single digit numbers. They can literally watch your mind count. Research into the physiology of how our noggins work has advanced mightily in recent years, especially when it comes to witnessing perception and memory. Technologies like fMRI -- an imaging tool that notes differences in water pressure, sort of -- have been heralded as objective ways to measure what happens in brains when things that were once believed to be solely subjective occurred in minds. The numbers recognition happens in the intraparietal cortex, and suggest that there are unique "signatures" for single digits, at least. The idea is that we possess some ancient ability to understand groups of things we'd encounter in an average day of gathering plants or running away from mastadons. The researchers thing they'll eventually figure out how brains make calculations, as well as learn more about how people learn. Marketers get really excited about this stuff.

How Much Are You Worth to Facebook?

Adam L. Penenberg
Sep 22, 2009

Some of the most iconic companies of our time -- Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter -- attracted millions of users practically overnight, by unleashing what's known as a "viral-expansion loop." In plain English, they grew because each new user led to more users. The trick is that each of these businesses created something people really want and then made it easy for customers to happily spread their products for them to friends, family, and colleagues.

Scoring with Social Media: 6 Tips for Using Analytics

Alexandra Samuel
Sep 21, 2009

Want to know your social media score? Fill in the following equation: (Twitter followers + Facebook friends + LinkedIn contacts) x (Total tweets + Twitterers you follow + Months on Facebook). Wait! Stop! It was a trick. If that equation sent you scrambling to look at your Twitter stats or Google analytics, it's time to take a big step back. You've fallen prey to the greatest peril of social media: analytophilia.

The Great Trust Offensive

David Kiley and Burt Helm
Sep 18, 2009

Companies as diverse as McDonald's, Ford, and American Express are revamping their marketing to win back that most valuable of corporate assets.

Public Actions; Private Realities

Jonathan Low
Sep 17, 2009

The financial markets' collapse and a growing distrust of global leaders both public and private has increased the importance of thinking strategically about communications and its impact on reputation. Government officials, political candidates and all those operating in the public realm are increasingly asking how they can measure with greater certainty the dynamics that drive their communications performance. With upcoming battles in the US on climate change, healthcare, Supreme Court confirmations, financial reform and a new Middle East peace initiative, among others, there is ample opportunity to evaluate communicators’ ability to drive public opinion. The corporate sector has been measuring the impact of communications and reputation for some time, using the results of these analyses to determine how their allocation of resources and themes affect financial outcomes such as stock price, P/E ration, revenues and profits. The earliest iteration of measurement centered on clip counts and evaluations—the most basic tenets of media relations—but has since evolved to include more robust scientific metrics. This is spurred by the diminishing effectiveness of traditional advertising. One recent survey revealed that only 13% of respondents believe advertising claims.

Fallacious Celebrations of Facebook Fans

Dr. Mark Drapeau
Sep 16, 2009

Publishing “top 10″ lists is unfortunately a staple of modern journalism. But alas, writers must drive readers’ eyeballs, even when discussing serious topics like the government. And so we find a new list that mixes Web 2.0 with the government: “Top 10 agencies with the most Facebook fans.” For the record, this list is topped by the White House with 327,592 fans, followed by the Marine Corps, Army, CDC, State Department, NASA, NASA JPL, Library of Congress, Air Force, and Environmental Protection Agency. Congratulations to all these hard-working agencies. But what exactly are we celebrating here?

Welcoming the New, Improving the Old

Sara Beckman
Sep 11, 2009

For decades, companies from Cisco Systems to Staples to Bank of America have worked to embed the basic techniques of Six Sigma, the business approach that relies on measurement and analysis to make operations as efficient as possible. More recently, in the last 5 to 10 years, they have been told they must master a new set of skills known as “design thinking.” Aiming to help companies innovate, design thinking starts with an intense focus on understanding real problems customers face in their day-to-day lives — often using techniques derived from ethnographers — and then entertains a range of possible solutions.

A New Mindset is Needed

Katie Delahaye Paine
Sep 1, 2009

A new mindset is needed. There’s been a great deal of discussion of late both here and in other forums about the blurring lines between advertising and editorial and the implications for both relationship building and sales. As a measurement geek (or queen, which ever you prefer) my response is generally – who cares what you call it, focus on the results. Is what you're doing selling stuff, saving money, or making you more efficient? Great, do more of it, and less of the stuff that isn’t generating revenue.

A Meeting of the Minds

Eric Karofsky
Sep 1, 2009

I hear versions of the same conversations almost weekly. While they're not necessarily new conversations, the tenor of them has grown considerably tenser as a result of the struggling global economy. The conversations run something like this: The chief financial officer says: "Before I spend any money in this environment, I need to know the impact of this investment. I need to see an ROI." The CMO responds with: "It's not about ROI; it's about creating awareness. Having people understand our brand will create engagement, which will lead to revenue."

Advertising's Revenge of The Nerds

Suzanne Kapner
Aug 4, 2009

After years of calling the shots, the traditional Mad Men of advertising -- the creative types who cooked up memorable sell-lines like "the ultimate driving machine" -- are increasingly sharing the spotlight with, you guessed it, the nerds. Or as Jon Bond, a co-founder of Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, which has done work for Target and Panasonic, says, "If we were in India, it would be as if the untouchables had suddenly become the ruling class." What has allowed the lowly quants to sit at the same table as the advertising Brahmin is a new way of thinking about the creation of desire.

The Rating Game

Kevin Maney
Jul 10, 2009

Rich Barton, a superstar of the Internet era, settles across from me in a coffee shop in Centreville, Virginia, looking like a 1950s sitcom dad—glasses, preppy haircut, V-neck sweater. He built Expedia in the 1990s, co-founded the real-estate site Zillow in 2005, and most recently launched Glassdoor.com, which lets employees grade their workplaces for the public to see. When I wonder what Barton might get into next, he leans forward to tell me his investment mantra: “If it can be rated, it will be rated,” he says.

Brands Left to Ponder Price of Loyalty

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
Jun 22, 2009

Big brands’ best customers have been defecting in droves since the beginning of the US recession, according to a study. By this year, more than half of a typical US brand’s most loyal shoppers in 2007 had switched to rival products. A two-year analysis of 685 grocery and pharmacy-stocked brands, using data from 32m consumers’ supermarket loyalty cards, found that in 2008 the average brand lost a third of its formerly highly loyal customers. The study will alarm packaged goods groups, as the most loyal customers – those choosing one brand for more than 70 per cent of their purchases in a category – should also be their most lucrative.

Tufte's Invisible Yet Ubiquitous Influence

Adam Aston
Jun 11, 2009

Edward Tufte combines a policy wonk's love of data with an artist's eye for beauty and a PR maestro's knack for promotion.

Interactive Data Visualizations

Jennifer Bove
Jun 10, 2009

I've been thinking a lot recently about the growing popularity and potential of interactive data visualizations as feedback mechanisms on the world around us. Over the past few weeks, I've had the pleasure of talking with two talented designers who are both well-steeped in the information visualization space about why we're starting to see more of them and where they see it all going.

From Utilty to Futility: Demographics in Marketing

Tomi T Ahonen
Jun 1, 2009

Our friend Peggy Ann Salz over at M Search Groove mentioned the diminshing utility of using demographics in marketing segmentation and targeting. I wanted to return to this topic, and argue loud and clear, that the evidence is overwhelming, that we (marketing professional) have experienced in the past few years a total shift where customer demographics have gone from utility to futility. Yes, futility. They are now counter-productive. You, reading this blog, need to start to remove all references to demographics in all of your company marketing.

What is a C-Suite?

Grant McCracken
May 28, 2009

It's the place senior managers gather to deliberate. It's the place where the most pressing decisions are made. What's the metaphor that best captures the C-suite?

Why Isn’t There More “Internal Syndication” of Video Content?

Stephen Baker
May 28, 2009

Let’s face it - unless you are YouTube or Hulu, you are looking for ways to build audience and streams to capture more in-stream advertising dollars. Nowhere is this truer than in the news market where CNN, the leading online news site, has a 1.2% market share in streams (Nielsen), and is selling-out 100% of its video advertising inventory. While media companies continue to pursue traditional audience development strategies, such as video SEO and social distribution, they must also pursue the underexploited opportunity of “internal syndication” of video content.

Putting a Price on Social Connections

Stephen Baker
May 27, 2009

Messaging with the boss much? Maybe you ought to be. Workers who have strong communication ties with their managers tend to bring in more money than those who steer clear of the boss, according to a new analysis of social networks in the workplace by IBM (IBM) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Value

Jonathan Salem Baskin
May 20, 2009

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the utility of ad placement on social media sites, and whether it's the most enlightened way to monetize services like Facebook or Twitter. I'd posit that there are two broad, and somewhat mutually-exclusive schools of thought on the subject: one looking forward, and the other back.

Jump Into The Stream

Erick Schonfeld
May 17, 2009

Once again, the Internet is shifting before our eyes. Information is increasingly being distributed and presented in real-time streams instead of dedicated Web pages. The shift is palpable, even if it is only in its early stages. Web companies large and small are embracing this stream. It is not just Twitter. It is Facebook and Friendfeed and AOL and Digg and Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop and Techmeme and Tweetmeme and Ustream and Qik and Kyte and blogs and Google Reader. The stream is winding its way throughout the Web and organizing it by nowness.

Data Visualization Tools

Media Arts Lab
May 12, 2009

Everything is information and information is everything. It’s the mantra of marketing in an age where people are constantly creating collectible data—all the things we do, say, use, buy, click and share are data points in the graphs of our lives. But in an increasingly visual society, pie charts and bar charts can’t begin to do justice to this wealth of information there is to digest now. Data visualization tools are helping to change the ways we look at information and audiences.

Data, Not Design, Is King in the Age of Google

Miguel Helft
May 11, 2009

Can a company blunt its innovation edge if it listens to its customers too closely? Can its products become dull if they are tailored to match exactly what users say they want? These questions surfaced recently when Douglas Bowman, a top visual designer, left Google.

Stress Testing Brands-The Results

John Gerzema
May 10, 2009

Yesterday we got the results from the Treasury regarding the stress tests. The results were on one hand extraordinarily troubling, i.e. how is it possible that banks still need another $75 billion in funding to withstand future buffeting? On the other hand with this additional capital, the US Treasury deems these institutions financially capable of handling whatever future financial troubles befall them, which provides the confidence we need to grow our economy. The market has responded by bidding these banking stocks up, the NYSE Financial index is up about 10% this week and 87% off its low. While I am encouraged by the strong response of the market to these financials, I told you earlier in the week that I would be revealing the results of my own “brand” stress test.

Metric Madness: The Answer to Mathematical Failure Seems to Be More Math

Al Ries
May 5, 2009

March Madness lasts only three weeks, but Metric Madness goes on all year long. What is Metric Madness? It's the notion you can run anything by the numbers, and it's become the hottest concept in business today. One scientist recently predicted that the great discoveries of the future will come from finding patterns in vast archives of data. "The next Jonas Salk will be a mathematician, not a doctor." The marketing community eats this stuff up. Nobody generates more data than they do. Hallelujah! "The Singularity is Near," as Ray Kurzweil wrote in his book of the same name, and marketing people can't wait to join the revolution. I'm not too sure.

Don't Get Caught up in Digital Data Without a Clear Vision

Jonathan Salem Baskin
May 4, 2009

If you're like most CMOs I know, you've probably got this love/hate thing going with digital media and reporting tools. On one hand, digital is a clarity engine, in that it demands by its very binary function the expression of "yes" or "no." Numbers are incontrovertibly numeric, so questions of who, what, where, when and why are limited to answers with the precision of how much. The "hate" side of our relationship with all things digital isn't that numbers are incomplete, it's that numbers have no inherent meaning -- which means that they're usually misunderstood or misused.

Top 100 Brands Wield Power Over S&P 500

Mark Ritson
May 1, 2009

In the managerial pecking order within most firms, finance occupies a more central role than the flimsy business of marketing. Financial people use complex terms like ‘derivatives' and ‘collateralized debt obligations', and deal with multibillion-dollar/pound sums on a daily basis. Marketers are a simpler mob, occupying their time with more basic duties, such as brand building and customer satisfaction. However, when you think about it, shouldn't it be the other way round? Shouldn't the marketer, who builds the brand and works with the consumers who pay for everything, have a more exalted position than the manager who simply accounts for and invests the resulting income?

Twitter: Acquisition vs. Retention

Brian Solis
Apr 29, 2009

Seems that even the shiniest applications on the Web also face the same growing pains as any product, no matter where it resides on the adoption bell curve.

Creating a Post-Crisis Economy: Moving Beyond Consumption

Tim Brown
Apr 28, 2009

For the next few days I plan to explore what I am calling the Age of Involvement: the role of participation in an information society and how it leads to an expanded view of our economy. I am not an economist and have never studied economics. I am approaching this as someone who believes that innovation is redefining everything around us, including the ways that we measure human achievement.

The Metrics of Brand Equity

Martin Roll
Apr 27, 2009

There are several stakeholders concerned with brand equity, such as the firm, the customer, the distribution channels, media and other stakeholders like the financial markets and analysts, depending on the type of company ownership. But ultimately it is the customer who is the most critical component in defining brand equity as it is his/her choices that determine the success or failure of the company and the brand.

The Power of Personal Informatics

Eilidh Dickson
Apr 24, 2009

We are living in a world where computing and information processing is going beyond the desktop model of computer interaction to be integrated into the everyday objects we interact with and activities in which we partake. This model is moving beyond the desktop paradigm, and has more recently been described as ‘everyware’. Everyday objects being networked is a simple concept, yet the application is complex, holding huge possibilities. If all objects from our daily routines could be ‘tagged’ with an identifying device we could see untold amounts of information about the product.

New Models for New Media

Grant McCracken
Apr 24, 2009

I read with interest today the removal of Chris DeWolfe as CEO of MySpace. According to the "growth" model of capitalism, MySpace has a problem. If senior management can't renew growth, change is called for. But what if this growth model is, at least for new media purposes, mistaken? If we embrace a new model of the kind someone like Henry Jenkins, David Weinberger, or Don Tapscott might endorse, then this might be precisely the wrong way to think about things.

Spectrum of Online Friendship

Mike Arauz
Apr 14, 2009

"What is a friend?" This question is constantly echoing across the internet. But, digital relationships (just like non-digtal ones) are not absolute. They are fluid. And online friendship is better described along a spectrum defined by the actions people take and how we feel about them. The more useful question for individuals and brands who are interested in cultivating online friendships is How do I move my friends from acquaintanceship to "best friendliness"?

Social By Design

Joe Marchese
Mar 31, 2009

For marketers and publishers of the social Web, design matters. Creative matters. Ideas matter. It is true that properly utilized data can drive better decision making, but it is also true that all the data in the world doesn't create innovation without interpretation, and data doesn't always lead to great design (especially when the data is about the wrong thing -- clicks, anyone?).

The High Road and The Low Road

Seth Godin
Mar 27, 2009

Why spend $10,000 to do a photo shoot for a magazine? After all, all your profit is in the ads. Sometimes it seems like people who build websites and magazines that take the high road aren't paying any attention at all to conversion and revenue and manipulation.

Micro Disruption Theory and The Social Effect

Brian Solis
Mar 26, 2009

Relationships are so much more than the mere act of following or friending someone on Twitter or any social network for that matter. It's the balladry of transcending online connections into real world relationships. It's the cadence of interaction and the poetry of conversations that empower the human network and the escalation of the Social Economy.

While Others Paint the Trim

Chris Brogan
Mar 25, 2009

I don’t have much use for case studies. Or rather, I collect them, but mostly to show other people. It’s not that they’re not useful. Instead, I just find that lots of people use case studies as excuses or defense to show the boss instead of as learning tools to better align their strategy. You might use yours just right. I use mine as springboards to build and plan.

The Age Of Commodified Intelligence

George Balgobin
Mar 20, 2009

This is an Age of Commodified Intelligence, a time of conspicuously consumed high culture in which intellectual life is meticulously measured and branded.

Humanizing Social Networks: Revealing the People Powering Social Media

Brian Solis
Mar 11, 2009

Social Networks are among the most powerful examples of socialized media. They create a dynamic ecosystem that incubates and nurtures relationships between people and the content they create and share. As these communities permeate and reshape our lifestyle and how we communicate with one another, we’re involuntarily forcing advertisers and marketers to rapidly evolve how they vie for our attention. It is the zeitgeist of socialized media and it’s manifesting into an obsession for branding, advertising, “viral,” marketing, and communications experts and professionals worldwide.

The Inflection Is Near?

Thomas L. Friedman
Mar 9, 2009

Let’s today step out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask a radical question: What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: “No more.”

Presenting the 50 Most Innovative Companies

Fast Company
Feb 13, 2009

Even in these tough times, surprising and extraordinary efforts are under way in businesses across the globe. From politics to technology, energy, and transportation; from marketing to retail, health care, and design, each company on the following pages illustrates the power and potential of innovative ideas and creative execution. These are the kinds of enterprises that will redefine our future and point the way to a better tomorrow.

How Science Can Prevent The Next Bubble

Richard Olsen and Clive Cookson
Feb 13, 2009

Since the world became aware in the summer of 2007 of an imminent financial crisis, people have asked why so few experts saw it coming. There have been many calls for an early warning system for the world economy – but little has been said about how to build one.

Time to Reinvent the Web (and Save Wall Street)

L. Gordon Crovitz
Feb 9, 2009

The essence of capitalism, Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter warned, is "creative destruction" that undermines economic structures, then replaces them with better ones. Today we know all about destruction. We could use a happy dose of the creative element. Welcome to TED.

Tweets From The Edge

Gord Hotchkiss
Feb 5, 2009

I'm now on Twitter (@outofmygord if you're interested), which, to use the emerging verb of consensus, means that I tweet.  I'm not sure I'm a Twaddict (a la Todd Friesen) but I am moving through Rohit Bhargava's 5 Stages of Twitter Acceptance...

Welcome to the Monkey House

Joan Voight
Jan 16, 2009

In 2018 we will look back with bemusement at the industry before 2010, when most advertising meant ads - brief, static bits of promotional info on TV video, Web sites, radio, paper or big flat outdoor posters. These repetitive ad messages were everywhere you went, and people quietly tolerated them and went about their day. Before 2010, most ads offered little opportunity to complain, ask questions, collect more information, meet the people involved, or play a game. How ridiculously boring, really.

Possibilities, Not Necessities

Jonathan Baskin
Jan 12, 2009

I just finished walking through the exhibits at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and my shopping list is blank. I don't need anything that I saw.

Do You Have a Perception Problem?

Tom Asacker
Dec 2, 2008

Organizations want to change our perceptions rapidly, through communication, rather than by the hard work of shaping our memories and feelings through experience.  And they're increasingly finding that they can't.

Welcome to the Post-Agency Era

Patrick Davis
Nov 24, 2008

The post-agency era is upon us. With staggering speed and efficiency, consumer preferences and digital technologies have coalesced to create a broad and deep cultural demand for direct relationships. In this disintermediated market, do we need go-betweens at all?

Advertising Age Special Report: Marketing 50

Advertising Age
Nov 19, 2008

Advertising Age honors the top brands of the year -- and the brains behind them.

No One Cares, You Are Doing It Wrong, And That Is Awesome

DJ Francis
Nov 14, 2008

Marketers are confused these days. The things that have worked for decades aren’t working anymore. Can you imagine if you worked for 30 years in your given vocation and then, almost over night, all the rules changed? In truth, marketing is only now becoming what it truly should have been - a conversation.

Tracking the Elusive Consumer

John Jullens and Gregor Harter
Nov 12, 2008

Consumer choice modeling can help companies improve their market share by offering a better understanding of consumer preferences.

What Is Brand Value?

Tom Asacker
Nov 11, 2008

If your brand commands a price premium, you had better understand the nuanced way that your audience defines and intuits value. And then make sure that your brand - including your facilities, people, web site, et al. - deliver a bundle of value components that provide "good value" for your customers'  investment of time, money, attention and identity.

The Pitfalls of Nascar Blindness

Alan Wolk
Nov 4, 2008

The cure for Nascar blindness is a relatively painless and simple one: listening. Which is one of the most underutilized tools in the marketer's arsenal, but also one of the most valuable.

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