Patrick Davis Partners, the brand capital consultancy, today announced an expanded portfolio of services and a name change to Davis Brand Capital.
Tag: brand capital
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2012 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand management and performance comprehensively. It is the only annual ranking of companies that demonstrate overall, balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand and related intangible assets, providing an indicator of total business strength and effectiveness.
Marissa Mayer's move to Yahoo as CEO made me reexamine the question of personal brands. I maintain my position: they don't exist in any meaningful way. They are just (not terribly) fancy jargon for bloggers. What Mayer brings to Yahoo is not her personal brand, but the brand capital of Google.
How can a business respond to both the radical changes in the market as well as the human challenges in the wind? Without a doubt, the blue ocean opportunity of the moment is trust.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of key intangibles. It is the only annual ranking of companies demonstrating comprehensive and balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand capital, which provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2010 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of intangibles creating value in the intellectual economy. The ranking compares the five key intangible categories by which the consultancy defines brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact.
Admittedly I’ve never had much use for the GAP, other than the fact it inspired some of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits (“Lay off me I’m starving”). But its newly designed logo seems to be leaving branding experts and fans alike starving for a bit more.
Davis Brand Capital, which published the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking in December, today announced expanded rankings in five industries: automotive, finance, retail, technology, and telecom.
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.
Microsoft ranks #4 on the Davis Brand Capital 25, besting twelfth-place rival Apple. Despite taking some hits in a year-long advertising tit-for-tat with Mac, Microsoft joins fellow technology brands IBM (#1), HP (#3) and Cisco Systems (#5) at the top of this year's list. The Davis Brand Capital 25 is the only annual list to evaluate brand as an amalgam of intangibles, including brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact. Microsoft's top-five ranking is a reflection of the company's successful management of its brand capital across a diverse portfolio of technology products and services.
Cisco's #5 ranking on the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 should come as no surprise. Cisco has taken an integrated approach to developing its intangibles for years. The following sections detail Cisco's success in carefully managing its brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
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.
Apple has edged out IBM to become the top brand of 2011, according to an annual list from marketing strategy firm Davis Brand Capital. The Cupertino-based company ousted IBM, which topped the list in 2009 and 2010.
Coca-Cola is the only Atlanta-headquartered company to make the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking which “provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.” The annual ranking measures brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
Microsoft had the third most "brand capital" among companies in 2011, according to a new report by a company whose business is helping clients boost this. Microsoft held the same spot in Davis Brand Capital's 2010 report, one place up from 2009. Longtime rival Apple topped the list for the first time, moving up from seventh place last year. IBM, whose decision to use Microsoft for its operating system three decades ago made the Redmond tech giant, fell from first to second. Davis' ranking looks at brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
Brands are valuable, everyone agrees. But it's hard to say just how valuable because of all the intangibles. Davis Brand Capital, an Atlanta firm that analyzes intangible assets for global clients, just published its list of the top 25 companies with the most brand capital in 2011. Irving-based Exxon Mobil ranked 17th and Dallas-based AT&T ranked 22nd.
The iPhone, iPad, and Mac maker topped the Davis list for the first time this year, ousting IBM, which had come in first in 2009 and 2010. Following those two are a handful of other technology companies including Microsoft, Google, and Hewlett-Packard. "(Apple's) rise in this year's rankings was driven largely by its competitive performance and added brand value," Davis said in a press release. So how does the company come up with these rankings?
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh plans to peddle more– much more–than shoes, electronics and cookware. Hsieh says the name Zappos, which delivers customer service as it sells other company’s offerings, could someday be as well-known as Richard Branson’s customer-centric Virgin empire. “That’s probably the brand that’s most analogous to what we're trying to do,” Hsieh says, adding that he can envision the Zappos name on an airline someday.
Taking a government bailout, getting hit with accusations of fraud and now a class-action discrimination suit have all led to Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs' steep decline in public reputation. According to YouGov, at one point it fell further than even BP and Toyota. But now that it's settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman is trying to put a new face on the company -- one that associates Goldman with companies such as clean-energy firms and with the creation of jobs.
About an hour south of Seoul, bulldozers are demolishing the last vacant factories at Samsung Electronics Co.’s Suwon campus, erasing signs that South Korea’s most valuable public company once made its headquarters in a smoke-fuming industrial complex. In their place are ice cream and pizza parlors, research labs and open space that’s been groomed as parks. Engineers in T-shirts play basketball on this sunny June morning before heading to their choice of nine cafeterias for a free lunch featuring Korean, Indian and Western dishes prepared to please employees from 50 countries. Women, who until recently were forced to wear conservative business suits and were absent from top jobs, stroll through gardens in slacks and formerly banned open-toed shoes, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its October issue. The 28,000 engineers, designers and marketers who arrive by bicycle or one of 556 company-funded buses at this bustling center could be in Silicon Valley or a technology park in India except for a sign at the eight-lane entrance: Samsung Digital City. The campus, along with required English lessons for managers and research into everything from solar cells to humanoid robots, are part of Samsung Electronics’ mission to vault itself into the ranks of the world’s great innovators and become one of the top five brands.
It's 2010, and we still don't know how to describe the archetypal magnates of the next economy. We don't have a word for it, so we resort to awkward neologisms, like "information entrepreneur" or "green mogul." It's as if we're still not quite sure just what kinds of "capital" tomorrow's tycoons will be "ists" of. What are the kernels of tomorrow's prosperity?
The second tenet of the Marketers' Constitution states, "Marketing must build real, enduring, tangible brand value." A marketing environment in which brands are launched, built, tracked and precisely valued will allow businesses, across the marketing ecosystem, to make strategic decisions about how best to build and protect their brand.
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."
Certain celebrity endorsements have the Midas touch and Barkley is a sterling example, despite a checkered past including gambling issues and a DUI conviction. His over-the-top persona has made Barkley a magnet for brands — compared, say, with NBA legend (and Hanes spokesman) Michael Jordan.
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.
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.
Evolving from the world's biggest factory to creator of the world's biggest brands is a challenge, and China continues to struggle with crafting a name for itself beyond just low-priced products.
Struggling Eastman Kodak Co. said its movie-film business, a onetime cash cow, is shrinking faster than expected, raising fresh concerns about the viability of the iconic company's turnaround. The faster pace of decline puts more pressure on Kodak, which is still struggling to build profitable new lines of business. Kodak on Wednesday reported disappointing demand in one of its newer businesses—digital still cameras. Another, consumer and commercial inkjet printers, showed gains, but isn't expected to be profitable until 2012.
Not so long ago, brands were in the limelight. They were seemingly powerful, and virtuous. Any inconvenient truths were hidden by glossy packaging and one-way, big-bang marketing campaigns. Now, as organizations become ever more transparent, people can see behind the marketing facade and are questioning what they are told.
One cannot add a significantly more premium or inexpensive product within a brand’s range without encountering credibility problems. This is especially true if one is trying to move a lower cost brand into a more premium market segment. This is why Toyota has the Lexus brand and Honda has the Acura brand. Even Marriott’s association with the Ritz Carlton brand (as its parent company, even though they are not linked in an identity system) could lead people to think less of Ritz Carlton compared to the (luxury only) Four Seasons brand, for instance.
BP’s board is expected on Monday to name an American, Robert Dudley, as its chief executive, replacing Tony Hayward, whose repeated stumbles during the company’s three-month oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico alienated federal and state officials as well as residents of the Gulf Coast. The planned appointment of an American to run the London-based company, which was confirmed by a person close to BP’s board, would underscore how vital the United States has become to BP.
A couple of months or so after becoming Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron wanted a few tips from somebody who could tell him how it felt to be responsible for, and accountable to, many millions of people: people who expected things from him, even though in most cases he would never shake their hands. He turned not to a fellow head of government but to…Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and boss of Facebook, the phenomenally successful social network.
The trouble: the T400 doesn’t have “it” quality. It is a business machine in the most pedestrian sense of the term. No trace of elegance. No claim to being the pick of the technological litter. No “wow” factor. The T410 is just another business machine. This takes us into one of the thorniest issue in the branding world. What is “it?” And what’s “it” worth?
For every Intel that intentionally crafts its trajectory as a brand rather than as a mere product, there are dozens of brands such as LYCRA, KONI, and Dell that have developed a deep resonance with customers more by accident than strategic intent. To judge by their websites and communications, the owners of these brands are well aware of what their products do for customers, but unaware of what they mean to customers.
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.
Last week, executives from Chick-fil-A made their annual media stop in New York to promote its spicy sandwich and in honor of Cow Appreciation Day. The goofy holiday is an offshoot of the company's long-running marketing effort that got its start as a one-off billboard that, at the time, was actually off strategy.
It may be sweltering outside, but it looks like consumers cooled to retailers in June. While some chains used aggressive markdowns to win stronger sales results, others issued sales figures somewhat below forecast. Overall, comparable-store sales at leading chain stores gained 3.2%, reports Kantar Retail, up a bit from last month's 2.7% same gain, and much better than the 4.7% decline stores struggled with last June. The International Council of Shopping Centers, which tracks a slightly different group of retailers, says its index gained 3% for the month, with luxury stores doing the best (with a combined gain of 8.8%) for the month, followed by department stores (up 5.9%).
Forest Hills-based JetBlue has prided itself on being a challenger brand and, in doing so, has become one of the hottest brands in America.
On Friday, Apple said it would fix the software of the iPhone 4 to address the so-called Death Grip problem. It was the first explanation the company has offered of why holding the phone a certain way may cause the bars displaying reception strength to drop in number, and calls to be lost. In a Web site post, Apple said the problem was not with the antenna, but rather with how the software calculated reception strength to display as bars on the phone.
Chevrolet had planned to introduce its forthcoming electric car, the Volt, in just three markets. But demand has been so great that the company has added New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas. Chairman Ed Whitacre broke the news in Austin, Texas, on Thursday at a luncheon for the city's chamber of commerce.
When it comes to global brand value, Walmart continues to be the most powerful retailer, with its brand valued at $30.42 billion. But a new ranking from Kantar Retail and BrandZ reflects some seismic shifts in consumer spending in the last year: While the category as a whole shrank, Amazon shot into the No. 2 spot like a meteor, with a brand value of $27.45 billion -- a 359% increase since 2006, when it was ranked No. 8.
The $20 million of second-round financing secured by the mobile networking service Foursquare will go toward staffing up on engineers, getting offices that can accommodate expanding staff and supporting its rapidly expanding audience of users. Oh yeah, and it's got a revenue model to work out too.
While the Rolling Stone article "The Runaway General" created enough of a flap to lead to U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal's public downfall, it also represented the culmination of the very heady rebirth of a counterculture brand.
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.
Despite the thick, stagnant heat cloaking Apple’s boxy flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, hundreds of people were anxiously waiting in line in the hopes of being among the first to purchase a shiny new iPhone 4. The enthusiasm for Apple’s fourth-generation iPhone isn’t relegated to New York. Damon Darlin, the New York Times technology editor, said that by 6:30 a.m in a chilly and foggy San Francisco, two lines wrapped around the block at the store on Stockton St. Reuters is reporting that Apple stores in Japan are in selling briskly, with at least one store completely sold out of stock.
The public image of Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, has suffered in the wake of the credit crunch with a famous article in Rolling Stone magazine describing the organisation as a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”. BP is widely perceived to have compounded the damage done to its image by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico through a poor public relations and crisis management strategy in its aftermath. What affects reputations in turn affects brands. It is too soon to say how badly the Goldman Sachs and BP brands will be affected but it seems certain that they will be. And what all of these examples highlight is how hard it is to manage reputations.
Big bank Goldman Sachs is trying to repair its reputation, damaged by charges of civil fraud and a criminal investigation — never mind an embarrassment of riches in the firm's report of over $13 billion of net earnings in 2009. So it may come as no surprise that Goldman Sachs is reportedly considering everything from an ad campaign to an appearance on The Oprah Show by CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
Riding high on its "Write the Future" world football campaign, Nike executives announced that fourth-quarter profits came in strong and say its proactive strategy throughout the recession is paying off in a big way. "I said a year ago that Nike is not a 'wait and see' company, and we weren't about to let our core strengths sit idle," Mark Parker, president and CEO.
By the time Howard Schultz stepped down as chief executive of Starbucks, in 2000, the coffee chain was one of the world’s most recognizable brands—and on a steady trajectory of growth. Eight years later Starbucks was suffering from a rough economy and its own strategic missteps, and Schultz felt compelled to return to the CEO seat. His previous tenure had seen promising growth, but now he faced a challenging mission: to lead a turnaround of the company he had built. In this condensed and edited interview, Schultz discusses what it’s like to retake the reins in the middle of a crisis.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it plans to work with the city of Chicago to build several dozen stores in the area over the next five years as it seeks new avenues for growth in the U.S. The stores will be of varying size and format, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said in a statement today. They would create about 10,000 store employee jobs and 2,000 unionized construction jobs, Wal-Mart said.
The Ritz-Carlton is still considered the gold standard in customer service — and not just among well-heeled business travelers and jetsetters. At the core of this prized moniker: its employees, who are the face of a brand whose product is service. What's the secret to how the Ritz, and its employees, build loyalty to the brand and their locations? Marketing and pricing can be competitive and close in the hotel business, but there's one factor that makes the Ritz stand out in the luxury hotel market.
A brand has to have a reason for being. It should make a difference in the world in some way. Moreover, a brand has to have an organization that powers it -- an organization that is passionate and committed to bringing that brand to life in all facets of the company. The power of a brand starts from the people who create the experience every day. And the purpose the brand represents needs to come through at every possible touch point.
The gap between a company's market capitalization and its hard assets is often immense. Consider Coca-Cola Co. According to its 2009 annual report, Coke's total hard assets were valued at $48.6 billion, whereas its year-end market capitalization was $132.8 billion. The huge difference between these two numbers -- more than $84 billion -- represents the value of the company's intangible assets, largely its brands.
24/7 Wall St. regularly compiles a report of brands that are likely to disappear in the near-term. Last April, and again in December, we published our findings. Usually, it would take a full year before such a list could be compiled again. However, the current economic climate has accelerated this process and a majority of the brands on the first two lists are either gone, have been acquired, or have filed for bankruptcy. Last April, 24/7 Wall St. identified twelve brands that our analysis showed would disappear, including Saturn, Borders, Palm, AIG and Eddie Bauer.
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.
Infiniti from the very beginning has had a difficult time establishing a brand identity and finding a way to execute it in communications. Introduced in 1989, Infiniti was Nissan's response to the introductions of the other Japanese luxury marques; Acura and Lexus. The original Q45 was a sporty performance alternative to the Lexus. Unfortunately, the brand got off to a rough start when it introduced the car and brand with the infamous "rocks and trees" campaign created by its agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos.
The biggest recent highlight for the Denny’s restaurant brand was its 2010 Super Bowl campaign marking the return of its free Grand Slam breakfast on your birthday promotion. It was also, as it turns out, the last hurrah for Denny's CEO Nelson Marchioli.
More Men Getting Iced Every Day, Smirnoff Claims It Has Nothing To Do With Their Naming And Branding
Yesterday The New York Times picked up on the new drinking game called "icing." It's full name is "Bros Icing Bros." You can read the rules for yourself, suffice to say that this is a game aimed at the college age demographic and requires players to drink copious amounts of Smirnoff Ice, hence the name "icing." This game has spread out of the frat house to the world of Goldman Sachs and elsewhere. The word "Bros" and "Bro" has been given new life by this game.
Expect executives at Dr Pepper Snapple Group to be bubbly today when touting the benefits of a $700 million-plus deal with rival Coke even though it has less fizz than some investors were expecting. The Plano-based maker of Dr Pepper, 7Up and Motts juices, among other products, said Monday it will reap a $715 million payday for allowing the Coca-Cola Co. to distribute some of Dr Pepper's soft drinks in the U.S. and Canada.
It seems unthinkable, even now, that the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could bring down the mighty BP. But investment bankers get paid to think the unthinkable — and that is just what they are doing. The idea that BP might one day file for bankruptcy, particularly as part of a merger that would enable it to cordon off its liabilities from the spill, is starting to percolate on Wall Street. Bankers and lawyers are already sizing up potential deals (and counting their potential fees).
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.
As Mr. St. Angelo and several other longtime American executives tell it, a new era has arrived at Toyota. Its face is Mr. Toyoda, who this month reaches his first year as president, and by these accounts, has come to appreciate how closely Toyota flirted with disaster in the United States — and is prepared to shake things up because of it.
Coke & Pepsi are very active in social media and I think their hard work is helping to build up a “trust bank” with their audience. As has been widely reported, Pepsi took their Superbowl ad budget and instead of creating a set of iconic commercials they launched their “Refresh Everything” campaign, in which they asked their audience to come up with ideas to “refresh the world”, in the categories of health, the planet, art & culture, food & shelter, neighborhoods and education.
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?
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.
After more than a century, Nordstrom, the upscale department store chain from Seattle, will make its Manhattan debut on Tuesday. But don’t expect $4,000 dresses. Expect 25,000 pairs of discounted shoes, and an automated checkout line more at home in a supermarket than a purveyor of luxury goods. While retailers of Nordstrom’s caliber typically come to New York to erect sumptuous flagships, Nordstrom is introducing itself here with a low-cost sister store in Union Square — mere steps from Filene’s Basement.
What should you do to rehabilitate your general reputation if you are in Goldman Sachs' executive suite at 200 West Street in New York? Beset by an SEC complaint, a criminal investigation, a Senate grilling, and the resulting loss in two weeks of more than $20 billion in market capitalization, Goldman has assumed a defensive posture. This is so even though the firm just announced $3.46 billion in first quarter earnings.
The world's second-largest food company and National CineMedia have inked a marketing alliance that will bring Kraft brands such as Oscar Mayer Lunchables, Stride gum and Ritz crackers to the big screen. The agreement marks the first time a food advertiser has created long-form, branded content for the cinema. Kraft's campaign, launching today, will include two-minute-and-thirty-second original entertainment segments -- along with traditional shorter spots -- in NCM's FirstLook pre-feature program running on its digital network of 15,400 screens.
Besides the top ten overall brands in our 2010 Good Brands Report, we had members of the Purple List rank brands according to different criteria, such as imagination, or responsibility.
The legal and political consequences of the complaint brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Goldman Sachs have drawn most of the public's attention, but it is the cultural fallout that will be the more meaningful legacy of the case. The fuzzy link between a real asset like a home mortgage and a synthetic collateralized debt obligation is hard to grasp for people focused on Roth IRAs and pretax health care expense accounts. By ignoring the need most of us have to see how investments are linked to tangible assets, Wall Street generally, and Goldman Sachs specifically, have given us ample reason to believe the truth of the charges.
Merger talks between United Airlines and Continental Airlines reached an impasse over the weekend over a disagreement about the price of a deal, people involved in the negotiations said on Sunday. More specifically, the two companies have not been able to reach an agreement over the value of the stock prices used to compute the exchange ratio in a stock-for-stock deal, these people said. The ratio would affect the price United would ultimately pay for the deal.
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.
After more than a year of consumer research and agency brainstorming, McDonald's global chief marketing officer unveiled an updated take on its iconic, 7-year-old "I'm Lovin' It" campaign today before an audience of 15,000 franchisees, marketers and suppliers.
Chrysler's message with its latest quarterly report is that things are turning around, and that the company isn't the Larry King of automakers: This time the marriage is going to work. The company said net revenues increased to $9.7 billion in the first quarter this year, representing a 4% increase versus the prior quarter. Chrysler says it has a profit of $143 million and positive cash flow of $1.5 billion, giving the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automaker, a unit of Fiat, $7.4 billion in cash as of month's end, March.
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?
The success of Apple’s mobile devices gives the firm an opportunity to capture a goodly chunk of the emerging mobile-advertising market. Indeed, that is the reason why Apple recently acquired Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising agency. Becoming an advertising powerhouse is certainly attractive. But Mr Jobs has far bigger fish to fry. The biggest of them all is turning Apple into the Microsoft of mobility. But first there is a little matter of locking as many software developers as possible into the Apple ecosystem. If the applications are there, so the argument goes, users will follow in droves.
Google may be fighting a multifront war against Apple, Microsoft, federal antitrust regulators and the government of China, but its online advertising business continues to hum along nicely. The company topped published forecasts on Thursday, reporting that its net income in the first quarter jumped more than 37 percent from the recession-mired quarter a year ago. Sales grew 23 percent from the period a year earlier. But the stock was down nearly 5 percent in after-hours trading because the results were lower than the “whisper number” of analysts, the unpublished estimate that some analysts give clients. Google shares closed at $595.30 in regular trading before the earnings release.
Here we continue the post on why I think Nespresso is the best brand in the world.
“First and foremost, what we want to do is establish Crocs as a brand and not that one shoe,” said Ken Chaplin, vice president for marketing at Crocs, referring to the original model. With newer loafer styles and flats, the company hopes to gain more of a year-round presence. “Spring, summer — we own that,” Mr. Chaplin said. “But we also have great shoes for back to school, fall and winter. There’s a lot of opportunity to expand wearing occasions and the seasons we play in.”
Slowly but surely things are getting better, and I have decided that it is time to get back to investing in the future rather than just trying to survive. Advertising is one expense that is really an investment. Like all investments, advertising can produce results that range from great to disastrous. It requires understanding who your best prospects are, how to reach them, and what the message should be. Because most small-business owners are busy, if not overwhelmed, it can be tempting to let advertising salespeople drive the process. That can be a mistake. You don’t want to choose your advertising based on which salesperson happens to call on you.
I can now reveal the best brand in the world, based on the criteria from last week's post. And the winner is.... NESPRESSO. I already loved this brand, having blogged on it a couple of times. And recently I went to brand heaven when I got the chance to work on it. There is so much to write about that this will be in 2 parts.
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.
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.
Adobe Systems Inc. is getting ready to unveil one of its most important products in years, a major rewrite of its graphics software that is causing a buzz in Silicon Valley— as well as friction with Apple Inc. The company's Creative Suite product line accounts for more than half of Adobe's revenue. Adobe is counting on the new version—called Creative Suite 5, or CS5 for short—to help it rebound from one of its toughest years ever.
If the aim of Nike's new ad featuring Tiger Woods was to cause confusion and skepticism, it's a hole in one. Perhaps more importantly, a survey of 600 U.S. viewers by Flemington, N.J.-based HCD Research also noted the controversial commercial's "favorability" for the Nike brand has dropped off, falling from 92% to 79%.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is cutting prices on thousands of products in an aggressive campaign to reinforce its reputation as a discount leader, as the company seeks to reverse months of slowing U.S. sales. The world's largest retailer was a rare beneficiary of the economic downturn, as large numbers of bargain-hungry Americans, including many middle-class families, flocked to its supercenters from supermarkets and specialty clothing stores.
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.
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.
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.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the U.S. plans to seek a $16.4 million fine against Toyota Motor Corp., saying the auto maker "knowingly hid" safety problems from regulators. The proposed fine, the maximum allowed under law against a car maker and far exceeding the previous record of $1 million, is the first linked to Toyota's recall of more than eight million cars globally for gas-pedal and sudden-acceleration problems.
Here are my criteria for the best brand in the world. The benchmark against which other brands should be compared. This is more multi-dimensional than the tables of the world's biggest brands. I propose 10 criteria that look at how the brand has been built, not just its size. Based on these criteria, have a go at nominating your choice by adding a comment. And also add other criteria I may have missed. Next week I'll reveal what I think is the best brand in the world.
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.
CNN continued what has become a precipitous decline in ratings for its prime-time programs in the first quarter of 2010, with its main hosts losing almost half their viewers in a year. The trend in news ratings for the first three months of this year is all up for one network, the Fox News Channel, which enjoyed its best quarter ever in ratings, and down for both MSNBC and CNN.
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.
Gatorade took a huge step in the revitalization of its brand this week by revealing a new structure for its mainstream product line called the “G Series”: three functionally complementary types of drinks to meet the various relevant need states of consumers, and an alliance with GNC for the launch of “G-Series Pro” products with a similar structure for serious athletes. Gatorade’s chief marketing officer, Sarah Robb O’Hagan, shared the rationale behind the new brand architecture with financial analysts in New York. Gatorade “is a formidable franchise,” said O'Hagan, the former Nike marketing executive, who joined the PepsiCo brand nearly two years ago. “But we haven’t had the right performance the last few years.” In 2009, she said, “We started a multi-year journey to turn this brand around."
The idea of branded utility is nothing new. In fact, it’s an idea that has cycled in and out of popular conversations for almost a decade, and yet there is still debate on exactly what it means and whether or not brands can truly provide branded utility in a way that makes a relevant connection to the brand.
Procter & Gamble Co. got to be an $80 billion company and the world's-largest marketer almost entirely by selling goods, but it's increasingly looking to services ranging from concierge physicians to car washes and dry cleaners to fuel its thirst for growth.
Blockbuster Inc. again warned it may have to file for bankruptcy protection as the movie-rental company remains unprofitable. In its annual report filed Tuesday, Blockbuster said its declining sales and cash flow, coupled with increasingly competitive industry conditions, "raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern." Blockbuster provided similar warnings nearly a year ago before it was able to refinance its long-term debt in the fall.
How do you talk about your business's strategy so that your employees get it? Well, you've probably heard the phrase "Keep it simple, stupid." And often the subtext of that is: "Keep it simple, because your people are stupid." But the point of simplicity isn't to dumb things down. You're not trying to solve a comprehension problem. You're trying to solve a problem called decision paralysis.
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.
It has been a rough few months for Toyota because of its three big safety recalls. But the automaker’s luxury division, Lexus, appears to have avoided much of the fallout. Even though a Lexus ES 350 was involved in a widely publicized accident before the recalls, Lexus sales are up about 5 percent so far in 2010 compared with last year. That is close to the average for other luxury brands.
The recession is forcing cash-poor consumers to stick to the basics when they shop, according to a list of the most valuable U.S. retail brands as ranked by Interbrand. In its 2010 list no-frills retailers, including Dollar General, Family Dollar, AutoZone and other retailers that sell necessities, rose in this annual ranking of 50 brands. Many top retail brands that sell niceties consumers can do without in hard times, including Avon and Polo Ralph Lauren, fell on the Interbrand list.
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.
It was a surreal moment for Mr. Westergren, who founded Pandora, the Internet radio station. For most of its 10 years, it has been on the verge of death, struggling to find investors and battling record labels over royalties. Had Pandora died, it would have joined myriad music start-ups in the tech company graveyard, like SpiralFrog and the original Napster. Instead, with a successful iPhone app fueling interest, Pandora is attracting attention from investment bankers who think it could go public, the pinnacle of success for a start-up.
Estée Lauder Cos. CEO Fabrizio Freda, only the second nonfamily member to lead the company since its founding in 1946, would like to change the way department stores sell cosmetics. Mr. Freda wants to woo customers who are still hesitant to splurge on upscale cosmetics. To make shopping less intimidating, some beauty counters now display prices, loosening a taboo. He is also designing counters to cater to varied shopping preferences.
Marketers have turned to all manner of social channels in their efforts to tap into the social media craze, from engaging in formal blogger outreach efforts to stuffing YouTube channels with videos in the hopes that others will embed link to them from their Facebook profiles. But marketers continue to ignore one group that, if approached correctly, could have a greater impact than all the rest combined.
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.
Lowe’s launched its spring campaign today, March 2nd, and its focus is on customer service. The brand wants to help its employees (a.k.a. associates) offer better expertise and service to shoppers, while also helping them keep within their budgets. Not a bad idea in these economic times. Associates will get equal time in the new commercials alongside actors portraying customers. Their advice and recommendations are geared towards supporting a growing trend of DIY home projects. “Everything we do in the campaign is grounded in service and value, because that’s where the consumer lives right now,” according to Lowe’s SVP, Marketing and Advertising, Tom Lamb.
As we make our way through the challenges of the global economic crisis, high-impact performers are in demand. I'm speaking here of the indispensible workers who are willing to do what it takes to help the company succeed even in the most difficult of times. Those who pick up the slack when the organization is forced to cut back; those whose ideas save time, money, and effort; those with a positive outlook who help keep the organization moving forward.
Akio Toyoda, the president of Toyota Motor in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Wednesday offering something he hopes will start to repair the company's image among consumers: an apology.
Geno and were having an in person chat the other day. (The one day he was in town last week, geez that guy is raking in some Frequent Flier miles). Anyway we were talking about integrity. We talk a lot about authenticity at Brains on Fire. Being who you are. Knowing what you stand for. Supporting your customer’s genuine passion conversations, not product conversations. But lately Geno and I have been rolling this notion of integrity around.
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.
One troubling recent phenomenon is the push for everyone to be innovators. I suspect more books have been sold with the word innovation in their title in the last 10 years than in the previous 50, including, I confess, one of my own. And while much has changed, it's hard to say the quality of things in the world has improved as fast. Keen-eyed consumers bemoan the low quality of many of the things we buy and try to use. Web sites divide short articles across 25 ad-filled pages. Gadgets quickly run out of power. Smartphones have anemic reception or fragile screens. Many things we buy and use never work in the way we're promised, which suggests there are opportunities in merely being good: Much of what's made falls short of that mark.
One thing I learned from my days in traditional advertising is that a brand doesn't exist on shelves—it exists in the hearts and minds of people. Your brand is the sum total of perceptions about your product in the heads of your relevant audience. If that's true, then online media are the most important place for your brand image to be established, defended and grown. This is where your offering comes face-to-face with your audience and where its responses can be measured, shaped and—if need be—countered in real time. This is where perceptions can be built, person by person.
Hasbro CMO John Frascotti discusses managing 1500 brands.
Here is something that product managers and strategic marketers know first-hand: new product introductions and market roll-outs often carry large, and daunting, expectations. A poorly-executed product intro can cost jobs, upward professional mobility, and even millions of dollars and damage to an entire product family’s brand image in the market
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.
Fresh off announcing an unusually strong Q4 and full-year 2009 (particularly by current restaurant industry standards), Chipotle Mexican Grill is looking to build on the momentum with a new marketing campaign to launch in Q2, a new rewards program and new packaging -- not to mention expansion into Europe. For 2009 overall, the fast-casual chain reported revenue up 14% (to $1.52 billion), net income up 62% (to $126.8 million) and diluted EPS up 67% (to $3.95). The sales gain reflected both revenue from 121 new stores opened during '09 and comparable-store sales growth of 2.2% (including a 2% gain in Q4). Like other chains, Chipotle saw some traffic fall-off, but comp-store sales grew as a result of menu price increases instituted in 2008.
I’ve always had an easy time making decisions. I have this philosophy that “any decision is always better than no decision.” In fact, laboring over a decision makes me feel unsettled. I usually gather as much of the facts as possible, but I have to admit I have a pretty trustful gut and often that is all I need. We all have instinct. The decision we have to make is whether to use it or not.
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?
No one has seen more changes to the MTV brand than Judy McGrath. The CEO of MTV Networks started with the network in 1981 as a copywriter and eventually ascended the ranks to her current position in 2004, where she has seen many different iterations of the network and its programming even as fellow pioneering executives such as Tom Freston and Robert Pittman have come and gone. One of those changes came as recently as last week, when MTV unveiled the first major on-air update to its logo in its 28-year history. The redesign was met with mixed reaction. "I don't think what they did is wrong," George Lois, creator of the network's historic "I want my MTV" campaign, told Ad Age. "I think what they did is strategic. And it just proves to me that MTV is dead."
"To build a global medium as central to people's lives as the telephone or television ... and even more valuable." This was Steve Case's vision in the early 1990s, and everyone wanted to be a part of it. The company he founded, American Online, was one of the nation's most admired. By turning Internet access into a home utility, AOL became one of the nation's most admired brands and workplaces. It was the Google or the Facebook of its time. Then something happened.
Toyota's latest crisis illustrates a problem that will continue to plague multinational businesses: what does "the brand" stand for when there's seeming limitless breadth, depth, and variability to corporate activity? In other words, crises haunt big companies like ghosts, and I'm surprised that there hasn't been more demand that we turn on the lights and look at what these machines and their brands really mean.
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.
Strong soda sales in developing economies such as Brazil and India pushed Coca-Cola Co.'s fourth-quarter profit up 55%, but tepid consumer spending continued to pressure its business in North America. The company's earnings reflect a trend reported by other consumer-product makers in recent weeks: Consumer spending has generally bounced back in fast-growing markets in Asia and Latin America, but has yet to make a comeback in the U.S.
Toyota said Tuesday that it would recall 437,000 of its 2010 Priuses and other hybrid models worldwide because of a glitch in the braking system, as the Japanese automaker moves to contain a crisis over problems with a range of its products. About 223,000 of the cars recalled are in Japan. Some 155,000 are in the United States and another 53,000 in Europe.
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.
Monster finally got its HotJobs. Yahoo outbid Monster for the jobs site back in 2002, but those were different times. Now Yahoo has agreed to sell HotJobs to Monster for $225 million in cash, helping Monster vault rival CareerBuilder in U.S. web traffic, according to ComScore. HotJobs had been on the block for months as Yahoo attempts to pare down non-core businesses and focus on display-ad revenue from content and services. Its sale includes a three-year traffic deal where Monster remains the exclusive provider of jobs listings services across Yahoo's properties in the U.S. and Canada. It also includes the right to negotiate exclusively in other international territories.
Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday that it is investigating the computer-regulated braking systems of all other hybrid models, such as the Sai and the Lexus HS250h luxury hybrid sedan, following complaints about its Prius hybrid model. Toyota said that the recent brake problems in its smash-hit Prius hybrid gasoline-electric vehicle involved computer software used in automated systems and said it did not try to "cover up" the glitch.
"Glee" is ostensibly a show about a group of high-school misfits and nerds whose common love of song helps them get through the trials of adolescence. Yet in the real world, the cast -- and its songs -- are winning a popularity contest. Tied to the show's storylines, the cast's performances become so sellable that the program's production studio, News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox, believes it could have a new TV-show model on its hands, not unlike the kind of revenue juggernaut "American Idol" introduced.
YouTube is the world's No. 2 search engine -- behind only its parent company's search engine, Google.com -- but does that mean it can monetize like one? The difference could decide whether YouTube becomes a mildly profitable media business based on home-page ads and video campaigns, or if it can scale like Google search, tapping a world of small advertisers using self-serve tools to bid on keywords.
Toyota Motor on Monday said it would begin fixing accelerator pedals in millions of recalled vehicles this week, with some dealerships staying open around the clock to speed the process. The company said its engineers have developed and “rigorously tested” a remedy that involves reinforcing the pedal to eliminate excess friction. It said it had an “effective and simple” solution for current owners; dealers will install a steel reinforcement bar into the pedal assembly to reduce the surface tension that could cause it to stick.
Long the quality and efficiency standard-setter, Toyota now has an ostrich-sized egg on its face — a problem with sticking accelerator pedals that led to global product recalls and a suspension of production and sales. There are important lessons to be learned from Toyota's stumble: Competitive success is fluid. It depends on continuously discovering better ways to do work. The capabilities to do this are powerful but fragile and need constant reinforcement. Relentless attention to their development can lead to great success; conversely, a loss in attention can have grave consequences.
Toyota is a company that has built its entire franchise on quality and reliability, and today, it faces being discredited at its very core. The carmaker's corporate-communications department has, so far anyway, attempted to make the recall of 2.3 million vehicles sound like a typical single-vehicle recall. But it wasn't -- not by a long shot. You don't have to look any further than the Audi brand between 1978 and 1982 to see how faulty acceleration can put a severe break on sales and trust. Audi had one model affected; Toyota has eight.
The Ford Motor Company earned $2.7 billion in 2009 and said Thursday that it now expected to be profitable in 2010 as well. The profit for 2009, equal to 86 cents a share, was a swing of $17.5 billion from 2008, when the company lost $14.8 billion. It is Ford’s first full-year profit since 2005. The company ended 2009 with $25.5 billion in cash reserves, nearly twice the $13.4 billion it had at the start of the year. It also expects an operating profit in 2010, which is a year sooner than executives had previously said the company would become consistently profitable.
As Toyota’s problems mounted in North America with the announcement of a halt to sales and manufacturing of the bulk of its cars, commentators in Japan fretted Wednesday that the automaker’s problems could seriously hurt the reputation of the rest of Japan’s manufacturing sector. “Toyota’s reputation for safety is in tatters, and it is inevitable that its image among consumers will suffer,” the Sankei Shimbun daily said.
Apparently, half-naked models aren’t enough to entice customers anymore -- at least in the case of upscale retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch. Their once-enticing skimpy image is now resulting in nothing more than skimpy sales. The trendy teen chain has again reported a troubling decline in sales -- 21 straight months of declines, actually, in stores that have been open for over a year. Reports showed a 19 percent drop in December, a month that most retailers depend on to bolster their year-end profits.
Like Lee Iacocca at Chrysler, Edward E. Whitacre Jr. thinks the best way to lure consumers back to a bailed-out automaker is to pay back the loans from American taxpayers. In his first comments as the permanent chief executive of General Motors — after deciding to drop his interim status — Mr. Whitacre said Monday that G.M. will retire its remaining $5.7 billion in debt to the federal government by June.
I was sitting in church last week, fighting distraction because there was a brand in my face. Specifically, it was North Face—their logo emblazoned on four jackets, all within 3 rows of me and all in my line of sight. I even sneaked out my iPhone and tried to capture a picture of these four very different style/color jackets (alas, it didn’t come out very well).
General Electric Co. posted a 19% slump in fourth-quarter profit as it was again dinged by a big drop in earnings at its finance arm and substantial weakness at its NBC Universal media unit. But the overall results topped Wall Street expectations, and the conglomerate heralded "encouraging signs" at its infrastructure divisions. New orders for big-ticket equipment and services came in at $22.1 billion in the fourth quarter. The figure was off 3% from about $22.8 billion in the year-ago period, but up from $18.4 billion in the third quarter and from $18 billion in the second quarter.
Google Inc. reported its strongest revenue growth in a year and issued its firmest public statement saying it would like to continue doing business in China, a week after it said it may pull out of the country due to a sweeping cyber attack. The Mountain View, Calif., company said its revenue rose 17% in the fourth quarter to $6.67 billion from a year earlier, up from only 7% revenue growth in the third quarter and 3% growth in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Google's profit more than quintupled in the fourth quarter to $1.97 billion, or $6.13 a share, from $382 million, or $1.21 a share, a year ago. During the 2008 quarter, Google took a charge related to investments in AOL Inc. and wireless service provider Clearwire Corp.
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.”
Everyone wants to know the one thing they can do to get things going, the magic pill they can take, the one bit or advice from a guru that will turn the ship around. (How’s that for some clichés?) Truth is, business is mostly a bunch of hard work, done consistently. However, there is one thing that every business can do that works in every instance – the one simple secret to guaranteed business growth. Want to know what that is?
Brand advocacy, reputation management, loyalty and reward programs are all the rage now, as consumers have unprecedented opportunity to broadcast their complaints as well as their satisfaction with businesses, specific purchases and customer service. What customers say is vitally important to the public perception of a business. While advocates and reputation managers may work to improve and enhance the image of a given company in the public eye, really only one thing is required to establish and maintain a good reputation among consumers: Provide the product you promise and support that product with grace, humor, and efficiency.
Some advice for media companies trying to sell ads: Promising your senior staff's full attention might not charm potential advertisers as much as you think. Ad results, understanding a marketer's business, aggressive deals on price and customer service are the real top priorities, according to a new Advertiser Perceptions survey of more than 1,500 digital, TV and print media decision-makers at both clients and agencies. Each of those four criteria were rated "very important" by at least 75% of respondents.
For me, growing up the dinner table was of course a place to eat, but it was also a time for fellowship, sharing stories, laughing - and sometimes getting in trouble. I had a bad habit growing up of hiding food that I didn’t want to eat. Boy I thought I was smart, but of course it’s hard to fool a mom. So let’s ring the dinner bell - Don’t waste your time setting the table for your customers, if your not going to sit down and eat with them!
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."
What would you do if you surveyed your customers and they all said you suck? It may seem like a worst case scenario, but companies are faced with this challenge more often than you would think. It is not easy to hear, and in part it is the reason many companies simply don't survey their customers that often. It is easier to look just at metrics like sales or growth and use those to measure success. After all, why bother to ask customers what they really think if you are making money? The problem with this logic is that it doesn't help you to spot threats to your business and plan for the future. Making money is a temporary state ... and one that can be more fragile than you realize.
Tyco International Ltd. announced plans to buy Brink's Home Security Holdings Inc., also known as Broadview Security, for $2 billion, the first major acquisition for Tyco in eight years since the company was rocked by scandal and split into several pieces. Tyco executives said the acquisition would broaden Tyco's largest revenue-producing business group, the ADT security franchise, further into the residential market.
After months of fiercely resisting any deal, Cadbury agreed Tuesday to an improved takeover offer from Kraft, worth about $19 billion, to create the world’s largest confectioner. Together Kraft, the maker of Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers, and Cadbury, the producer of Trident gum and Dairy Milk chocolates, would have more than $50 billion in annual revenue and a big presence in markets from the United States to India. The deal continues a trend seen over the past decade, in which food companies have sought to gain scale by combining with one another. Most recently, Mars bought the William Wrigley Jr. Co. in 2008 for $23 billion.
On Dec. 13, Accenture decided to end its six-year sponsorship of Tiger Woods. The next day, Roxanne Taylor, the global consulting firm's chief marketing officer, presented the concept for a new ad campaign to Chief Executive Bill Green. Amid salacious headlines about the golf superstar's alleged extramarital affairs, the new campaign, based on an idea Accenture's ad agency already had on hand, was put on a fast track. It would replace images of Mr. Woods with a lineup of animals pictured in ways designed to jibe with Accenture's longstanding slogan: "High Performance. Delivered."
UBS AG Tuesday issued an employee code explicitly banning staff from helping clients cheat on their taxes, as part of the Swiss bank's effort to restore its reputation after a messy U.S. probe into hidden offshore accounts. "We do not provide assistance to clients or colleagues in acts aimed at deceiving tax authorities," according to the code, which is prefaced with remarks from UBS Chairman Kaspar Villiger and Chief Executive Oswald Grübel. The code, which also addresses issues such as financial crime, competition, confidentiality and diversity, is meant as a response to wrongdoing in UBS's U.S. offshore arm, which has since been shuttered.
A decade ago, America Online merged with Time Warner in a deal valued at a stunning $350 billion. It was then, and is now, the largest merger in American business history. The Internet, it was believed, was soon to vaporize mainstream media business models on the spot. America Online’s frothy stock price made it worth twice as much as Time Warner’s with less than half the cash flow.
Board members at Cadbury PLC, resisting a hostile takeover bid by Kraft Foods Inc., have held talks with directors at Hershey Co. to encourage a rival offer, several people familiar with the matter said. The Cadbury board members have told the Hershey directors that they would support a bid by the Pennsylvania company, and they have provided some guidance on the kind of price that would draw board support, these people said. In these talks, Hershey has sought direction from Cadbury and disclosed financial terms and the structure of a possible offer. Hershey has also inquired whether Cadbury would be open to selling certain assets, these people said. In response, Cadbury has provided "reasonable guidance without specifics," said one of the people.
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."
The coverage of Google's Nexus One "superphone" - officially unveiled today - was swift and almost universally positive. The HTC-designed device looks beautiful, its functionality sounds fantastic, and by all accounts it looks like a viable competitor to Apple and Research in Motion in the smartphone market. In this case, however, there's more to the story. Google's distribution approach has the potential to dramatically accelerate a broad disruption in the mobile phone market where the balance of power shifts from carriers and retailers to device, software, and applications providers.
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.
Investor Warren Buffett waded into the rancorous battle for Cadbury PLC, issuing a rebuke of Kraft Foods Inc.'s just-sweetened, nearly $17 billion takeover offer for the British confectionary company. As Kraft's largest shareholder—with a 9.4% stake—Mr. Buffett's holding company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said it wouldn't support the issuance of new shares to pay for a Cadbury deal.
Kraft Foods Inc. sweetened its hostile takeover offer for Cadbury PLC on Tuesday, offering to tweak the cash-and-share mix of its $16 billion bid, but Cadbury and some of its investors quickly dismissed the new bid as still too low. The new offer follows an agreement Kraft reached to sell its U.S. and Canadian frozen pizza business to Nestlé SA, the Swiss consumer giant, for $3.7 billion. Kraft said it would use net proceeds from the deal, which it estimates at 60 pence (97 U.S. cents) per Cadbury share, to give Cadbury shareholders a "partial cash alternative" to its existing offer, which had been made up of 60% Kraft stock and 40% cash.
Google’s expected unveiling on Tuesday of a rival to the iPhone is part of its careful plan to try to do what few other technology companies have done before: retain its leadership as computing shifts from one generation to the next. The rapid emergence of the smartphone as a versatile computing device may be as much a challenge as an opportunity for Google, which built its multibillion-dollar empire largely on the sale of small text ads linked to search queries typed on PCs.
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.
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.
Sanofi-Aventis is to buy U.S. consumer healthcare group Chattem Inc for around $1.9 billion, in a deal which will give the French drugmaker over-the-counter presence in the huge United States market. Sanofi said it would start a tender offer for all of Chattem's shares at $93.50 per share, a premium of 34 percent over Friday's closing price. Chattem shares rose 32.8 percent to $92.95 in early trade, while Sanofi was down 0.07 percent at 54.62 euros. The deal fits with Sanofi Chief Executive Chris Viehbacher's plan to broaden the group's business away from prescription drugs, aiming to offset looming sales losses of older drugs due to generic competition and to new branded rivals.
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.
In a sign that Google is interested in broadening its reach among local businesses, the search giant is in acquisition talks with Yelp, the review site for local businesses, according to three people with knowledge of the deal. The two companies have had conversations for several years, but a more serious round of acquisition talks began two months ago, one of the people said late Thursday. The companies have discussed a price and are negotiating the details, but have not yet signed an agreement.
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.
In an effort to turn around Blockbuster Inc., Chief Executive Jim Keyes is trying to get customers to think of the struggling video-rental chain as more than just a pit stop for DVDs. By offering a broad array of entertainment options and ways to get them, Mr. Keyes hopes to beat back competition from companies that provide movies via mailed rentals, kiosks and deeply discounted sales. But even with a detailed plan, Mr. Keyes faces a tough slog. He has already closed unprofitable stores and slashed inventory, and the chain is still struggling to turn a profit. In three of the last four quarters, Blockbuster posted losses, and it got a going-concern warning from its auditors in April.
Nelson Mandela was still in jail when the first street was named after him. By the time he retired as President of South Africa, hundreds of streets, squares and schools bore his name, as did many more pop songs, books and movies. Not hard to understand. After all, Mandela, who endured 27 years of incarceration under apartheid only to emerge with forgiveness for his racist jailers and become an icon to the world, is an inspiring figure. But what about unauthorized books that bear Mandela's name? Or charities that use his name to boost their profile? What about, God forbid, a Mandela Burger? As his legend has grown ever larger, Mandela has been faced with all of these situations. (The Mandela Burger — 200 grams of beef, topped with salad, tomato, cheddar cheese, and accompanied by fries and a choice of guacamole, salsa or jalapeños — costs a whopping $24 at Café Mandela in Copenhagen.) Increasingly, however, Mandela's handlers are fighting back.
Kellogg's is to start branding individual Corn Flakes with the company logo in a bid to protect against imitation products. The food giant plans to burn the Kellogg's signature on to individual flakes using a laser and will then insert a proportion of these branded flakes into each box. If the system proves successful, it could be used on Kellogg's other cereal products, including Frosties, Special K and Crunchy Nut.
With 8,100 locations in 147 countries and approximately 30 million reservations annually, Hertz is one of the world’s largest rental car services. It’s also the most yellow. Since early this year, Hertz has slowly been introducing a new logo first brought in February from a customer survey. With the logo now on Hertz’s web site and the cover of the 2008 annual report I would have expected a little more fanfare or at least more information, but there is none unfortunately.
The roles that brands play in people’s lives are not static but evolving. While brand names once were used to differentiate basic commodity products and provide a promise of consistent formulation and quality, now they confer a whole range of other benefits, including status, emotional well-being, and a sense of belonging. The importance of these different benefits and emotional rewards varies according to a number of factors, including the cultural norms of different countries and the development of specific categories. In order to survive in today’s crowded and complicated markets, brand owners and marketers need to stay abreast of these changing needs and expectations. But those that want their brands to do more than survive—those that want their brands to succeed and thrive in the future—need to stay one step ahead. They need to anticipate the next set of needs that brands will satisfy for their consumers.
The rage Australians feel today has reached us here in Minneapolis and cannot be ignored. Seems that Kraft's iconic Vegemite brand name down under has been, er, upgraded into a new format of the product and named, wait for it, iSnack 2.0. This is not a joke. This is happening. There is really no American equivalent to Vegemite, a pre-war spread made from "yeast products" ...um... suffice to say that this is really an Australian thing. Nonetheless, it is an iconic brand name and this update, which is decades in the making, has prompted one blogger to dub it iSuck 2.0. In fact, it's such a silly name that some feel this must be a hoax designed to create instant buzz around a staid product.
Is Google undercutting the value of its own brand by giving away everything free? That’s an interesting implication raised by the statement that the Yankee Group just sent out about the announcement of a Google operating system for PCs.
PepsiCo's beverage business continued to languish in the first quarter, despite heavy marketing investment and the revamping of its major brands.
Many corporate brands are being damaged or destroyed by the current economic crisis, but it is through no fault of the brands themselves. Even strong brands that help support the reputations of corporations in difficult times can be overwhelmed by mismanagement or financial conditions beyond the ability of the brand to influence.