Best Global Green Brands 2014

retail watch

It Gets Better: Zappos Tops Itself with #AskZappos Personal Shopping Assistant

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 30, 2014 11:33 AM

Zappos is once again testing the outer limits of customer service by introducing AskZappos, a digital assistant that will locate any item—even if the company doesn’t sell it. 

In beta since June, the service is now being promoted on the brand's mobile homepage. It's the latest from Zappos Labs, so much a part of the company’s ethos that every employee trains for one month at the Las Vegas call center to ensure they understand the entire e-commerce process. To use AskZappos, consumers can text, email or tag a photo with #AskZappos on Instagram to activate the personal shopping assistant. 

"It's really easy to create those amazing experiences on the phone, but that's really hard to do online," said Zappos Labs Director Will Young, referring to the brand's all-star customer service reputation for its website. But with hopes of engaging customers in new ways, Zappos is looking to capture increasing desktop e-commerce traffic so consumers can shop and have questions answered without ever picking up the phone.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: McDonald's, Amazon, Apple and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 30, 2014 09:22 AM

TOP STORIES

McDonald's told that it must address workers' complaints regarding protest discipline in ruling considered major victory for fast food workers.

Amazon plans to invest $2 billion in India as it calls for Hachette to lower e-book prices in their dispute.

Burger King follows Yum! Brands in cutting ties with China meat supplier.

Johnson & Johnson turns to social media to lure Millennial moms to baby products after cutting out controversial ingredients. 

Apple's iWatch patent approved, but launch may be pushed back

MORE BRAND NEWS

Boys & Girls Clubs turns to fear in new campaign.

C-SPAN is headed behind the cable TV paywall

Chrysler is sued over Jeep ignition-switch failures.

Dunkin' Donuts partners with Discovery for Shark Week promo. 

ESPN disciplines commentator for remarks about domestic violence in issue of Baltimore Ravens player.

FedEx pleads not guilty to online-pharmacy charges.

Ford switches 9,300 workers to iPhone from BlackBerry in win for Apple.

Google clears hurdle in journey to trademark "Glass."Continue reading...

game change

Tim Hortons at 50: Celebrating Its Canadian Roots, and its Future

Posted by Amanda Caswell on July 29, 2014 08:01 PM

The days of the "double double" are numbered. Well, not quite. But Tim Hortons can see a future where their brand experience pushes far beyond that iconic order.

At the company's recent franchise owners conference, an innovative invite-only concept store highlighted the evolving landscape of Canadian tastes and explored what might be new in store. As "Tims" gets ready to turn its first store into a celebration of its 50 years in business, it's also brewing up a fresh pot of brand experience, and envisioning how future stores can transform.

Cue its "Restaurant of the Future" concept store, which goes beyond brewing just java—this location also served coffee beers inspired by the famed Tim’s flavor, and an expanded menu that included omelets and crepes.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

TD Bank Turns ATMs Into Automated Thanking Machines

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 29, 2014 06:44 PM

TD Bank showed its gratitude to its LGBT customers and employees by sponsoring WorldPride 2014. Now it's showing its gratitude to all its Canadian customers with its #TDThanksYou (or #TDVousDitMerci in French) campaign, in which ATM machines and the bank's employees thank customers for choosing TD. Watch what happens below, in a video that has almost 1.4 million views on YouTube.Continue reading...

traveling brands

With Business Travel Booming, Brands Bring Sharing Economy to the C-Suite

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 29, 2014 05:22 PM

Business travel accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars each year, and it's only growing. Despite the recent string of airline disasters, the Global Business Travel Association expects spending on business travel to go up around 7 percent this year, to about $1.18 trillion—$292.3 billion of that in the US, according to the New York Times. China, with a sustained 16 percent yearly growth rate, is expected to pass the US in travel spending by 2016. 

With plenty of money to be made, brands are tweaking their business models to accomodate the industry's influx.   

Airbnb, which is in the midst of a rebrand, is devoting an entire section of its new website to business travelers. "It's about making it easier to find accommodations that are appropriate for work trips," says Lex Bayer, head of business development and global payments at Airbnb, according to USA Today. The offering will cater to travelers that are looking to combine business with pleasure.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Darden CEO Steps Down as New Red Lobster Owner Outlines Comeback

Posted by Dale Buss on July 29, 2014 03:50 PM

Darden Restaurants is waving a white flag in front of activist investors such as Starboard Value, but it doesn’t appear to be big enough. The investment groups that are down on Darden still want to dismember it.

Darden CEO Clarence Otis said yesterday that he will step down at the end of the year, and the company invited opposing investors to fill as many as three of the company’s 12 board seats by saying it will nominate only nine directors at the next annual meeting. Previously, Darden jettisoned its Red Lobster chain, a deal that was finalized earlier this week, and has accelerated its ongoing overhaul of Olive Garden restaurants.

Nope, still not enough. “Significant change is required in the Darden boardroom,” said James A. Mitarotonda, CEO of another activist group, Barington Capital. Starboard called Darden’s moves “a token change.”Continue reading...

brands under fire

LEGO Protests Go Global as Greenpeace Targets Shell Partnership

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 29, 2014 02:19 PM

As part of an ongoing effort by Greenpeace, more than 50 children protested today outside Shell’s London headquarters, building three massive LEGO Arctic animals while Greenpeace volunteers and parents looked on. The peaceful protest, which has spread to the US, is in response to LEGO's partnership with Shell on branded block sets that have been sold at gas stations in 33 countries—one of the largest promotional lines that LEGO has ever produced.

Since 2012, Shell's Arctic program has been under fire by environmental NGOs and regulators as its two drilling vessels, Noble Discoverer and Kulluk, both failed to meet pollution limits set by the US Clean Air Act. Nearly 700,000 people have signed a Greenpeace petition calling on the toy maker to end its deal with the oil brand. 

“Children are leading this playful protest because global warming, and what’s happening in the Arctic, is an enormous threat facing all children,” said Elena Polisano, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace, in a press release. “LEGO is adored by kids, and it has a responsibility to look out for them. It’s unethical for LEGO to partner with any company that’s threatening kids’ future. LEGO’s endorsement of Shell is incredibly damaging because it helps Shell hide its role in the threat to the Arctic.”Continue reading...

bc q&a

Corporate Citizenship Lessons: 5 Questions with Interbrand's Carolyn Ray

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 29, 2014 12:58 PM

Research increasingly shows that billions of dollars in brand value are tied to Corporate Citizenship. To that end, Interbrand, the world's leading brand consultancy (and brandchannel's parent company) is expanding its Corporate Citizenship practice to Canada, where national brands are increasingly coming under the scope of environmental and socially-conscious consumers.  

At a launch breakfast hosted in collaboration with Deloitte last week, Carolyn Ray, Managing Director of Interbrand Canada, addressed the growing need in the Canadian marketplace for brands to have a transparent Corporate Citizenship strategy. 

“It's evident to us, from our Best Canadian Brands (report), global brand valuation reports and the discussions we've been having, that brands are either not getting recognition for the good things they are doing, or don't have a corporate citizenship strategy in place to accelerate their brand and business performance. We want to help close that gap,” Ray said.  

“We believe there is an opportunity for Canadian companies to look to Corporate Citizenship to accelerate business and brand performance, particularly in an era of rising stakeholder expectations and increasing transparency."

brandchannel caught up with Ray to talk trends, implementation and the importance of Corporate Citizenship to increasing brand value.Continue reading...

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