Nike's 2015 Priorities: Digital, Women and China

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 19, 2014 03:07 PM

Nike has spent a lot of time over the years telling consumers to "Just Do It." Now investors are wondering why the athletic company can’t seem to follow its own advice.

Despite Nike’s efforts, it can’t seem to get consumers to order enough new gear and soft goods to keep pace with analysts’ expectations. That, of course, didn’t do wonders for the company’s stock: It dropped 2.9 percent to $94.25 after its latest quarterly earnings report, the Associated Press reports.

Nike Inc. had plenty of good news, however: It earned $655 million in the quarter, up 23 percent from the same period last year. Company-wide revenue across its brands rose 15 percent, from $6.43 billion to $7.38 billion. But investors are leery of the fall of future orders, and particularly wary of those in Japan and emerging markets. And according to Bloomberg, Nike's emerging market orders were expected to rise 7 percent, but missed the mark, only increasing one ercent.

Three areas that Nike identified that it's focusing on to help boost sales: women, digital and China. It opened two women’s-only stores in the second quarter, one in Newport Beach, CA and the other in Shanghai. Both received a strong consumer response according to Matt Parker, CEO.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Apple and Human Rights Back in Spotlight with BBC Exposé

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 19, 2014 02:36 PM

BBC Panorama Apple's Broken Promises

The world's most valuable brand and the BBC are at odds over a documentary that aired this week on the broadcaster's flagship Panorama news program.

The subject: allegations of continuing worker abuse at Apple's Chinese factories and raw materials suppliers in Indonesia.

Three teams of BBC News undercover producers filmed damning footage at its factories, showing exhausted workers falling asleep during 16-hour shifts, some working 18 days in a row. Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Panera Bread Moves Animal Welfare to the Top of Its Sustainability List

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 19, 2014 01:21 PM

Panera Bread

Panera Bread wants the world to know that it is serious about sustainability. Six months ago the eatery announced that it would get rid of any artificial additives in its food by the end of 2016.

Now, the fast-casual chain is working on its animal welfare program, an issue that research shows is top of mind for today’s most-desired demographic: millennials.

"Cage-free" and "grass-fed" are terms that about two in three consumers see as meaning that the food is healthier, a recent survey from Technomic found, according to USA Today.

In addition, millennials are drawn to businesses that align their brands around animal welfare, local sourcing and natural preparation, QSR Magazine reports. Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Branded Entertainment Watch: Play-Doh, Pepsi, Downy and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on December 19, 2014 12:36 PM

The Project: "A Year in Play-Doh Moments” for Hasbro

The Plot: Everyone's favorite play clay celebrates the major milestones and moments of 2014 with 8 stills featuring sculptures of the year's biggest trends. See the whole set here.

The Verdict: Wacky good fun.Continue reading...

tech style

Norton, Samsung Predict Smart Garments Will Clothe Quantified Self Movement

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 19, 2014 11:45 AM

Wearable tech is reframing the conversation about individuals’ control over their privacy and their health as the quantified self movement takes hold.

Security software company Norton, is betting on smart garments to stop identity theft. Partnering with San Francisco-based crowdfunding clothing design company Betabrand, they’re making jeans and a blazer with radio frequency identification (RFID)-blocking fabrics in the pockets. 

"Both articles of clothing promise to keep identify thieves from swiping identifying information from things like passports and contactless credit cards," The Verge reports. "The pants include two such protected pockets, one in front and one in the back where your wallet typically goes, while the blazer includes just one."

The items are set to go on sale in February as other RFID-blocked products like wallets, cell phone cases and pouches hit the emergent market.Continue reading...


IKEA Hires First Children's Illustrator in Residence to Engage Kids

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 19, 2014 10:34 AM

IKEA has a charming idea to enchant kids with the idea of the family meal—hire a kids' book illustrator to spark their imaginations.

The Swedish furniture retailer's UK team tapped artist Sarah Horne as "illustrator-in-residence" in a first for the brand.

Its Wembley store in London invited her in to collaborate with kids on ways to bring fun back to the dinner table—part of the brand's commitment to make every meal a special occasion and enhance the quality of life at home. 

See what happened below.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Apple, Nike, Bumble Bee and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 19, 2014 09:09 AM


Apple under fire again following BBC investigation into conditions at Chinese factories.

Nike's latest quarterly report shows revenues up (and luxury path) as shares drop on soft orders and designers lawsuit revealed.

Bumble Bee tuna brand sold to Thai Union Frozen (TUF) Products for $1.5 billion.

Unilever withdraws Just Mayo lawsuit as Hampton Creek agrees to relabel products.

Sony seen as likely to eventually release The Interview as George Clooney emerges as Sony defender.Continue reading...


CES 2015: BMW Demos Sensor-Filled i3 That Self-Parks Via Smartwatch

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 18, 2014 05:44 PM

BMW parking assistant watch

Trouble parking? BMW can help with that. The brand plans to display its sensor-filled BMW i3 at CES 2015 this January, and will demo the model's driverless parking system that's operated by a smartwatch known as the Remote Valet Parking Assistant. 

The BMW i3 can navigate multi-level parking garages as it “combines information from the laser scanners with the digital site plan of a building," according to the automaker's description. “The system will steer the vehicle independently through the levels, while the driver has already got out of the car. Once the BMW i3 has arrived at the parking space, the vehicle locks itself."

Once the driver is ready to leave, they can call up the car through voice command, at which point the app "calculates the exact time until the driver arrives at the car park and starts up the BMW i3 so that it arrives at the car park exit at exactly the right time.”

Also to be demoed at CES: BMW’s new 360-degree collision avoidance platform. “If the vehicle approaches a wall or a column too quickly, the system brakes automatically to prevent the threat of collision,” the company said in a press release.Continue reading...

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