Posted by Darcy Newell on July 25, 2014 11:14 AM
You know about Siri and Google Now, and you may have heard about Microsoft’s recent beta launch of the Cortana intelligent personal assistant with Windows Phone 8.1.
But there’s an even newer, natural language UI-powered, virtual assistant on the scene, ready to respond to users' voice commands for everything from reminders to directions to texting. BlackBerry has announced its plan to launch its own assistant feature this fall, available on the upcoming BlackBerry 10.3 operating system and the much-anticipated smart phone release, the BlackBerry Passport.
According to a post on the Inside BlackBerry blog, this new virtual assistant feature will boast capabilities currently unavailable in the market today, such as reading email messages and marking them unread, or turning on the flashlight function.
We’ll have to wait a few months to determine whether BlackBerry’s assistant offering will truly “walk the talk” next to its peers. But in the meantime, it's interesting to consider BlackBerry’s naming approach.Continue reading...
Posted by Katie Conneally on July 25, 2014 10:40 AM
When Foursquare decided to split itself in two in an attempt to attract new customers who may be turned off by its emphasis on location-based check-ins, results were mixed. About a month ago, the company launched Swarm, the check in spin-off app that was strikingly different from the Foursqaure loyal users had known and loved.
This week, it released the first images of what the new Foursquare app—now focused on exploration and recommendations—will look like when it launches in a few weeks.
"The check-in story has dominated the brand and user experience. We’d hear people say ‘I had no idea I could use this app to search for places’," Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley told The Verge. Now that’s not an issue, as the new Foursquare, redesigned with a pink and white “F” logo, aims to provide personalized recommendations tailored to each individual user. Like fish tacos or fried chicken? The new Foursquare knows, and will point you in the right direction.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 25, 2014 09:17 AM
McDonald’s suspends sales of chicken nuggets in Hong Kong but sticks with Chinese meat supplier, as company gives itself 18 months to rebrand.
Amazon reports another loss amid sales growth as CEO Bezos alarms investors with spending pace and Fire Phone hits stores.
Coca-Cola topped World Cup brand sponsors in new survey as it faces boycotts over Gaza conflict.
BSkyB creates European TV powerhouse by buying affiliated assets from 21st Century Fox, which would give Murdoch more cash for Time Warner bid.
Zillow is in advanced talks to buy rival Trulia.
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CKE brings back Paris Hilton to tout for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.
Comcast steps up its game on internet speeds.
CrossFit builds a passion brand.
Danone looks for second-half improvement coming out of massive food scare in Asia.
Dell takes social out of the silo.
Dunkin’ Donuts downgrades outlook after poor second quarter.
Facebook toys with idea of integrating Uber into Messenger.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 24, 2014 06:21 PM
His crunchy but business-like persona has characterized Reed’s Inc. from the start. But now pony-tailed Founder and CEO Chris Reed is taking it to the next level by starring in the company’s first national TV campaign along with his leading product, Reed’s Ginger Brew, America’s best-selling natural soda.
Carbonated soft drinks with natural heritages have come in from the fringes during the last few years, providing one of the few sources of growth in the sugary fizz-water industry while mainstream brands such as Coke and Pepsi continue to slide.
And Reed’s, which counts Snoop Dog as a major fan, has been there to propel much of that growth. Reed started the Los Angeles-based company in 1987 after going to the UCLA library and researching wholesome, even therapeutic recipes for soft drinks and found recipes from the 1780s for drinks made from ginger and other roots. Reed’s has since diversified into other natural drinks ranging from Virgil’s Root Beer to the Reed's Culture Club Kombucha beverage, a category that is something of an acquired taste.
As the Reed's Ginger Brew campaign kicked off on national US cable networks, Reed talked with brandchannel.Continue reading...
Posted by Tori Miner on July 24, 2014 05:06 PM
At its core, the IKEA brand is all about experience. From showrooms to social media, the brand conveys a deep understanding of how people live and a commitment to helping them better their everyday life. Ever the retail innovator, IKEA brings its creativity to life through original content and branded experiences designed to build stronger connections with their consumers around the world.
Its flagship content effort is available online today—its iconic catalog. The 2015 catalog is available in 32 languages, 67 printed editions, and 46 countries and territories, and its most sustainable publication to date. According to a press release, it's the largest print production ever to be printed on 100 percent FSC-certified paper, "from forest to printer."
With the theme of “Where the Everyday Begins and Ends,” the 2015 catalog app for iOS and Android devices includes extended content such as shareable DIY videos, 360° views of entire rooms, and a “Place in Your Room” feature where users can select from over 300 IKEA products and virtually place them in their own homes.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 24, 2014 03:55 PM
It’s not enough to just be a superstar these days, with millions of adoring fans and multitudes of followers on social media. Instead, celebrities from all walks of life are turning their personal brands into actual businesses with products and services that you never knew you needed.
Case in point: Kim Kardashian's blockbuster mobile game “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.” The Sims-like game is sitting at No. 1 on the iTunes free app chart and reportedly brought in $200 million in the few months that it's been live. Kardashian, according to Forbes, will take home around $85 million of that thanks to her near 50 percent stake in the game. While the game "is ridiculous. It’s laughable. It grates on your nerves after awhile," the Washington Post reports, "it’s nearly impossible to look away.”
Reflecting the Kardashian brand, now a multimillion-dollar empire, the app lets users achieve various levels of gameplay on their way to becoming an “A-list” celebrity with Kim as a guide. In-app purchases of Kim Coins drive revenue through the roof for the fairly simple app, which has a 5-star rating.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 24, 2014 01:46 PM
Two of America’s largest retailers are facing some big problems. Both Target and Walmart are seeing increasing competition from not only each other, but smaller, more nimble retailers and online giants like Amazon that are challenging the big-box retailers on every level.
Target, for one, is still working on recovering from its holiday-season data breach. Of course, the problem existed way before the data breach. Foot traffic in the stores has fallen for six straight quarters, which is likely part of the reason it is putting a lot of effort into making its digital presence stronger.
With a hard focus on younger consumers, Target has launched several initiatives including the debut of its first TargetExpress store on the campus of the University of Minnesota. According to MediaPost, the store is “just 15 percent of the size of its typical store” and is “heavy on beauty, electronics and convenience food.”
“This is an exciting opportunity to test and learn as we continue exploring new ways to meet our guests’ needs and exceed their expectations,” said John Griffith, EVP of property development, in a press release. “Our focus is on ensuring the Target shopping experience is available when, where and how guests want it.”Continue reading...
Posted by Alicia Ciccone on July 24, 2014 11:41 AM
Retail is ripe for innovation, but are consumers really hungry for it? The latest Omnichannel Shopping Preferences study from A.T. Kearney seeks to answer that, but the findings may surprise the droves of brands making huge investments in digital commerce.
The survey of 2,500 US shoppers found that physical retail stores play a crucial role in online purchasing habits, with 55 percent of shoppers preferring to use both physical stores and online retail throughout the shopping journey.
The study makes for an even greater argument for omnichannel retail. "A strategy based on leveraging the appeal of the physical store supported by digital is the best formula for capturing the maximum number of sales, building sustainable customer loyalty, and creating opportunities to cross-sell," study co-author Michael Brown said.
While online-only brands like Birchbox continue to experiment with physical retail spaces, traditional retail brands are also finding fun, innovative ways to combine the ease of online shopping with the brand experience of brick-and-mortar.Continue reading...