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bc q&a

It's Game Time: 5 Questions with Sally Smith, CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings

Posted by Dale Buss on September 18, 2014 12:37 PM

If it's fall, it must be Buffalo Wild Wings time. The restaurant chain is a signature location for football-watching and other socializing that picks up seasonally, and the 1,030 locations make the most of their cherished place in the national traditions around sports.

Of course, the current controversy over the NFL's domestic-violence policy has cast a pall, to some extent, over all brands that are associated with football, while Buffalo Wild Wings remains an advertiser on game telecasts.

But the Minneapolis-based operator also is hedging its bets on the "B-Dubs" formula with investments in a couple of other concepts, one a "street taco" brand named Rusty Taco and a made-to-order pizza spot a la Chipotle's customization approach, called PizzaRev.

brandchannel chatted with Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith about the brand's plans for differentiation.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Mets Deny Official Logo Change After Fans Find Citi Swap in Skyline

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 18, 2014 10:52 AM

The Mets have found a new way to lose; lose elements of the team's logo, that is.

Eagle-eyed fans noticed that the baseball team's iconic Manhattan skyline logo has dropped the United Nations headquarters building and replaced it with the Citigroup Center. Is it a hack? Or is it a sneaky branding move by Citigroup, which shells out $20 million a year for naming rights to the Mets' home field?

The blog Uni Watch—The Obsessive Study of Athletics Aesthetics—first noted the swap, calling it "disgusting" and "pathetically predictable." The changed logo only appeared on the Mets' Facebook and Twitter pages and was quickly switched back when the team was contacted for comment, in which the team said no changes have been made or plan to be made to the team's primary logo. 

Citibank announced a deal with the Mets in 2006 for naming rights to the team's new stadium that opened in 2009. At the time, dropping the famous "Shea" was not popular with fans. In this case, the Mets, and Citigroup, may have overstepped.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: PepsiCo, Yelp, Target and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 18, 2014 09:32 AM

TOP STORIES

As another NFL player is suspended following domestic violence arrest, Nike and the Minnesota Vikings reverse course and suspend Adrian Peterson. Other sponsors monitor the situation as PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi signals her support for embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, while Radisson's move to drop Vikings sponsorship turned out to be a smart move. Meanwhile, female fans grow wary of league and CBS CEO Moonves hails football on TV.

Toshiba cuts 900 jobs in PC restructuring while Warner Bros. is expected to cut up to 1,000 jobs.

Target selects brand partners for "made to matter" sustainable push with Walmart.

Yelp and TinyCo settle FTC lawsuit for improperly collecting data on kids.

Scotland goes to the polls in historic vote on independence while Scotch whisky-makers fret, among other nervous industries.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Alibaba sets to price shares amid investor frenzy over looming IPO.

Amazon expands Kindle lineup and boosts price of basic e-reader.

Apple reportedly plans to reveal two new iPads (despite i-fatigue) and new Mac OS, amidst increasing focus on security.

Audi claims first California self-driving permit.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Space Inc.: The Great Beyond is Now Ripe for Brand Commercialization

Posted by Dale Buss on September 17, 2014 06:41 PM

What is it about space that entrepreneurs want to keep going up there—or at least starting companies that go up there? Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos is the latest king of business buildling who's now gotten a foothold in the great beyond, joining Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson and SpaceX's Elon Musk.

Bezos founded and funded a space startup called Blue Origin that had been a relatively low-profile venture until it turned up as a partner to Boeing for the "space taxi" program for NASA of which Boeing won the biggest share this week, while SpaceX also got a contract. Blue Origin had been focused on developing spacecraft with a vertical takeoff-vertical landing first stage, simlar to technology that SpaceX has been working on with its Grasshopper and Falcon 9 launchers.

Musk, also founder of Tesla, has been involved via SpaceX in a high-profile race with Branson's Virgin Galactic to be the first to take rank-and-file global citizens into space on their separate aircraft, a competition which is supposed to take civilians into space as early as next year.Continue reading...

by the numbers

Alibaba IP-OMG: Putting the Potentially Biggest IPO Ever in Global Perspective

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 17, 2014 05:53 PM

Most media coverage of the hotly anticipated Alibaba Group IPO (NYSE ticker: BABA) has focused on the company's eponymous story, riffing on how its stock valuation speaks to thievery and treasure. But the story of Ali Baba was, at its heart, one of double-crosses and massive bloodshed—after all, all 40 thieves are killed and Ali Baba's brother is quartered and stitched back together to cover up the ruse. Find meaning in that.

As a former longtime China expat, I know firsthand that Alibaba.com and Taobao (tmall.com) are both extremely useful. They are the perfect match, with the former helping funnel money to manufacturing workers nationwide and the latter helping them spend it. But a valuation of nearly $22 billion on its first day? What the heck does Alibaba do anyway? And more important, is it replaceable?Continue reading...

rebranding

Clear Channel Tunes Out Radio, Pumps Up the Volume With iHeartMedia Rebrand

Posted by Penelope Davis on September 17, 2014 05:04 PM

Of the many ways a brand can signal change, changing its name is one of the most significant—particularly for a company as large as Clear Channel Communications, which has just rebranded to iHeartMedia.

The move is intended to align with a sharper focus on digital channels and growth opportunities, and firmly position the San Antonio, Texas-based radio operator as a multiplatform, mass media company. The new name clearly borrows awareness from its six-year-old iHeartRadio brand, now associated with not only an app and digital offerings, but also a high-profile annual music festival and awards show.

As its corporate rebranding press release points out, Clear Channel is not "just" an operator of 859 US radio stations, but an integrated and evolving ecosystem of media platforms, spanning broadcast radio, digital radio, mobile, social, TV, outdoor advertising and live events. So why leverage a sub-brand's equity to change the parent company's corporate identity?Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Mobile Payment Brands Go On Offensive in Fear of Apple Pay Domination

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 17, 2014 04:12 PM

With the first reviews of Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus making their rounds, the discussions around what many have deemed the most lack-luster announcement—Apple Pay—are only getting louder.

While PayPal, Amazon and Google are all making hay of Apple's payment platform, other mobile wallet brands aren't sitting on their hands. Softcard, formerly known as Isis and backed by Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T in the US, just struck a major deal with Subway restaurants to launch NFC payments across the US. Consumers at any of Subway's 26,000 US locations can now tap their phone to pay for their order. 

That won't be the case for consumers using Apple Pay, though, as Apple is restricting its NFC-enabled chip to only be compatible with the iPhone 6 iterations and Apple Watch. The company has also closed off access to its NFC technology to app developers, unlike Samsung's range of NFC-enabled devices that can make use of several NFC apps. 

But while Apple Pay may be a bit restrictive, the upcoming platform is making competitors nervous about a potential Apple domination of the mobile wallet space.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

+Pool Makes a Splash with Branding-First Concept

Posted by Katie Conneally on September 17, 2014 02:59 PM

It seems like everyday there’s a new tech startup in the news, a new cool project to back on Kickstarter or a new worthy cause to donate to. But with this abundance of new ideas, it’s easy for the average consumer, investor or donor to become overwhelmed. To combat this new idea fatigue, some startups and projects are getting smart about branding their ideas to stand out—sometimes even before they have a physical product or prototype to tout.

+Pool, a concept for a swimming pool that floats in New York’s East River, is an example of how early branding can play a role in future success. From its debut on Kickstarter in 2011, the +Pool idea ("the world's first water-filtering, floating pool") quickly gained traction and supporting, raising $41,000 to explore filtration materials. Another Kickstarter campaign in 2013 netted over $250,000 to build a test pool to bring the concept, called Float Lab, to life.Continue reading...

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