Best Global Green Brands 2014

celebrity brandcasting

From Kim K to Karl Lagerfeld, Celebrities are Cashing In on Branded Products

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...

retail watch

Small Box: Target, Walmart Invest in Smaller Stores in Attempt to Goose Sales

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...

retail watch

For Retail Brands, a Blend of In-Store and Online Can Get the Sale

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...

chew on this

With DLT Craze Waning, Taco Bell Turns to Breakfast and Protein to Goose Sales

Posted by Dale Buss on July 24, 2014 10:39 AM

Taco Bell is struggling with slow growth for the first time in a couple of years as the craze over its Doritos Locos Taco has petered out. Despite efforts to recharge the DLT brand with new iterations and even venturing into breakfast, Taco Bell has failed to keep sales on an upward trend. 

The start of 2014 was the first quarter since 2012 in which the Yum! Brands-owned chain saw negative same-store sales, putting Taco Bell back in the same boat with most other struggling fast-food operators like McDonald's. 

It seems like just yesterday that when Taco Bell launched a new flavor of DLT, the world—encouraged by the brand’s effective use of social media—seemed to go nuts, with DLTs, the chain's best selling product ever, seriously goosing sales.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: GM, Foursquare, Target and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 24, 2014 09:15 AM

TOP STORIES

GM quarterly profit plunges on recall costs as company sets aside $400 million for victims and recalls 718,000 more vehicles.

American Apparel names a new board, minus CEO Dov Charney.

Foursquare debuts new visual identity, redesigned app. 

Target aims at GenY with its test of smaller TargetExpress stores.

Facebook revenue soars on mobile ads. 

MORE BRAND NEWS

Air Algerie flight missing with 116 on board reportedly crashes.

Amazon debuts self-serve ad tool. 

American and United Airlines post stronger profits.

Boeing agrees to sell plane parts to Iran.

Domino’s credits digital strategy for sales growth.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne quashes talk of tie-up with Volkswagen.

Fifty Shades of Grey trailer arrives online.Continue reading...

auto motive

With Product Guy at the Helm, Lincoln's Luxury Lineup Could See Boost

Posted by Dale Buss on July 23, 2014 05:38 PM

Ford has been making noise about reviving the Lincoln brand for a few years now, but it took a change at the top, from Alan Mulally to new CEO Mark Fields, for the company to get really serious about it.

Fields, who took the helm on July 1, just named a new executive to oversee Lincoln and has been touting his plans for the underutilized luxury brand as he took over for the retired Mulally earlier this month. Reports have come out suggesting that Mulally never warmed up to the Lincoln brand even late in his tenure and was willing to let it die as so many other venerable auto brands have done in the last several years, including Pontiac, Plymouth and Ford's own Mercury.

Fields' appointment of Kumar Galhotra, who formerly headed up engineering for Ford, as the new president of Lincoln signifies a promising change in the thinking around the luxury brand, which was previously led by Jim Farley, who was and will remain Ford's CMO.Continue reading...

social media

LinkedIn Gives Brands a Publishing and Customer Service Platform Like No Other

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 23, 2014 03:28 PM

LinkedIn is steadily becoming a major focus for brand marketing thanks to its commitment to value-added B2B services like self-publishing that allow brands to build themselves up online.

With an in-house ad business through its "Sponsored Updates" feature and its recent acquisition of Bizo and Newsle, LinkedIn is increasingly giving brands a platform to promote their content and services to other brands and potential employees.  

“Publishing solid, optimized content on LinkedIn allows you the opportunity to showcase your brand, and reach a significant amount of qualified potential customers, not only through LinkedIn’s own site search, but also via the search engines themselves," Business2Community notes. 

But beyond publishing, several brands are using LinkedIn's platform to generate some interesting conversations. A major innovator in the social travel space, KLM, has launched a service on LinkedIn that allows followers to ask travel-related questions. Alternately, Mercedes-Benz is using the site to promote its 2015 C-Class line with a “Driven to Perform” contest that will award a LinkedIn user with a two-year lease of a Mercedes C300.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Target Snaps Up Mobile Shopping Innovation with Image Recognition App

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 23, 2014 01:49 PM

Whoever tries to hack into Target’s data next is going to have a lot more to dig through. The retailer's new app, In a Snap, aims at improving its foothold in the mobile shopping space by allowing users to take pictures of Target products in print (magazines, catalogs and newspapers) and then simply click to buy.

The free app, which uses advanced image recognition technology, allows consumers to have their product shipped or held for them at a local store—all part of Target's big push to ramp up e-commerce and click-and-collect efforts as it continues to feel the pressure from Amazon, Walmart, and fast-fashion retailers. In a Snap joins Target's other app, Cartwheel, which serves as a coupon-serving shopping companion. 

“It’s a single-purpose app that will appeal to Millennials and college students or anyone not averse to downloading an app,” Target spokesman Eddie Baeb told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The app's launch is timed to Target advertising running in Real Simple and Domino magazines, part of the brand's back to school campaign for college-aged consumers with a new registry and web video series, Best Year Ever, that features YouTube stars helping students with dorm room makeovers.Continue reading...

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