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A Cleaner GoDaddy Woos Small Businesses With Harsh Truth Campaign

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 15, 2014 12:35 PM

Recanting for its titillating TV commercials and Super Bowl spots featuring Danica Patrick and other celebrities over the years, GoDaddy announced last year that it's cleaning up its act by losing the jiggle and innuendo in order to be taken more seriously. Losing money year-over-year and looking to go public, it faced few alternatives if it wanted to turn around its ailing business and expand its brand from Internet domain name purveyor to All Things Online for small businesses looking to stand out on the web.

Now approaching its $100 million IPO, it's continuing to mature with a new fall campaign that a press release describes as "a crisp illustration of the company’s strategic marketing shift, moving away from simple brand awareness to targeting small business owners about how GoDaddy’s products and services can make them more successful."

The first of four TV commercials (watch below) are described as using aggressive "foxhole humor" that aims for the funny bone with razor-sharp nails: "the brutal truth of what it's like to be a small business owner."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...

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...

branding together

Apple and IBM Partner to Transform How Companies Work

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 15, 2014 09:09 PM

Apple and IBM have struck a global partnership to work together to create business-software applications for iPhone and iPad users.

Highlights from the press release about the co-branded enterprise mobility deal:

The new IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions will be built in an exclusive collaboration that draws on the distinct strengths of each company: IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities, with the power of more than 100,000 IBM industry and domain consultants and software developers behind it, fused with Apple’s legendary consumer experience, hardware and software integration and developer platform.Continue reading...

brand challengers

BlackBerry Bleeds Cash as Stubborn Board Looks for Success In B2B

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 20, 2013 04:33 PM

The prognosis for BlackBerry seems to be getting worse and worse. The company lost an astounding $4.4 billion in the third quarter, its seventh-straight quarterly loss. 

The company started the year with high hopes that its January launch of its Z10 handset would be a game changer. Alas, it was not and things have gone downhill from there. After toying with a buyout offer from Fairfax Financial, the company announced in November that CEO Thorsten Heins would step down and be replaced by John Chen, and instead accept an infusion of $1 billion from Fairfax and shareholders. 

The impression was that BlackBerry would step back from its consumer-facing business, and instead focus on software and B2B relationships. And, according to the New York Times, a new deal with Foxconn, the manufacturer of iPhone and others, will help the company do just that. 

It has worked with Foxconn for some time but its new five-year partnership “seems to be a way for BlackBerry to effectively hand over some of its handset business without running afoul of Canadian foreign investment laws,” the Times reports. The pair are planning to “jointly develop and manufacture some phones with Foxconn in the future, including a new model aimed at the Indonesian market” and other emerging markets.Continue reading...

brand revival

BlackBerry Gets a Billion Reasons to Survive with Last-Minute Investment from Shareholders

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 4, 2013 01:42 PM

BlackBerry seems to have more than a few lives. The company that has had one foot in its grave for months now has been revitalized through an infusion of $1 billion from its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings and “an unnamed group of institutional investors,” according to the New York Times. 

After issuing a public plea last month, the mobile company announced that it was no longer on the market, cancelling out a plan that would have seen the company go private under Fairfax Financial for $4.7 billion. The company also announced that CEO Thorsten Heins would be stepping down and will be replaced by interim CEO John Chen, formerly of Sybase, a mobile software company, who will also serve as the executive chair of the company's board of directors. Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa will also join the company's board following the investment. 

Despite the decision to not go private (for the moment)—which sent shares tumbling 16 percent—there are still entities that could make bids for BlackBerry, including a group that consists of co-founder Douglas Fregain and Qualcomm.Continue reading...

end of an era

BlackBerry Looks to Exit Consumer Market with $4.7 Billion Sale to Fairfax Financial

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 23, 2013 04:53 PM

Once the dominant face of the mobile marketplace, BlackBerry has experienced a most epic tumble from the top as it has continued to bleed cash and market share at the hands of major mobile manufacturers Apple and Samsung.

In a last-ditch bid for survival, the company announced Monday that it has signed a letter of intent to be sold to its biggest shareholder, Canada's Fairfax Financial Holdings, for USD $4.7 billion. The sale comes on the heels of the company's Sept. 20th earnings report that it lost an astounding $1 billion in one quarter, and related plans to shed one-third of its global workforce.

“BlackBerry has fallen on hard times recently, but we have every confidence it will be successful again,” Fairfax chairman and CEO Prem Watsa, the Canadian billionaire who resigned from BlackBerry's board before the announcement, told the Globe and Mail. Fairfax, the paper reports, “has put together an equity consortium” that aims to take the company private for $9 per share. A final agreement is expected by Nov. 4.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Cisco Replaces "The Human Network" With "Tomorrow Starts Here"

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 10, 2012 04:29 PM

Cisco wants to be more than the largest manufacturer of computer networking equipment. It wants to guide customers through the myriad possibilities of the Internet of Everything, a phrase it's co-opting in service of its new brand positioning.

The tech brand has shut down its six-year-old tagline, "The Human Network." Its new tagline, unveiled today in a $100 million campaign — "Tomorrow Starts Here," a phrase you'll find, fittingly, all over the Internet and beyond: on its homepage and on social media as a promoted hashtag on Twitter, on its Facebook page, in a new TV campaign, in an infographic, in a series of blog posts, and in a new print campaign that comes to life via augmented reality and Cisco's mobile app.

The brand's chief marketing officer, Blair Christie, told TheStreet.com that it's more than just a campaign and new tagline.Continue reading...

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