CES Watch

CES 2015: Bitcoin Makes a Splash, Despite Controversies Abroad

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 8, 2015 03:35 PM

CES 2015 Bitcoin

Bitcoin has been attracting a lot of interest—or at least curiosity—from companies and consumers alike, not to mention governments and financial watchdogs.

That's why CES 2015 is highlighting the virtual currency in a 2,000-square-foot island where companies including BitPay, Bitman, Bitstamp, Blockchain, Circle, CoPay, Kraken, Private Internet Access, Robocoin and yBitcoin—collectively representing more than $100 million in venture capital—have been showing their wares in the Wild West that is the Bitcoin economy.

"Bitcoin is rapidly redefining financial and commercial paradigms," says Emily Vaughn, Marketing Manager at BitPay. "The showcase represents some of the top talent in bitcoin technology and will provide a unique experience for the 170,000 CES attendees."Continue reading...

app watch

IKEA Founder Wants Consumers to Flap Their Way to Savings

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 28, 2014 10:33 AM

The richest man in Sweden, Ingvar Kamprad, who also happens to be the founder of IKEA, wants to share his money-saving ways with consumers beyond them just buying his affordable, do-it-yourself furnishings.  

As the owner of Ikano Bank, Kamprad recently provided quite the savings incentive when the bank launched its own form of the viral mobile game Flappy Bird. In the game, users fly their piggy banks through challenges like jewelry stores and shoe retailers, Bloomberg reported. The “Flappy Saver” game ran from June 27 to July 18 and was played 1.52 million times, with the winner banking 100,000 krona ($14,625).Continue reading...

digital moves

Barclays Boosts Digital Expertise with bPay Bands, In-House Tech Experts

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 9, 2014 12:37 PM

Cash transactions will account for less than half of all transfers for the first time this year, so Barclays has unleashed 7,000 employees, "Digital Eagles," to offer up free advice on how to manage digital transactions—and everything else the internet offers.

New research found that more than 11 million Britons are having family arguments over digital issues: 34 percent regularly ask members of their family to help with IT queries and problems, while 41 percent being asked do not feel qualified to help. Nearly one in three help relatives use modern tech at least twice a week, and children are the primary "digital carer" with 24 percent of queries coming to them.

“We have listened to families in the UK and understand the challenges faced across the generations,” said Steven Roberts, Strategic Transformation Director at Barclays and Pioneer of the Digital Eagles. “Through our ‘Digital Eagles’ program, we want to take customers and non-customers on a journey to improve their technology capabilities and feel confident to embrace the new digital revolution, so they can reap the benefits of being online. Whether they’re 10 or 110, we don’t want to leave anyone behind.” 

The Digital Eagles can help answer questions about online and mobile banking, but can also show customers how to place a Skype call, install anti-virus software on their computers and pay using digital transactions.Continue reading...

viral buzz

Watch Sydney Mardi Gras GAYTMs Disperse Cash, Rainbows

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 5, 2014 01:42 PM

It's not an ATM. It's a GAYTM! To celebrate Sydney Mardi Gras, the annual (and largest of its kind) LGBTIQ pride parade, national bank ANZ converted a number of its bland ATMS around the city to flashy "GAYTMs."

Get it!? As the principal sponsor of the gay pride event (an impressive feat for such a staid industry like banking), ANZ's GAYTMs disperse both cash and life-affirming messages. Receipts are, of course, rainbow-colored. Even Star Trek actor and gay activist George Takei took notice.

See a video of the GAYTM in action after the jump.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Target, Neiman Marcus Invest in Payments Tech as Retailers, Banks Point Fingers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 5, 2014 12:57 PM

The hits just keep coming for Target. The retailer's massive security breach over the Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping holidays affected some 110 million shoppers, and it was just revealed that the breach actually took place over a longer amount of time—3 days longer—than the company originally thought

Target CFO John Mulligan revealed this information yesterday in hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee that are exploring options to better safe-guard consumers' personal information.

The malicious software stole credit and debit card data from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15 and was subsequently found on 25 additional checkout systems that continued to collect shoppers' information for three days after Target's initial scrub of its POS system. 

The PR nightmare wasn't reserved for Target, though, as luxury retailer Neiman Marcus disclosed in early January that over 1 million customers had their payment data breached, and that the hack had been in effect since as early as July in some stores, creating more hostility towards the brand for seemingly withholding such information from consumers for months.

"The public notification is always vague," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein. "You really don't know, and then you find out kind of brutally in other ways" like the media.Continue reading...

rising brands

Bitcoin Gets Its Game On as Bankers Grapple with Growing Popularity

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 9, 2014 11:47 AM

What does it take for a virtual currency that exists as software, is not controlled by any country or banking authority (and still eschewed by many), to hit mainstream adoption? Gaming.

Zynga recently announced it is testing Bitcoin payment in seven of its games, causing prices to surge to $1,000 on the Mt. Gox exchange.  

Zynga published the announcement exclusively on Reddit, saying, “We wanted to share with the r/bitcoin community that Zynga Inc. is now conducting a Bitcoin test with BitPay, a leading Bitcoin service provider, in select Zynga.com web games." The Bitcoin test is only available to Zynga users playing FarmVille 2, CastleVille, ChefVille, CoasterVille, Hidden Chronicles, Hidden Shadows and CityVille.

Created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, Bitcoin crossed the $1,000 threshold in November, but plummeted to $640 as China stopped accepting deposits, disturbed by its sweeping popularity and reports of money laundering. But since then, merchants accepting Bitcoins for a wide range of purchases from Gummi bears to smartphones have boosted its value.Continue reading...

branding together

Financial Brands Continue Love Affair With Sports Sponsorships

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 11, 2013 02:18 PM

Financial services brands and sports go hand in hand (case in point: the Barclays Premier League). So it comes as no surprise that according to the most recent Sponsorium report, which tracks sponsorship and community investment dollars across the globe, financial companies this year have seen an average of “9% higher requested amounts for philanthropic donations than non-Financial industry brands” — and that the majority of those sponsorship requests are for sports.

According to the report, the “Financial industry’s sponsorship activity is focused primarily in Sports,” which makes up 52% of the sponsorship dollars the Financial industry spends. Arts came in second when it came to the industry’s sponsorship dollars, making that category “roughly 30% more popular than their global average for all industries.” When it comes to donations between $10,000 and $500,000, banks and other “financial brands are both asked for and are making larger-sized donations/grants than brands from other industries.”Continue reading...

media brands

Does the Bloomberg Terminal Scandal Undermine the Bloomberg News Brand?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 13, 2013 10:55 AM

Reports broke late last week alleging that Bloomberg reporters were using the Bloomberg terminal to track (some might say stalk) employees at its financial services clients such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, all the way up to high-profile individuals such as Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner — even, apparently, the new company's namesake founder, Michael Bloomberg. 

Following a company-wide email on Friday and a Buzzfeed report that this ability was disclosed by a Bloomberg TV reporter two years ago, Bloomberg L.P. CEO Dan Doctoroff acknowledged in a story published by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday that the a firewall should have prevented its journalists from accessing such user data long "earlier":Continue reading...

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