Best Global Green Brands 2014

brand roadmaps

Bitcoin, the Crypto-Currency That Could, is Building Its Brand

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 20, 2014 03:52 PM

Whether the feds like it or not, Bitcoin is here to stay. And now the startup currency is taking steps to make it a more legitimate business by developing a Standards Committee tasked with creating and adopting a Bitcoin Unicode symbol, examining denomination conventions and recommended standards.

“The Bitcoin wiki currently lists a dozen denominations under 1 BTC, from ‘sanbitcoin’ to ‘bitcoinbong’ and ‘satoshi’. Although many of them are used on a daily basis, they are not standardized,” said the Bitcoin Foundation, the entity behind the organization of the currency. 

With more consumers and brands starting using and accepting the currency daily, and the value of Bitcoins in circulation exceeding $1.5 billion (as of last year), standards and regulations are indeed needed. 

Expedia is now accepting it as payment for hotels and bitplans a roll-out to flights and car rentals if the demand is seen. Other online sites including Namecheap, WordPress, Reddit and Flattr accept it.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

American Express Invests in the Unbanked in New Branded Documentary

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 4, 2014 12:03 PM

“Our financial system is leaving nearly 70 million Americans behind. It’s time for a change.” 

That's the opening statement in the latest branded content series from American Express, Spent: Looking For Change, which targets the millions of consumers who eschew traditional banking. 

The nearly 40-minute documentary—a first in terms of length and subject for the brand—profiles families and individuals that are "under-banked" or "unbanked" and who may turn to costly services like check-cashing, payday loans, and pawn shops to meet their basic financial needs.

The alarming trend, dubbed "financial exclusion" in the financial services industry, is a hot topic internally that the brand feels "pretty passionately" about, Daniel H. Schulman, group president for enterprise growth at American Express, told the New York Times—hence the decision to run with it as an external topic for a showpiece branded content platform.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

RBC Unveils Facebook-Enabled Mobile Payments at Canada's Ad Week

Posted by Alexandra Meyer on January 31, 2014 06:39 PM

The Royal Bank of Canada, the largest financial institution in the nation, is expanding its mobile commerce solutions with the ability to send Interac E-transfers through Facebook. 

During Canada's FFWD Advertising and Marketing Week’s panel on winning in a mobile-first world, Jeremy Bornstein, Head of Emerging Payments for RBC, announced the launch of Interac E-transfers through Facebook Canada's messenger. The launch signals RBC’s commitment to fulfilling its mission of becoming "Canada’s most innovative bank."

The feature initially launched on the company's iPad app in Dec. 2013 and is now accessible through its iPhone app, as well. According to Bornstein, one third of RBC bankers perform banking transactions exclusively though mobile.Continue reading...

follow the money

T-Mobile's Next Frontier? Your Bank Account

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 29, 2014 04:46 PM

The mobile market is an industry full of intense competition and some larger than life personalities (we're talking to you, John Legere). And so while Verizon and AT&T jockey over who has the fastest speeds and lowest prices, T-Mobile and Sprint are taking the battle in a whole different direction. In fact, they're taking it to a whole different industry: banking. 

Falling under its "Un-Carrier" campaign, T-Mobile recently launched "Mobile Money," a full-fledged banking service that allows consumers to “do their banking via mobile app and also in the company's 3,000 storefronts” while not charging monthly maintenance or purchase fees and requiring no minimum balance. 

"Millions of Americans pay outrageous fees to check cashers, payday lenders and other predatory businesses–just for the right to use their own money,” John Legere, chief executive officer of T-Mobile, said in a statement, according to The Street. “Mobile Money shifts the balance of power for T-Mobile customers and keeps more money in their pockets."Continue reading...

hijacked brands

Target, Neiman Marcus May Only Be the Tip of the Credit Hack Iceberg

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 24, 2014 07:49 PM

It turns out the credit nightmare is far from over. Following Target's announcement that at least 40 million consumers had their credit information stolen and another 70 million that had personal information compromised between Black Friday and Christmas, high-end retailer Neiman Marcus has announced that at least 1.1 million credit and debit cards used in its stores were compromised.

Neiman Marcus' breach, though, reportedly went unnoticed from July 2013 through October 2013, heightening criticism of the company's delayed response. “We are notifying ALL customers for whom we have addresses or email who shopped with us between January 2013 and January 2014, and offering one free year of credit monitoring and identity-theft protection," CEO Karen Katz wrote

"During those months, approximately 1,100,000 customer payment cards could have been potentially visible to the malware. To date, Visa, MasterCard and Discover have notified us that approximately 2,400 unique customer payment cards used at Neiman Marcus and Last Call stores were subsequently used fraudulently.” 

While unconfirmed, some reports speculate that the hacks were set forth by the same loose group of cybercriminals based in Eastern Europe, the New York Times reports.Continue reading...

brands under fire

McDonald's, Lululemon Among America's Most Hated Companies: 24/7 Wall Street

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 13, 2014 07:45 PM

One would imagine you'd have to be pretty despicable to land on a "Most Hated" list, or just make some serious PR gaffes. The brands on 24/7 Wall Street's 10 Most Hated Companies in America list did a little bit of both, and this year's winner—McDonald's—may surprise some, but not all. 

In a year that has seen the Golden Arches be the face of the low-wage fight, falling fast-food sales and poor customer service, it isn't really shocking to see one of America's—and the world's—most prolific brands at the top of the list. 

Joining McDonald's in this unfortunate collection is unsurprisingly Abercrombie & Fitch, Electronic Arts, Sears Holdings, DISH Network, Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, Lululemon, BlackBerry, and JCPenney. 

Three of the metrics used to make up the list include customer service, stock performance, and employee satisfaction. The latter is part of what did BlackBerry in, as the company has had to dump a third of its workforce as it continues to bleed insane amounts of cash.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Target Facing Investigations, Lawsuits After Data Breach

Posted by Dale Buss on December 23, 2013 04:38 PM

Target is understanding what it's like to have a bulls-eye painted on its brand. Regulators, banks and some American consumers have joined the hackers who breached the retailer's data troves in dumping coal into Target's corporate stocking this Christmas season.

In full crisis-mitigation mode, CEO Gregg Steinhafel offered a 10 percent, one-checkout discount to all customers over the weekend after a massive data breach left information of about 40 million shoppers vulnerable to thieves. But there was evidence that some shoppers already had begun to shy away from Target for their holiday shopping last weekend, with the Wall Street Journal reporting a 3- to 4-percent decline compared with the weekend before Christmas a year ago.

Meanwhile, Chase popped restrictions onto debit cards affected by Target's security breach, contacting about 2 million card holders over the weekend and telling them that they would be limited to a maximum of $100 cash withdrawals and $300 in purchases per day, affecting less than 10 percent of Chase customers.Continue reading...

retail watch

Target Doubles Down On Crisis Response as 40 Million Customer Bank Accounts Compromised

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 19, 2013 03:42 PM

Happy holidays from the PR grinch! Target confirmed today that a security breach compromised the credit and debit card data of an estimated 40 million US customers, setting off a dizzying social media firestorm as the biggest shopping season of the year rounds out. 

“Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence," Gregg Steinhafel, Target's chairman, president and CEO said in statement. “We regret any inconvenience this may cause. We take this matter very seriously and are working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice.”

Online customers were not affected as the breach appears to have occurred at POS systems in Target stores, though it covers customers that used the store's own REDcard as well as other debit and credit cards. “Point-of-sale systems have become a major target for cybercriminals in recent years," the New York Times notes. "By breaching point-of-sale systems, they can steal the so-called track data on credit and debit cards, which can be sold, in bulk, on the black market and used to create counterfeit cards.” 

The massive breach occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec.15 and “involves the theft of information stored on the magnetic stripe on the backs of cards used at nearly all of Target's stores around the country,” according to national computer security expert and former Washington Post reporter Brian Krebs, who first reported the breach on his KrebsOnSecurity.com site. Continue reading...

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