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Nike's 2015 Priorities: Digital, Women and China

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 19, 2014 03:07 PM

Nike has spent a lot of time over the years telling consumers to "Just Do It." Now investors are wondering why the athletic company can’t seem to follow its own advice.

Despite Nike’s efforts, it can’t seem to get consumers to order enough new gear and soft goods to keep pace with analysts’ expectations. That, of course, didn’t do wonders for the company’s stock: It dropped 2.9 percent to $94.25 after its latest quarterly earnings report, the Associated Press reports.

Nike Inc. had plenty of good news, however: It earned $655 million in the quarter, up 23 percent from the same period last year. Company-wide revenue across its brands rose 15 percent, from $6.43 billion to $7.38 billion. But investors are leery of the fall of future orders, and particularly wary of those in Japan and emerging markets. And according to Bloomberg, Nike's emerging market orders were expected to rise 7 percent, but missed the mark, only increasing one ercent.

Three areas that Nike identified that it's focusing on to help boost sales: women, digital and China. It opened two women’s-only stores in the second quarter, one in Newport Beach, CA and the other in Shanghai. Both received a strong consumer response according to Matt Parker, CEO.Continue reading...

Microsoft Puts Its Own Spin On Holiday Gifting with 'Scroogled' Gear

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 21, 2013 01:45 PM

Microsoft is convinced that it's not the only one with an anti-Google streak. The tech giant's infamous 'Scroogled' campaign first began targeting the search behemoth in February, with hopes of converting Gmail users into Outlook users on the grounds of privacy concerns. 

There have been several other iterations since then, but the company's latest Google-smearing gambit intends to get consumers in on the act. Microsoft is offering a line of 'Scroogled' gear and apparel for sale in its Microsoft online store, including T-shirts, hats, hoodies, and coffee mugs.

A Microsoft rep told Ad Age that money isn't the motivator in this case, and that the company just wants to give consumers with an equal distaste for Google the chance to express themselves. "The Scroogled gear is a fun way for them to do that," he said.Continue reading...

brand launch

Microsoft Launches Outlook.com as Hotmail Goes Cold

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 20, 2013 12:08 PM

After 16 years, Microsoft is kissing Hotmail goodbye and putting its Internet-mail energy behind the brand-new Outlook.com.

The 300 million folks who use Hotmail—which Microsoft acquired back in 1997 when it was just a year old—will be able to keep their current email addresses, but the brand is disappearing and all of those users will be switched over to the new site by summer’s end. 

CNN reports that Microsoft plans to put some big advertising dollars into the new site. That push began Tuesday with the release of two commercials that both highlight how sweet a consumer’s life can be if he or she is using Outlook. This is a shift from Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign, which has aimed to get the 425 million Gmail users around the globe to feel irritated at Google and make the switch to Outlook. Scroogled worked effectively for Microsoft when it initially used it to help expose consumers to the plusses of its Bing search engine compared to Google’s. Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Carlsberg Looks to Bolster Sales in Russia and China

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 20, 2012 06:01 PM

Things are rough all over, but the world’s fourth-largest brewer, Carlsberg, is hoping they will at least get a little better in northern and western Europe as well as Russia to help boost its sales. That's the guidance Carlsberg is giving to Wall Street, as it adjusts its financial outlook and warns investors that “operating profits would stall this year,” Reuters reports.

"We have taken a cautious view for northern and western Europe, and assume a slightly declining market in 2012," Carlsberg CFO Jorn Jensen stated at an investor presentation. "Consumers in Europe are assumed to remain under pressure from the macro economic situation." The beer market in Russia, where Carlsberg earns almost of its sales, should see “modest growth” in 2012 after a serious falloff last year.

Carlsberg CEO Jorgen Buhl said that the brand is working hard to build up its market share in Russia again. That plan includes taking “full control of Russian unit Baltika through an offer to buy the 15 percent it does not already own.”

While that would help its position in Russia immediately, the company admitted that the “challenging environment" in northern and western Europe would make things difficult there. The company is also looking for acquisitions in Asia, according to Bloomberg, where China is seen as the company's "growth engine."

tech innovation

Let the New Year’s Forecast Games Begin!

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 23, 2011 11:01 AM

IBM’s “5 in 5” predictions are out and making waves, forecasting five innovations “which will alter the tech landscape in the coming five years,” according to Bernie Meyerson, VP of innovation at IBM. A recap:

1. People power will come to life: Created energy, generated by anything that moves or produces heat, will be captured, stored in batteries, and used to power things from phones and cars to homes and offices and cities. “You’ll see new ecosystems of generation and capture,” Meyerson said. “You generate 60 to 65 watts while walking. You could easily use that to power a phone forever.”

2. You will never need a password again: Machines will automatically know you are who you say you are…or not. Each person’s unique biological identity is biometric data, a.k.a., multi-factor biometrics, such as retina scans, voice files and facial definition, which will be harnessed and used to create an online password.Continue reading...

follow the money

US Consumers Hunker Down as CEOs Stay Optimistic

Posted by Dale Buss on March 29, 2011 04:00 PM

After a relatively rosy first couple of months of the year, US economic reports are more mixed in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the resulting disruption in manufacturing and supply networks, as well as with rising oil prices amid war in the Middle East.

While domestic auto sales appear to have continued their recovery in March, for instance, American consumer confidence has dipped again lately. New Conference Board data shows that consumer confidence dipped 8.6% in March, "pulled down by gloomy expectations about the economy and labor markets." 

Even so, with calamity and strife causing global jitters from Japan to Libya and everywhere in between, IHS Global Insight has been telling its clients worried about the US economy: "Relax."Continue reading...

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