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divide and conquer

How to Grow a Brand? Spin It Off

Posted by Barry Silverstein on August 16, 2012 11:09 AM

Look at the current M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) scene in U.S. business and you'll see signals, especially in the food industry, that big conglomerates are falling out of favor: 

  • In June, Sara Lee jettisoned its famous name, splitting the company into two units: Hillshire Brands, focusing on mostly meat products, and D.E. Master Blenders 1753, a European maker of coffees and teas. 
  • Last week, the country's largest dairy company, Dean Foods, said its Whitewave unit, which accounts for about 40 percent of Dean's operating income, would split from the company and file an IPO. Whitewave produces Horizon Organic milk and the Silk brand, which includes soy and almond milk, products that have been growing faster than Dean's regional milk brands.
  • In October, the giant Kraft Foods will split the company in two, separating its U.S. business (Kraft Foods Group) from its international snack foods business (Mondelez International). 

Corporate breakups are on the rise, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, which reports that there were 19 U.S. corporate public company spinoffs in 2011 vs. 16 in 2010. Eleven spinoffs have already been finalized in 2012 and thirteen more have been announced. Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: AT&T, Samsung, Standard Chartered and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 8, 2012 09:02 AM

In the News

American Airlines faces record safety penalty, tests hotel baggage delivery service.

Amazon sees pay-off from locker service, looks to acquire more patents.

Apple shelves "Genius" TV campaign, puts former designer on the stand against Samsung and plans to beef up security.

AT&T sees 20,000 employees go on strike.

Bank of America brings discounts to bank statements.

Chiquita seeks new CEO as Undercover Boss star exits.

Chrysler’s Dodge pulls out of NASCAR.Continue reading...

chew on this

Kraft and General Mills Preview 2012 Product Launches

Posted by Dale Buss on December 23, 2011 03:29 PM

It's tough to run a multinational CPG brand these days. There's tepid consumer spending in the U.S., Europe and even Asia, on top of that "new normal" thing that came out of the Great Recession. Regulators are pursuing food and beverage companies that aren't getting on the better-for-you train fast enough. And commodity prices and currency-exchange rates vacillate wildly.

In its just-released list of new products planned for 2012, Kraft Foods reflects many of these pressures — but also reveals a determination to use the strengths of the brand and the company to take advantage of developing opportunities. General Mills likewise provided a sampling of its new-product forays for the new year, in a conference call this week.

Whether it's transfering successful product ideas from one national market to another, or doggedly trying new ideas in nutritional products, Kraft has laid out an ambitious schedule of 70 new items for the new year.Continue reading...

tech innovation

With Rekindled Kindle, Amazon Lights a Fire Under Apple

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 28, 2011 03:13 PM

Amazon today unveiled "Found new Kindles, four amazing price points," but it was the top-end of the range that's garnering the most attention.

The $199 Kindle Fire (available Nov. 15) is burning up Twitter and Facebook, with consumers poring over the just-released details of the tablet computer seen as a direct shot across the bow of Apple’s iPad.

More than 'just' an e-reader, the smaller and cheaper-than-an-iPad Kindle Fire has a 7-inch display, Wi-Fi connectivity, (but not 3G access) comes with a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime and runs on Google’s Android software.

Announced at a press event in New York, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sees Kindle Fire — the flagship device in its newly expanded Kindle line — as more than just a tablet — it's a digital hub and services platform that leads right to his store.Continue reading...

ad watch

VIDEO: Watch the Amazon TV Commercials for Kindle Fire, Silk & more

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 28, 2011 10:45 AM

Here's the new Amazon commercial for Kindle Fire, the $199 tablet Jeff Bezos revealed today in New York to take on the iPad. The description: "Meet the all-new Kindle Fire — a Kindle for movies, music, apps, games, reading & more. Only $199."

Below, watch the commercials for the new lower-priced ($79) Kindle, whose pricing drew gasps from the reporters at the press conference; Silk, Amazon's new cloud-based browser; plus Kindle customer testimonials taped two weeks ago ... and let us know what you think of it all in the comments below!Continue reading...

brand commentary

Silk Goes for the Jugular in New Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on April 1, 2011 11:00 AM

No matter that California actually leads the nation in milk production now. It just wouldn’t have much “news” value to say that a California family has switched from dairy to drinking soy milk!

So White Wave, masters of the Silk brand of soy milk (and almond milk and coconut milk), decided to pick on Wisconsin instead. After all, it is “America’s Dairyland.”Continue reading...


Oh Soy: Dairy Fans Urged to Switch from Milk to Silk

Posted by Barry Silverstein on March 29, 2011 11:45 AM

Silk is a brand phenomenon. The first refrigerated soymilk, Silk went from zero market share in 1996 to 85% market share in 2003, and remains at the top spot today. Read our brand profile about Silk's rise to become the leading soymilk.

When Silk first muscled its way into the dairy case, it was an oddball product that few could have predicted would become so popular. Now, Silk's maker, White Wave Foods (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the giant Dean Foods) wants to make waves again by encouraging U.S. dairy milk drinkers to switch to soymilk.

Its new "Silk for Milk 10 Day Challenge" campaign sets its sights squarely on the dairy milk market — even though White Wave also produces the Horizon brand of organic milk.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Airbus, Bratz, Facebook, NRA and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 12, 2011 09:00 AM

In the News

AIG agrees to $2.2B sale of Taiwan unit.

AMD’s ouster of CEO Dirk Meyer attributed to mobile strategy.

Airbus lines up biggest order ever, boosting A320 upgrade.

Ann Taylor selects actress Katie Holmes as its new “face.”

Apple and Verizon deal (which "took years" to reach) sparks iPhone users to mull switching from AT&T.

BYD rises as Warren Buffett’s pick in the Chinese auto derby.Continue reading...

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