Best Global Green Brands 2014

chew on this

With Farmigo, Local Farmers Take a Better Cut of the Food Commerce Trend

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 30, 2013 05:13 PM

CEO Benzi Ronen calls them “people powered farmers markets,” but his startup, Farmigo, is actually much more.

The online farmers market is a community supported agriculture company that is quietly disrupting food commerce, though on a smaller, but more unique scale than related operations like Amazon Fresh and Fresh Direct. Instead of just allowing customers to order fresh produce through the online system, Farmigo extends a business opportunity to local farmers, allowing them to sell their harvests to an eager online community, set their own price, and earn a supplementary income. 

“We’re trying to find people who have always been passionate about building a better food system, but they could blog about it and they could cheer about it, but there was nothing material that they could do to take action,” Ronen told Forbes. “Now they are able to be part of the solution. They’re able to do something actionable and make money along the way.”Continue reading...

what's in a name

After Selling its Heritage to Mars, Wisconsin Coffee House Fights to Keep Local Reputation

Posted by Abe Sauer on August 12, 2013 11:33 AM

A built-in fanbase; a global market; a universally recognizable brand name and logo. Some of the world's biggest brands are well-endowed with all of these characteristics, however, many of them are missing one, important thing: a great brand story. However, one international conglomerate has found a way around this; by buying a local Milwaukee, Wis. coffee shop's backstory. 

With the kind of humble beginnings that make for a great brand heritage, Alterra Coffee opened its doors in 1993 on the fifth floor of a Milwaukee warehouse amidst the metro areas worst financial years. With record-setting unemployment and a widespread cryptosporidium outbreak in the municipal water supply, it wasn't the best time to start peddling coffee. But with grit, good grounds and great service, Alterra built a tremendous local reputation. The brand's locations—which mirror the clean, franchised, free WiFi designs of other major coffee houses—popped up all over Milwaukee. As a movement toward buying local took off across the US, Alterra was perfectly positioned to give Milwaukee coffee lovers their desired Starbucks experience with a local conscience. But it turns out that Alterra's dark roast wasn't the most coveted part of its business.Continue reading...

The Big Game

Intuit Contest Gives One Small Company the Ultimate Platform: a Super Bowl Ad

Posted by Dale Buss on July 31, 2013 07:03 PM

The winner of the Intuit Small Business Big Game contest will lay claim to an opportunity reserved for some of the world's biggest brands. With an advertisement during the telecast of the 2014 Super Bowl as the grand prize, the winning company could expect the 30-second commercial to provide a significant boost to business.

Intuit—which makes products such as TurboTax and QuickBooks that aim directly at small-business owners_kicked off a contest that will award one small business with the ad during the Big Game on February 2, during the third quarter. That's usually the highest-viewership time of the game.

Former Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson, now a Fox NFL-telecast icon, and reality-TV personality Bill Rancic are promoting the contest, which will ask applicants to detail their challenges, offer tips and answer questions about their business experiences, according to USA Today.Continue reading...


Walmart Poses Growing Risk to Local Supermarkets with Grocery Price Push

Posted by Dale Buss on June 27, 2013 10:41 AM

Thirty years after original charges of stomping out indigenous businesses were first levied against Walmart, the chain is still ticking off local retailers that have difficulty competing. Only nowadays, instead of small-town, independent hardware and apparel stores that couldn't hope to compare with Walmart's prices, it's grocery stores that are smarting from price comparisons with the giant.

The chain is continuing to gain market share in groceries and consumables, Advertising Age reported, in large part because of the hundreds of local market-basket price-comparison ads that it has been running in 70 metro markets across the country. The spots show actual grocery shoppers comparing actual receipts from competitive grocery chains to the prices they could have gotten at Walmart. Unhappy supermarket chains have tried but so far failed to besmirch the veracity of the ads.Continue reading...


Square Takes Mobile Commerce Online with New Market

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 26, 2013 06:50 PM

In a classic bait and switch, Square, the mobile payments company known for its quarter-sized credit-card reader, is taking its business online in a direct challenge to PayPal, which is moving more of its services offline into brick-and-mortar retailers. 

After dominating the mobile card reader market, including a hefty deal with Starbucks locations, Square is turning its attention to e-commerce with its new Square Market, which enables merchants to list their products on a website where Square will handle payment processing and deliver cheaper point-of-sale credit card payments (2.75 percent per transaction) by replacing equipment with a smartphone or tablet computer.

"There's a blurring of the lines between offline and online commerce," Square's chief executive, Jack Dorsey, told the Wall Street Journal. "This is the next obvious step for us,” he said, while PayPal's VP lobal product Hill Ferguson commented, "We feel good about our position. When you're successful at something, others try to follow you.”Continue reading...

personal brands

Martha Stewart Hoists American Flag in Salute to Entrepreneurs

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 6, 2012 01:11 PM

Martha Stewart is hitching her personal brand to the patriotic push behind Made in USA brands. This fall she's launching what she hopes will become the first annual American Made Awards, a celebration of American artists, artisans and entrepreneurs. Inaugural sponsors are Avery Dennison and The UPS Store

"Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is the embodiment of my passion for food, design, crafts, gardening and so much more,” she commented in a press release.

“It is also the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. I am excited to recognize the work of other creative entrepreneurs and it is my hope that American Made will become an annual initiative for the brand that will continue to nurture honorees, support their passions and expand their businesses, setting an inspiring example for the MSLO audience and beyond."Continue reading...

search and destroy

Google Responds to Valentine’s Day Florist AdWords Ambushing

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 21, 2012 04:04 PM

Valentine’s Day was marred for many by failed or faulty delivery of bouquets to loved ones, as we covered here, last week – and many consumers and retailers had things to say.

A popular florist blogger commented in a Feb. 17th post titled “Valentine’s Day Flowers Adwords: Feasting on the Bones of Local Florists”:

“Vultures. It’s the only way I can think to describe Google’s Adwords ads this past Valentine’s Day holiday. ‘Don’t be evil’ flew out the window and Google opened it even wider for the birds of prey to strip consumers and local flower shops of their hard-earned dollars.

First, we had ProFlowers telling shoppers seeking local florists BY NAME in Google searches that the stores were sold out of flowers. It’s a completely despicable ad tactic that diverted consumers by lying about local flower shop inventories. Despite having plenty of beautiful blooms for Valentine’s Day, the drop-shipper tried to suck in late buyers by falsifying the flower availability at these shops. Shame on Liberty Media. Shame on ProFlowers. And shame on the Google staffers who approved those ads."

We asked Google to comment, and they replied by email.Continue reading...

social marketing

AmEx Brings Self-Serve Twitter Ads to Small Biz Brands

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 17, 2012 05:02 PM

American Express Cardmembers and merchants are getting exclusive access to Twitter’s new advertising solution for small businesses. The first 10,000 eligible businesses that register at will get $100 in free Twitter ads as the self-serve automated system begins in March.

Similar to Google, advertisers will choose amount they’ll spend, the cities or regions for ads to appear, and write their own 140-character copy. According to AmEx’s press release, Twitter will charge only for ads that get a user response.

Twitter is already testing Promoted Tweets priced on a "cost-per-engagement" basis, where businesses only pay if a user interacts (retweets, replies to, clicks or favorites), but the AmEx partnership could exponentially increase the number of advertisers Twitter can work with.Continue reading...

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