Posted by Dale Buss on May 24, 2013 12:10 PM
Procter & Gamble's board is hoping that A.G. Lafley can pull a Steve Jobs and return to the helm of the CPG giant to make vast improvements, quickly.
Lafley is abruptly coming back to the CEO post from which he retired in 2010 after 33 years, this time to replace the soon-to-depart Bob McDonald, according to a P&G press release. Yet there will be enormous pressure on Lafley from the start to demonstrate that such a move—uncharacteristic of the conservative culture at P&G—was justified.
The changing of the guard, which will see McDonald formally exit on June 30 while Lafley returns as Chairman, President and CEO "effective immediately," surprised most P&G investors and employees, especially as the bombshell dropped before the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the U.S. But perhaps it became inevitable when McDonald, after improving the company's financial and market performance for a while last fiscal year, stumbled in late April by reporting weak sales growth, following on a tumultuous year for the company and its embattled leader.
During his four years at the top, P&G had lost a step to rivals such as Unilever in terms of market share and profitability. Despite the fact that McDonald had launched the popular Tide Pods product line, a $10-billion cost-cutting program and had managed to improve P&G's position a bit during the second half of 2012, he couldn't do enough, quickly enough.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 17, 2013 07:10 PM
While Apple has had some good news lately (it reached 50 billion downloads from its App Store, signed a deal with CW to have the network’s content appear on Apple TV, and its UK retail locations received the top customer-service rating in Britain), it also is going through some tough times as a brand.
A recent poll from Bloomberg notes that, “71 percent of poll respondents say the Cupertino, California, company has lost its cachet as an industry innovator, which includes 28 percent who say it is permanent and 43 percent who say it may be a temporary hiccup.” While some Apple loyalists remain dedicated to the company that has brought the world such innovations as the iPod, iPhone, and iTunes, plenty of folks in the general population aren’t as high on Apple as they used to be, with some turning to competitors like Google and Samsung. “Google plays offense while Apple has recently settled for playing defense,” Forbes reports. “Apple is struggling to maintain its position in the market, while Google is expanding its position.”
Google’s shares have gone over a record $900 while Apple’s are now just above $400 after being over $705 in late September. While it can be difficult to keep up with its own track record of innovation, Apple apparently has got to keep pushing in order to keep the masses satisfied. “Where Apple went wrong is they began to confuse version releases and feature improvements with innovation,” Forbes reports. “What Apple is learning the hard way is even the most loyal base of consumers will jump ship when provided a valid reason to do so.”Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on March 29, 2013 12:38 PM
Above, Beijing t-shirt maker Plastered releases its 草泥马老板 ("Grass Mud Horse" Boss) shirt.
China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.
This week: Beckham's Adidias/Nike problem... McDonald's closes iconic location... bashing Apple... Steve Jobs manga... what your brand of car says about your sex life... Walmart... Nongfu... more infant formula scandals... Jackie Chan... Vera Wang... bye bye black Audis... and much more.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2013 11:12 AM
One comic book hero (Spiderman) was inspired by creator Stan Lee watching a spider climb up a wall. Another (The Incredible Hulk) came about when Lee combined the story of Frankenstein with The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Now comes one that is based on a coffee-swilling businessman who has no superpowers but managed to create one of the world’s most well-known brands.
Howard Schultz: The Man Behind Starbucks chronicles the life and times of the brand’s CEO as he takes the company from a hippiefied java joint in Seattle's Pike Place Market to a global behemoth in just 32 pages—or the time it takes to consume a venti skim latte and a cinnamon swirl coffee cake.
"After reading (autobiography) Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz, I thought he would be a great subject for a comic book,” Darren G. Davis, the head of publisher Bluewater Productions told Ad Age. “I love telling stories of people who are inspirational like Schultz and have a great back-story."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 11, 2013 02:45 PM
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died before seeing two of his big ideas – an iCar and an iWatch – become reality. But word is that one of those visions may be coming to fruition in the near future.
The computer giant “is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass,” according to The New York Times. The watch will have some of the same functions as a smartphone, but the bulk of information about the gadget – when it might appear, cost, features – remains a mystery.
“Apple’s certainly made a lot of hiring in that area,” Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester analyst who specializes in wearable computing and smartphones, told The Times. “Apple is already in the wearable space through its ecosystem partners that make accessories that connect to the iPhone."
She cautioned that an iWatch probably wouldn't be landing on store shelves anytime soon, though.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 5, 2013 03:37 PM
When Steve Jobs announced in 2011 that Apple would be using 175 acres of land in Cupertino, Calif. to build a 2.8 million-square-foot office complex, the expectation was that it would be completed in 2015.
It's looking like a mid-2016 opening is more likely. But as plans for a groundbreaking move forward, the company has recently submitted a revised plan to city officials, offering more detailed (and pastoral — see above) glimpses of the futuristic facility for the Apple-obsessed.
Meanwhile, Apple is moving forward with plans for new offices — if however more conventionally designed — in Austin, Texas.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 28, 2013 04:06 PM
The Sundance Film Festival has a solid history of showcasing interesting films that have gone on to be big hits, like Little Miss Sunshine, Reservoir Dogs, The Usual Suspects, Clerks, and Hoop Dreams.
But it's looking like Jobs — which stars Ashton Kutcher portraying Apple founder Steve Jobs' quest for glory — may not be one of them.
The film, which closed out the 2013 festival last week, received mixed reviews. The Guardian's Ed Gibbs gave it two out of five stars, calling it “an overly reverential and saccharine view” of Jobs, who died more than a year ago.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 17, 2013 02:42 PM
Apple’s clean, simple, cutting-edge approach to retail has influenced the storefront designs of several other brands, including Microsoft. But do digital books and sleek environments signal the imminent future of libraries?
Officials in Bexar County, which surrounds San Antonio, Texas, seem to think so. The San Antonio Express-News reports the county on Tuesday night approved the creation of "the nation's first bookless public library system," with a prototype location expected to open in fall.
"If you want to get an idea what it looks like, go into an Apple store," said Nelson Wolff, a Bexar County judge who propelled the idea forward after reading Walter Isaacson's recent biography of the late Apple visionary Steve Jobs.Continue reading...