Best Global Green Brands 2014

branding together

Apple, IBM Give Each Other a Hand in Meeting of the Enterprise Minds

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 16, 2014 02:07 PM

Apple and IBM's landmark partnership that's set to "redefine the way work will get done" is sending ripples through the industry, as the product/services duo are bound to disrupt the business plans of competitors like Microsoft and BlackBerry. 

Combining IBM’s big data and analytics expertise with Apple's user experience “could transform Apple, which ordinarily focuses squarely on consumers, into a true business powerhouse," The Verge notes. “It could also touch off a new battle with Microsoft, which now more than ever is focused on the enterprise and cloud services.”

Burying the hatchet of a longtime rivalry, the new partnership will “create simple-to-use business apps and sell iPhones and iPads to Big Blue’s corporate customers.” 

Aside from the projected product output, which includes 100 iPhone and iPad apps and on-site support to IBM’s business customers using Apple products, the deal signals “that under Tim Cook, Apple is trying to squeeze as much profit as it can out of the products that Apple created under Steve Jobs.," Forbes notes. "The question for investors is whether the deal with IBM is a signal that Tim Cook has no Jobs-like product innovation up Apple’s sleeve.”Continue reading...

brand trainwrecks

With New Support, Charney May Live to Die Another Day at American Apparel

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 10, 2014 12:44 PM

What does a brand do with a problem like Dov Charney? 

Not even a month after the American Apparel board canned its CEO and founder over supposed misconduct, eagle-eyed shoppers (via Buzzfeed) posted pictures of Charney shopping (or something) inside downtown Manhattan American Apparel retail locations, actions that appear to be in clear violation of the board's termination letter which stated he must get “advance written permission” to visit any American Apparel facility.

But maybe not. According to new SEC filings, American Apparel is getting a $25 million bailout from New York City hedge fund Standard General. It's a bailout that seemingly could keep Charney as a key figure in American Apparel's future.

Dov's weeks-long struggle to raise money to up his share of the company from 27 percent to 43 percent is chronicled in detail in a new Bloomberg Businessweek cover story on the drama. Granular to the extreme—Charney wore "white American Apparel socks" and used Uber during his travels from Los Angeles to NYC—the piece breaks down a decade-long soap opera that appears far from over. Indeed, Charney is still salaried and considered a "consultant."Continue reading...

diversity watch

Brand Pride: Apple's Tim Cook Stands Side by Side With LGBT Employees

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 8, 2014 04:43 PM

As noted here, TD Bank was a proud sponsor of the first WorldPride event held in North America. Also showing its colors in Toronto late last month: the smart auto brand, which sponsored the event's opening ceremonies in Toronto. And south of the border, on June 29, thousands of Apple employees and their families marched in the San Francisco Pride Parade, where employees were welcome by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was lauded in today's Wall Street Journal as a "more collaborative" and compassionate leader than Steve Jobs. Check out both brands' 2014 Pride videos below.Continue reading...

brands with a cause

Pro Bono: How the Advertising Community Can Help Nonprofits like (RED)

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 24, 2014 02:49 PM

Celebrity musician and activist extraordinaire Bono took home the inaugural Cannes LionHeart award for his humanitarian work, but not before he called the entire advertising community to action to get behind his nonprofit (RED) organization, which helps fight AIDS. 

Calling the marketing industry the "creative engine of capitalism" and "the world’s thermostat" to tackle problems like AIDS, Bono noted that the majority of the foundation's funding comes from government organizations despite a growing number of consumer product partnerships and events.  

Founded in 2006, Apple was one of (RED)’s earliest supporters, even though many wouldn't know it. Bono joked with Apple's Jony Ive, who presented the award, calling Apple "annoyingly quiet" about its participation in (RED) thanks to Steve Jobs' aversion to including the brand's iconic parentheses on any Apple products or in any Apple stores. Apple has, however, raised $75 million for the cause.Continue reading...

branding together

Apple and Beats: A Match Made in Product Placement Heaven

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 28, 2014 06:03 PM

After a few weeks worth of speculation and one very viral video, Apple officially announced today that it is acquiring Beats Electronics and its streaming music service, Beats Music, for $3 billion—its largest acquisition to date—and is bringing co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine on board at Apple.

“Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a press release. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”

Indeed, Apple altered the world of music with its iPod MP3 players and iTunes service—one of the only online music marketplaces widely supported by the music industry. But what many may not know is that Beats co-founder and record label executive Iovine has long played a significant role in the adoption and growth of Apple's music products, including securing product placement deals for Steve Jobs and using his leverage in the entertainment industry to help promote the iPod, as Apple Insider notes.Continue reading...

branding together

Apple Enters Uncharted Waters with Reported Beats Brand Acquisition

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 9, 2014 01:07 PM

Apple may soon be marching to a new beat as it closes in on its largest acquisition ever: the $3.2 billion purchase of Beats Electronics LLC.

Founded by music producer Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop celeb Dr. Dre, Beats is known for its premium Beats by Dre headphones and streaming music service, Beats Music, which launched in January. The headphones alone, which can cost consumers upwards of $300, have become a status (and fashion) symbol in the hip-hop community and beyond, and have posed a great challenge to headphone-makers like Skullcandy.

Apple, of course, produces its own earbuds for use with its iPhones and iPods, but recently partnered with Beats for the iPhone 5S release in November. The company has been under pressure from investors and consumers to bring innovative new products to market.

As the Wall Street Journal observes, Apple shook up the music business in 2003 with the launch of the iTunes music store, but now it's the disrupter that's being disrupted.Continue reading...

retail watch

Could Drexler and Yanai Make J.Crew the Middle Man in Fast Retailing's Empire?

Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2014 10:42 AM

Hoping to capitalize on the chain's success even as competing retailers falter, Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing is reportedly in talks to buy preppy clothier J.Crew. Could J.Crew become the missing jewel in Fast Retailing's bid to become the globe's biggest retailer?

Just last week there were rumors that J.Crew was planning its second IPO as a way to gain access to funds for expansion. CEO Mickey Drexler and creative head Jenna Lyons have turned the brand around over the last decade, making the mid-priced brand extremely attractive to Fast Retailing, which hopes to take advantage of J.Crew's accomplishments and build on them even as some iconic competitors, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, struggle with the finicky retailing scene.

But just because the retailer has managed some success doesn't mean it came easy. The inveterate micro-manager has admitted that J.Crew recently has "strayed too far" from the brand's core styling motif and that the company's recent opening in the UK was "tricky."Continue reading...

brand roadmaps

Despite Gains, Apple Not "Innovative" Enough for Challenging Mobile Market

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 28, 2014 06:39 PM

If the reaction to Apple's latest earnings call says anything, it's that the personal-tech bar has been set astronomically high

After setting new quarterly sales records for iPhone and iPad in Q1 2014, and clocking sales figures of over $57.5 billion, Apple's stock proceded to fall almost 9 percent in after-hours trading on Monday. 

While the report was generally positive compared to 'normal' standards, it apparently wasn't positive enough for investors, who said sales of the company's flagship iPhones fell short of expectations, despite the fact that the company sold 51 million iPhone5S and 5C models in Q3, up from 47.8 million a year earlier. With the first-time, simultaneous launch of the smartphones in the US, Western Europe and China markets, analysts were hoping to see around 57 million handsets sold. 

And then there's that word again, "innovation." The charge to innovate, which has followed the brand around for nearly the last two years as it seemingly trudged through a product slump, has come up again, with anaylsts claiming that the reigning Best Global Brand must innovate again to get investors excited and to regain consumer mindshare.Continue reading...

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