follow the money

Bitcoin Watch: NYC <3 BTC?

Posted by James Mueller on February 17, 2015 05:05 PM

New York State is already poised to be the first state to establish Bitcoin-specific financial regulations, but will its largest city further legitimize the controversial cryptocurrency by joining the ranks of those that accept it as payment? New York City councilman Mark Levine is proposing just that, citing as motivators the potential savings on credit card fees, and the hope of attracting tech talent.

New York is not alone in its curiosity. Many companies have experimented with Bitcoin in the last year, including Microsoft, Dell, and Newegg. Almost all of these, however, don't ever touch Bitcoin directly, instead using a payment processor, Bitpay or Coinbase, to immediately transform a customer's Bitcoin payment into dollars. Overstock.com, meanwile, not only accepts BTC in partnership with Coinbase, but also allows its employees to be paid in it.

Many skeptics are wary of Bitcoin, however, and not without reason: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lists hacker vulnerability, lack of protections, high cost, and fraud risk as dangers to be aware of.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Apple Expands Reach, From Detroit to the White House to a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 16, 2015 11:24 AM

As curiousity grows about Apple's plans in the automotive space (with Titan project details leaking out and already inspiring Taiwan's animation wags) and the music space (with a star BBC DJ wooed to Cupertino), the brand's Apple Pay mobile wallet just received a big boost from none other than the US president.

Apple CEO Tim Cook took center-stage at the White House cybersecurity summit at Stanford University last week with this clarion call: "Everyone has a right to privacy and security." Cook also called on government to work with business to protect consumers.

"When it comes to the rights of customers and the rights of citizens, it's important to realize we're all talking about the same people," Cook stated, according to CNET. "We owe them nothing less but the best protections that we can possibly provide by harnessing the technology at our disposal and working together...We must get this right."Continue reading...

follow the money

'Green' Credit Cards Expand But Not Yet Second Nature for Consumers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 13, 2015 12:55 PM

Green credit cards are a growing trend as consumers are seeking companies and brands “put people and planet ahead of a single-minded focus on profits at any cost.”

According to Green America, the non-profit that launched in 1982 as "Co-op America" until rebranding in 2009, “megabanks collect $60 billion per year in transaction charges.”

“The good news is that the rise of ‘green’ credit cards with low fees, good rates, and extra features such as travel perks means that consumer fed up with megabank abuses now have real choices,” stated Green America Corporate Responsibility Division Director Todd Larsen.

“Changing to a responsible, green credit card is easy. We encourage concerned consumers to take the time now to learn how to put a ‘green’ credit card in their wallet or purse.” And more and more of them are switching, compelling financial institutions to review their products with a mind to reflecting their corporate citizenship commitments.Continue reading...

super bowl

Surprise, Surprise: 5 Questions with Discover on its Super Bowl Ad Return

Posted by Dale Buss on February 1, 2015 07:15 PM

Discover Super Bowl 2015 ad

Discover Financial Services is running its first Super Bowl ad in nearly 30 years today, and as it happens the credit card company expects to be the only card issuer advertising in the Big Game this time around. They won't be seeing any ads from Capital One, American Express or Chase, Discover brand executives believe—or at least hope.

That will clear the field for an extension of Discover's successful campaign, "We Treat You Like You." In previous ads, protagonists have talked to Discover customer-service people and found themselves treated exactly they way they wanted to be treated. That was because, in the conceit of the commercial, the customer and the advisor were two personifications of the same individual.

Discover has kept its Super Bowl spot under wraps until today, bucking the trend of the flurry of brands that released their ads online well ahead of Game Day. On Friday it released two "humans yelling like goats" teaser videos that hinted at its creative approach for the final "Surprise" ad:Continue reading...

brandspeak

Intuit Shows Why Branding Sometimes Means Saying Sorry

Posted by brandchannel on January 27, 2015 06:12 PM

Intuit CEO Brad Smith LinkedIn apology

Are you usually late to the game when it comes to tax season? This year, being tardy may have been to your advantage.

Intuit has issued a public apology on its corporate blog and on LinkedIn for a recent change that forced TurboTax desktop customers to pay 50% more for tax preparation software. After customers complained in droves, Intuit president and CEO Brad Smith is not only accepting complete ownership of the brand's mistake, but also issuing refunds for any customer who purchased the software. 

"Companies, like humans, are a work in progress," Smith wrote on LinkedIn. "Even with the best of intentions, we find ourselves in situations where we mess up, letting down the people who count on us."Continue reading...

point of purchase

As More Banks and Retailers Join Apple Pay, Samsung Steps Up to Compete

Posted by Catherine Straut on December 16, 2014 05:04 PM

Apple started the week off strong by reporting that the list of companies on the Apple Pay bandwagon has grown significantly over the past couple weeks. 

Some of the newcomers now supporting the mobile payments platform are SunTrust, Barclaycard and USAA, as well as ten new banks, including TD Bank North America and Commerce Bank, the New York Times reports. On Friday, Amway Center, the home of the Orlando Magic, will start accepting Apple Pay at many of its retail, food and beverage stands during games.

With these new additions, Apple claims it now supports the cards that represent about 90 percent of the US credit card purchase volume.Continue reading...

follow the money

American Express Expands in Silicon Valley with Technology Hub

Posted by brandchannel on December 11, 2014 04:04 PM

American Express is expanding its presence in the heart of America's technology corridor.

The financial services company today announced the opening of a new technology hub in Palo Alto, expanding its presence in Silicon Valley, where its venture capital team already had a foothold.

A new tech team is being assembled to operate out of the hub, which will focus on innovations in big data, cloud computing and mobile infrastructure to advance the company's research and development in mobile payments and the future of financial services.

“Technology innovation is driving the company’s ongoing digital transformation, and our team in Silicon Valley is focusing on core capabilities that we expect to be key to our ability to continue to innovate and move our business forward,” stated Marc Gordon, the company's Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, in a press release

“By developing infrastructure and frameworks to be used broadly across the organization, the team in Palo Alto will play a crucial role in our global business growth and future success.”

The hub is also home to American Express Ventures, AmEx's VC arm, which signed a 10-year deal for the space according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

sporting brands

Scotiabank Goes for the Goal with CONCACAF Soccer Sponsorship

Posted by Catherine Straut on December 9, 2014 05:37 PM

Today, Bank of Nova Scotia announced its new role as the official bank and partner of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), the governing body of soccer in North America and the Caribbean.

As part of its new four-year deal, Scotiabank will become the title sponsor of the Gold Cup, the championship for national teams from the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.Continue reading...

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