Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 16, 2013 03:53 PM
As brand loyalty continues to slide for the third consecutive year, Deloitte's annual American Pantry Study shows close to nine in 10 consumers are choosing private-label or store brands over national brands.
"Every manufacturer has been affected by this," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman and U.S. Consumer Producers Leader at Deloitte. "None of the manufacturers had as many must-have brands as they thought they did. The playing field has fundamentally changed. It will not go back to the way it was right before the recession…Manufacturers must find a way to differentiate the product and find a better way to get the product into the consumer's pantry."
As for consumers, an air of remorse hangs over their heads from a past filled with careless spending habits, which was exacerbated by the recession. “They tried various lower cost options and the vast majority of them found there was little noticeable difference in quality. This was an epiphany for the consumer," adds Conroy.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on April 10, 2013 05:33 PM
Posting mail has traditionally been part of most national governments' service to citizens. But in an era when digital communication is out-pacing print, it is increasingly difficult to justify the cost of mail delivery service. The problems of the U.S. Postal Service are, of course, well known. Recently, the USPS said it would end Saturday delivery to save money, but just this week, it reversed that decision, saying a new Congressional budget would prevent the move—so its struggles continue unabated.
If you think the mail delivery problem is restricted to the U.S. Postal Service, take a look at Great Britain's hallowed institution, Royal Mail.
Royal Mail's origins pre-date the American Revolution. Royal Mail has been part of the fabric of British life, as visible and respected as, well, the Queen of England. The Royal Mail has always had an ironclad guarantee of reliability, value and mail delivery at the same price, regardless of where in the UK a person resides.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 16, 2013 10:26 AM
Lovers of Wonder Bread and Twinkies had heavy hearts back in November when Hostess Brands failed to resolve its labor woes and announced that it didn’t have enough cash to keep on baking and would have to shut down. Wonder fans didn’t have to wait long for their brand to find a new home, though.
Flower Foods, which owns such bread brands as Cobblestone Mill and Nature’s Own, has emerged as the lead bidder for six of the Hostess brands that were put on the block in November, for $390 million.
The bid came in two parts, the Associated Press reports: $360 million for Wonder, Nature’s Pride, Butternut, Home Pride, and Merita as well as $30 million for Beefsteak. It isn’t totally a done deal yet since the bankruptcy court will rule on the bidders later this month.
Twinkie fans, however, will have to wait a bit longer.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 15, 2013 02:12 PM
While some version of HMV has been fighting the good fight for recorded music since the late 1800s, it looks like the retail chain’s ability to lift its fist to the air could soon be coming to an end.
While the brand outlasted plenty of other music retailers (Tower and Virgin come to mind), HMV is finally joining all those that have gone before it, seeking the British equivalent of bankruptcy protection and halting trading of its shares on Tuesday in the hopes that it will find a way to survive.
Not much has worked for the company since it started attempts to adapt back in 2007. Books, DVDs, and computer games are all not selling well there, either. As the BBC reported, the company failed to draw new customers as it broadened its offerings, causing disappointment among its core consumer base as CDs made room the number of CDs they could offer because of all of the new products.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 11, 2013 11:29 AM
The Dreamliner has a name that makes it sound as if it should be the smoothest-riding and fastest thing on the planet, evoking the grand age of travel with ocean liners by taking them to the sky. Unfortunately, reality has caught up to Boeing's vaunted 787 Dreamliner.
Fourteen months after Boeing revealed the sophisticated jet, Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that it is “undertaking a comprehensive review of the design and manufacture of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner after a series of problems this week,” according to USA Today.
That said, the FAA feels that the still fledgling Dreamliner — for which Boeing increased production in November — is still safe enough for passengers to climb aboard and won’t stop any airline from using the plane. "I believe this plane is safe and I would have absolutely no reservations about boarding one of these planes and taking a flight," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
So what’s the problem?Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 20, 2012 01:20 PM
You think Apple was the first to think of the iPhone? Well, OK, maybe they thought up the iPhone, but there was somebody in front of them who cooked up the IPHONE. And now the smartphone-buying public of Brazil will get to be confused by them.
An earlier incarnation of IGB Eletronica SA, a Brazilian consumer electronics manufacturer, applied for exclusive rights in Brazil to register its products under the name IPHONE way back in 2000. Apple’s iPhone didn’t launch until seven years later. There was no confusion for more than a decade since IGB hasn’t released any products under that name. But that is all about to change.
IGB will start selling its $290 Android-based IPHONE in Brazil with the first model called Neo One, Reuters reports. This news comes only a week after Apple started selling its iPhone 5 in the country.
It doesn’t appear that Apple will take IGB to court, particularly after losing a battle last month with a Mexican telecommunications company that is selling the – wait for it — iFone. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that IGB may end up filing suit against Apple: "The two brands can't coexist in the market," said Eugenio Staub, president of IGB’s Gradiente. "It's up to Apple to make a move."Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on December 13, 2012 11:40 AM
Cathay Pacific's Flight Attendants Union is lobbying the management of the Hong Kong-based carrier for improved wages, after the airline rejected the union's request for a 5% pay increase with a 2% offer on November 30.
The FAU this week approved a motion to go on strike in the new year — not by refusing to board the planes, but by performing the bare minimum required service. That means yes to water and flight safety instructions, and no to nuts, alcohol and smiles, with friendly service being the heart of the Cathay customer experience.
Not helping matters: the CX flight attendant who recently threatened to throw coffee in the face of daughter of the former Prime Minister of Thailand, and was duly fired. (Coffee, tea or third-degree burns?)
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 5, 2012 03:06 PM
Reebok’s shoes are generally made for athletic use, but the brand now means something else for 150 of its employees across the globe. That’s the number of folks that were sent packing in a recent company restructuring, according to the Boston Herald.
About 65 of those folks came from the company’s US headquarters in Canton, Mass. “Today, we continued this reorganization with the implementation of a new global-direct operating model between the global organization in Canton and our markets, and a streamlining (of) our satellite creation activities,” Matt O’Toole, Reebok’s chief marketing officer, stated.
It also eliminated its European HQ in Amsterdam and its Asia-Pacific office in Hong Kong. That’s too bad, considering the company that is now a subsidiary of Adidas got started in the United Kingdom way back in 1895. Still, Reebok has been a drag on Adidas since its acquisition in 2006, as the Wall Street Journal noted last month. Now it's time for a little fiscal, and physical, fitness.Continue reading...