Posted by Dale Buss on October 5, 2012 01:12 PM
When companies age, they turn to innovation as the way to get their corporate blood pumping again. That's clearly the case with the Campbell Soup company, which has come out with a variety of new soup products, broadened its product lineup under the V8 brand, and taken other innovative steps since Denise Morrison became CEO about a year ago. But it's still been a rough ride as she seeks to turnaround the company's financial results — she's closing two factories due to "excess capacity" and laying off 700 workers in an attempt to "improve supply chain productivity."
Morrison told a group this week that there's been a definite method to her approach, including using "disciplined creativity" based on studying the successes of other innovative firms, and a team-based product-development philosophy that she learned in part from firms in Silicon Valley.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 1, 2012 02:22 PM
A major part of the logic behind the split-up of Kraft into snacks go-getter (and naming-challenged) Mondelēz International and its more tired North American grocery business is to create a "global snacking powerhouse" — and spur growth in the latter enterprise.
As Forbes noted, Kraft is moving from the New York Stock Exchange to NASDAQ with the move to spin off its North American business and rebrand its corporate parent: "Kraft is keeping its faster-growing global snacks business into a new company named Mondelēz International, ticker MDLZ, while its spun-off North American grocery business will keep the Kraft Foods name but trade under ticker KRFT. Both stocks will list on the Nasdaq when the breakup is complete, and the KFT symbol will be retired."
Now that Kraft Foods Group can begin selling shares with its own listing as an independent company after the market's close on Oct. 1st, it's time for Kraft to fulfill investor expectations as Mondelēz (which will debut on Oct. 3rd, with a defiant macron over its final 'ē') is considered to be the higher growth stock.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 27, 2012 03:02 PM
Big moves are afoot at Yahoo!, where new CEO Marissa Mayer this week outlined her strategy for a new era at the company she joined from Google in July. In an all-hands meeting Tuesday at the company’s Sunnyvale, California headquarters, Mayer outlined her vision for personalizing the Web for users, from content to email to ads, while expanding that user base, talent pool (witness her new CFO hire, "Silicon Valley legend" Ken Goldman) and advertiser partners.
Articulating her vision of "four C's" (Culture, Company goals, Calibration and Compensation), Mayer wants Yahoo! "to become something users touch every day," according to Business Insider, and to achieve that, the company must move more quickly, with employees having more ownership over and resources for their projects which will be approved only if they have the potential to scale to 100 million users or $100 million in revenue. As AllThingsD detailed, Mayer also spoke of more "acqui-hires," buying small companies for tech talent rather than products, and emphasized mobile as an area where Yahoo! "will be strong" by 2015.
While the company remains one of the world's most popular websites with more than 700 million monthly users of its email service and readers of its news pages, stiff competition from Facebook and Google and diminished online display ad prices have led to stagnated revenue. Dominance in the billion dollar industry of contextually relevant ads is up for grabs and Yahoo! is staking its claim. To that end, Yahoo! and Media.net just announced a long-term agreement to launch Yahoo! Bing Network Contextual Ads to provide web publishers with customized ad units that display relevant text ads from across the Yahoo! Bing Network.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 26, 2012 04:07 PM
For decades, pundits have been saying that the rise of the computer would vanquish paper to the trash shredder of history. But they haven't been right.
Maybe, that is, until now. Because the whole issue of the feasibility of paper products may have reached a tipping point with the news that Staples is realigning its retail and e-tail strategy in a massive rethinking of its business.
The company announced that it "will integrate its retail and online offering, increase investment in its online businesses, reorganize its operations, implement leadership changes, initiate a multi-year cost savings plan, and restructure its International Operations."
Specifically, it plans to slash its U.S. store footage by 15 percent and invest the savings in its e-tailing business. In addition to shrinking its U.S. retail footprint, it's closing 45 stores in Europe. It's also rebranding its Australian business "as it continues to move toward one global brand."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 24, 2012 02:41 PM
Two years after launching an exclusive denim brand in Asia, dENiZEN, Levi-Stauss has taken the low-cost denim line to China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Singapore and last year to the United States (via an exclusive deal with Target) — but now it's phasing out the brand beyond North America in order to promote its core brands.
According to a statement provided by the company,
"Across our company, we are focused on driving profitable growth. We made the strategic decision to phase out the Denizen® brand from Asia and focus our resources behind growing the Levi’s® brand in this market. We’re working with our franchisee partners for a smooth transition and we’ll phase it out over the next twelve months. We are committed to Asia and will continue to serve consumers in Asia through our Levi’s® and Dockers® brands. We’re continuing Denizen in the North America in Target, where we’re currently in more than 1,700 US stores and expanding to Canada."
Posted by Dale Buss on September 14, 2012 02:04 PM
Kellogg has been working on a comprehensive brand overhaul during the last several months, and now one of the first significant fruits of its efforts is coming out: A new campaign promoting some of its classic cereals, focused on their simplicity and goodness.
Running under the tagline "Goodness of a Simple Grain," the new campaign extols Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and Raisin Bran in a farm-to-table positioning that is so popular these days (see: McDonald's farmer spots and Chipotle's Willie Nelson video) and combines it with simplicity messaging, emphasizing that there are only four ingredients, for instance, in Corn Flakes. One spot says Kellogg takes these products "from the seed to the spoon."
"We have a number of brands like this that we've been making for a hundred years," Doug VanDeVelde, Kellogg's SVP of morning foods, marketing and innovation, told Adweek. "But consumers weren't really aware of that, and we need to, in a very simple way, remind them."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 12, 2012 02:12 PM
Unilever is doing more and more things right and getting more and more credit for it, from constituencies ranging from investors to global consumers. Now, the task of CEO Paul Polman is to build on the many gains made by the British-Dutch company and its stable of brands.
Over the past three years, Unilever — whose competitive set includes other CPG and health-and-beauty giants including P&G and Colgate-Palmolive — has gained global market share each year, after losing it each year from 2002 to 2008, according to a new report from Sanford C. Bernstein.
While the company performed near the bottom of its global industry clusters for top-line growth from 2001 through 2005, it came in at the middle of the food category last year, ranked No. 2 in beauty and personal care behind Estee Lauder, and came in at No. 1 in the home-care arena.
Polman, a marathon runner, has waged a good race in the nearly four years since he took the helm.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 10, 2012 04:56 PM
Research in Motion leadership squeaked through the company's annual presentation to shareholders Tuesday morning with a minimum of contention and even with its existing board of directors intact.
That doesn't mean shareholders who attended the meeting at its corporate hometown of Waterloo, Ontario, were at all happy with the cratering of the BlackBerry brand, RIM's huge financial losses, its announcement of massive layoffs, the musical-chair game of top management, the shrinking stock price, or the company's widely bemoaned executive decision to delay the launch of the crucial BlackBerry 10 phone until next year.
And they're certainly not happy with how the iPhone and Droid have eaten BlackBerry's lunch lately or how some corporate customers already are contingency planning for a day when BlackBerry might no longer exist or be viable.Continue reading...