Posted by Dale Buss on August 6, 2013 10:36 AM
Like a drought on the prairie, the stagnation in the US quick-serve-restaurant market has the hungry herd foraging for more sources of sustenance. And that finds more brands moving out of their traditional comfort zones in search of sales and customers in other day parts.
Denny's has become the latest major chain to echo moves made earlier by Taco Bell and others. Brand stewards believed that Denny's needed to break out of its breakfast box, where its venerable Grand Slam Breakfast and, recently, Baconalia menus had secured its place in the market, but was no longer enough to sustain the brand.
With that, Denny's has launched its "beyond breakfast" platform with a long list of new menu items that are devoid of bacon or syrup or any other connections to breakfast, but instead include a sirloin-steak entree, smothered cheese fries, a prime rib cobb salad and apple pie a la mode.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 25, 2013 01:39 PM
PepsiCo is riding high on snacks and trying not to be brought low by its soft-drink business. But that doesn't mean the company is accepting the logic behind activist investor Nelson Peltz's attempts to get PepsiCo to spin off beverages and buy snack-happy Mondelez International.
Second-quarter food revenue in the Americas grew by 5 percent for PepsiCo while beverage revenues slumped by another 2 percent. Brands including Doritos and Tostitos, by Frito-Lay, drove PepsiCo's overall domestic growth, while its European business only chugged along and revenues in Asia, Africa and the Middle East combined, both beverages and food, grew by 6 percent.
Also, more evidence surfaced this week to bolster concerns recently expressed by PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi about the future of artificial sweeteners in beverages. Larry Young, CEO of Dr Pepper Snapple, agreed in a conference call that consumers "have concerns about artificial sweeteners." His company has lowered its sales outlook for the year.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 16, 2013 02:12 PM
A darling amongst startups, now five-year-old online-accommodation rental service Airbnb has a $2.5 billion valuation, 600 employees worldwide, and is adopting a slower international roll-out strategy to avoid the pitfalls of ‘hyper-growth.’
CEO Brian Chesky moved aggressively to build an international team and by 2011 had opened close to a dozen international offices with country managers and was in 30,000-plus cities by the end of 2012, spawning copy-cats in Asia and Europe.
Now the brand is reorganizing its international operations, centralizing them in a yet-to-be-named European hub (rumored to be Dublin) and assigning new roles to current employees, with staff split into two groups, "customer experience" and "local," with the latter focused on hyper-local opportunities such as the coming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 11, 2013 03:17 PM
Microsoft announced Thursday a company-wide reorganization—its latest effort to revitalize the struggling brand. In an email to all employees, CEO Steve Ballmer said:
“Today, we are announcing a far-reaching realignment of the company that will enable us to innovate with greater speed, efficiency and capability in a fast changing world. Today’s announcement will enable us to execute even better on our strategy to deliver a family of devices and services that best empower people for the activities they value most and the enterprise extensions and services that are most valuable to business.”
While the realignment involves no major departures or promotions for current executives, it does dissolve the company's current business units and reorganizes them into four divisions: Operating Systems, Applications and Services, Cloud and Enterprise, and Devices and Studios. The move places the company's three operating systems into one division, and stretches marketing and business strategy into a unified, cross-company group.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on July 3, 2013 12:56 PM
The next step in the remarkable evolution of the Apple brand may be just around the corner. In a move that "caught the fashion industry by surprise," Apple has announced it is adding Paul Deneve, CEO of fashion giant Yves St Laurent (YSL), as a vice president of "special projects," reporting to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
While heads are still spinning in the fashion sector, it isn't as strange as it sounds. Deneve, after all, was with Apple's European operation on the marketing side from 1990 to 1997, so he is hardly an unknown. Not to mention that YSL's revenues just about doubled under his leadership.
While some see this move as directly related to Apple's anticipated launch of an iWatch, others believe it has broader implications. "More likely it is to explore the extension of the Apple brand, or its platform technology into clothing and fashion," notes Forbes. "Digital technology is in fact extending its reach to every aspect of life, including clothing and other wearables like glasses." After all, the computer wearables market "is perfect for Apple to mainstream. It advances contextual computing. And it has the added virtue of being a bigger potential market than smartphones..."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 25, 2013 06:33 PM
The year-old split between Kraft Foods and Mondelez International is working out about as financial and marketing engineers had promised, with the latter attacking emerging global snack markets with zest and Kraft trying to squeeze everything it can out of more mature North American markets.
The latest evidence that the split strategy is taking hold as planned: Kraft Foods is boosting US marketing spending significantly and has retained traction as one of the biggest advertisers in the American market, while Mondelez's spending on US advertising has dwindled—even though Mondelez retains domestic control of iconic brands such as Oreo.
Kraft Foods plans to pump more than $100 million into brand-building in the second half of this year as it aims to differentiate its classic brands in commodity categories such as cheese from private-label players, while also launching new US products such as Fresh Take, a meal kit that combines fresh cheeses, spices and breadcrumbs, according to Advertising Age.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 18, 2013 06:10 PM
Amazon pounced on the opportunity to add Viacom programming to its Prime streaming lineup last month after the broadcast giant couldn’t work out an extension deal with Netflix. That loss is likely costing Netflix big-time as it saw the exit of popular kids shows like Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and Blue's Clues, the very type of content that parents desire when they need to use the electronic babysitter.
However, Netflix battled back this week by signing a deal with DreamWorks Animation, in turn setting itself up to stream a whole host of new kid-friendly content based off of the studio's popular big-screen hits. In another move that seems orchestrated to remind folks, particularly parents, that Netflix still has scads of family programming, it has launched a new site, Netflix Families, that highlights “information on the best ways to stream and videos on how families use Netflix,” as well as feeds of curated content perfect for kids, the company said in a new release.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 13, 2013 06:33 PM
Disney’s ESPN launched a 3D channel three years ago that let viewers witness golf balls arcing toward them at The Masters and college football players practically bursting through the screen. Unfortunately for ESPN, there just haven’t been enough viewers who wanted to feel like they were right in the action and the channel will be shuttered by year’s end, according to Reuters.
USA Today's ForTheWin.com calls ESPN 3D “one of the biggest busts in recent sports television,” along with Fox’s NHL glow puck, Dennis Miller and Tony Kornheiser providing commentary on Monday Night Football (another Disney product), and virtual ads, among others, since not one of the sports junkies employed at the site (nor anyone they knew) had ever actually watched anything on the channel.Continue reading...