Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2014 07:11 PM
Both of its businesses, retailing and health care, are being swept by massive change. But Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson has told company shareholders he doesn't think the chain is being swept along by transformation but rather is helping to drive it.
"We are in two dynamic industries," he told about 2,000 attendees at the meeting this week in Chicago, "that are converging as consumers become more involved in shopping for their health-care solutions."
Wasson ticked off all the ways in which Walgreens is participating in the sea of changes in retailing and health care including opening clinics that serve customers with the most common chronic conditions such as diabetes; expanding the "community pharmacy" role of its pharmacists and nurse practitioners in filling the gap in primary care that has been growing in the US for many years; and adding more fresh foods to its selection of groceries.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 8, 2014 05:50 PM
In search of effective new ways to continue to enhance public perceptions, could McDonald's be turning to a Chipotle-like promise to begin to use sustainable beef?
McDonald's this week pledged to source only "verified sustainable beef" beginning by 2016 in an effort to make its meat production both more environmentally friendly and kinder to the animals whose meat winds up in its burgers, as Time put it.
The chain said on its website that it wants "to improve environmental practices in the way beef is produced, support positive workplaces in the beef industry, and drive continuous improvement in animal health and welfare."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 8, 2014 12:39 PM
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s highly anticipated (and attended, as hundreds waited in line to fill the 1,700-seat Las Vegas Hilton) 2014 CES keynote played like a show as she focused largely on entertainment, unveiling a new digital magazine, introducing her new star colleagues, Katie Couric and David Pogue, and serving up John Legend for a Beatles rendition.
But the focus of Mayer's talk didn't stray far from content creation, announcing the addition of Yahoo News Digest, a twice daily summary of news that will include information from multiple sources and news outlets. In a similar space, Mayer introduced another new content product, Yahoo Digital Magazines, which will be Tumblr-powered sections on Yahoo News.
The first two "magazines": Yahoo Tech, headed by former New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, and a Yahoo Food vertical. Mayer said digital magazines are core to the company’s strategic goals, indicating that the new projects will feed the ad beast with ad-funded content, but no display ads.
Another tech star is helping achieve Mayer's vision: British teen genius Nick D’Aloisio, who sold his Summly app to Yahoo! for $30 million last year and joined the company as a mobile product manager. D'Aloisio explained in a blog post how he helped develop the Yahoo News Digest app, whose backers include Yoko Ono, Stephen Fry and Ashton Kutcher.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 3, 2014 04:07 PM
What’s in a name? Everything if you’re in storm branding—the latest battleground for weather services eager to claim mindshare in an increasingly crowded media space.
This week's Nor'easter was called the "East Coast Blizzard" by AccuWeather, "Major Winter Storm" by the National Weather Service, "Bethany" in Connecticut, and "Hercules" by The Weather Channel and most everyone else, including Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo, who both tweeted messages about the storm using the TV/web/mobile network's #Hercules hashtag.
In addition to annoying horror writer Stephen King (who dubbed the practice "dorky" to his Twitter followers) and other weather-watching brands by pushing Athena, Sandy and Nemo, The Weather Channel's practice of branding storms (this Western winter season, with the help of a high school Latin class in Bozeman, Montana) has irked the World Meteorological Organization, a 191-member organization based in Geneva.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 19, 2013 07:17 PM
As the whole restaurant marketplace becomes a mash-up, it's little surprise that Chipotle is pursuing a fast-casual niche that's growing just as its own fresh-Mex segment has taken off: pizzerias.
Chipotle invested in a chain called Pizzeria Locale with a restaurant in Denver that actually opened in May, and it's considering two more locations in the city, according to USA Today. It's too soon to say whether Chipotle will open Pizzeria Locales in other parts of the US.
"Opening Pizzeria Locale using a model similar to Chipotle allows us to make extraordinary pizza, made with high-quality ingredients accessible to everyone," said Chipotle CEO Steve Ells in a press release.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 18, 2013 12:39 PM
Don't look now, but burgeoning domestic oil and gas production is beginning to create all sorts of new and potential "trickle-out" effects, pressures, and opportunities for brands. Just ask General Motors and ExxonMobil.
American consumers' rising sense of "energy security" likely has contributed to the fact that sales of GM's behemoth, old versions of the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe SUVs rose by 8 percent and 24 percent, respectively, for the year to date through November, at a time when compactness and ever-improving fuel economy have become the bywords of the US auto industry.
That performance also has helped give GM excecutives the confidence to go ahead with plans for launching significantly upgraded Suburban and Tahoe versions in 2015 and to raise list prices on the new models from $1,000 to $3,000 above current models, to around $46,000 and higher, according to Automotive News. The new versions will boast a major redesign, more amenities and improved fuel economy, and GM expects them to defend the company's whopping 44 percent share of large-SUV sales in the United States.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 18, 2013 10:47 AM
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store aficionados long have realized the importance of the "Old Country Store" part to the appeal of the establishment along Interstates across most of the United States. And now some Wall Streeters are expressing new appreciation for a business model that has kept the Lebanon, Tenn.-based chain on a strong growth curve.
The restaurant is a staple mostly for wayfarers in Flyover Country, with more than 600 stores in 42 states, providing welcome signage to many travelers in and through America's heartland who love to come in, sit down within the glow of its wood-burning hearth, and consume comfort food such as biscuits and gravy and 24x7 breakfast.
Not only that, but apparently enough investors also have understood the appeal of Cracker Barrel, this year bidding up its shares by about 65 percent, or triple the gain of the S&P 500, Motley Fool said.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2013 03:47 PM
India's sweet tooth has been growing lately to the tune of 18 percent average increases in candy sales annually, so it's no wonder that global giants including Mondelez and Hershey are targeting the sub-continent. In fact, Hershey has chosen India as the first country outside North America to launch the Jolly Rancher brand.
The first Jolly Rancher product will be lollipops, coming in three flavors: green apple, watermelon and mango. Hershey claimed in a statement that the mango variety was developed specifically for consumers in India and that, overall, the new Jolly Rancher products have been tailored "to appeal, specifically, to local palates with bold, fruity flavors that are unlike any other candy available in the market."
More than that, the company said, "The lollipops offer a long-lasting fruit-like taste experience that is distinct from the typical lollipop currently available in India." Sounds a lot like the taste-intense positioning that Jolly Ranchers has used generally.Continue reading...