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brand strategy

Lenovo Aims to Build Global Tech Brand to Rival Samsung, Apple

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 30, 2014 02:28 PM

Google’s mobile phone experiment has ended after just 22 months with the announcement that it sold Motorola's handset business to China's Lenovo Group for $2.91 billion. 

Following its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility in 2012 to "supercharge Android," Google has uncharacteristically struggled to boost its market share in the mobile hardware business, with Motorola's global share of the smartphone market falling to about 1 percent in 2013. 

So while Google will retain Motorola's bank of 20,000 patents to be used to build up its successful Android brand, the aging brand's fate in hardware now lies in the hands of Lenovo—a little-known Chinese company that has been making some big moves in the tech world lately. In a blog post on the news, Motorola hailed Lenovo as its new brand steward.

“Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola into a major player within the Android ecosystem,” Google CEO Larry Page wrote in a blog post about the sale. His sentiments are echoed by IDC analyst Ramon Llamas, who told the Wall Street Journal, "This gives Lenovo the all important foothold to get into North America.”Continue reading...

brand strategy

Foxconn Looks West for Expansion Opportunities

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 27, 2014 07:33 PM

Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, best-known as the major (and controversial) supplier of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, will likely be building high-tech factories in the US and low-cost plants in Indonesia in a major manufacturing shift away from China.

Labor issues and rising costs integral to "made in China" are forcing the world’s largest contractor of electronic products to stray from the motherland. "Foxconn has no choice but to do it," said Danny Lee, fund manager of Mega Financial Holdings, according to Reuters. "China is no longer a manufacturing hub for companies worldwide, especially so for the PC industry."

Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, speaking at the company's 40th anniversary gathering yesterday, said, "Automation, software and technology innovation will be our key focus in the US in the coming few years."Continue reading...

brand strategy

Walmart Builds On Commitment to US Production as International Criticism Comes to a Head

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 27, 2014 11:53 AM

Walmart has joined Apple and Google on the "Made in the USA" bandwagon with a $10 million fund to support American manufacturing. Walmart US CEO Bill Simon also echoed the company's 2013 pledge to buy $50 billion in US-made products over the next 10 years.

A number of major CPG giants are pursuing suppliers with US production as wages in China increase and disasters in Bangladesh, Cambodia and elsewhere continue to put a black eye on brands with issues concerning worker safety and fair wages.

For instance, Kent International, a bicycle-maker that sells bikes at Walmart, is moving its international operations back from China to Clarendon, S.C. with plans to increase production by 500,000 bikes per year by 2016 and create 175 new jobs.

"One of the things we're seeing now in China is not only the cost of labor going higher, but the workers' attitude is getting more apathetic," Arnold Kamler, CEO of Kent Bicycles, told the Washington Post. "The factories in China are fighting with workers to make sure they don't take cellphones to the assembly line.”Continue reading...

brand strategy

Pepsi Adopts 'One Brand' Strategy for Pre-, Post-Super Bowl Marketing

Posted by Dale Buss on January 24, 2014 05:53 PM

Never mind whether Bruno Mars needs to don another pair of long underwear for the halftime show; that's a minor detail. The big picture for Pepsi for Super Bowl Sunday is that the beverage icon is taking a new "master brand" marketing approach compared with previous Big Game efforts.

What that means, explained Advertising Age, is that there will be fewer stand-alone ads in Pepsi's Super Bowl commercial portfolio for lines such as Diet Pepsi and PepsiMax and more of an uber presentation on game day that, in turn, is part of a weeks-long thrust by Pepsi.

Advertising "will speak from the brand point of view rather than the product point of view," Seth Kaufman, vice president of marketing for colas for Pepsi North America Beverages, told the publication. "We are fundamentally playing a different game ... no longer about 30 seconds" but "about a month-long, really, really meaningful program."Continue reading...

brand strategy

Walgreens Performs as Changes Sweep Retailing and Health Care, CEO Argues

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...

brand strategy

Whatever 'Sustainable Beef' Is, McDonald's Pledges to Use More of It

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...

brand strategy

Yahoo Keeps on Content Path as Mayer Talks Mobile, Ads at CES 2014

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...

brand strategy

#Hercules Bowls Over Northeast, Nabbing Another Social Win for Weather Channel

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...

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