Posted by Dale Buss on September 23, 2013 10:52 AM
Hershey is gearing up to take advantage of chocolate season—from Halloween through Christmas—but the company also has larger, longer-term goals in sight that amount to a significant refinement of its traditional approach.
The iconic confectionery brand is hot on portion-controlled, resealable packaging; is moving late but eagerly into international expansion; believes sustainability is important but not a sine qua non for its brands; and is open to making more acquisitions. All of that will help Hershey achieve its goal of reaching $10 billion in annual sales compared with the $6.6 billion it notched in 2012.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 18, 2013 03:51 PM
New Tim Hortons CEO Marc Caira may not have figured out how to sell enough Canadian-developed coffee in the United States yet. But he sure knows how to peddle interest in what Canada's brightest native star of the QSR industry might end up doing.
In multiple interviews and an analysts' meeting this month, Caira—a former Nestle SA executive who came out of retirement in July to run Tim Hortons—has made a few things clear: Growth in Canada depends on more variety in new outlets and better execution everywhere; dinner is an appealing day part; and Tim Hortons must, must, must succeed in the US market despite investor unrest at the brand's poor performance south of the border so far.
Somewhat curiously, Caira discounted the importance of typical pillars in improving Tim Hortons' performance. "Future battles are not going to be won, in my view, with who has the best strategy or who has the best innovation," he said, according to The Canadian Press.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 11, 2013 12:27 PM
Target keeps stretching the footprint of its brand, which now includes efforts to fuel innovation in health care—and a new digital-movie and -TV service.
Joining the growing ranks of big companies that are attempting to spark new enterprises—and re-stock the corporate cupboard of new ideas—by incentivizing and nurturing startups, Target launched the Target Simplicity Challenge to foster ideas for helping Americans make helpful lifestyle choices and to assist in living with chronic conditions. In 2012, Walmart launched a similar effort with its "Get On The Shelf" competition, and has continued to invest in startups for its @WalmartLabs project. Nike has an accelerator to develop mobile and green technologies, and Target already has a retail accelerator.
The healthcare initiative will help further the already existing retail medical clinics, pharmacies and optical departments in many Target stores. "The growing dialogue about the need to transform health care is near and dear to our hearts," Jose Barra, Target's senior vice president for health and beauty, said in a press release. "We believe there is value in surfacing simple, intuitive ideas to drive a lot of impact.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 10, 2013 01:42 PM
With the potential lack of any blockbuster new product on the horizon, McDonald's keeps repackaging and refining its existing menu in order to attempt to jolt stubborn sales in the US and elsewhere.
The latest twists: McDonald's burgers and chicken McNuggets packaged in a box for "multiple" consumption, and steak on breakfast sandwiches. "It's like they're throwing things at a wall to see what sticks," Sam Oches, editor of trade publication QSR, told USA Today. "It looks like another move on McDonald's part to redefine value."
Well, actually, the chain is throwing a bunch of stuff into what it calls the "Blitz Box": two Quarter Pounders with Cheese, two medium fries and 10 Chicken McNuggets with dipping sauces, a total of nearly 3,000 calories overall, for a price of $14.99. Blitz Box is a football-themed specialty tied to a local promotion with the Kansas City Chiefs and scheduled to extend through the Chief's NFL season.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 6, 2013 10:43 AM
What do you get when the leading specialty coffee brand partners with one of the largest online lifestyle networks and a global marketing research firm? Apparently, a successful sales boost.
Starbucks recently partnered with SheKnows.com and Nielsen to create an online campaign to introduce the cafe's Refreshers line to more women. The effort included custom content, sponsorships, display ads and high-impact re-skins that yielded an 11.3 percent rise in awareness among consumers exposed to the content.
The campaign gave a palpable boost to Refreshers, which launched in 2012 as fruit-flavored iced coffee beverages that could be ordered in-store, but also sold in a ready-to-drink and VIA formats.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2013 01:54 PM
A.G. Lafley's first turn running Procter & Gamble was transformational for the company as he bought Gillette, shed the company's food brands and put innovation on a pedestal. For what he has called his "second shift," Lafley has indicated that his emphasis will be less on overhauling the company and more on making sure P&G as now constituted is doing the best that it can.
"I'm just elevating the focus on execution, everybody gets it," the P&G CEO said this week at the Barclays Back to School analysts conference in Boston. "When we execute, we like the results. What's more important, consumers like the results better, customers like the results better and in the end we like the results better and our shareholders like the results better."
Lafley said he's focusing on boosting productivity, "improving operating discipline," "investing in innovation and go-to-market capabilities" and "re-establishing value creation as our primary measure of success." He's also making some big bets by restrategizing some of P&G's iconic brands.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2013 01:52 PM
New/old CEO A.G. Lafley is beginning to shake things up at Procter & Gamble, and one of his most interesting first moves reportedly is to explore potential further value in one of the company's most iconic and lucrative brands: Tide.
One of the things that his predecessor/follower as CEO, Bob McDonald, did well was exploit the promise of Tide Pods, which he launched in early 2012 and which already are on their way to becoming another $1 billion sub-brand for P&G. Despite growing concerns and one reported death of kids poisoning themselves by mistaking the colorful Pods for candy, Tide has managed to grow quickly—and dominate—a laundry-detergent segment that it essentially created.
But Tide Pods—which recently debuted in new, opaque packaging to curb temptation from kids—are priced above regular liquid Tide. American detergent buyers have steadily drifted to bargain-priced products to do their laundry over the last few years in adjusting to a stingier "new normal," but even regular Tide has retained a price premium.
Now Lafley is pulling the lever on a lower-price gambit for Tide that has always made the company hesitant. He announced today at the Barclays Back to School conference in Boston that P&G plans to release a lower-priced, mid-tier detergent, Tide Simply Clean & Fresh, in February, according to an AP report that noted other Tide products launching in the first quarter.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 3, 2013 03:49 PM
With confirmation of Verizon's bid to buyback its Verizon Wireless stock from the UK's Vodafone for $130 billion, the mobile provider, which is the largest in the US with 100 million subscribers, is sending a strong message to competing providers that have all made increased investments in the lucrative US mobile market.
The sell-back of Vodafone's shares will give Verizon total control over its wireless division as the company bids to hold on to its top spot among US service providers. Vodafone makes out quite well, too, with some $84 billion in cash and stock being returned to shareholders. The newfound cash will also enable the company to explore further expansions in its home market.
Valued at $290 billion, which is, Bloomberg Businessweek notes, “larger than the market capitalization of Google Inc. or the gross domestic product of Singapore," Verizon Wireless will likely expand its 4G LTE network to more locations across the US and North America—an important addition to justify its plans' premium prices. The provider has faced more competition lately as AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have doubled down on the US market with acquisitions and mergers of their own.Continue reading...