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brand strategy

It's Go Time: HBO May Go Direct as Cable Landscape Continues to Shift

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 11, 2014 03:04 PM

The company that changed broadcast television forever by introducing Pay-TV may be on the verge of doing so again.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, called "Time Warner’s anti-mogul" by Michael Wolff, announced yesterday at the 23rd annual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference that he’s looking into offering HBO directly to consumers.

"We are seriously considering what is the best way to deal with broadband," said Bewkes. "The really good news is that we have viewers clamoring for HBO." 

As cable is increasingly replaced by broadband, HBO has a fundamental dilemma: it currently relies on packaged TV channels from cable providers like DirecTV, Charter Communications or Time Warner Cable to deliver its product to approximately 32,445,000 US households, (No. 2 behind Encore’s 41.6 million). Its global footprint covers 151 countries reaching nearly 114 million subscribers worldwide. 

And while HBO is loathe to irritate its distribution partners who contribute a cool $5 billion to the pay-TV service’s bottom line in annual revenue, the writing on the wall is clear: reach and grow subscribers beyond those tethered to cable TV in order to better compete against Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Roku and more.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Unimpressed: Luxury Watch Makers, Analysts Aren't Sold on Apple Watch

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 11, 2014 12:37 PM

Apple’s innovations over the years have changed the music and smartphone industries, but its newest category—wearables—may not see the same success.

According to Business Insider, the Swiss watch industry gave a collective shrug over the debut of the long-awaited Apple Watch. “They are essentially transient products rather than items of enduring value,” one Swiss watch industry expert told the site.

Traditional watchmakers aren't impressed, and see zero competition from the Apple Watch, and the impending wearable trend as a whole, despite the fact that Apple released not one, but three collections of the watch that vary in price and materials, including the luxury Edition collection, which features 18-karat gold.  

“I think the Apple Watch will be successful. But it’s not competition for the classic Swiss watch industry,” Franz Tuerler, owner of a luxury watch store in Zurich, told the site.Continue reading...

place branding

The Riskiest Bet of All: Why Atlantic City Needs to Find Its Brand

Posted by Corey Lewis on September 11, 2014 11:01 AM

In 2006, Atlantic City and Las Vegas were the American capitals of casino, with AC pulling in over $5.2 billion in revenue—a milestone for the resort town. Eight years later, the Jersey Shore city's intake has nearly been halved and debt continues to shutter casino hotels one, after another, after another.

Three casinos have already closed, including the iconic Showboat, shiny, two-year-old Revel, and the Atlantic Club, while Trump Plaza plans to hang its hat next week and Trump Taj Mahal just filed for bankruptcy. By 2017, Deutsche Bank predicts that there will only be six casinos left along the storied boards.  

Competition; the economy; corrupt politicians; Superstorm Sandy—the finger of blame has been pointed at many, but what is really at the heart of Atlantic City's most recent struggle?Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: NFL, McDonald's, Samsung and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 11, 2014 09:36 AM

TOP STORIES

Apple hires Gap's No. 2 marketer as it needs retailers to warm up to Apple Pay and faces delay in getting new iPhone 6 to China, as Samsung releases slew of ads poking fun at Apple announcements.

NFL appoints former FBI director to investigate Rice as AP reports that league saw video in April, and Verizon defends NFL Commissioner Goodell.

McDonald's tests tablet ordering and files trademark for "McBrunch."

RadioShack rescue package is in the works.

Sony reaches deal to carry Viacom TV channels on web.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Alibaba on track to beat Facebook's blockbuster public offering for biggest IPO ever.

Audi and Chrysler are fined by pricing regulators in China, where foreign companies are increasingly feeling the heat.

Bonobos seeks to disrupt fashion retail.

Burger King launches black cheeseburger (with black cheese) in Japan, where KFC runs chicken-fried social marketing.Continue reading...

fashion week

Tech Takes the Runway as Brands Differentiate with Digital Displays

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 10, 2014 07:28 PM

The real star of Fashion Week 2014 is digital innovation. 

Ralph Lauren showcased his Spring 2015 collection, including his Polo line for women, with a water-screen projection above Manhattan’s Central Park, along with a film celebrating New York City. And while the theatrical display may have made the designs and the models wearing them secondary, RL's feat was an impressive entrant into a fashion celebration that has turned its attention to tech

Elsewhere in New York, Samsung used its sponsored backstage lounge to showcase its latest mobile and wearable tech innovations, including the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge and Gear VR, while Burberry created interactive billboards in New York, London and Paris that allowed smartphone users to see their initials inscribed on a digital bottle of the brand's new My Burberry perfume.

Around the world, adidas used Berlin Fashion Week to launch footwear selfies using its newest customization app that lets fans adorn the brand’s ZX FLUX sneakers with personal photos.Continue reading...

brand faces

Staying Truett: Chick-fil-A’s Path Forward in the Wake of its Legendary Founder

Posted by Darcy Newell on September 10, 2014 06:34 PM

Monday was a sad day for fans of chicken sandwiches and the Chick-fil-A brand—the company’s founder and chairman emeritus, S. Truett Cathy, died at age 93 in his home. 

For many, Cathy was the embodiment of the Chick-Fil-A brand. Having grown the company from a small Atlanta diner in 1964 to one of the largest (1,800 locations in 40 states) and most beloved chicken restaurants in the United States, Cathy exemplified the American Dream. And despite strong business acuity, he was known for not choosing profitability over piety. From the company’s founding, restaurants have always closed on Sundays for a day of rest—missing out on opportunities for substantial revenue gains.

Of course, this religious focus has not always bided well for the man or the brand. Recent lawsuits claim the company’ discriminated against non-Christians, the LGBT community and others, and sparked debate on the role of religion—and religious commentary—in business today. Despite this, Cathy remained revered by the brand's intensely loyal fans for the experiences (and delightfully simple sandwiches) he created.Continue reading...

retail watch

Target CEO Vows Return to "Tarjay" While Home Depot Battles Data Breach

Posted by Dale Buss on September 10, 2014 03:17 PM

Target's new CEO, Brian Cornell, has decided to go back to the future to retool the retailing brand while Home Depot CEO Frank Blake has to hope that he can see something other than Target in the crystal ball for his own brand, as Home Depot deals with a potentially mammoth data breach.

Target suffered a debilitating customer-data breach nearly a year ago, but the brand clearly was having problems before that. The biggest: Former CEO Gregg Steinhafel had allowed Target to drift away from a distinct identity as the au courant mass merchandiser whose chic apparel and homewear designs elevated it above price-first rivals such as Walmart and dollar stores. Steinhafel instead added a greater variety of goods and focused on grocery expansion.

Now, with Steinhafel gone, PepsiCo veteran Cornell is only a month into his job but told the Wall Street Journal that he has one major strategy planned: return to the narrower range of categories where the chain originally made its reputation as "Tarjay," including fashion and furniture, as well as expand fast-growing other segments including organic foods and children's wear.Continue reading...

click for a cause

Brands Spin the Wheel to Raise Awareness for Net Neutrality

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 10, 2014 01:27 PM

Today is Internet Slowdown Day, which aims to rally brands and consumers in favor of stronger net neutrality regulations in the US. The FCC is currently considering new legislation that allows cable giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to operate a two-tiered internet: "slow lanes" for most, and "fast lanes" for those willing to pay more.

Net neutrality activists, including major online brands like Google, Netflix, Etsy, Reddit, Mozilla, Kickstarter, Imgur, Foursquare, and Wordpress are protesting the legislation by displaying an infinitely-spinning "site loading" icon, aka the "spinning wheel of death." The online protest is set to run for 24 hours. 

Online brands have been joined by the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, the Future of Music Coalition, Greenpeace USA, the Harry Potter Alliance, MoveOn, the Sierra Club and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the public protest against a slower internet.Continue reading...

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