place branding

Toronto's Brand Rises with The Economist's Safe Cities Index Nod

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 3, 2015 03:26 PM

Toronto has just found itself at the TOp of an impressive list: The Best Place to Live.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)'s 2015 Safe Cities Index anointed the Canadian city perched on Lake Ontario after weighing a variety of factors including safety, democracy, cost of living, business environment and global food security.

Toronto scored in the top 10 of all of them except for cost of living, where it ranked 70th. But it did well enough on all the rest to place first. Continue reading...

brand innovation

Breakthrough Branding: Theranos, with Walgreens, Revolutionizes Healthcare

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 3, 2015 12:08 PM

Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford University at 19 with a big, disruptive idea.

She founded Theranos in 2003 with the goal of streamlining and standardizing blood tests via a handheld device. At the time, she was a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering at Stanford University, but she left academia to start her company with a bridge loan from a venture capitalist.

Now 30 and America’s youngest female billionaire, Holmes is the CEO of Theranos, and her company is disrupting the very profitable business of blood testing and analysis.

Its simple value proposition hinges around blood tests and early detection that can help detect dozens of medical conditions based on one or two drops of blood drawn with a finger pinprick. From that nanotainer of blood, Theranos can run more than 70 tests for anything from blood sugar abnormalities to sexually transmitted infections—and at a cost of 50 to 90 percent less than Medicare reimbursement rates.

Walgreens is a believer, both as an investor and retail partner.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Amazon, RadioShack, Staples, Netflix and More

Posted by Dale Buss on February 3, 2015 09:26 AM


Amazon reportedly negotiating to buy select RadioShack store locations (while Sprint may take over other RadioShack locations in co-branding deal) as Staples and Office Depot are also reported to be in advanced talks to merge.

Netflix prices $1.5 billion in debt to fund original content and programming.

Google is developing its own ride-sharing competitor to Uber, Bloomberg reports, as Uber moves to open research center for self-driving cars.

NBC saw Super Bowl shatter viewing record as online streaming also proved popular and Big Game ad sales soared

Apple localizes its advertising for Chinese New Year.Continue reading...


As Target and Fellow Retailers Shrink, their Challenges Grow

Posted by Bill Chidley on February 2, 2015 04:15 PM

Of the 15 new stores Target plans to open in 2015, the majority will be the smaller format TargetExpress and CityTarget stores. Meanwhile, Walmart, Office Depot and Best Buy are also adding smaller format stores to their fleets.

This makes a lot of sense for retailers that have maxed out their suburban presence and are looking to urban areas to add stores. Expanding into underserved markets is a business basic, even if those opportunities can seem few and far between.

But the challenges of being small are not small. Unlike Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts, which can build stores within throwing distances of current locations without cannibalization, these larger retailers face a different “zero sum” marketplace. More locations do not translate to more consumption—or sales.Continue reading...

chew on this

Food For Thought: Chipotle Expands Literary Packaging Series

Posted by Dale Buss on February 2, 2015 03:05 PM

Chipotle Cups

First, let's address the No. 1 question on the mind of any Chipotle fan: When are carnitas coming back? Well, the answer is, not as soon as you'd hoped. And it's complicated.

But now let's turn to news that will excite Chipotle customers: Its "Cultivating Thought" series of commissioned writings printed on its cups and carry-out bags—like the 21st century version of the stuff boomers used to read on the back of cereal boxes—will soon be returning.

Chipotle has commissioned best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer to return as curator of the series, with ten new and notable writers—including Paulo Coehlo, Neil Gaiman, Barbara Kingsolver, Augusten Burroughs and Amy Tan—creating original content to be featured on the packaging.

"Consumers are so used to being marketed at through any channel available. To give them something that isn't marketing creates a nice emotional connection," Chris Arnold, Chipotle communications director, told brandchannel. "We've called this an analog pause in a digital world, but it's also just a break away from what consumer are generally bombarded with."Continue reading...

brands under fire

Uber Swaps Brass Knuckles for Soft Handshakes in Local Lobbying

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 2, 2015 01:02 PM

Ride-hailing service Uber isn’t exactly known for using the word “diplomacy” very much. In fact, since its launch in 2009, it has been basically shoving its way into new markets, local regulations be damned.

That has worked to a certain extent so far—if you don’t mind a whole lot of legal action and bad press. But someone has apparently whispered in the ear of Uber founder Travis Kalanick, and he’s been singing a different tune recently.

The New York Times, taking note of Kalanick's keynote speech at the Digital Life Design (DLD 2015) conference in Germany last month, sees a softer, gentler Uber emerging—at least in the public sphere—as it aims to get smarter about how it expands its brand locally.Continue reading...

super bowl

Super Bowl 2015: Nissan SVP Fred Diaz Explains Thinking Behind "With Dad"

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 2, 2015 12:01 PM

Nissan's "With Dad" Super Bowl XLIX spot was one of the outstanding examples of "dadvertising" and branded takes on parenthood during the Big Game.

Fred Diaz, SVP sales, marketing and US operations for Nissan North America, explains in our Q&A why celebrating fatherhood made sense for its SB49 return (watch the commercial below) after nearly two decades: "Nissan is a compassionate brand that understands the daily struggles that we go through with work-life balance."

As for whether the branded embrace of all things fatherly was a response to the NFL's domestic violence crisis this past year, Diaz countered that "Nothing with the NFL had any part of our decision in any way. We started concepting a year ago, and essentially we wanted somehow or another to build a brand spot that resonated and connected with America."

In terms of leveraging the Super Bowl as a global branding platform, it's an opportunity to connect—before, during and after the game—with the public in a meaningful, emotional way: "You've got to make people laugh or cry. In our case, [the message is] that things are better when Dad is involved."Continue reading...

bc q&a

Tapping into Touchpoints: 5 Questions with Tapcentive CEO Dave Wentker

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 2, 2015 11:11 AM

One of the key takeaways from last month's National Retail Foundation (NRF) 2015 Big Show, where Levi's and other brands and vendors shared their visions for the future of retail, is the move towards in-location engagement technologies via retail mobile apps.

Retail mobile app usage has surged since last year, when “retail was the star of the show,” according to eMarketer. “Lifestyle and shopping mobile app usage soared 174% on iOS (where the “lifestyle” category includes more than shopping) and Android. On Android alone, sessions in shopping apps more than tripled, with a 220% gain.”

The worldwide mobile app audience is projected to surpass 2 billion this year, and is on track to exceed 3 billion by 2018, according to 451 Research estimates. 

It’s a pivotal moment for brands and marketers to access omnichannel consumers in innovative ways, and Tapcentive is doing just that.Continue reading...

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