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brand extensions

FedEx Sees Riches in Niches with Speedy TechConnect Repair Biz

Posted by Dale Buss on October 2, 2012 11:01 AM

Both FedEx and rival UPS have been reporting slowing and disappointing package-delivery activity lately as the global economy cools, especially in previously high-growth areas such as China and India. So FedEx is hoping to extract more revenues from its domestic operations by offering a new service boasting a three-day turnaround: PC repair.

FedEx has begun reaching out to major corporations to perform repairs on their "enterprise" small computers overnight through a new subsidiary called TechConnect, which will repair consumer electronics such as the iPad and the Nook. The company has been fixing its own technology gear for 30 years and saw a gap in the repair marketplace while its primary delivery business has been slowing.

"We found there was a high level of dissatisfaction in the marketplace," TechConnect manager Tod Taylor told USA Today. "What we offer is unparalleled turnaround time."

"First of all, we're probably one of the biggest repair shops for devices like that in the world for the very simple reason that FedEx basically invented the handheld, package-tracking device," FedEx CEO Fred Smith explained to Fortune. "Because a lot of that equipment is built into our DNA, we became very good at repairing it. And it was just a natural progression to tell a lot of our big customers that if you want us to also repair these devices, we can do it for you."Continue reading...

sip on this

No "Sleepytime" Appeal for Celestial Seasonings' New Enerji All-Natural Shots

Posted by Dale Buss on October 2, 2012 10:02 AM

Brands keep trying to find pathways into a beverage segment that keeps growing during tight financial times even though it's pricey: energy drinks and energy shots.

Celestial Seasonings is bringing one of the latest innovations to the category: energy shots that are "all-natural," as befitting the better-for-you pedigree of the tea brand that has been owned by natural-foods leader Hain for the last several years.

Enerji Green Tea Energy Shots expand on Celestial Seasonings' earlier launch in in the category, Kombucha Energy Shots, which are based on the appeal of cultured kombucha drinks to foodies.

"We felt we had an ideal brand for this category because of the long-term trust in our brand and the high-quality ingredients we could come in with," Blake Waltrip, CMO for Celestial Seasonings, told brandchannel.

Energji features green tea, B-vitamins and ginseng, common ingredients to "natural" energy drinks, and come in three flavors: Berry, Citrus and Pomegranate Xtreme. "We're extending into links that have logical ties back to the core of what the Celestial Seasonings brand is all about," Waltrip said.Continue reading...


French Fashion Brand Sparks Social Media Firestorm With 'No Chinese' Rule [Updated]

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 1, 2012 10:06 AM

One of the most famous landmarks of colonial era Shanghai was a sign that hung in The Bund park reading "No Dogs and Chinese." That sign never existed, although the urban legend persists because such rules did exist. Now, nearly 100 years later, with Chinese consumers growing more powerful every year, a luxury fashion designer has opened old wounds with a statement so colonially racist it would be comfortable on the streets of the French Concession circa 1921.

In a statement to WWD, the founder of high-end fashioner Zadig & Voltaire said that its new boutique hotel slated to open on the Left Bank in Paris in 2014 "won’t be open to Chinese tourists." Outrageous, for sure. But does the sentiment reveal an uncomfortable relationship between the world's haute fashion houses and their nouveau riche Chinese patrons? Just a week after D&G needed to explain its "Moorish" earrings, Thierry Gillier, fashion brand Zadig + Voltaire's founder, told WWD of the brand's new Paris hotel:

“It will be a slightly private hotel, not open to everybody, with 40 rooms. We are going to select guests. It won’t be open to Chinese tourists, for example. There is a lot of demand in Paris — many people are looking for quiet with a certain privacy.”

Through the weekend the story lit up Chinese social media networks including Weibo. Needless to say, reactions were swift and scathing.Continue reading...

retail watch

H&M Confirms & Other Stories Spin-Off, Delays U.S. E-Commerce Launch

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 27, 2012 11:01 AM

H&M has announced that its new store brand, & Other Stories, will launch in Spring 2013 in "selected European countries," with an online hub at stories.com (which was registered in March), and a waiting Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Along with the news that H&M's U.S. e-commerce launch has been moved to Summer 2013, H&M commented on the pending & Other Stories launch in the company's third quarter earnings update, which was softer than expected —Continue reading...

brand strategy

Levi-Strauss to Phase Out Global Denizen Brand

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 24, 2012 02:41 PM

Two years after launching an exclusive denim brand in Asia, dENiZEN, Levi-Stauss has taken the low-cost denim line to China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Singapore and last year to the United States (via an exclusive deal with Target) — but now it's phasing out the brand beyond North America in order to promote its core brands.

According to a statement provided by the company,

"Across our company, we are focused on driving profitable growth. We made the strategic decision to phase out the Denizen® brand from Asia and focus our resources behind growing the Levi’s® brand in this market. We’re working with our franchisee partners for a smooth transition and we’ll phase it out over the next twelve months. We are committed to Asia and will continue to serve consumers in Asia through our Levi’s® and Dockers® brands. We’re continuing Denizen in the North America in Target, where we’re currently in more than 1,700 US stores and expanding to Canada."

sip on this

Green Mountain Scaled by Starbucks in Single-Serve Coffee Battle

Posted by Dale Buss on September 20, 2012 10:01 AM

Green Mountain Coffee is in a pot of trouble. And that's even before Starbucks introduces Verismo, its own single-serve brewing system for consumers that's rolling out in October (and already available on Verismo.com), to challenge the iconic K-Cup system by Green Mountain that features its Keurig pods. 

The brand has been a darling of consumers for several years, on a continued growth tear as K-Cups led a revolution in how Americans consume much of their coffee by making the single-serve system de rigeur in homes and offices. The company fed strong double-digit sales growth by continuing to proliferate the types of pods, to include "iced" drinks and juices as well as coffees and teas.

Green Mountain also had been a darling of investors seeking to cash in on a boom that, for the six years after the Vermont-based company acquired Keurig, managed to thrive without attracting the competitive interest of Starbucks.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Brandchannel's Mark J. Miller On CNBC: Ikea's Hotel And Other Brand Extensions (VIDEO)

Posted by Peter Feld on August 17, 2012 05:17 PM

Mark J. Miller, who wrote about Ikea's new European foray into the hotel business yesterday, discussed this and other best and worst brand extensions on CNBC's Street Signs yesterday.

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brand extensions

Ikea Entering the Hotel Business

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 16, 2012 10:03 AM

Europe’s financial difficulties continue and consumers are counting their Euros. Such a situation doesn’t bode well for the travel industry, which is why budget hotels have started popping up all over the continent and consumers that are actually traveling are using them more than they used to.

Budget hotel sales figures in 2011 were up 10 percent, Reuters notes, which means it was eating up 41 percent of the $162.5 billion European hotel market.

That kind of cash has enticed some folks to get into the budget-hotel biz or spread their brand. Germany’s Motel One is moving into the UK, Belgium, and Austria. Travelodge, which already has more than 500 hotels in Europe, opened four in London in July and is planning to open nine more in Europe before year’s end. Continue reading...

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