lather, rinse, rebrand
Posted by Abe Sauer on December 11, 2009 04:10 PM
The Harvard Business Review magazine has not changed much since its founding in 1922. Begun as a compendium of Harvard Business School research, the magazine remains data heavy, deep, and long. That is to say, meaningful. Well, not anymore.
Harvard Business Review is sexying itself up by adding columnists and "lighter features." The iconic cover that has always listed the articles contained in each issue is being redesigned to add a sense of mystery and curiosity to the content. There will also be an increased focus on providing content online. Finally, each quarter, the magazine will feature a half-naked centerfold from the business community (not really). But there are big changes afoot, and even bigger risks. Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 19, 2009 04:42 PM
Retailer JCPenney has been as reliable a barometer of US economic swings as any, according to Financial Times. Penney's store sales have tracked almost precisely with economic ups and downs. Penney's sales dropped in the summer of 2007 during a retail slowdown, and again sagged in September and October 2008 after the Wall Street meltdown.
Now Penney is hoping the holiday season will put an end to economic doldrums in the U.S. and is readying a different strategy from last year, when it aggressively discounted its merchandise to move inventory. This holiday season, Penney will offer promotions, but will try to be more selective.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on October 19, 2009 10:45 AM
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's media conglomerate just bought him a new toy, BusinessWeek magazine. Now, what will the Bloomberg financial information brand do with it, besides change its name to Bloomberg BusinessWeek?
BusinessWeek itself asks, and partly answers, the question of whether Bloomberg can extend beyond its core. The Bloomberg market data news and info service currently reaches a very select group of about 300,000 subscribers. Meanwhile, BusinesWeek's paid circulation is nearly one million, with nearly five million total readers worldwide.
There is no doubt Bloomberg is looking to take its brand beyond the expensive, highly-focused services it currently offers. Maybe BusinessWeek can help transform it into a full-blown financial services media empire, offering everything from technical data on the markets to profiles of corporate titans?Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 14, 2009 01:42 PM
What does a financial institution do when it runs into trouble? Apparently, the simplest solution is to rebrand.
In the US, embattled insurance giant AIG changed the names of various divisions to create distance from the parent company. AIG's property and casualty business, for example, became Chartis. General Motors' GMAC financial unit was re-named Ally Bank, to eliminate the distasteful association with a bankrupt automaker.
Now Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is planning to extricate itself from a mess with the European Commission with a simple name change. The Commission is forcing RBS to dump 312 of its branches in England and Wales. RBS plans to change the name of those branches to Williams & Glyn's, to make them more attractive for sale.Continue reading...
follow the money
Posted by Stephanie Startz on September 28, 2009 02:13 PM
Can a new global bank emerge from the last big banking crisis to wrestle away business and prestige from bailout-tainted mega-banks? Nomura Holdings hopes so.
Positioning for dominance with the newly-added weight of Lehman's Asian, European and Middle East operations, Nomura has been accumulating talent, shoring up capital, and signaling its intent to expand in its current markets while developing opportunities in the US.
Nomura faces several short-term challenges. The brokerage wisely shut down its US-based mortgage-backed securities unit in 2007, but the subsequent downfall in the Japanese market -- due to Lehman -- forced the bank into a sell-off.Continue reading...
best global brands
Posted by Stephanie Startz on September 21, 2009 04:11 PM
Will Barclays lead the next generation of global financial brands? Barclays president Robert E. Diamond Jr. says so: "Our aim is clear: to be the premier global investment bank." The new Best Global Brands 2009 report from brandchannel's parent Interbrand calls the bank a "brand to watch," but the WSJ reports it has a few hurdles to clear before claiming ascendancy.
Relatively fresh-faced, Barclays has weathered the economic crisis with not just a strong balance sheet, but an increased reputation. Despite its failed attempt to save Lehman, the bank is viewed positively for absorbing many of Lehman employees.Continue reading...
best global brands
Posted by Stephanie Startz on September 18, 2009 12:30 PM
While 2009 was rough for many brands, none lost more ground in Interbrand's Best Global Brands study this year than UBS, down 50% in Brand Value, an index that factors in brand revenue, brand earnings, and a measure of brand strength. (To be fair, Citigroup's decline of 49% is about as steep.)
So, should UBS drop its name and revive "Paine Webber"? Has "UBS" become the ValuJet of finance?
CNBC's Charlie Gasparino and The Business Insider's John Carney both expect the beleaguered Swiss bank to rebrand. Each has suggested that if former Merrill Lynch brokerage chief Robert McCann convinces a court to let him break his non-compete agreement with former employer Bank of America to head UBS's brokerage unit, he will rename it Paine Webber, the retired name of the stock brokerage and asset management firm UBS aquired in 2000. Initially, the merged conglomerate was called "UBS PaineWebber"; in 2003 "Paine Webber" was dropped in place of "UBS Wealth Management USA." Continue reading...
Posted by Reneé Alexander on September 17, 2009 10:12 AM
When is a free trade agreement not a free trade agreement? In the wake of “Buy American” provisions contained in Washington’s $787 billion stimulus plan, some companies on both sides of the 49th parallel are wondering.
Designed to give U.S. firms a leg up on foreign competitors, as the country struggles to recover from the biggest downturn since the Great Depression, the provisions are accused of seriously denting the biggest trade relationship both countries have, and of defying the 1988 Free Trade Agreement. Canadian critics warn that unilaterally breaking a treaty damages the core U.S. brand, since international trade depends on relationships and trust.Continue reading...