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brand challenges

After Ousting Founder Dov Charney, Did American Apparel Boot Its Brand Too?

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 19, 2014 11:06 AM

Nearly a decade ago, Dov Charney called me from the back of a limousine (I only knew it was a limousine because he told me). Charney had emailed me earlier "to have a dialogue with you about some of the interesting points you raise in your article."

That article was a brandchannel profile of the fast-rising American Apparel brand and sweatshop claims that ultimately concluded that "AA’s founder Dov Charney is himself the greatest threat to American Apparel’s future." Charney eventually begged off that talk, saying we should do a proper interview after the Athens Olympics. We proceeded to play phone tag for the next three years, and I never spoke to him again.

And now I don't need to—at least not in the context of his strategy for American Apparel. The brand's board voted 5-0 to oust Charney, citing “an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct.”

Charney's "alleged misconduct"—much of it sexual in nature—has been well-documented for years. In fact, Charney is so well-known for his misbehavior that he's become a bit of a cliche, often lumped in with controversial fashion photographer Terry Richardson—and an eyesore for the American Apparel brand.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Cannes Day 3, Amazon Phone, GM Testifies and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 18, 2014 09:08 AM

TOP STORIES

Cannes Lions continues (above, Scott Ferris, Microsoft's GM of content advertising) with first round of Grand Prix winners announced.

Amazon phone reveal by "secretive" R&D lab today in Seattle sparks speculation, as BlackBerry joins Amazon's Appstore.

YouTube to launch paid music service.

GM's Barra is back on the hotseat today on Capitol Hill as automaker faces $10 billion recalls suit.

Beats headphones have been banned at the World Cup.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Activision expands Skylanders licensing.

Apple secures 31 new patents as stores get exclusive window on Beats products.

Dr. Oz grilled on weight loss claims.

eBay pulls Chinese "spyware phones."

Facebook's ephemeral Slingshot app annoys some users.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Branded Content Watch: Dear Kittens of the World Cup

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 13, 2014 01:07 PM

After clocking five million views in four days, Buzzfeed's low-budget commercial for Purina has passed more than 10 million views in the week since it was posted on June 5th. Credit the faux Morgan Freeman narration and wit of web wag Ze Frank, who happens to be EVP of video for Buzzfeed. (Purina, meanwhile, is about to ramp up the amount of branded content on its Petcentric YouTube channel.) Watch "Dear Kitten" (again... and again) below, along with this week's other noteworthy branded content efforts:Continue reading...

retail

Urban Outfitters Tries to Think Big After Getting Lost in Fast-Fashion Frenzy

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 11, 2014 11:41 AM

Urban Outfitters is having an Abercrombie moment. The hip retailer is losing brand appeal as young consumers flock to fast-fashion rivals like H&M and Forever 21 where cheap clothes and product refreshes abound. 

"Clearly, there is still much work to be done for Urban to regain its fashion footing," said Richard Hayne, Founder and CEO, according to the Philadephia Inquirer. "We believe there is no fundamental structural changes in the young-adult market. There are, of course, fashion changes, and the success of each brand depends on the accuracy with which it predicts those changes."

After five consecutive quarters of sales slippage, Urban, the flagship brand in a retail family that includes Anthropologie and Free People, is now second to Anthropologie in sales—$295.8 million in net sales compared with $277.7 million—in the latest quarter.

Free People saw a 30 percent uptick in sales last quarter, prompting brand president Meg Hayne to comment, "We are working on a look and a voice that is unique to Urban Outfitter. And it goes above and beyond the product. We are focused on our customers' lifestyle and life stage ... we are really going after looks from head to toe."Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Uber Taps AMEX, Burberry Wraps Up, Sony at E3 and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 10, 2014 09:03 AM

TOP 5 STORIES

American Express partners with Uber, whose $18 billion valuation parsed by the New York Times.

Burberry features Cara Delevigne and Suki Waterhouse in new Autumn/Winter 2014 campaign.

GLAAD picks nine best brand campaigns for LGBT Pride month.

PayPal president moves to Facebook to lead messaging as new photo-messaging app revealed.

Sony reveals Playstation TV at E3.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Abercrombie & Fitch names new president as part of brand revamp.

Apple, moving creative in-house, reportedly aims to build 1,000-member team.

AT&T settles suit over refusal to carry Al Jazeera on U-verse.

Buick finds traction with Vine/YouTube project.

H&M online lookbook can be remixed like a music playlist.

HP takes a page from gaming in new high-end computing line.

Mariah Carey launches Butterfly, a social network and beverage brand.Continue reading...

retail

Target Takes Aim at On-the-Go Millennials with Mobile Commerce Push

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 6, 2014 05:12 PM

Beleaguered big-box retailer Target, in efforts to rise from the ashes of a disastrous data breach that affected as many as 70 million customers, is redoubling efforts to reach out to Millennials with digital initiatives to capture dollars and mindshare on mobile.

"Target has traditionally been a store where people want to go in and feel and touch the products," Jim Porçarelli, chief strategy officer at Active International, told USA Today. "It's been a destination." But as more time-constrained consumers opt to make purchases from behind a screen, Target is tasked with reimagining its retail strategy into an omnichannel experience. 

While Target has been innovative in mobile, including its shopping companion app Cartwheel and its namsake app, both of which ranked in Internet Retailer's Top 25 mobile commerce apps list, it is behind competitors like Walmart when it comes to cross-platform experience. “It was very much a static experience," said Casey Carl, Target's president of omni-channel strategy and experiences. "It required too many clicks to get where you wanted to go."Continue reading...

luxury watch

Luxury Retailers Find Success in Broader Brand Exposure

Posted by Dale Buss on May 29, 2014 06:17 PM

A stream of new quarterly reports from luxury-goods icons including Tiffany & Co., Nordstrom, Michael Kors and Estee Lauder have topped expectations and have demonstrated the persistence of a separation between how the rich and the non-rich feel and spend.

“Tiffany enjoyed a strong start to 2014,” CEO Michael Kowalski said about a 50 percent jump in first-quarter earnings and 15 percent sales growth for the jeweler, which raised its profit outlook for the rest of the year as well. It bucked the wintry weather to post a strong Valentine’s Day and enjoyed a strong trade with tourists in New York.

But perhaps what is most intriguing about Tiffany's sustained success is the proliferation of the Tiffany brand beyond luxury goods. For one, the brand has continued to increase its investment in "fashion jewelry"—items that carry its glinting brand but without as much expensive metals and precious jewels that characterize its traditional “fine jewelry.” The brand's Atlas collection was its fastest-growing of its new and expanded collections, a remarkable difference from what the brand was reporting last year, according to Quartz. 

This is part of Tiffany’s overall strategy to experiment with lower-end products as well as take care of business on the high end—a risk that, perhaps, other luxury brands such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton wouldn’t take for fear of diluting brand exclusivity. But Tiffany clearly has found success so far with this approach, satisfying traditional luxury customers and providing a gateway to the brand for the middle class consumers and tourists.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Steady as She Goes, Target Outlines Revival Strategy

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2014 05:38 PM

It's been a rough few quarters for Target, and now the third-largest US retailer is doing some spring cleaning in hopes that it will uncover a strategy to revive the once golden brand. 

After booting its CEO and head of its Canadian operations following a massive security breach and the loss of nearly $1 billion in a floundering attempt at international expansion, Target today reported its first quarter earnings. And despite a 16 percent drop in profits, the results weren't as bad as some analysts thought they'd be. 

But dealing with the breach aftermath may take a backseat as the retailer is facing a much more dire crisis that's right in its wheelhouse. Facing increasing competition from brands like H&M and Amazon, Target is being forced to reimagine its retail strategy to further focus on its online business and reacquaint the brand with value-oriented customers.  

"Target built this model: cheap chic with tons of convenience," said Josh Feldmeth, CEO of Interbrand New York, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, but "Zara and H&M are moving faster, with faster replenishment and great style."Continue reading...

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