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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 challenges

Barra Cleans House at GM, Vows to "Do the Right Thing" Following Recall Report

Posted by Dale Buss on June 5, 2014 12:23 PM

In what could amount to one of history’s biggest episodes of bloodletting by a major corporation, General Motors CEO Mary Barra dismissed 15 employees—including at least eight senior executives—in the ignition switch recall debacle.

And no doubt hoping as much as dictating, Barra pronounced an end to “the personnel issues in this matter” as she addressed GM employees today in a global town hall about her actions. The move comes after Barra received the final report from the investigation she commissioned by former federal prosecutor Anton Valukas.

After combing through 41 million documents, he found what Barra called “a pattern of incompetence and neglect” that led to 11 years of delays in recalling millions of cars for the ignition switch defect that killed at least 13 motorists—and has swallowed up Barra’s new tenure since early this year.Continue reading...

As Zappos Gets Social, What Does Cutting HR Functions Say About a Brand?

Posted by Rob Meyerson on June 2, 2014 04:47 PM

Zappos, the online retailer and subsidiary of Amazon, raised eyebrows last week by announcing that it's scrapping job postings in favor of a social approach. Prospective employees are now encouraged to join its social network to become Zappos Insiders, and start interacting with its recruiters on Facebook, Twitter and on the company blog.

A few months ago the iconoclastic Amazon-owned company also said goodbye to job titles, and it's not alone in deciding to eliminate and evolve some traditional human resource functions. In fact, other companies are doing away with HR employees entirely, replacing them with software and outsourced services.

It all goes back to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh's statement that "Customer service shouldn't be a department. It should be the entire company." So if job postings are obsolete in this real-time, social era, is this the beginning of the end for HR?Continue reading...

campaigns

Indeed Hires Its Own Users to Staff New Brand Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 2, 2014 11:12 AM

In what has become one of the most competitive and crowded fields, Indeed has found a way to stand out among the growing pool of job-hunting sites including Monster, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn and SimplyHired. The Texas-based company last week launched a new campaign in the UK—and soon in the US—that taps the millions of job seekers on its site to fill acting and production positions for the the campaign, the company's first big marketing spend since it launched in 2004.

The campaign's theme, "How the world works," helps cast a broad net across job seekers and employers from all industries, with media ranging from the TV commercial to print campaigns and even coffee wraps.  

“The campaign celebrates the role of every job, and how Indeed helps millions of job seekers and employers find the right fit," Mary Ellen Duggan, VP Corporate Marketing at Indeed, told brandchannel. "All of the creative elements within the campaign tell the story of how diverse jobs combine to make a something work. Whether it’s creating the perfect line of code, the perfect presentation, or the perfect cup of coffee, the world needs smart, talented and motivated people to take on life’s daily challenges and opportunities."Continue reading...

brands under fire

Global Day of Fast Food Labor Protests Hits QSR Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on May 15, 2014 07:11 PM

Is the fast-food business model creaking under the weight of new wage protests? “Living-wage” advocates hope so after today's global demonstrations in support of better pay and workers' rights, billed as the biggest fast food strike ever.

On Thursday, labor and union activists and Occupy Wall Street alumni, as well as thousands of fast-food workers who walked off their jobs, came together to protest at least 17 major QSR chains in some 30 countries, calling for wages of $15 an hour as well as a right to form a union, organized by a group calling themselves Fast Food Forward.

The movement, which has its roots in the US where one-day protests have occured in over 150 cities for the last 18 months, stalled sales at fast-food outlets around the world as protesters demonstrated in front of restaurants, on sidewalks and inside malls, some even donning Ronald McDonald costumes.Continue reading...

ready for takeoff

Spirit Airlines: No Longer Content to be the Honey Badger of Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 7, 2014 03:17 PM

Spirit Airlines may be a discount airline but it has received plenty of press in recent years for all of the fees (or as Spirit likes to call it, "optional services") it has charged customers, such as a fee for printing a boarding pass at the airport, or cost-cutting that shoehorns a dozen extra seats than competitors within the same size plane.

That kind of move has "won" the brand such accolades as being the only U.S. carrier on the World's Worst Airlines and the worst-performing U.S. airline. It has been recognized for hiring the "rudest flight attendants" and being the "most complained about" airline. It has inspired such venom that customers have formed Boycott Spirit Airlines and Spirit Airlines Sucks groups, not to mention the requisite nod by The Onion.

Yet none of that seemed to bother its leadership team. Being the honey badger of brands for just not giving a damn was a badge of dishonor that Spirit wore proudly—or at least wore—until now.Continue reading...

executive decision

Could Microsoft's Enterprise Chief Lead Company to Mobile Greatness?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 31, 2014 02:53 PM

It's been nearly six months since Microsoft launched its CEO search and announced that Steve Ballmer would be stepping down. And while months of rumors have led industry analyts to mull who might fill the seat, from Ford CEO Alan Mulally to Ericsson's CEO Hans Vestberg, it seems a candidate has finally been confirmed. 

According to reports, Satya Nadella, who leads Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, is now the internal frontrunner, with a possible announcement coming in early February, according to Re/code. That doesn't mean that Nadella is the only remaining candidate, however. According to reporting (that's been disputed) by SiliconANGLE, Google SVP of Chrome and Apps, Sundar Pichai, is still being wooed by Microsoft's board.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Walmart Falls in Feds' Crosshairs Over Reactions to Worker Protests

Posted by Dale Buss on January 16, 2014 02:53 PM

Over its decades of strident growth, Walmart has taken on everything from Kmart to the corner drug store, environmental activists to Hollywood gliterati. Now the chain runs up against its biggest foe yet: an inimical US federal government.

The National Labor Relations Board formally complained that Walmart had illegally retaliated against American workers who protested their employer on Black Friday last year and other incidents beginning in 2012. The complaints involve 60 employees and 19 firings.

After failing to reach an agreement that would avoid litigation, the NLRB accused Walmart of illegally threatening or punishing workers who considered taking part in the high-profile walkouts, The Huffington Post reported. Workers in several states filed complaints after the strikes, and the board's counsel eventually "found merit" in some of them.Continue reading...

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