tech innovation

General Electric’s #NextList Takes on Technology in 2064

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 19, 2014 06:09 PM

In 1964, famed scientist and author Isaac Asimov wrote an article for the New York Times predicting what technology would look like in 2014 following a visit to General Electric’s pavilion at the World’s Fair. And now, GE is celebrating Asimov's predictions like 3-D printing, connected cars and cordless electronics that have since come to fruition in a new digital campaign, #NextList

"The Next List represents the company’s major research and development focus areas across healthcare, energy, software and manufacturing and the breakthroughs coming out of our global research centers around the world," said Sydney Lestrud, GE’s manager of global digital marketing.Continue reading...

brand innovation

SpaceX, Virgin Galactic Bring Modern-Day Space Race to the Mainstream

Posted by Dale Buss on August 7, 2014 03:57 PM

It's not quite US vs. USSR, but the modern-era space race between SpaceX and Virgin Galactic is getting more interesting as each brand gets closer to blasting off with humans aboard.

SpaceX is crowing about its construction of a new commercial launchpad in South Texas alongside the Gulf of Mexico with help from more than $20 million in local and state incentives, while Virgin is drawing comparisons from Land Rover about the rigor of its vehicle testing.

Virgin Galactic has said it plans to go airborne with tourist flights to space later this year from a base in New Mexico at a pricetag of $250,000 a head. It has accepted more than $80 milloin in deposits from about 700 individuals, which the brand pointed out is about 20 percent more than the total number of humans who've ever gone to space.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Target Snaps Up Mobile Shopping Innovation with Image Recognition App

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 23, 2014 01:49 PM

Whoever tries to hack into Target’s data next is going to have a lot more to dig through. The retailer's new app, In a Snap, aims at improving its foothold in the mobile shopping space by allowing users to take pictures of Target products in print (magazines, catalogs and newspapers) and then simply click to buy.

The free app, which uses advanced image recognition technology, allows consumers to have their product shipped or held for them at a local store—all part of Target's big push to ramp up e-commerce and click-and-collect efforts as it continues to feel the pressure from Amazon, Walmart, and fast-fashion retailers. In a Snap joins Target's other app, Cartwheel, which serves as a coupon-serving shopping companion. 

“It’s a single-purpose app that will appeal to Millennials and college students or anyone not averse to downloading an app,” Target spokesman Eddie Baeb told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The app's launch is timed to Target advertising running in Real Simple and Domino magazines, part of the brand's back to school campaign for college-aged consumers with a new registry and web video series, Best Year Ever, that features YouTube stars helping students with dorm room makeovers.Continue reading...

chew on this

According to Domino's, There Is More Than One Way to Become a Pizza Mogul

Posted by Dale Buss on July 7, 2014 05:42 PM

The modern pizza industry was invented by two Michigan entrepreneurs who founded Domino’s and Little Caesar’s. The pair became the world’s biggest pizza moguls and now are reaching the end of their business legacies in two widely disparate ways, as Bloomberg Businessweek points out in its "Twilight of the Pizza Barons" cover story.

Tom Monaghan famously founded Domino’s a half-century ago in Ann Arbor, Mich., with a borrowed $500 to execute the chain’s now-iconic home deliveries. Around the same time, Mike Ilich opened a corner store selling pizzas in Detroit and called it Little Caesar’s.

The rest is fast-food history, as Domino’s has become a huge international presence through its franchised stores as well as No. 2 in US pizza-restaurant sales, with an 11.1 percent share compared with leader Pizza Hut’s 16.7 percent. Little Caesar’s still outranks rising Papa John’s for the No. 3 spot, with 8.8 percent of sales to 7.3 percent. Regional chains and independents sell the remaining 56 percent of American pizza pies.Continue reading...

tech innovation

From Star Trek to Silicon Valley, Nestle Presses for Nutritional Edge

Posted by Dale Buss on June 27, 2014 03:15 PM

Nestle is pressing the envelope of nutrition and health with new research efforts on at least two continents that could transform the company from a provider of commoditized, mainstream CPG foods and beverages to a cutting-edge purveyor of medicalized nutrition delivered through entirely new forms of products and services.

Broadly, those are the aims both of new programs at Nestle’s Institute of Health Sciences in Switzerland that promise personalized nutrition with a Star Trek sheen as well as advances being sought by its Silicon Valley outpost, which has been open about a year now.

Nestle is one of the major CPG players that has established a presence in Silicon Valley and is skewing its efforts there toward better-for-you products and services. “It’s helping us chase the next big thing as it relates to solving specific pain points in our business and to get an edge in areas of strategic importance,” Mark Brodeur, global head of digital marketing innovation for Nestle, told brandchannel.Continue reading...

tech innovation

The Silicon Valley Gold Rush: Marketers Putting the R&D in Branding

Posted by Dale Buss on June 19, 2014 03:11 PM

Kraft is the latest non-tech brand to aspire to greater digital currency by tapping into Silicon Valley. The CPG marketer has been meeting with Twitter, Google, Facebook and other tech leaders in Silicon Valley to figure out how to inject a more digitally-savvy, tech startup vibe into Kraft’s own operations.

Rival CPG companies along with automotive, retail and fast-food restaurant brands are not only visiting, but moving into the neighborhood and establishing their own outposts in Silicon Valley. They include Nestle, McDonald’s , Target, Walmart (which this week made its 13th acquisition, the Stylr mobile app), Ford, Honda, and Nissan.

“We want a presence in the heart of the tech community enabling us to attract world-class talent,” a spokesperson for McDonald’s told TechCrunch. “Being in this epicenter will also help us establish key relationships in the digital space.”

It’s not that any of these CPG, QSR, retail or automotive brands are going to out-smartphone Apple or out-algorithm Google; they’re not setting up physically in Silicon Valley to do business at the cutting edge of high technology. But they do believe they can connect with smart startups, acquire the talent to help them with the digital demands and opportunities in their vertical, and in general benefit from the pace and expectations of innovation in that area.Continue reading...

branding together

Brand Disruptors: Amazon Changes the Game, Turns Twitter Into a Shopping Mall

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 5, 2014 05:41 PM

Tweeting just got sweeter—or shopping just got Tweeter—for Amazon customers thanks to a new social integration that lets users add items to their shopping cart by responding to links on Twitter with the hashtag #AmazonCart (in the U.S) or #AmazonBasket (in the U.K.), a move that makes social shopping easier and—dare we say—fun.

“Add it now, buy it later” is the slogan, and it seems to be as simple to use as that tagline. Once an Amazon account is linked to a Twitter account, responding to a link with the requisite hashtag puts the item in your cart along with a reply tweet from @MyAmazon.

While hashtags make the process simple, it’s simultaneously a public broadcast of what one is buying—as well as user-generated marketing for Amazon and the latest step in making shopping more social and seamless.Continue reading...

retail watch

Walmart's Latest Digital Innovation: Savings Catcher

Posted by Dale Buss on May 2, 2014 04:24 PM

Walmart under new CEO Doug McMillion has much to accomplish if it wants to reclaim the mojo that made it the most formidable retailer in the world for the past few decades. And McMillion plans to leverage digital technology to achieve huge parts of that overall strategic objective, especially rebuilding same-store sales growth in the United States.

Already, one of McMillion's closest-watched initiatives is an online tool called Savings Catcher, which allows shoppers to compare its prices on 80,000 food and household products to those of its competitors. The initiative, now being tested in seven markets, could help the giant chain regain traction in a digital-retailing realm that, overall, has undermined Walmart, Target, and other traditional brick-and-mortar chains.

Walmart also plans under McMillion to attack more aggressively its problem with out-of-stock merchandise in its stores. The company long has noted this as a weakness, and its chief merchandising officer recently said that Walmart loses $3 billion a year in sales because of it, according to TheCityWire.com.

The chain will lead with digital technology on a wide scale in attacking these challenges, experts say, putting to use the vast new roster of digital talent that Walmart has hired over the last 18 months through its @WalmartLabs R&D arm.Continue reading...

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