brand challenges

Musk's Other Rocket, SpaceX, Makes 1st Commercial-Satellite Launch Today

Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2013 11:22 AM

Elon Musk is going on a rocket ride this evening, and it has nothing to do with the price of Tesla's stock. The serial entrepreneur will be watching as his other high-profile startup, SpaceX, is scheduled to make a critical commercial-satellite launch at 5:41 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral.

It'll mark entry by SpaceX into the commercial-satellite market with its Falcon 9 rocket after a series of test flights and launches for NASA and the Canadian Space Agency. It will be the second of three flights the upgraded Falcon 9 must make before it can qualify for US military-launch business. The launch also will mark a crucial update on the progress of a company that plans to put rank-and-file passengers into space sometime in 2014.

And, of course, the launch will mark another testament to the engineering and entrepreneurial skills of the much-lauded Musk. He's been busy lately with Tesla, the electric-vehicle startup that has rocketed to the national and investor forefront over the last several months.Continue reading...

design watch

Electrolux Innovates with Annual Design Lab Competition

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 29, 2013 06:12 PM

Now in its 12th year, the Electrolux Design Lab charges design-oriented entrants to create sustainable solutions for the home and beyond. 

This year's competition, which opens March 1, focuses on creating healthy homes and offers a six-month paid internship and a 5,000 euro prize for winning design.

“Homes become more important as the challenges in the urban environment grow and as a result we want our homes to be the center of relaxation and peace of mind,” said Stefano Marzano, Chief Design Officer, Electrolux. “Design Lab is one way for Electrolux to build an innovation culture. In 2014 we are looking forward to receiving creative ideas on the theme Creating Healthy Homes, to help shape the future of people’s everyday lives into a positive direction and present propositions that envision healthy and sustainable lifestyles.”Continue reading...

green shoots

Coca-Cola, Ford Weave PlantBottles Into Car Seats for Fusion Energi Concept

Posted by Dale Buss on November 15, 2013 02:59 PM

Coca-Cola and Ford have come up with a unique approach to advance recyclable packaging: using Coke's PlantBottle technology to make car seat cushions, seat backs, head restraints, door-panel inserts and headliners in a new concept vehicle for the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.

Scheduled to be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month, the car will demonstrate the first use of PlantBottle technology, which utilizes plant-based materials, beyond consumer packaging and is the first step in what the two brands say is a joint commitment to develop innovative new products from renewable content.

"It's important to realize that PET resin is part of the broader polyester family, so this is clearly the most significant partnership we have so far as we look at the broader impact of the potential for the PlantBottle," Scott Vitters, GM of the PlantBottle packaging platform for Coke, told brandchannel.Continue reading...

Toyota Holds Tight to Global Sales Title, But Chief Promises a Quality Comeback Too

Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2013 10:49 AM

As recently as five years ago, Toyota was the unchallenged 800-pound gorilla of the global automotive business. Now after a few years that disproved its invincibility, the company finally looks menacing again to its competitors.

The company posted a 70 percent increase in third-quarter profit and once again is the world's largest car maker by number of vehicles sold, pushing 10 million units a year—a level no company yet has reached. It arguably finally has put behind it the series of crises that enveloped the company beginning in 2008, including the Great Recession, pricey yen, a recall and safety scandal, and some boring products.

And now, while he won't quite shout it from the top of a Tokyo skyscraper, President Akio Toyoda—grandson of the founder—has made it clear that Toyota "is finally ready to go on the offensive again," as Automotive News put it. At this point, the New York Times pointed out, Toyota clearly is ahead of Japan-based rivals Nissan and Honda in its recovery and growth.Continue reading...

retail

L'Oréal Paris Heads Underground in NYC with Intelligent Vending Machine

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 31, 2013 11:22 AM

L'Oréal Paris has found an unlikely partner in the pursuit of beauty—the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The pair have teamed up to host L'Oréal Paris' Intelligent Color Experience vending machines inside a New York City subway station that allows any straphanger to stock up on beauty items on-the-go.  

Running in the 42nd Street-Bryant Park station between Nov. 4th and Dec. 30th, the intelligent vending machines actually scan a user's outfit to detect colors and style, in turn suggesting beauty products that "match or clash." Users can purchase items with a credit card, or if they choose not to buy on the spot, can email the look to themselves. 

As more brands explore interactive shopping experiences through experiential marketing, L’Oréal’s latest offers a “real-life experience through technology,” Marc Speichert, CMO L’Oréal Americas, told the New York Times. “What’s amazing with the technology is that we’ll have the ability to measure the level of engagement," he said, based on “the number of people who pass by, the number who interact with each screen, the number who leave their information.”Continue reading...

tech style

Google Glass Boat Rumors Float as Tech Rivals Eye Space

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 28, 2013 02:13 PM

Google Glass is coming to America. It’s coming on a boat—a very slow boat that is stuck in San Francisco Bay, and not going anywhere anytime soon. According to local reports, Google has been working on a mystery barge in San Francisco Bay, constructing a Google Glass retail experience that the company will eventually motor to a nearby pier and open to interested consumers. 

The Bay Area's real estate market may be ridiculously expensive, but Google isn't shopping for a bargain. The brand has poured millions into the project but it's now stalled, CBS reports, because Google didn't have the proper permits. “The law is crystal clear in this case,” Larry Goldzband, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission executive director, told the local San Francisco CBS affiliate. “The Bay is not to be used for something that can be built on land.”

Across the country, meanwhile, a similar floating cargo-like construction is reportedly being built near Portland, Maine.Continue reading...

sustainability

Tesco Enlists Fellow Brits to Help Chain Cut Down on Food Waste

Posted by Dale Buss on October 23, 2013 10:47 AM

"Food waste" is being recognized increasingly around the globe as a key issue that impinges directly on sustainability and hunger, and more companies are moving to harvest the low-hanging fruit available in an attack on the problem.

Tesco is the latest. The UK's dominant grocery chain just disclosed the enormity of the food wasted in its own operations and its initial steps aimed at reducing the problem, which should have an actual effect—and endear Brits who are rightly concerned about all the food they squander.

The chain's research revealed that 40 percent of apples are wasted, with just over a quarter of that waste occurring in the home. The same fate awaits a quarter of grapes, with the majority occurring in the home, and one-fifth of all bananas.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Pressed to Improve Results, P&G Turns to Its 'New-Age Plastic'

Posted by Dale Buss on October 21, 2013 03:39 PM

Procter & Gamble long has relied on innovation to shake things up with new products and features that gain sales and market share and even create new brands, like Pampers disposable diapers, Swiffer, and Crest White Strips. During his first tenure as CEO, many of those innovations came from A.G. Lafley.

Now, in his second turn at the top, Lafley reportedly is pushing acceleration of a "new-age plastic" developed internally by P&G with a "high-velocity injection molding" system that could save the CPG giant alone $1 billion in cost savings—and result in the establishment of a colossal B2B business selling the revolutionary material to non-competitive customers.

"P&G's patent applications say its manufacturing system can make packages with material as much as 75 percent thinner than existing ones," Advertising Age said about the new material. "The technology also makes it easier to use recycled resins or plant-based alternatives to petrochemicals and will help P&G make packages more recyclable because it allows caps and closures to be made from the same material as the rest of the package."Continue reading...

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