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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 16, 2013 03:02 PM
In little more than a year, some retail shelves may actually be able to identify consumers who are most likely to purchase certain snacks, thanks to Mondelez International. The $35 billion global foods giant, which spun off from Kraft Foods just over a year ago with a name intended to evoke "delicious world," markets such snack brands as Cadbury, Certs, Oreo, and Trident.
In 2015, the company plans to introduce "smart shelves" with sensors designed to detect the age and sex of consumers. Then, advanced analytics will associate the right type of snack product with each consumer, and a video display will target consumers with appropriate ads and promotions.
Mondelez wants to place its smart shelves as close as possible to the point of sale—right near the checkout aisles to track and possibly encourage last-minute impulse buys. Mark Dajani, the CIO of Mondelez, told the Wall Street Journal, "When people walk by, it's a missed opportunity. We must know how the consumer behaves in the store. ...Knowing that a consumer is showing interest in the product gives us the opportunity to engage with them in real-time."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 14, 2013 12:37 PM
Ford is just the latest in a long line of global companies that are taking advantage of enterprising startups and universities to help drive innovation. Ford has teamed up with the University of Michigan to create a battery lab that will focus on research and development of a cheaper, more efficient battery that will make electric cars more affordable—a major hurdle facing the car industry as it tries to turn the technology mainstream.
The $8 million lab is one that will uniquely cater to the auto industry, as most battery labs often don't relay their findings to the industry until late in the production process, essentially stifling innovation, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“There is nothing like it in the industry,” said Anand Sankaran, chief engineer for energy storage and hybrid systems for Ford, which contributed $2.1 million, adding to $5 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and about $900,000 from the Univ. of Michigan College of Engineering.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 2, 2013 04:45 PM
Goliaths aren’t generally looking for help from Davids, but the New York Daily News, HBO, Time Inc., TiVo, Meredith, and nine other major media companies turned things upside down Tuesday when they asked more than 200 startups for help.
The SwitchPitch event, which specializes in pairing startups with in-need companies, allows such companies to pitch funded innovation projects to startups looking for partners. After a bidding process, the selected startups will begin working with their supporting companies.
In this case, the Daily News will provide its startup of choice with a six-month stay in the paper's offices and a large testing ground for their concepts on NYDailyNews.com and the rest of the paper’s digital properties, which reach 17 million people monthly.Continue reading...