executive decision

Mind the Gap: Big Changes Up Top as CMO Farbman Steps Aside

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 5, 2014 10:53 AM

Gap’s fall “Dress Normal” campaign as sales of the brand fell for the quarter in which it was intended to lift sales. Now the executive who oversaw the effort is stepping aside.

Global CMO Seth Farbman is stepping down in January, when new Gap brand global president Jeff Kirwan assumes office, Ad Age reports.

Farbman is leaving as the company is going through a major executive shift at the top: Gap Inc. CEO Glenn Murphy will be also be exiting, to be replaced by Art Peck, currently president of growth, innovation and digital operations.

He isn’t the only marketing exec to exit in recent months, either.  Marcela Aguilar, Gap's senior global director-marketing communications, left in September to take over the role of director of global marketing communications at Apple.Continue reading...

executive decision

Coca-Cola Names New CMO As It Looks to Reinvigorate Brands and Sales

Posted by Dale Buss on October 23, 2014 04:34 PM

Coca-Cola chief marketing officer Joe Tripodi was at least partially responsible for one of the few bright spots in Coca-Cola's recent marketing performance: The "Share a Coke" campaign, which gave Coke sales an upward blip of hope amid a secular decline that has been decades in the making.

But that wasn't enough to save his job, as CEO Muhtar Kent keeps casting about for ways to reinvigorate the company's flagging sales of its signature beverages and products, unsatisfactory growth in its healthful beverages and renewed mojo into its iconic brand, according to the Financial Times. Now holding the third spot on Interbrand's Best Global Brands, Coca-Cola was #1 only two years ago.

Tripodi, who has held the top marketing spot since 2007, is retiring in February 2015 to make way for Marcos de Quinto, a Coca-Cola veteran who takes over the CMO role on January 1 and who currently runs the company's Iberia business unit and is vice president of its Europe Group.

Under Tripodi's supervision, Coke launched "Open Happiness," one of its most successful global brand campaigns a few years ago. Now in his late 50s, he "brought stability to Coke after the company had cycled through several CMOs in the previous decade," the Wall Street Journal said. Continue reading...

tech innovation

Microsoft Looks to the Cloud for Innovation and Growth

Posted by Dale Buss on October 21, 2014 11:14 AM

In his first television interview since becoming Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella told CNBC about his current focus: Microsoft's cloud ambitions. He also talked about why he won't spin off Microsoft's consumer properties and how he's changing the model of the company's flagship Windows brand and business.

Nadella's press remarks highlighted how the company has the scale, resources, and know-how to dominate the booming $100 billion market. But in contrast to its competitors, Microsoft's cloud-serving operations are still only a sliver of its overall business—about $4.5 billion of its annual $70-billion take—so there's tremendous upside and opportunity in the space.

Nadella's overarching goal is to pivot Microsoft more toward the cloud and mobile services, where it faces competition from Google and Apple, CNBC notes. He highlighted new features of Azure, which is used by 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies, which may even be deployed in the fight against Ebola, as Mashable reports.

He also promised to overhaul iconic Microsoft software brands such as Office along with Windows 10, which he described to USA Today as not just another iteration of the venerable operating system "but the start of a complete generation of windows that's as much a service as it is an OS that runs across many devices." Continue reading...

bc q&a

Stirring the Cup: 5 Questions with Chobani CMO Peter McGuinness

Posted by Rami Levi on October 20, 2014 12:37 PM

Chobani has been on a tear lately, launching the #StopSadBreakfast campaign in the US and partnering with Lyft among other ways to differentiate the brand in the crowded Greek yogurt space.

Looking to save sad breakfast sufferers from manufactured muffins, soggy cereal, bland oatmeal and burnt toast, Chobani invited commuters in New York's Grand Central station to stop by for some free Chobani Oats, a new whole grain steel-cut oats and ripe fruit product which is unique to the category. Chobani also served cups of its yogurt-oats blend to breakfast sufferers on-the-go near Manhattan's Bryant Park.

The supporting content and social marketing pokes fun at sub-standard breakfasts while "faux PSAs" running on The Onion and other sites reinforce the theme.

The brand also partnered with the Lyft car service by creating a "Chobani Mode" on its app that enabled special hand-deliveries of cases of Chobani's limited-edition Pumpkin Spice yogurt, its fastest-selling flavor ever.

With more innovation on the horizon, Peter McGuinness, chief marketing and brand officer for Chobani, spoke with brandchannel's unabashed brand fan Rami Levi (high-fiving his Lyft delivery above) about how he plans to sustain the buzz.Continue reading...

brand roadmaps

Lafley Updates Progress on Brand Rationalization to P&G Shareholders

Posted by Dale Buss on October 16, 2014 01:18 PM

At Procter & Gamble's annual shareholder meeting this week in Cincinnati, CEO A.J. Lafley touted the progress he has made during his second tenure as chief, noting that the company "met our basic business and financial objectives for fiscal 2014," including 3 percent growth in "organic" sales, in line with the market, and 5-percent growth in "core" earnings per share.

But there remained a lot to keep Lafley on the defensive, from the progress of his crucial strategic plan to spin off or shutter low-performing P&G brands, to stock-market gyrations, to overall feelings of economic unease in America and abroad that were illustrated—once again—by the September report of falling US retail sales.

"There is no doubt that we are in a stretch of volatile and uncertain political and economic times ... [and] a period of economic slowdown around the world," Lafley acknowledged in answering shareholders' questions, but "we're doing our best to manage through it and to continue to deliver the brands and products consumers want and need around the world."Continue reading...


JCPenney Taps Home Depot Exec to Fix Its Brand

Posted by Dale Buss on October 13, 2014 04:05 PM

Consider it a significant victory that JCPenney will have another CEO. Not long ago, its demise seemed to be a distinct possibility.

And at least incoming CEO Marvin Ellison will inherit a job that may have some upside when he becomes chief of the still-troubled retailer in August. But already there are differing opinions about whether he's the type of leader that Penney needs at this stage in its existence—just a couple of years after former CEO Ron Johnson nearly ruined it, and only very recently having stabilized under the leadership of CEO Myron Ullman.

Ellison, 49 years old, has been executive vice president of Home Depot's 2,000 US stores since August 2008. Before that he was president of the company's Northern Division and senior vice president of global logistics. He also was with Target for 15 years before that.

"He has proven his ability to produce results by improving operations, building customer loyalty, and motivating his teams," current JCPenney CEO Ullman, who preceded Johnson and then came back to the helm in 2013 to try to clean up the mess he left, said in a statement. "His experience and leadership are exactly what we need to accelerate the progress we have made over the last 18 months."Continue reading...


Marchionne Begins Last Lap at Fiat Chrysler with NYSE Listing

Posted by Dale Buss on October 10, 2014 07:28 PM

Monday should be a red letter day for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and CEO Sergio Marchionne, because the company will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker FCA—a milestone in the resurrection of Chrysler and survival of Fiat that seemed unlikely five years ago, when Fiat and the US government bailed out the American automaking icon. It'll have its tax home in London and headquarters in Amsterdam with the US operations still domiciled in Michigan.

And it will be a big day when Marchionne joins Fiat Chairman John Elkann, a member of the founding family, to mark the stock's debut. But no doubt the peripatetic Marchionne also will be thinking about the rest of his to do list for the automaker before he reaches his self-proclaimed retirement age in 2018. It's a long and ambitious agenda that only begins with gaining more access to capital, which the NYSE listing will do, and could end with yet another merger that might make Fiat Chrysler part of one of the world's largest automakers.

"The industry needs it," Marchionne recently told Bloomberg about such a mega-merger. He once predicted only a half-dozen automakers globally would survive, ultimately. Right now, Fiat Chrysler is No. 7. "This is still a very fragmented industry for the level of capital you have to invest."Continue reading...


GM CEO Barra Wears Mantle of Leadership In More Places, More Ways

Posted by Dale Buss on October 9, 2014 03:01 PM

The world—business people, consumers, other important constituencies, even many of her own employees—finally is getting to know Mary Barra. Having gotten over the hump of the safety recall disaster, the CEO of General Motors is revealing more about her strategy, her expectations, her style and her passions.

In one interview and appearance after another, a Barra is emerging who seems decisive, visionary, and confident in her company and the GM brand, yet also human and not afraid to acknowledge her gender now and then. Such as being a star attraction at the Fortune magazine Most Powerful Women Summit this week.

At that function, her message emphasized the role of CEO in changing a company, a role in which she's gained immediate experience because of how she's had to take apart much of GM in the wake of the safety fiasco, both to vet the extent of the problem and to make sure it can never happen again.Continue reading...

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