automotive

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...

automotive

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...

retail

Gap Inc. CEO Glenn Murphy to Hand Reins to Global Head of Digital

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 8, 2014 09:36 PM

In a surprise announcement, Gap Inc. revealed that its CEO, Canadian Glenn Murphy, would be stepping down on Feb. 1 following a seven-year run at the top.

His replacement? Art Peck, the company's global head of growth, innovation and digital since 2012, who joined the company seven years earlier from Boston Consulting Group.

The news came as Gap Inc. reported flat sales for September: Gap Global -3%; Banana Republic Global +2%; Old Navy Global +1%. The company's stock fell 8.1% in after-hours trading on the news.

As the Wall Street Journal noted, Murphy had "reversed a long-running sales slump but more recently has struggled to reinvigorate the company’s namesake brand." He joined Gap Inc. in 2007 from Canadian pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart, where he was CEO.Continue reading...

bc q&a

Luxe, American Style: 5 Questions with Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus

Posted by Dale Buss on September 30, 2014 04:05 PM

The new heads of Cadillac are in the midst of a grand plan to elevate the General Motors luxury marque to the same neighborhood as the German segment leaders and Lexus.

Cadillac global CMO Uwe Ellinghaus and his new boss, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen, must carve out a more robust and distinctive identity for Cadillac as a serious competitor at the top of the global luxury automotive pyramid.

With his prior experience at BMW, Ellinghaus was in the midst of a desperately-needed brand overhaul at Cadillac—redefining it as a distinctly American luxury brand (not a German wannabe) and preparing a new product nomenclature for the brand—when de Nysschen arrived in August.

Now he has a key partner to execute on the brand's global goals: holding firm on pricing, boosting the customer experience at dealerships, and launching a new flagship Cadillac CT6 sedan and ad campaign—not to mention shaking up the status quo by moving Cadillac headquarters from Detroit to New York. 

In a further challenge, Cadillac has seen U.S. sales dip (with dealers already warned that things will get worse before they get better) in a year that sibling Buick has been crushing, despite reaching new heights in China. On the precipice of a crucial year, Ellinghaus discussed the Cadillac brand strategy with Dale Buss of brandchannel.Continue reading...

Luxe, American Style: 5 Questions with Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus

Posted by Dale Buss on September 30, 2014 04:04 PM

The new heads of Cadillac are in the midst of a grand plan to elevate the General Motors luxury marque to the same neighborhood as the German segment leaders and Lexus.

Cadillac global CMO Uwe Ellinghaus and his new boss, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen, must carve out a more robust and distinctive identity for Cadillac as a serious competitor at the top of the global luxury automotive pyramid.

With his prior experience at BMW, Ellinghaus was in the midst of a desperately-needed brand overhaul at Cadillac—redefining it as a distinctly American luxury brand (not a German wannabe) and preparing a new product nomenclature for the brand—when de Nysschen arrived in August.

Now he has a key partner to execute on the brand's global goals: holding firm on pricing, boosting the customer experience at dealerships, and launching a new flagship Cadillac CT6 sedan and ad campaign—not to mention shaking up the status quo by moving Cadillac headquarters from Detroit to New York. 

In a further challenge, Cadillac has seen US sales dip (with dealers already warned that things will get worse before they get better) in a year that sibling Buick has been crushing, despite reaching new heights in China. On the precipice of a crucial year, Ellinghaus discussed the Cadillac brand strategy with Dale Buss of brandchannel.Continue reading...

bc q&a

Brand Hailo: 5 Questions with Hailo CMO Gary Bramall

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 26, 2014 03:42 PM

In an industry already disrupted by smart tech and mobile-first customers, the latest disruptor is Hailo. Calling itself “the world's favorite e-hail app” and a “constructive disruptor,” Hailo competes with Uber, Lyft and GetTaxi apps but with the distinction of letting customers flag and pay for regular taxi rides by using the Hailo app.

Using Apple’s iBeacon technology, the Hailo app recognizes when passengers in Hailo-driven vehicles and invites them to connect and pay for their ride via a simple one-click confirmation. (Out of iBeacon reach, passengers can select a driver from a list and connect and pay that way.) The company also just released a public API, enabling third-party developers access to Hailo’s network of drivers.

Founded by three London taxi drivers and three internet entrepreneurs, Hailo has $29 million in its coffers from a recent funding round and has raised about $100 million to date from investors including Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners, Wellington Partners, Atomico Ventures and Sir Richard Branson.

Since launching in the UK in November 2011, it's now available in more than 20 cities, including London, New York, TChicago, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Montreal, Toronto, Madrid, Barcelona and Osaka.

As it expands in North America, Hailo recently halved its prices in Washington and launched a guerilla marketing campaign to thank customers in New York, Chicago and Toronto called Hailo High-Five, in which street teams were dispatched to high-five hailers and hand out phones preloaded with a month's worth of free all-you-can-Hailo.

brandchannel chatted with Hailo's new global chief marketing officer Gary Bramall, who previously worked as senior global brand experience director for Microsoft, about the challenges and opportunities facing the brand. Continue reading...

bc q&a

Omnichannel Glam: Q&A with Rent the Runway Co-Founder Jenny Fleiss

Posted by Brittany Waterson on September 12, 2014 12:14 PM

A week after opening its first permanent brick-and-mortar store in its hometown of New York, Rent the Runway’s newest venture is already a huge success and it's clear that the start-up, which allows customers to “rent” designer dresses and accessories online, is at the height of its fashion game. 

Incorporating lessons learned from its previous pop-up boutiques at Henri Bendel New York and the Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas, foot traffic at its new flagship has been steady since the day it opened (20 minutes ahead of schedule to accommodate fans waiting at the door).

Located just off Fifth Avenue in Manhattan's Flatiron District, the store is the first physical embodiment of its recently refreshed logo and new navy and blush color palette. There are now plans in the works to follow up with a store near Washington, D.C., with more locations under consideration.

brandchannel chatted with Jenny Fleiss, co-founder of Rent the Runway, at RTR's Fashion Week celebration at its new Flatiron District store to discuss bringing a digital brand to life, what customers really want in an omnichannel retail experience and what's next.Continue reading...

brand faces

Staying Truett: Chick-fil-A’s Path Forward in the Wake of its Legendary Founder

Posted by Darcy Newell on September 10, 2014 06:34 PM

Monday was a sad day for fans of chicken sandwiches and the Chick-fil-A brand—the company’s founder and chairman emeritus, S. Truett Cathy, died at age 93 in his home. 

For many, Cathy was the embodiment of the Chick-Fil-A brand. Having grown the company from a small Atlanta diner in 1964 to one of the largest (1,800 locations in 40 states) and most beloved chicken restaurants in the United States, Cathy exemplified the American Dream. And despite strong business acuity, he was known for not choosing profitability over piety. From the company’s founding, restaurants have always closed on Sundays for a day of rest—missing out on opportunities for substantial revenue gains.

Of course, this religious focus has not always bided well for the man or the brand. Recent lawsuits claim the company’ discriminated against non-Christians, the LGBT community and others, and sparked debate on the role of religion—and religious commentary—in business today. Despite this, Cathy remained revered by the brand's intensely loyal fans for the experiences (and delightfully simple sandwiches) he created.Continue reading...

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