brand news

Brand News: McDonald's, Uber, Walgreen and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 20, 2014 09:31 AM

TOP STORIES

McDonald's in Ferguson, Mo., becomes headquarters of protest coverage as brand names first US VP of digital, rolls out bagged McCafe coffee with Kraft across US, and sets to offer mandarin oranges.

Uber hires former Obama campaign chief as lobbyist and tests delivery service in D.C.

Staples accelerates turnaround actions as sales continue to fall.

Walgreen shakes up executive ranks after projection was off by $1 billion.

Petsmart explores possible sale.

MORE BRAND NEWS

AirAsia takes advantage while Malaysia Airlines wallows in tragedies.

Apple soars to stock record amid optimism about upcoming products.

Audi airs Emmys promo that's heavy on celebrity cameos (at top).

Boeing may boost production of its bestselling 737.

Brita recalls thousands of child water bottles.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: AT&T, GE, Colgate and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 14, 2014 09:32 AM

TOP STORIES

AT&T slashes prices on iPads, expands ultrafast GigaPower broadband to Dallas.

Cisco plans to cut 6,000 jobs.

GE talks with Electrolux and Quirky about selling home-appliance unit.

Colgate's use of triclosan in Total sparks debate.

T-Mobile CFO calls Iliad offer "inadequate."

MORE BRAND NEWS

Applebee's teases new burgers with digital campaign.

Burger King drops "Satisfries."

Buzzfeed explains new business model.

Comcast experiments with marathoning TV shows.

Discovery sees debunking Shark Week become a cottage industry.Continue reading...

sustainability

Sustainability is Becoming a Key Part of Decision Making for Brands, Consumers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 25, 2014 05:33 PM

As consumer demand for greater transparency by brands increases, companies are stepping up their commitment to sustainability. 

Procter & Gamble is partnering with the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation to help small farmers improve their palm oil and palm kernel oil production as part of its zero deforestation goals set in April after the consumer packaged-goods company was targeted by Greenpeace.

“We already work with larger suppliers to trace the origin of our supply chain, but small farmers—in places like Malaysia and Indonesia—account for 35 to 45 percent of palm oil production,” said Len Sauers, VP P&G Sustainability. 

But brands aren't the only ones having to make decisions with sustainability in mind. New tools and online tracking technologies aim to help better understand consumer behavior with respect to sustainability such as supercookies, browser fingerprinting, location-based identifiers and behavioral tracking.Continue reading...

retail

Earth to Ralph Lauren: American Indian Iconography is a Hotbed for Scandal

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 15, 2014 06:33 PM

The Redskins are of course the most prominent offenders in the ongoing PC battle over American Indian slang, as recent months have seen the NFL team under increasing pressure to drop its name and logo. It's a debate that culminated with the US Patent and Trademark Office's recent decision to cancel the team's trademark.

But tailing the football team is a wagon train of scandals involving celebrities and brands criticized for recently using Native American headdresses as fashion accessories. These cases make Ralph Lauren's ongoing obsession with using Native American headdress iconography all the more confusing. Is the brand just begging to be added to the criticism?

Those who have found themselves apologizing for the misuse of Native headdresses include music icons Pharrel and Gwen Stefani. Chanel "deeply apologized" after its headdress scandal and Victoria's Secret "sincerely apologized" after a similar event. Even lesser-knowns have come under fire, such as the daughter of Oklahoma's governor.Continue reading...

retail

The Sun Will Rise Again Over JCPenney as Retailer Reports Promising Numbers

Posted by Dale Buss on February 26, 2014 06:42 PM

Could it be that JCPenney finally has bottomed out after nearly a year of reversing course and going back to the future? The brand said it expects same-store sales to increase about 3 to 5 percent during the current quarter as it also today posted a narrower-than-expected loss for the fiscal fourth quarter.

Early readings on the recovering retailer's performance during the fourth quarter were colored with worry that CEO Myron Ullman wasn't reaping enough benefits, quickly enough, from his deconstruction of the radical changes that had been made to the traditional middle-market brand by predecessor Ron Johnson in 2012.

But today Ullman was able to say—with real numbers to back him up—that JCPenney might just have turned the corner. One number alone might have been enough to cheer investors and JCPenney employees alike: The chain actually reported a profit for the fourth quarter, of $35 million, after year-earlier losses of $552 million, and after experiencing two years in which CEOs were slashing jobs and expectations as the brand at times seemed to be in free fall.Continue reading...

big data

IBM Transforms Data into Consumer-Facing Tools for Retailers

Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 16, 2014 04:45 PM

One of the hot topics at the National Retail Federation's "BIG Show" this week was data security, made even more timely by the recent security breach disclosures by Target and Neiman Marcus. The trade show's other headliner also had to do with data, but how to spin it forward in a way that promotes innovation and the ultimate customer experience for retail brands. 

"A New Era of Value," the topic of IBM CEO Ginni Rometty's keynote speech, really revolved around Big Data, something Big Blue knows quite a bit about. Rometty shared some mind-boggling data of her own—80 percent of the world's data has been created in just the last two years. Of even more significance than the quantity is the fact that this information could be extraordinarily powerful in three ways:

  1. Descriptive analytics, offering a picture of a company's current status, such as product portfolios, market segments, or customers
  2. Predictive analytics, which model possible outcomes of initiatives and market trends
  3. Prescriptive analytics, sophisticated models that recommend next steps based on analyses across complex criteria and data.Continue reading...

retail

JCPenney Backpedals Some More with Plan to Close Stores to Spur Growth

Posted by Dale Buss on January 16, 2014 01:47 PM

JCPenney looks like it'll have to take a few more steps back before it finally ever strides forward again. The brand said it will close 33 underperforming stores and lay off 2,000 employees as the troubled retailer continues a sweeping turnaround effort.

The company said the closings will save about $65 million a year beginning this year; the poorly performing outlets are expected to be closed by May. It'll take a total pre-tax hit of $43 million from the moves.

But the bigger problem is that the cutbacks may not be all that salutary. CEO Myron Ullman has been tackling all sorts of problems since taking over again from ousted CEO Ron Johnson last summer, basically undoing everything Johnson did—but he barely has gotten JCPenney's sales leakage and brand-equity erosion to level out, much less turn it around.Continue reading...

retail

Macy's Tidies Up After Holidays, But No One's Sure What JCPenney is Up To

Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2014 01:47 PM

Some major retailers are still singing the holiday blues off of a somewhat-disappointing holiday shopping season. Macy's plans to lay off 2,500 workers and close a scattering of stores, while JCPenney has hinted to investors and other constituencies that it may not have bounced back during the season as much as had been hoped.

Macy's said its cutbacks are part of a new $100 million cost-shaving plan. But in the big picture, Macy's moves don't seem to reflect bleakness. They involve closing five stores but also opening five new stores, plus three Bloomingdale's stores. And Macy's said its net payrolls would stay about the same, at about 175,000 employees, because it will be hiring more people in areas such as online operations.

Also, Macy's moves come after a decent 3.6 percent jump in comp-store sales for the November-December holiday shopping season compared with a year earlier. Investors on Wednesday and Thursday bid up Macy's shares.Continue reading...

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