corporate citizenship

Target, Neiman Marcus Invest in Payments Tech as Retailers, Banks Point Fingers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 5, 2014 12:57 PM

The hits just keep coming for Target. The retailer's massive security breach over the Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping holidays affected some 110 million shoppers, and it was just revealed that the breach actually took place over a longer amount of time—3 days longer—than the company originally thought

Target CFO John Mulligan revealed this information yesterday in hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee that are exploring options to better safe-guard consumers' personal information.

The malicious software stole credit and debit card data from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15 and was subsequently found on 25 additional checkout systems that continued to collect shoppers' information for three days after Target's initial scrub of its POS system. 

The PR nightmare wasn't reserved for Target, though, as luxury retailer Neiman Marcus disclosed in early January that over 1 million customers had their payment data breached, and that the hack had been in effect since as early as July in some stores, creating more hostility towards the brand for seemingly withholding such information from consumers for months.

"The public notification is always vague," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein. "You really don't know, and then you find out kind of brutally in other ways" like the media.Continue reading...

campaigns

Justin Timberlake Sounds Out Surprises for MasterCard in New Grammys Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on January 24, 2014 03:39 PM

Justin Timberlake has been around the endorsement block a few times, but MasterCard believes the singer-cum-actor can be an effective face for the new "Priceless Surprises" multichannel advertising campaign that the brand is launching Sunday during the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.

New ads will feature Timberlake himself involved in what MasterCard called an "unscripted surprise," while a social media and checkout-connected campaign will shower card customers with surprises right on up to a trip to see Timberlake perform anywhere on his world tour.

"He's very creative; he understands the pulse of his fans so well," Raja Rajamannar, CMO of MasterCard Worldwide, told brandchannel. "He brings insights about his fans with him. And when we created this concept, it was a delightful surprise in how it evolved with him."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Boeing, Coca-Cola, Ford and more

Posted by Dale Buss on December 13, 2013 09:19 AM

In the News

Boeing sees collapse of its renewed talks with machinists for 777X work.

Coca-Cola shakes up Americas management.

Ford plans to add 5,000 US jobs in 2014, hatches three new plants globally, and announces driverless-car initiative.

Bolthouse Farms leverages innovative Instagram tech.

DaVinci Wines debuts Facebook promo.

DirecTV explores online-video service and counts on addressable ads for future growth.

Google mulls designing its own server chips in threat to Intel.

Hilton explores creating new hotel brand aimed at affluent Millennials.

Hyundai plans to tout Genesis, Elantra in Super Bowl.Continue reading...

survey says

Amazon is Tops in Consumer Experience, While Facebook Hits a New Low

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 6, 2013 06:03 PM

Amazon remains on top of ForeSee's Experience Index, which forms a comprehensive picture of customer experience across the 100 best global brands across seven industries, as ranked by Interbrand.  in four key consumer categories, Satisfaction, Retention, Upsell and Recommend, 

Amazon, which ranked highest in Satisfaction, Retention, Upsell and Recommend, leads its biggest competitor, Walmart, by 15 points. 

Predictive of business success, the report features data for American Express, Apple, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Cisco, Facebook, Gillette, Honda, Google, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Oracle and more. 

Top findings include:Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Google Allows Consumers to Ease Into Mobile Payments with New Google Wallet Debit Card

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 21, 2013 11:28 AM

Google Wallet was ostensibly created so that consumers didn’t have to carry around their loyalty cards, credit cards, gift cards, and cash in their actual wallets.

But in a move that perhaps indicates that consumers aren't quite comfortable enough yet with mobile payments, Google has introduced the Google Wallet debit card. The card allows users to pay for goods at shops that accept MasterCard and withdraw cash from an ATM—all with funds from their Google Wallet account. 

The goal, AllThingsD notes, is to “mainly appeal to a subset of Google Wallet users who have had money transferred to them from another Google Wallet user and don’t want to wait a couple of days for the money to appear in their bank account.” For instance, users of Square Cash, the money-transferring spinoff of its mobile-payments parent, have to wait two or three days before funds appear in their account. There is also no monthly or annual fees associated with the Google card.Continue reading...

big data

IBM Dives Deep Into Tweets to Identify Core Consumer Needs and Wants

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 12, 2013 07:28 PM

Using technology to better understand consumers' wants and needs has hit a new stride as brands compete to target promotions and deliver personalized customer service.

While most major retailers have used predictive analytics for years, new technologies have augmented the statistical game to nuances heretofore unknown. For instance, IBM has begun testing technology that essentially assigns core psychological traits by analyzing a consumer's tweets.

“We need to go below behavioral analysis like Amazon does,” said Michelle Zhou, lead of the User Systems and Experience Research Group at IBM’s Almaden Research Center where the software was created, according to Mashable. “We want to use social media to derive information about an individual—what is the overall affect of this person? How resilient is this person emotionally? People with different personalities want something different.”

The software builds a personality profile based on the most recent hundred or thousand Twitter updates, scoring them against the "big five" traits used in psychology: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. It also scores on “values” (hedonism and conservatism) and “needs” (curiosity and social harmony).Continue reading...

retail

J.Crew Crosses the Pond in Search of Brits with Fat Wallets

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 8, 2013 05:37 PM

J.Crew has crossed the pond to bring its own brand of preppy duds to London's Regent Street, opening its first flagship outside North America today. The 17,000-square-foot store houses separate men's and women's shops, as well as Crewcuts, the retailer's children's boutique. The London expansion will also include two other retail locations, one women's and one men's store. 

Combatting an increasingly "promotional" retail environment in the US, the retailer hopes that greater brand awareness through physical locations in the UK will provide a needed boost. J.Crew has also opened 3 new retail locations in Canada recently, as well. 

"London was an easy decision,” said chairman and CEO Mickey Drexler. “It is a place where people understand and respect the integrity of great style and design."

Indeed, finding a place among London's High Street stores may be a better fit for the increasingly upscale J.Crew brand, whose prices are in stark contrast to its fellow shopping mall tenants in the US, such as growing fast fashion brands like H&M. But with some product prices in the UK bumped up almost 40 percent, the retailer runs the risk of creating sticker-shock in Europe. "I've heard rumblings about it," Creative Director Jenna Lyons said, regarding additional taxes and duties associated with having an international location, "and we're doing everything we possibly can to keep the quality of the product as good as it can be and maintain the tightest possible price."Continue reading...

retail

Afraid of Scrooge This Christmas, Brands Have Pivoted to Early Promotions

Posted by Dale Buss on November 4, 2013 03:49 PM

Halloween is barely a distant memory in retailing terms, but what really frightens store chains this week is the prospect that the quickly approaching holiday season will be a scary period for them.

Economic snapshots and projections aren't all that encouraging, and neither has been the sluggishness that retail brands have seen in their own stores so far this fall. So brands including Walmart, J. Crew, MasterCard and luxury auto brands already have joined Best Buy in getting what they hope will be an early jump on holiday spending.

Walmart, for example, is pulling forward seven big deals on items including TVs and tablets that were originally reserved for Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, the Associated Press reported.Continue reading...

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