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...

mobile commerce

MasterCard Teams with Wired to Build Buying Power into Digital Content

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 9, 2013 07:07 PM

Readers often come across products while reading stories about them, garnering interest and and intent to buy—eventually. But now Wired magazine has teamed up with MasterCard to make the page-to-purchase process and instant shopping satisfaction. 

Starting with the November tablet edition of Wired, which becomes available Oct. 15, readers will be able to simply click on products within the magazine’s content and dump it into a single shopping cart for purchasing, according to a press release. MasterCard’s technology for the effort is appropriately named ShopThis! and MasterPass.Continue reading...

brand evolution

MasterCard Moves to Engage with Socially-Tied, Content-Heavy Newsroom

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 20, 2013 07:03 PM

MasterCard is continuing its transformation from a B2B company to a digital firm as it focuses on social interactions to better understand customers and clients, moving from consumer-facing conversation to outright engagement. 

After the successful launch of their Conversation Suite in May, “a real-time focus group” that tracks all mentions of MasterCard and the competition with results displayed on a giant 40 ft. LED screen, the financial services brand is launching The Engagement Bureau, the next iteration of the brand’s news sharing platform.

Along with a redesigned Cashless Pioneers Blog, the revamped newsroom will focus on creating a conversation place and publishing hub for the brand. The newsroom now features real-time tweets that populate at the bottom of the page where all news released by the company will be housed.Continue reading...

mobile brands

Industry Vets Launch Nationwide Mobile Carrier for US Military Community

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 13, 2013 11:48 AM

Medical care, insurance, banking: Members of the US Military have access to countless services that are uniquely designed to serve them, though, when it comes to communication, a vital service for families that are spread across the world, there has never been a specialized service provider—until now.

This Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, anyone associated with the US Military, including active service members, veterans and family members can sign on with Defense Mobile Corp., an independent company that will provide affordable 4G mobile phone service. The network will run on Sprint, with plans ranging from $20 per month to $60 per month for a family plan, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. Also, members will have access to the latest smartphones, including the iPhone 5, Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Coach, Google and more

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on July 30, 2013 09:42 AM

In the News

Apple investigating claims after worker group alleges abuses at Pegatron supplier. 

Coach selling Reed Krackoff brand back to founder. 

Google relaunches Zagat website and mobile apps, dropping paywall. 

Aeroflot to launch Ryanair-esque budget airline.

Chobani kicks off PR agency review.

Fab lays off over 100 employees in Europe as it moves away from flash sales. 

Hess to sell Energy Marketing unit to UK's Centrica for $1.03 billion.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Retailers Reject $7 Billion Swipe Fee Settlement and File Suit Against Visa, MasterCard

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 24, 2013 02:42 PM

Millions of credit cards are swiped each day in America, meaning Visa and MasterCard are raking in big bucks from retailers daily under the current fee structure. Following a dispute over the swipe fees, Visa and MasterCard were prepping to pay out a $7.2 billion settlement to retailers, but now, the brands and the National Retail Federation have denied the settlement and instead have decided to sue the credit companies. 

Macy's, Target, Office Max, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Saks, and about a dozen other big retailers have banded together and sued Visa and MasterCard, Reuters reports. Walmart and 18 other retailers didn’t get in on the suit, but will “consider pursuing separate legal actions over damages.”Continue reading...

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