sip on this

Coca-Cola Brings Lower-Cal Green Soda to UK, Share a Coke to US

Posted by Dale Buss on June 11, 2014 03:43 PM

Coca-Cola’s global efforts to preserve its sales—and the essential nature of its brand and products—is beginning a crucial new test in the UK as the company launches both its new reduced-sugar Coca-Cola Life beverage and introduces a new anti-obesity campaign there simultaneously.

With 36 percent fewer calories and 37 percent less sugar than real cola, Coca-Cola Life will hit UK shelves in September, having passed its marketing launch in Argentina and Chile in 2013. Its upcoming launch in the UK will mark Life’s arrival in Europe (and the first new Coke product there since the launch of Coke Zero in 2006); no plans have been announced to roll it out in the US yet.

One reason Coke presumably started with Life in South America is that the drink is sweetened partially with stevia, a natural plant-derived substance that is native to the continent. PepsiCo has pooh-poohed the possibilities that global consumers will embrace stevia in colas because of aftertaste concerns, while still experimenting with the sweetener.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

P&G's Green Effort Is Growing, But Critics, Consumers See Room for Improvement

Posted by Dale Buss on June 2, 2014 06:14 PM

Procter & Gamble has plenty on its plate these days as returned CEO A.G. Lafley fights to restore the CPG giant to some semblance of the sales-and-earnings juggernaut that he created a decade ago. But now more than ever, the brand is facing pressure to perform in an area that didn't much have to concern Lafley in his first stint with the company: sustainability

A leader by many measures, a laggard by others, P&G was dropped last year by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index from its list of 100 North American companies deemed leaders in that field after the company had been on the list for seven consecutive years. The index declined to explain the move to USA Today. P&G also is getting dinged as the second-highest producer of greenhouse gases among CPG companies, according to Bloomberg, and for not cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and energy consumption by as much as rival Kimberly-Clark, percentage-wise, though P&G noted it’s much bigger.

And yet P&G also recently joined with Walmart in the $100 million Closed Loop Fund to help US cities boost recycling programs. The company said by 2018 it will cut water content in laundry detergent by 25 percent, saving 45 million gallons of water annually. And P&G has responded to Greenpeace protests by vowing to begin policing its entire palm oil supply by next year.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Cool Branding: A Little Autonomy Can Boost a Brand's Perception

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 29, 2014 12:28 PM

A company's cool factor has long been driven by the instincts of management, but that can be a recipe for a seriously uncool brand.

But new research from the University of Colorado, Boulder and Texas A&M shows that companies can avoid the less-than-desirable label if they just project a certain amount of autonomy, whether it be in voice, product or packaging. 

"These findings can help us compare the brand successes of Apple versus Microsoft, for example," said Margaret C. Campbell, co-author and professor of marketing at UC-Boulder's Leeds School of Business. "Doing things that show you follow your own road, in spite of norms, leads others to perceive you or your brand as cool. But an extreme level of autonomy, or autonomy that violates a strongly valued norm is not perceived as cool. So companies need to work hard to get the right level."

One study had participants read about three up-and-coming bands, whose varying descriptions suggested different levels of autonomy. Participants were then allowed to download four songs from the bands to keep. "Participants were most likely to choose songs from the bands described as having moderate autonomy," phys.org reports. "Bands described as having low or extreme autonomy led to lower perceptions of coolness."Continue reading...

brand inspiration

On Eve of World Cup and AGM, McDonald's Taps Consumers for Input

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2014 02:20 PM

Coming off another disappointing quarter of sales, the "McScary" mascot launch and on the eve of its always feisty annual general meeting, McDonald's is turning up the volume on consumer engagement in order to tune in to what fans want from the world's biggest quick serve restaurant brand. 

Building on the user-generated content trend that's been tapped by Coca-Cola for its "Ahh Effect" campaign, as well as Airbnb, Canon and other brands, McDonald's UK is asking the public to weigh in on its newest burger. Mixing and matching 80 different possible ingredients, consumers can design the burger of their dreams on the MyBurger website and then vote on others' submissions. The top 12 will be judged and the winning combos will be sold for a limited time in 1,200 restaurants across the UK.

"Customization and digital engagement are becoming an integral part of how consumers interact with companies and we want to continue to innovate as a brand," Alistair Macrow, SVP and chief marketing officer of McDonald’s UK, told Marketing Magazine.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

New Booze in Old Bottles: Alcohol Goes Retro for Eternal Cool Factor

Posted by Taylor Goddu on May 20, 2014 01:23 PM

A psychological phenomenon regarded as “the mere-exposure effect” suggests that people tend to gravitate towards the familiar. Taking something old and making it new is trendy—even fashionable—in this eco-friendly world of ours. Established brands are returning to their roots, mining their archives by reintroducing iconic products with a modern twist. 

Even new booze brands are harkening back to the good old days, whether in name, design, or messaging. This strategy makes the new feel more familiar—and desirable. With a consistent focus on artisanal qualities, newer brands are standing out by deploying vintage typography, line-base logos, bright colors, and more simplistic packaging techniques.

With a business model that would be at home in Portlandia, The Mason Shaker is tipping one back. Founded in 2012 by best friends with southern roots, this Brooklyn-based brand developed a 4-piece cocktail shaker set featuring the iconic Americana jam jar. This update on a product that was patented in 1858 feels refreshingly simple for sudsy occasions.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Is Your Brand To Dye For? From Food to Clothing, Consumers are Concerned

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 15, 2014 12:39 PM

Thanks to food coloring, sometimes a pasta may look a bit too orange or an icing's blue may be scarily perfect, but consumers have never known just how much of the food dye they've been ingesting along with their culinary delights.

While headlines such as the FCC targeting caramel food coloring in cola beverages may raise alarms, the average consumer remains, for the most part, unaware of how much food coloring they're consuming every day.

Purdue University researcher Laura Stevens aims to change that with a new study published in Clinical Pediatrics that gives the lowdown on just how much food dye is in a number of big beverage and food brands.Continue reading...

sustainability

Dell Wraps It Up—Sustainably

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 9, 2014 06:02 PM

Dell is best known for manufacturing computers, but its growing commitment to sustainability across its entire supply chain makes the brand a leader in the greening of corporate responsibility.

Back in 2010, the company set the tone by shipping its servers in mushroom packaging, a complement to the brand’s innovations in bamboo packaging, which is used to cushion lightweight products and all laptops produced in China. The brand's latest packaging concept—natural wheat straw—could even help solve some of the world's greater environmental concerns like air pollution in China. 

The advances in sustainable packaging are all part of Dell's 2020 Legacy of Good Plan that focuses on the environment, communities and people. 

"Successful, innovative companies tend to aspire to a greater purpose that goes beyond the bottom line," wrote Chairman and CEO, Michael S. Dell. "At Dell, we have always believed that technology should be about enabling human potential ... By 2020, we expect to reduce the energy intensity of our product portfolio by 80 percent, use only packaging that is 100 percent compostable or recyclable, and rally our global workforce to give 5 million volunteer hours to the communities we call home."Continue reading...

chew on this

Yes We Can: U.S. Canning Industry Gets Cooking to Woo Millennials

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 8, 2014 05:36 PM

Baby Boomers are skipping a generation and handing their power position over to Millennials—at least in the food department. According to FastCasual.com, Millennials and Hispanics will be the driving force behind America's eating behaviors in the next five years while the Boomers' numbers continue to dwindle. 

NPD Group's "The Future of Eating: Who's Eating What in 2018?" report indicates that both Millennials and the members of "Generation Z" (0 to 23-year-olds) would like to have "more involvement—not necessarily more complexity—in preparing their meals, especially at breakfast." Growing interests in food preparation follow the all-natural eating trends that still dominate the market.

But the NPD research is only adding to the uphill battle that canned goods makers—and more specifically, those who make the cans—are fighting.

The Canned Food Alliance, a consortium with the American Iron and Steel Institute that includes steel makers and can manufacturers, is hoping to give canned foods a reputation boost after food-can shipments have declined 14 percent in the last decade, according to Reuters.Continue reading...

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