brand extensions

KISS Extends Brand with Expansion of Rock & Brews Restaurant Concept

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 13, 2013 12:45 PM

When Gene Simmons and his cohorts took the stage at New York’s Popcorn Club back in 1973 with their makeup on and their new band name, KISS, and played for just three people, nobody was crowing about how Simmons, a former school teacher, was a marketing genius in the making. 

Since then, of course, Simmons has made a ton of cash not just releasing such hits as “Rock and Roll All Nite” and “Detroit Rock City,” but licensing the KISS name and logo to countless products. So much so that CNN has called KISS “the world’s most recognizable band.” Indeed, the band has sold more than $500 million in merchandise in the last 15 years.

Kiss cofounders Simmons and Paul Stanley debuted their own restaurant in April 2012, Rock & Brews, in El Segundo, Calif. Things must be going well because Billboard reports that the duo plan to open 100 more locations in the next five years.Continue reading...

brand makeovers

Chuck E. Cheese Slims Down Mascot to Help Grow Bottom Line

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 1, 2013 03:50 PM

For decades, the eponymous mascot of Chuck E. Cheese has appeared to the general public as an extremely sizeable mouse that’s eaten a little too much of the famed restaurant’s pizza. For a time, the guy even carried a cigar around with him. But in a world that has heard a steady drumbeat against child obesity, it hasn’t exactly looked good to have a mascot who looked like he could lose a few pounds.

On Tuesday, Chuck E. Cheese execs and shareholders at the CEC Entertainment’s annual meeting in Texas met a slimmed-down version of Mr. Cheese, whose transformation began last year when his illustrated form changed shape in advertising and signage to become a lot more rock star than his past version.

With the change came the disappearance of the man who was his longtime voice, Duncan Brannan, and the introduction of Jaret Reddick as the new voice of Cheese, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Reddick, of course, is the lead singer of pop-punk band Bowling for Soup, which has a few albums Cheese execs probably wouldn’t want their mascot singing on, such as “Drunk Enough to Dance” and “A Hangover You Don’t Deserve.”

Changing the mascot may be the simplest thing CEC does this year. The 36-year-old company announced in February that its profits fell 20.7 percent to $43.6 million in fiscal year 2012. That’s a little surprising for a brand that was just named the No. 1 kid-friendly restaurant by Technomic's Consumer Restaurants Brand Metrics, based on customer surveys over the last two years.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Starbucks Former President: Why Same-Sex Marriage Support Matters

Posted by Kristen Van Nest on April 17, 2013 12:20 PM

Last year, Starbucks declared its support of same-sex marriage, which resulted in a boycott by the National Organization for Marriage. The coffee chain hasn't backed down one bit, however, as CEO Howard Schultz continues to blur the line between business and the personal lives of his millions of customers.

At a recent annual shareholders meeting, Tom Strobhar, a shareholder and founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center, an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage organization, suggested the boycott had a negative impact on first quarter sales and earnings. The ever-outspoken CEO swiftly responded, “Not every decision is an economic decision... The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity."

Schultz then told Strobhar he was more than welcome to sell his shares and take his money elsewhere. While the remarks seem brazen, Starbuck’s stance on hot-button political issues and support of equal rights for its employees have been a part of the brand’s long-term strategy to increase internal brand engagement and decrease turnover. What's more, taking a position on causes that affect its workforce has had a positive impact on its bottom line.Continue reading...

chew on this

LYFE Kitchen, Clover Compete in QSR Race for Healthy Millennials

Posted by Dale Buss on April 16, 2013 02:24 PM

Thanks to the efforts of a handful of entrepreneurs, American fast food is moving from a form of nutritional epithet to add an entirely new dimension: a fledgling business model that uses the quick-serve platform to get better-for-you fare into the mouths of more willing consumers.

At the same time, not to be outdone, traditional fast-food chains are tacking heavily into more nutritional fare after several years of more or less playing at it. Taco Bell, for instance, has just announced its strategy to offer healthier menu options, while McDonald's is veering more deeply into wraps.

LYFE Kitchen is probably the best known of the cluster of promising better-for-you startups which also includes Clover, Veggie Grill, Tender Greens and Native Foods Cafe. New York Times Magazine writer Mark Bittman chronicled some of what these brands are doing.

"After the success of companies like Whole Foods [and] Annie's and Kashi, there's now a market for a a fast-food chain that's not only healthful itself, but vegetarian-friendly, sustainable and even humane," he wrote. "And, this being fast food: cheap.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Condé Nast Extends Magazine Brands into Bar and Restaurant Scene

Posted by Dale Buss on April 12, 2013 11:53 AM

Condé Nast is used to long lead times and attention to detail with the publication of its high-end titles including Gentlemen's Quarterly, Glamour and Vogue. But in those regards, printing a magazine is nothing next to rolling out an entirely new strategy of brand extension and enhancement in businesses that have little to do with publishing.

Still, Condé Nast has been plowing ahead with its plans to add bars, clubs, restaurants and even a fashion school in various high-profile locations around the world in order to provide completely new sources of revenues, to exploit its magazine and corporate brands in profitable new ways and to produce an ever-more-valuable offset to a traditional magazine-publishing business that—while still comprising a majority of Conde Nast's revenues—isn't a growth industry anymore.

"Our business can no longer be defined strictly as publishing, but takes the form of brand management," Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and CEO of Condé Nast International, told Business of Fashion. "We want to bring the experience of the publishing brands to end users in new forms in order to strengthen the brands and their relevance. Of course, we aim to do so profitably."Continue reading...

brand extensions

Ferran Adria Expands Brand as Celeb Chef Transforms elBulli Legacy

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 4, 2013 11:38 AM

Spaniard Ferran Adria has been considered one of the world’s top chefs for decades, but it wasn’t clear what would happen with his famed gastronomic skills once his famed restaurant elBulli closed its doors in 2011. 

Now all those hungry for such information have got the scoop: Adria has founded “the nonprofit elBulli Foundation, a culinary think tank and visitor center,” which is scheduled to open in 2015, according to Bloomberg.

"We want to promote innovation using food as our channel," said Adria—who's a consultant on food innovation to PepsiCo, which calls him "the world's greatest chef" and put his face on a limited-edition Pepsi can, below—to Bloomberg.

“We have two missions," he added. "One is to keep the elBulli legacy and the knowhow and the buildings. The second is to create the creators. I hope one or two of the 30 creative people we get each year will be the next generation of leaders of the culinary revolution.”Continue reading...

big data

How Big Data Helps the Cheesecake Factory Create Happier Customers

Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2013 11:16 AM

It may not make your salad taste better, reduce your wait for a table or remove any calories from the creme brulee, but American restaurant patrons can rest assured that Big Data is on the way to make their experience of eating away from home a better one.

With alliances like IBM with the Cheesecake Factory, the providers and purveyors of overwhelming numbers are helping restaurant operators marry their traditional huge volumes of transactional data—such as sales receipts from customers and information about purchase orders to suppliers—with "unstructured" data to help them automate decisions that will improve food safety and quality, labor productivity and other aspects of their operations. The end result is supposed to be more-satisfied customers, greater revenues and fatter profit margins.

"It's about enriching the more structured data with unstructured data in order to gain business insight," Paul Chang, global leader for consumer-products strategy for IBM, told brandchannel. "If you can do that then you can automate these processes."Continue reading...

chew on this

Fast Food Chains Reboot Brands with New Images, Ads and Products

Posted by Dale Buss on February 21, 2013 02:02 PM

With American consumers still hesitant to spend on restaurant meals, the biggest QSR chains keep trying new tactics in what has become a bruising battle for shares of a stagnant U.S. market.

No. 3 Wendy's has just rolled out a new campaign that will spread its new logo and brand design to everything from product packaging to its stores to crew uniforms. No. 2 Burger King has switched ad agencies (after the plastic-faced King creeped everyone out) and is debuting a set of light-hearted new TV commercials that also emphasize new products. Last but not least, No. 1 McDonald's is attempting to reinvigorate a new-product pipeline that generated mostly disappointments last year.

Wendy's said its new logo will begin appearing on Monday in advertising, on product packaging and crew uniforms, in new restaurant signage and menu boards and in digital assets. "Wendy's brand transformation is re-energizing all of our touch points with consumers," said Emil Brolick, CEO, in a press release. "We're transforming our brand — from bold restaurant designs to innovative food that consumers want, to improved customer service."Continue reading...

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