Posted by Shirley Brady on March 29, 2012 03:28 PM
As Best Buy's March Madness commercial states, "It's time for comebacks and miracles."
The big box retailer used to be able to count on such major sports events — along with the Super Bowl, NFL Kick-Off, MLB Opening Day — to drive sales of new TV sets and big-screen home theaters. But with HDTV penetration at about 63% in the U.S., and an estimated one in four American homes a Blu-ray disc player, the big box consumer electronics retailer is backing away from its big box model.
Today, the company (which recently closed its UK operations) announced as part of its dismal quarterly earnings report that it is closing 50 of its 1,100 U.S. stores this year, while testing smaller tech support-centric "connected stores" in San Antonio and Minneapolis.
As part of its restructuring, it will also lay off 400 corporate and support workers in order to slash $800 million in costs and turn around its struggling business model. In addition to shifting away from being a big box retailer, it's also looking to China for growth.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 27, 2012 02:15 PM
As Mobile World Congress attendees pore over the latest and greatest coming to a smartphone in Barcelona this week, the brand hovering over every booth's shoulder is Apple.
Not to discount Google's Android and other innovators, but the house that Steve Jobs built has consistently churned out products that have proved game changers for technology, computing, mobile, design and advertising/marketing, from its initial Macintosh in 1984 to the iPhone and iPad releases of recent years.
Now the man who took over as CEO after the death of Steve Jobs in October, Tim Cook, is telling investors that the company is getting ready to rock the world once again.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2012 01:31 PM
Stagnation is a dirty word at Procter & Gamble, one of the world's most successful CPG companies. So P&G is making some strategic steps to re-accelerate growth, heighten profitability and combat what at least are perceptions that the company has slowed down as one of the industry's engines of innovation.
P&G CEO Bob McDonald told analysts last week at the annual CAGNY conference that the company will cut costs totaling more than $10 billion over the next five years, including $1 billion in external marketing spending and reduction of more than 4,000 additional jobs in non-manufacturing areas including marketing.
In his presentation, McDonald said the cuts also are meant to address a mismatch between where the company spends much of its money in developed markets such as the United States vs. emerging markets where sales are growing fastest. P&G also has been hit by rising commodities costs and consumer resistance to resulting price increases in some markets.
Appreciative investors immediately bid up P&G stock by more than $2 a share, to close at $66.71 a share on Friday. Among the sources of savings, McDonald said, will be having consolidating its marketing operation and using more lower-cost digital marketing, as well as launching more multibrand marketing initiatives such as a 30-brand P&G effort built around the 2012 Summer Olympics. Even so, McDonald stressed that he expects 2012 marketing spending to be "roughly" in line with the total last year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 24, 2012 04:32 PM
When it comes to product strategy, Campbell Soup has gone through more twists and turns over the last several years than one of the noodles in its classic Chicken Noodle Soup.
The world's leading maker of soup has come up with heartier flavors and lighter flavors, chunkier textures, new ingredients, heart-healthy blends — you name it. The company also has infamously tacked back and forth about sodium reduction in its soups, firset embracing the idea as a major new platform and then, recently, trimming back its salt-cutting ambitions in the interests of taste.
Once again, Campbell is stirring the pot, this time under new CEO Denise Morrison, who presented her strategy to analysts in New York this week that the Campbell Soup Company has a few things cooking to jump-start growth.
Her new approach "requires moving from a high dependence on line extensions to more disruptive innovation, new and differentiated products, packaging and category segments that create new pathways for growth."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 20, 2012 05:05 PM
Manoj Bhargava seems an unlikely billionaire, a man who pads around his office in New Balance sneakers, once ran the family plastics company, and dreams about making the world a better place.
Except that the 58-year-old Michigan entrepreneur came up with the idea for 5-Hour Energy a decade ago, established a crucial "first mover" advantage by creating the energy-shots category, and has held off Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Red Bull on the way to turning his enterprise into a $1-billion brand at retail last year.
By finally creating a public profile, the once-reclusive Bhargava hopes to gain attention for other business ventures that include technologies for water desalination, hydroponic farming and optimization of diesel power. And he's already made the world a much better place with the donation of $10 million to $12 million to charities, much of it to hospitals in India.
In the meantime, Bhargava told brandchannel, he's finally considering some brand extensions to add to the familiar 2-ounce plastic bottles of 5-Hour Energy and its ubiquitous yet lame TV ads.
"We are working on something, but I can't say right now what it is," Bhargava said. "When we come out with something, though, it'll be a slam dunk. It won't be a line extension that doesn't do anything; it's got to do something. If someone in my family, for example, wouldn't be interested in using the product, then I'm not going to sell it."Continue reading...
brand vs. brand
Posted by Dale Buss on February 13, 2012 06:06 PM
As it implements a global re-set of its Pepsi brand and corporate priorities, PepsiCo is girding for even more pitched battle with a re-energized Coca-Cola. And if only because PepsiCo plans to boost spending on its major brands by at least a half-billion dollars this year, the competition between the two giants should be the sharpest in some time.
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and the company's board announced strategic investments during their business review last week that are aimed at the major pressure points being applied lately by restive PepsiCo investors and others. In the meantime, Coca-Cola also announced massive overall cost cuts as well as a decision to use the savings of up to $650 million in extra marketing and brand buildling.
The boost in marketing outlays announced by PepsiCo will be devoted to the largest beverage brands, especially struggling Pepsi, as well as snack brands. But many of the agencies that have been serving the brands to date are being swept out in a massive 65% reduction in the number of partners used by the beverages business. And Pepsi will be culling many of the non-performers from its 400-plus global brands.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 9, 2012 04:56 PM
Procter & Gamble finally has begun rolling out to Walmart stores one of its biggest product introductions in recent history: Tide Pods. But delays in getting this innovation to market, along with headwinds from the general economy, have caught the CPG giant in the twin pincers of cost pressures and greater competition.
P&G CEO Bob McDonald recently explained the company's predicament to investors. "It was later than we hoped, but Pods is a game-changing innovation and with it came manufacturing challenges that set us back but have been overcome," he said. "To our knowledge, there will be nothing on store shelves that looks or performs like Pods, and if the demand we are seeing right now is any indication of success, we are confident that Pods will delive ron its promise to change the way people think about laundry."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 8, 2012 03:25 PM
When a brand that has trailblazed Super Bowl advertising for an entire industry switches up and does something different with its approach to the latest Big Game, the shift merits notice. And fortunately for Audi of America, not only its new strategy for the Super Bowl but also the ad itself — "So Long Vampires" and its accompanying #solongvampires Twitter hashtag and Facebook push — has attracted attention.
The difference: In Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, Audi touted a specific technology rather than the "new luxury" positioning that it used in highly resonant Super Bowl ads the previous four years. The change stems from the conviction of brand executives that Audi of America largely has succeeded in establishing its brand chops in the U.S. market versus BMW and Mercedes-Benz. They wanted to pivot to make an important albeit narrower case.
Brand executives are pleased by the ad's ranking in the USA Today post-game ad poll: No. 9 most popular overall and No. 4 of spots fielded by auto brands. But that's only part of the story. "Our Super Bowl ads in the past tend to have been major statements about putting the marketplace on notice, and sometimes we've evoked larger conversations," Loren Angelo, general manager of brand marketing for Audi of America, told brandchannel.Continue reading...