Best Global Green Brands 2014

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...

social media watch

Starbucks Extends eGift Platform to Twitter with Tweet-a-Coffee Promo

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 29, 2013 01:32 PM

Getting in on the social gifting act, Starbucks has announced a new partnership with Twitter and Visa that allows usersin the US to "Tweet-a-coffee" to friends.

After linking their Starbucks account and a credit card to Twitter, users need only tweet @TweetaCoffee with the Twitter handle of the recipient to send an instant $5 eGift card. In a perk promotion for Visa cardholders, Starbucks is giving away $5 gift cards to the first 100,000 users who “tweet-a-coffee” to a friend through Nov. 6. 

This is not Starbucks' first act, though. The coffee (and now tea) purveyor launched its eGift service on Facebook in 2011, however this is it's first Twitter tie-in and it is looking for feedback from customers on their experience. “We are actively seeking feedback about how to improve it," said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer, Starbucks, according to Mashable.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Coke Execs Weigh Input on Gay Rights at Olympics

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 24, 2013 03:49 PM

Brands continue to come under fire from consumers ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where seemingly anti-gay laws have been passed creating a hostile environment for the LGBT community. The clash has led to boycotts and outright calls to major brand sponsors like McDonald's and Visa to drop support for the games or affirm their stance in support of the LGBT community. 

After millions have voiced their concerns for the event, it seems that they may have finally caught the attention of a major participant. Following a SumOfUs.org petition that currently has over 344,000 signatures, Coca-Cola executives are reportedly convening today to decide whether the company, a major sponsor of the Olympics, will comment on the culture clash.

“Coca-Cola is an incredibly important position of power and has the ability to influence both the International Olympic Committee and Russian leaders,” Joe Mirabella, director of communications for equality campaign platform All Out said, BeverageDaily reports. “The safety and dignity of Russians, athletes, and fans is in doubt as long as Russia’s anti-gay laws are intact. Olympic sponsors have a moral obligation to speak out now and demand an end to Putin’s human rights crackdown.”Continue reading...

brand ambassadors

Marketers Deal with Fallen NFL Ambassadors as 'Campbell Curse' Looms

Posted by Dale Buss on October 14, 2013 11:07 AM

As injuries continued to take a horrific toll on more NFL players over the weekend, both stars and scrubs alike, major brands also were taking stock of their losses from associating with the most popular violent sport in America—because their spokesmen are leaving the big stage of game-day action to go nurse their wounds, sometimes for the rest of the season.

Visa was one of the latest brands to suffer a snake-bit association with an NFL star who fell to injury, and its timing was about as bad as could be. Just as Atlanta Falcons star receiver Julio Jones was emerging in the early season as the league leader at his position, he was badly injured and declared out for the season last week.

A new TV spot from Visa for its social media- based "personalized NFL fantasy" campaign stars Jones—regarded as one of the league's best at "touchdown dances"—receiving inspiration for a new dance from a local fan. The dance becomes a hit around the world, with everyone from Bollywood actors to Jones' character in the EA Sports Madden 25 video game doing the new dance.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: JCPenney, KFC, H&M and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 10, 2013 09:22 AM

In the News

JCPenney undoes more of Ron Johnson's handiwork with logo revamp.

KFC preps quality-assurance campaign in China.

H&M, Gap back in the spotlight after another Bangladesh factory fire kills several workers. 

A&E Networks pitches original programming.

Aereo Android app will debut Oct. 22.

Alcatel-Lucent must revise job-cut plans in France.

Apple reportedly slashes iPhone 5c production.

AT&T and GE partner for wireless global network.

BlackBerry warms to breakup exit strategy as brand expands office closures.

Chevrolet revs up major ad push for Malibu.Continue reading...

brands under fire

McDonald's, Walmart Draw Criticism Over US Wages, Goodwill

Posted by Dale Buss on July 24, 2013 02:42 PM

Walmart and McDonald's face no easy path these days in the business world, nor in the media echo chamber. McDonald's just posted disappointing earnings that reflect the harsh reality at the chain's restaurants in this economy, while both companies are being scored afresh for not providing a "living wage" for their rank-and-file workers.

This week, McDonald's has been lashed by a New York Times commentator and UMass economics professor, Nancy Folbre, for "remarkably widespread disregard" of low-income Americans, including many of its own workers, in the wake of the McDonald's "Sample Budget" that came under scrutiny last week. The "company's own calculations" in the budget, she scolded, "suggest that it fails to offer a living wage."

But in an interview with Bloomberg TV, McDonald's CEO Don Thompson defended McDonald's approach on both matters.

"We have always been an above-minimum-wage employer," he insisted. "We are about providing opportunity. A lot of people can debate the entry-level pont. We will continue to provide entry-level jobs ... And when we can help to have a viable income, we will provide that opportunity so the person can rise to the system and gain greater and greater wealth."Continue reading...

brands under fire

McDonald's Makes No Friends of Employees with Tin-Eared 'Budget Journal'

Posted by Dale Buss on July 19, 2013 02:13 PM

The notion of a "living wage," who should pay it and who should expect it, is getting quite a workout in America these days. The latest example is the flack that McDonald's has caught for a "budget journal" it and Visa created for McDonald's employees that perhaps reveals more than the chain intended about how it views its own jobs.

The document was created by McDonald's to help its own employees "succeed financially," it said, as "one of the many ways McDonald's is creating a satisfying and rewarding work environment." It was supposed to help employees "take the next step toward financial freedom."

The problem, as critics see it, is that McDonald's won't do the single biggest thing that would actually boost the finances of its workers: pay higher wages. Long serving as rhetorical shorthand for jobs that are low-paying, and even demeaning or dead-end, the "McDonald's burger flipper" typically starts out at around minimum wage. Protesters recently have been demanding wages of $15 an hour, which they've figured is a deserved "living wage"—especially when McDonald's now-retired CEO Jim Skinner made $8.75 million last year.Continue reading...

geolocation

Coca-Cola Latest to Enter Myanmar, the Last Asian Frontier

Posted by Dale Buss on June 17, 2013 12:48 PM

The good denizens of Myanmar surely wouldn't mind if Coca-Cola opened a little "happiness" for them as the brand has been doing around the world lately. But for the time being, Myanmar—where only 13 percent of residents even have electricity—probably would settle for the jobs that Coke now is providing there, and maybe for a bottle of the stuff at the end of the shift.

Yes, Coca-Cola is joining Unilever, General Electric, Philips, Visa and just a handful of other big global multinationals in finally doing business in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, the poorest and least-accessible nation remaining in Asia. Now, North Korea and Cuba are the only two countries in which Coke still doesn't do business.

After more than 60 years away, Coke plans to spend $200 million in Myanmar over the next five years. Earlier this month, it opened a new bottling plant outside the commercial capital of Yangon, which is creating thousands of jobs in its bottling and distribution operation, a much-needed infusion of investment for a country where 40 percent of the population remains unemployed.Continue reading...

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