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brand news

Brand News: Alibaba, Airbnb, HP and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 7, 2014 09:12 AM

TOP 5 STORIES

Brands to Watch

Alibaba files for U.S. IPO that is expected to be record-breaking.

Airbnb hires Coca-Cola's Jonathan Mildenhall as CMO.

Fiat Chrysler five-year plan elevates Chrysler brand, downplays Dodge.

HP invests $1 billion in cloud computing.

Twitter stockholders sold massively as lockup expired; stock price plunges.

MORE BRAND NEWS:

AOL acquires consumer-tracking platform.

Coca-Cola lifts lid on agency bonuses for cutting-edge work and drops "You're On..." tagline for Diet Coke.Continue reading...

retail watch

Safeway, Albertson's Combine to Take On Fast-Changing Grocery Industry

Posted by Dale Buss on March 7, 2014 03:20 PM

Cerberus is buying Safeway and blending it in with the Albertson's supermarket chain it already owns. But the transaction seems more like the end of an era rather than the beginning.

That's because the intended $9 billion merger of Albertson's and Safeway will be a play meant largely to shore up the combined operations defensively against sea changes that have been sweeping the food-retailing business that simply don't favor traditional chains such as the two that Cerberus will own.

The rise of grocery availability at Walmart, Target and other discounters; the spread of dry goods through drug stores and dollar stores and other new formats; the rising popularity of Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and their organic, natural, locally-produced and private-label ethos; the fact that online CPG sales finally seem to be gaining traction; and the strength of club stores in the grocery trade—all are conspiring against the merger of two of the long-time giants of the business.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: P&G, BP, Uber and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 14, 2014 09:12 AM

In the News

P&G begins considering candidates to succeed CEO Lafley (again) as it holds early lead in Sochi social media derby.

BP must face shareholder suit over 2006 Alaska spill.

Uber officially launches in China, but under new, localized brand name.

Apple continues hiring spree to devleop iWatch.

BMW plans to bring back BMW Films as it unveils first front-wheel-drive model.

Burger King global sales rise while North America drops, but company reaps benefits of refranchising.

CVS Caremark tests telehealth sites.

Carnival Cruise Lines sees image back on upswing.

Charter turns from Time Warner Cable to pursue other acquisitions.

Cheesecake Factory holds off on tablets.

Danone struggles to claw back market share in China.

“Dumb Ways to Die” returns with Valentine’s Day tribute.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Square One Step Closer to Making Mobile Payments Mainstream with Whole Foods Deal

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 12, 2014 02:49 PM

American Express ran its “Don’t leave home without it” campaign for years, but it appears that consumers will soon be able to leave their homes without their AMEX or any other credit card, as mobile payments are on the rise.

Whole Foods Markets has made a deal with San Francisco-based mobile payments company Square to allow consumers to pay for goods with their smartphones using Square Wallet, and will implement Sqaure Register and Square Stand technology at checkout points within a select group of stores, The Street reports. That's not a bad deal for Square, which is rumored to be considering an initial public offering this year.

According to a press release, there will be a few “lab stores” that will test out the concept. "Together with Square, we'll deliver options to expedite checkouts, and we look forward to developing new concepts to further simplify and improve grocery shopping," said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods. "Square's forward-thinking vision and technology makes them an ideal partner to create a convenient, responsive experience for our customers."Continue reading...

app watch

Brands Jelly-Up as New App Gets Out of the Gate

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 24, 2014 12:35 PM

Biz Stone’s Jelly is just two weeks old, but the mash-up of social and search has reached a roiling boil among fans and brands that were quick to adopt the new tech. 

Jelly scored 28,275 active users on the first day with 100,000 questions asked in the first week. According to Digimind, during the first weeks of January, 77 percent of Jelly’s users were speaking favorably online about the app while 19 percent were negative.

The gently altruistic brand whose tag line is “Let’s help each other” relies on humans rather than algorithms to gather and parse information. “If we’re successful, then we’re going to introduce into the daily muscle memory of smartphone users, everyone, that there’s this idea that there’s other people that need their help right now," said CEO Biz Stone, a co-founder of Twitter. 

A handful of brands have dived in head-first—and whether or not they are using the app correctly is open to interpretation.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Whole Foods Puts Money Where Its Mouth Is with Expansion of Local Grower Loans

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 6, 2014 07:37 PM

Since 1985, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and a slew of their friends have been rocking out at Farm Aid in the hopes of helping family farms. Now someone new has joined the fight to help smaller farms from disappearing from the US: big business. 

Locally sourced organic fruits and vegetables have become desired by many Americans as society’s continued pressure to go green has now affected even the largest retailers. Whole Foods has just announced that it will add $15 million more to the $10 million it has already doled out in low-interest loans to local growers working on such projects as “biodynamic farming, non-GMO animal feed, and pollinator health, as well as more sustainable packaging,” Mediapost reports. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Whole Foods’ program has handed out 184 loans to 155 companies since its inception in 2007.

Walmart is doubling the number of locally grown fruits and vegetables it offers before the end of 2015. Locally sourced meat and seafood as well as locally sourced produce placed first or second on the lists of 1,300 professional chefs that were voting on 2014’s most important trends, according to the National Restaurant Association. In shorter terms, local is the new black.Continue reading...

chew on this

General Mills Drops GMOs from Original Cheerios After Consumer Outcry

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 3, 2014 01:57 PM

So long, Cheeri-GMOs. In a victory for anti-GMO proponents and outspoken consumers, General Mills has stopped using genetically modified ingredients in Original Cheerios. The raging debate pits critics who cite the dangers of genetically modified crops against those who say there is no scientific consensus on the issue. 

Exactly a month before the brand makes its Super Bowl debut on Feb. 2, General Mills VP Tom Forsythe stated in a blog post dated Jan. 2 that the decision wasn’t driven by critics or safety concerns, but by consumer demand.

"It's not about safety," he wrote. "Biotech seeds, also known as genetically modified seeds, have been approved by global food safety agencies and widely used by farmers in global food crops for almost 20 years." 

His post also clarified the cereal's GMO content:Continue reading...

brand battle

Whole Foods Blocks Chobani Over GMOs in Battle of Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on December 19, 2013 04:56 PM

Contrasting visions of the better-for-you food market are clashing in Whole Foods Markets' decision not to carry Chobani Greek-style yogurt beginning early next year—and in Chobani's decision not to challenge it.

Some press reports attribute the retailer's move largely to Chobani's unwillingness to satisfy Whole Foods' request for its own Chobani line made without GMOs. But the GMO issue is only one aspect of this battle between the champion of Greek yogurt, a nutritious option for the American masses, and the retailer that considers itself the proactive national guardian of what you should be eating.

Whole Foods said that Chobani declined to come up with a non-GMO version of its market-leading Greek yogurt, and the chain has said it will require by 2018 that all GMO-containing food in its stores be labeled so. The company also said that it wants to make more room for smaller, exclusive brands, the Wall Street Journal reported.Continue reading...

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