divide and conquer

How to Grow a Brand? Spin It Off

Posted by Barry Silverstein on August 16, 2012 11:09 AM

Look at the current M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) scene in U.S. business and you'll see signals, especially in the food industry, that big conglomerates are falling out of favor: 

  • In June, Sara Lee jettisoned its famous name, splitting the company into two units: Hillshire Brands, focusing on mostly meat products, and D.E. Master Blenders 1753, a European maker of coffees and teas. 
  • Last week, the country's largest dairy company, Dean Foods, said its Whitewave unit, which accounts for about 40 percent of Dean's operating income, would split from the company and file an IPO. Whitewave produces Horizon Organic milk and the Silk brand, which includes soy and almond milk, products that have been growing faster than Dean's regional milk brands.
  • In October, the giant Kraft Foods will split the company in two, separating its U.S. business (Kraft Foods Group) from its international snack foods business (Mondelez International). 

Corporate breakups are on the rise, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, which reports that there were 19 U.S. corporate public company spinoffs in 2011 vs. 16 in 2010. Eleven spinoffs have already been finalized in 2012 and thirteen more have been announced. Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: AT&T, Samsung, Standard Chartered and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 8, 2012 09:02 AM

In the News

American Airlines faces record safety penalty, tests hotel baggage delivery service.

Amazon sees pay-off from locker service, looks to acquire more patents.

Apple shelves "Genius" TV campaign, puts former designer on the stand against Samsung and plans to beef up security.

AT&T sees 20,000 employees go on strike.

Bank of America brings discounts to bank statements.

Chiquita seeks new CEO as Undercover Boss star exits.

Chrysler’s Dodge pulls out of NASCAR.Continue reading...

chew on this

Happy Family Expands Organic Superfoods Range for Kids

Posted by Dale Buss on July 9, 2012 01:27 PM

It's hard to resist a brand that has the word "happy" in it. And so Happy Family, a leading organic brand of "superfoods," has earned the title of "Rockstar of the New Economy" from Fast Company magazine and B Lab, a nonprofit that promotes social and environmental responsibility by companies.

There was a lot more that earned the designation for Happy Family, which already was named Inc. magazine's fastest-growing packaged-food company of 2011. In five years, the New York-based company has skyrocketed to $35 million in sales from practically nothing, and CEO Shazi Visram is looking at doubling revenues for the second year in a row in 2012.

Happy Family boasts a big range of products aimed right at the worry spot for American moms: how to get their young children to want to eat healthy snacks. The company's product line ranges from pouches of fruit puree for babies to organic grain-snack "puffs" for toddlers to frozen mac-and-cheese balls and Salmon Stix for grade-schoolers. It's planning an additional 10 new products before the end of the year.Continue reading...

response mechanism

Android Tops LGBT-Favored Brands in U.S.

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 21, 2012 02:02 PM

Google’s Android mobile operating system is #1 on the top 20 brands favored by the LGBT community, according to the researchers at YouGov BrandIndex. Last year, Google's YouTube topped the annual LGBT ranking.

The 2012 LGBT buzz list includes four Apple-related and several other tech and social media brands, and looks quite different from last year’s ranking, with 12 new brands making the top 20: Android, iPad, Target, Samsung, Aleve, Kindle, Advil, PBS, LG, Starbucks, Comedy Central, and Skype. Disneyland and Disney World share fourth spot, reflect the parks' annual LGBT days and outreach to the gay community.

“Gay consumers number 15 million and counting, spending $743 billion annually” in the U.S., according to LGBT marketing agency Prime Access. Falling out of the top 20 this year: Google, Amazon, Whole Foods, Claritin, HBO, Lowe's, Cheerios, Food Network, M&Ms, Nike, Trader Joe's and Bose.Continue reading...

social media watch

Corporate Social Media: #CSMNY Highlights Social Responsiveness

Posted by Amy Edel-Vaughn on June 15, 2012 06:04 PM

"April 10, the ash cloud took over" declared Anna Ketting, head of social media for Air France KLM, at The Corporate Social Media Summit 2012 in New York this week. From the havoc an Icelandic volcano created for airlines in 2010 came the genesis of the brand's social media strategy.

Throughout the panel discussions during #CSMNY, the wide-ranging conversations shared a common theme — responsiveness.  Whether discussing gamification, marketing synergy, impact or big data, it is clear brands are feeling the pressure to prove social can be a successful commercial enterprise. But what also became clear from the summit is that responsiveness in social media creates opportunities for strong return on investment.Continue reading...

chew on this

Annie's Bunny Hops Into Mainstream Grocery Aisles

Posted by Dale Buss on June 5, 2012 04:02 PM

Annie's Homegrown has a new headquarters in Berkeley, Calif., in the old headquarters of another better-for-you food brand, Clif Bar. But fresh off its successful IPO, the organic-foods pioneer is more concerned about another type of real estate: shelf space at mainstream supermarkets.

Although Annie's grew to as $135-million company mainly by plying its trademark all-natural and organic macaroni-and-cheese and fruit Bunny snacks at the likes of Whole Foods Markets and other natural-food stores, CEO John Foraker believes that Annie's can be instrumental in making such fare generally appealing to U.S. consumers.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Yahoo, Apple, Facebook and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 14, 2012 09:02 AM

In the News

Yahoo CEO and five board members step down as Ross Levinsohn named interim CEO and Scott Thompson discloses he has cancer.

Apple drops "4G" from UK iPad ads and reportedly bringing retina display to MacBook Pro while Foxconn prepares for Apple TV production.

Facebook co-founder renounces U.S. citizenship to avoid $600M in taxes as almost-over IPO roadshow focuses on mobile and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak wants in. (Also, wish Mark Zuckerberg a happy 28th birthday today.)

ABC bids adieu to Desperate Housewives.

Ally mortgage unit files for bankruptcy.

Avon weighs sweetened offer from Coty. (Update: Coty withdrew its offer late Monday.)Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Brand is Booming for Beam

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 3, 2012 10:13 AM

Bethenny Frankel may have been a housewife a few years back when she starred in the reality shows Real Housewives of New York and Bethenny Getting Married, but she got hot and heavy into business now with her Skinnygirl cocktail brand before selling it to Beam last year.

Now she must be pretty proud mama of the business she founded, which is expanding into cleanses and workouts to become a lifestyle brand — the drinks company was the fastest-growing brand of spirits in America last year, according to Technomic research (via MSNBC).

The company had a .388 percent increase in sales last year, Technomic reports. Skinnygirl started out by just selling a premixed margarita and now has "four lines of premixed cocktails with four flavored vodkas and three wines debuting nationally this month."Continue reading...

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