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10 Best Rum Brands 2019 - What Rum Bottles to Buy Right Now
MAY 31, 2019 | Esquire | BY JONAH FLICKER.

Goslings
When you think of a Dark ‘n Stormy, Goslings would like you to think of its rum and its rum alone. In fact, the brand has trademarked the cocktail’s name, insisting that it must be made with Goslings Black Seal rum and Goslings ginger beer. Of course, you’ll (probably) be safe making it with whatever rum you fancy at home. There is a reason Goslings is as popular as it is: It’s cheap and it goes down easy. Goslings doesn't have a distillery; instead, the Bermuda-based company sources barrels from other countries, ages and blends in Bermuda, and ships the rum to Kentucky for bottling. The rum in Black Seal is aged in bourbon barrels for several years, but that dark color is amplified by the addition of molasses from one of the distillates in the final blend, according to Malcolm Gosling. If you’re looking for something more complex, check out Papa Seal Single Barrel, a 15-year-old rum bottled from just 12 barrels that was released last fall.
best_of  drinks  brands  liquor  rum 
16 days ago by jerryking
Cashew foie gras? Big Food jumps on ‘plant-based’ bandwagon
MAY 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Leila Abboud in Paris and Emiko Terazono in London

* Boom in meat and dairy substitutes sets up ‘battle for the centre of the plate’
* Nestlé recently launched the Garden Gourmet's Incredible burger in Europe and plans to launch it in the US in the autumn in conjunction with McDonald’s.
* Burger King has partnered with a “foodtech” start-up to put meat-free burgers on their menu.
* Pret A Manger is considering a surge in its roll-out of vegetarian outlets as it looks into buying UK sandwich rival Eat.

A change is afoot that is set to sweep through the global food industry as once-niche dietary movements (i.e. vegetarians, then the vegans, followed by a bewildering array of food tribes from veggievores, flexitarians and meat reducers to pescatarians and lacto-vegetarians ) join the mainstream.

At the other end of the supply chain, Big Food is getting in on the act as the emergence of plant-based substitutes opens the door for meat market disruption. Potentially a huge opportunity if the imitation meat matches adoption levels of milk product alternatives such as soy yoghurt and almond milk, which account for 13% of the American dairy market. It is a $35bn opportunity in the US alone, according to newly listed producer Beyond Meat, given the country’s $270bn market for animal-based food. 

Packaged food producers, burdened with anaemic growth in segments from drinks to sweets, have jumped on the plant-based bandwagon. Market leaders including Danone, Nestlé and Unilever are investing heavily in acquisitions and internal product development.

Laggards are dipping their toes. Kraft-Heinz, for example, is investing in start-ups via its corporate venture capital arm and making vegan variants of some of its products. Even traditional meat producers, such as US-based Tyson Foods and Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods, are diversifying into plant-based offerings to remain relevant with consumers.......“Plant-based is not a threat,” said Wayne England, who leads Nestlé’s food strategy. “On the contrary, it’s a great opportunity for us. Many of our existing brands can play much more in this space than they do today, so we’re accelerating that shift, and there is also space for new brands.” .....a plethora of alternative protein products are hitting supermarket shelves... appealing to consumers for different reasons....(1) reducing meat consumption for health reasons... (2) others concerned about animal welfare...(3) concern over agriculture’s contribution to climate change......As Big Food rushes in, it faces stiff competition from a new breed of start-ups that have raced ahead to launch plant-based meats they claim look, taste and feel like the real thing. Flush with venture capital funding, they have turned to technology, analysing the molecular structure of foods and seeking to reverse-engineer versions using plant proteins......Not only are the disrupters innovating on the product side, they are rapidly creating new brands using digital marketing and partnerships with restaurants. Big food companies, which can struggle to create new brands, often rely on acquisitions to bring new ones onboard.....Aside from the quality of the new protein substitutes, how they are marketed will determine whether they become truly mass-market or remain limited to the margins of motivated vegetarians and vegans. The positioning of the product in stores influences sales, with new brands such as Beyond Meat pushing to be placed in the meat section rather than separate chilled cabinets alongside the vegetarian and vegan options.....Elio Leoni Sceti, whose investment company recently backed NotCo, a Chile-based start-up that uses machine learning to create vegetarian replicas of meat and dairy, believes new brands have an edge on the marketing side because they are not held back by old habits. 

“The new consumer looks at the consequences of consumption and believes that health and beauty come from within,” said one industry veteran who used to run Birds Eye owner Iglo. “They’re less convinced by the functional-based arguments that food companies are used to making, like less sugar or fewer calories. This is not the way that consumers used to make decisions so the old guard are flummoxed.”...Dan Curtin, who heads Greenleaf, the Maple Leaf Food's plant-based business, played down the idea that alternative meats will eat into meat sales, saying the substitutes were “additive”. “We don’t see this as a replacement. People want options,” he said. 

 
animal-based  Beyond_Meat  Big_Food  brands  Burger_King  Danone  digital_strategies  food_tech  hamburgers  Impossible_Foods  Kraft_Heinz  laggards  Maple_Leaf_Foods  McDonald's  Nestlé  plant-based  rollouts  start_ups  Unilever  vegetarian  vc  venture_capital  CPG  diets  meat  new_products  shifting_tastes 
28 days ago by jerryking
Rihanna to lead new LVMH fashion house
May 10, 2019 | Financial Times | by Harriet Agnew in Paris.

Pop star will launch a new line of ready-to-wear luxury clothing, footwear and accessories brand named Fenty, becoming the first woman to create an original brand at LVMH. This is significant because it is one of the most high-profile creative tie-ups to date between a celebrity and a luxury group, and illustrates the lucrative potential of celebrities to draw attention — and sales — through Instagram (Rihanna has 70.5m followers). .....LVMH said Fenty would be “centered on Rihanna, developed by her, and takes shape with her vision . . . including commerciality and communication of the brand”....Rihanna joins other singers such as Beyoncé in launching her own clothing line.....
accessories  apparel  beauty  brands  celebrities  creative_class  digital_influencers  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  Fenty  footwear  greenfields  Instagram  luxury  LVMH  music  partnerships  singers  clothing  clothing_labels 
5 weeks ago by jerryking
Business leaders are blinded by industry boundaries
April 22, 2019 | Financial Times | Rita McGrath.

Why is it so hard for executives to anticipate the major shifts that can determine the destiny of their organisations? Andy Grove called these moments “strategic inflection points”. For some, he wrote, “That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”

Industry leaders would do well to focus on productive opportunities, even when they lie outside a fairly well-bounded industry. Want to survive a strategic inflection point? Stop focusing on traditional metrics and find new customer needs that your organisation can uniquely address.

Why do business leaders so often miss these shifts? Successful companies such as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and Nokia did not heed the early signs of a move to app-based smartphones. Video rental chain Blockbuster failed to acquire Netflix when it had the chance, in 2000.

Senior people rise to the top by mastering management of the KPIs in that sector. This, in turn, shapes how they look at the world. The problem is a strategic inflection point can occur and render the reference points they have developed obsolete. Take traditional retail. Its key metrics have to do with limited real estate, such as sales per square metre. Introduce the internet and those measures are useless. And yet traditional systems, rewards and measures are all built around them.....British economist Edith Penrose grasped this crucial link, she asked, “What is an industry?” In her studies, executives did not confine themselves to single industries, they expanded into any market where their business might find profitable growth.

Consider the energy sector: Historically, most power generators and utilities were heavily regulated...The sector’s suppliers likewise expected steady demand and a quiet life....that business has been rocked by slow-moving shifts many players talked about, but did not act upon. The rise of distributed energy generation, the maturing of renewable technology, increased conservation and new rules have eroded the traditional model. Many failed to heed the warnings. In 2015, General Electric spent about $10bn to acquire Alstom’s power business. Finance chief Jeff Bornstein crowed at the time that it could be GE’s best acquisition ever. Blinded by traditional metrics, GE doubled down on fossil-fuel-fired turbines just as renewables were becoming cost competitive.

Consider razor blades: Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand of razors had long enjoyed a competitive advantage. For decades, the company had invested in developing premium products, charged premium prices, invested heavily in marketing and used its clout to get those razors into every traditional retail outlet. A new breed of online rivals such as Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s have upended that model, reselling outsourced razors that were “good enough” and cheaper, online via a subscription model that attracted younger, economically pressured customers...... Rather than fork out for elaborate marketing, the upstarts enlisted YouTube and Facebook influencers to get the word out.
Andy_Grove  BlackBerry  blindsided  Blockbuster  brands  cost-consciousness  customer_insights  Dollar_Shave_Club  executive_management  GE  Gillette  good_enough  Harry's  industries  inflection_points  Intel  irrelevance  KPIs  metrics  millennials  movingonup  myopic  obsolescence  out-of-the-box  P&G  power_generation  retailers  reward_systems  sales_per_square_foot  shifting_tastes  slowly_moving  warning_signs 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
The Missing Piece in Big Food’s Innovation Puzzle
April 1, 2019 | WSJ | by By Carol Ryan.

.......In truth, they are becoming reliant on others to do the heavy lifting. Specialist food ingredient companies like Tate & Lyle and Kerry Group work with global brands behind the scenes to come up with new ideas. These businesses can spend two to three times more on innovation as a percentage of turnover than their biggest clients.

One part of their expertise is overhauling recipes. Ingredients companies can do everything from adding trendy probiotics to taking out excess sugar or gluten. Nestlé got a hand from Tate & Lyle to remove more sugar from its Nesquik range of flavored drinks, while Denmark’s Chr. Hansen helped Kraft Heinz switch from artificial to natural colors in the U.S. giant’s Macaroni & Cheese......Another service food suppliers offer is coming up with successful innovations to help revive sales. Nestlé’s ruby chocolate KitKat, which has become very popular in Asia, was actually created by U.S. cocoa producer Barry Callebaut, for example.

=============================================
See also, "For innovation success, do not follow the money"
07-Nov-2005 | Financial Times | By Michael Schrage "There is
no correlation between the percentage of net revenue spent on R&D
and the innovative capabilities of an organisation – none,"...Just ask
General Motors. No company in the world has spent more on R&D over
the past 25 years. Yet, somehow, GM's market share has
declined....R&D productivity – not R&D investment – is the real
challenge for global innovation. Innovation is not what innovators
innovate, it is what customers actually adopt. Productivity here is not
measured in patents granted but in new customers won and existing
customers profitably retained..
Big_Food  brands  ingredients  innovation  investors  Kraft_Heinz  large_companies  Mondelez  Nestlé  R&D  shifting_tastes  start_ups  foodservice  Unilever  flavours  food  ingredient_diversity  health_foods  healthy_lifestyles 
10 weeks ago by jerryking
5 Ways to Value Your Collection, Whether It’s Fine Wine or Shrunken Heads
March 1, 2019 | The New York Times | By Paul Sullivan.

Collectible assets include wine, spirits, coins, trading cards as well as more unusual items, like lighters, belt buckles and even shrunken heads. These collections cost money and time to assemble and certainly have a value to their owners, but can they be considered legitimate investments? That depends on the market.

For many collectors, the only option to buy, sell or even value these assets is through online auction platforms like eBay or enthusiast sites, but for others, their possessions are treated as fine art.......the market for collectibles, which are often valued in the millions of dollars, may not always be so easy to weather. It can experience sudden surges that put desired items out of the reach of true collectors or it can collapse, wiping out the gains speculators thought they had made.

In an economic slowdown, how these investments are treated depends on supply and demand as well as unpredictable forces like fashion and popularity.....Collectibles can be broken into categories determined by provenance, rarity and even a moment in time. Here are five issues to consider when weighing the investment potential of your collection.....
(1) The standouts in the crowd - Leading the pack are high-quality items that have broad name recognition.
(2) High risk, high reward -
(3) Not all collectibles are investments- jewelry is not an investment....because the market is driven too much by changing fashion.
(4) Obscure and difficult to sell - establish the value of esoteric collections by using third-party appraisers. But insurance companies like A.I.G. value these collections by their replacement value, not by the price someone would pay for them.
(5) A market downturn - =hether it’s shrunken heads, 1,000 bottles of wine or sheets of trading cards, a ready buyer may not be available — or may want to pay much less (i.e. a step change in the valuation).
collectibles  collectors  high-risk  howto  obscure  valuations  AIG  auctions  assets  brands  eBay  economic_downturn  esoteric  fine_arts  high-end  high-quality  investing  investments  passions  step_change  unpredictability  wine  whisky 
march 2019 by jerryking
Tyson Made Its Fortune Packing Meat. Now It Wants to Sell You Frittatas.
Feb. 13, 2019 | WSJ | By Jacob Bunge

Tyson’s strategy is to transform the 84-year-old meatpacking giant into a modern food company selling branded consumer goods on par with Kraft Heinz Co. or Coca-Cola Co.
.....Tyson wants to be big in more-profitable prepared and packaged foods to distance itself from the traditional meat business’s boom-and-bust cycles. America’s biggest supplier of meat wants to also be known for selling packaged foods........How’s the transformation going? Amid an historic meat glut, the company’s shares are worth $4.9 billion less than they were a year ago—and are still valued like those of a meatpacker pumping out shrink-wrapped packs of pork chops and chicken breasts....Investors say the initiatives aren’t yet enough to counteract the steep challenges facing the poultry and livestock slaughtering and processing operations that have been the company’s core since....1935.....Record red meat and poultry production nationwide is pushing down prices and eroding Tyson’s meat-processing profit margins. Tariffs and trade barriers to U.S. meat have further dented prices and built up backlogs, while transport and labor costs have climbed. .......The packaged-foods business is itself struggling with consumers gravitating toward nimbler upstart brands and demanding natural ingredients and healthier recipes........Tyson's acquisition of Hillside triggered changes, including the onboarding of executives attuned to consumer trends. Tyson added managers from Fortune 100 companies, including Boeing Co. and HP Inc., who replaced some meat-processing officials who led Tyson for decades. The newcomers brought experience managing brands, understanding consumers, developing new products and building new technology tools, areas Tyson deemed central to its future......A chief sustainability officer, a newly created position, began working to shift Tyson’s image among environmental groups, .....Shifting consumer tastes have created hurdles for other packaged-food giants, such as Campbell Soup Co. and Kellogg Co. .... the meat business remains Tyson’s biggest challenge. In 2018 a flood of cheap beef, fueled by enlarged cattle herds, spurred a summer of “burger wars,” meat industry officials said. .......investment in brands and packaged foods hasn’t insulated Tyson’s business from these commodity-market swings. ........The company is also trying to improve its ability for forecast meat demand..........developing artificial intelligence to help Tyson better predict the future.........Scott Spradley, who left HP in 2017 to become Tyson’s CTO, said company data scientists are crunching numbers on major U.S. metropolitan areas. By analyzing historic meat consumption alongside demographic shifts, the number of residents moving in and out, and the frequency of birthdays and baseball games, Mr. Spradley said Tyson is building computer models that will help plan production and sales for its meat business. The effort aims to find patterns in data that Tyson’s human economists and current projections might not see. ......Deep data dives helped steer Tyson toward what executives say will be one of its biggest new product launches: plant-based replacements for traditional meat,
Big_Food  brands  Coca-Cola  CPG  cured_and_smoked  data_scientists  Kraft_Heinz  meat  new_products  plant-based  prepared_meals  reinvention  shifting_tastes  stockpiles  strategy  sustainability  tariffs  Tyson  predictive_modeling 
february 2019 by jerryking
Ikea looks to launch sales platform that would include rival products
February 12, 2019 | Financial Times | Richard Milne in Almhult.

Ikea is exploring the launch of an online sales platform offering furniture not just from the famous flat-pack retailer but also from rivals as part of its big transformation...........

Torbjorn Loof, chief executive of Inter Ikea, added: “It is also about how you connect. If you take home furnishings, for instance — how you connect communities, how you connect knowledge, how you connect the home. It’s not only furniture, it’s paintings, it’s the do-it-yourself part. There are many different constellations that can and will evolve over the years to come.”
Alibaba  Amazon  brands  clothing  e-commerce  experimentation  fashion  furniture  home-assembly  Ikea  leasing  opportunities  platforms  retailers  third-party  Zalando  rivalries  digital_strategies  Torbjörn_Lööf  coopetition 
february 2019 by jerryking
Brands Invent New Lines for Only Amazon to Sell WSJ
Jan. 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Annie Gasparro and Laura Stevens.

Amazon gets exclusive products, while brands receive faster customer feedback, marketing support and increased sales.......To build a big line of exclusive products on its site, Amazon.com Inc. AMZN 0.95% is pushing other brand manufacturers to do most of the work.

The online retail giant is asking consumer-goods companies to create brands exclusively for Amazon after finding that developing them on its own is too costly and time-consuming.....Amazon’s initiative is the latest example of the e-commerce giant flexing its muscles in order to offer the lowest prices and widest selection, as it seeks to cut into the market share of big-brand manufacturers.....Manufacturers generally benefit from selling their products through a range of retailers. Also, they risk cannibalizing higher-margin sales of their main brands by offering comparable products under different labels. But those entering deals with Amazon view the arrangement as a golden opportunity.

In exchange for creating exclusive products, the brands get help launching their products on Amazon.com, faster customer feedback when testing new products, marketing support, and, of course, revenue from the sales. They also can appear at the top of search results—a big draw given that Amazon’s platform lists an estimated 550 million items......Speed was paramount. “We had to take what would normally be 12 to 24 months of development to 90 days,”....Amazon, on its own, has been quietly adding to its in-house brands in recent years. Analysts estimate the site now offers more than 100. ....Amazon sometimes promotes its own brands higher in search results on its site, like “Amazon’s Choice” and sponsored items, or as default results in voice searches using Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant.

In-house brands often generate a higher profit margin for retailers, including Amazon, and can draw in customers because they can’t find those brands elsewhere. But developing a new brand and formulating products takes time..... the program offers manufacturers a way to “launch brands and products directly to Amazon customers.”

Amazon is increasingly important for consumer-product manufacturers. It now accounts for roughly half of all sales online,.....Amazon’s program also can be used for “orphan brands” that manufacturers have stopped selling or that never made it to market.....Amazon has no issue going full-court press on private label, and pursuing all these brands. If the quality and pricing architecture don’t fit and they have to pivot, they’ll do so,” said Todd Mitchell, president of Compass Marketing Inc., which works with Amazon. “They’re not limited to the constructs of shelf space.”
accelerated_lifecycles  Amazon  brands  cannibalization  CPG  e-commerce  exclusivity  fast-paced  in-house  manufacturers  new_products  orphan_brands  private_labels  product_development  product_launches  shelf-space  speed 
january 2019 by jerryking
Godiva indulges global coffee craving with café rollout
DECEMBER 16, 2018 | Financial Times by Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Alistair Gray in New York.

Godiva, the Turkish-owned Belgian chocolate brand, is to roll out 2,000 cafés as part of a plan to multiply revenues fivefold over the next six years — the latest sign of a coffee craze in the global food and drinks industry..... to raise capital to fund the expansion, Godiva and its bankers at Morgan Stanley have been in talks with several potential strategic investors about a possible $1bn-plus transaction....The New York-based group already has 40 cafés, including an outlet in Harrods, London, after an initial pilot launched in Istanbul and Shanghai in 2010. Yet Ms Young-Scrivner, a former Starbucks executive, said the company believed coffee consumption would continue to grow and a larger chain of Godiva outlets was “a natural extension”. Coffee and tea, she said, “pair really well with chocolate”.....Godiva’s 1,500-2,500 sq ft cafés will start appearing in big cities around the world from next spring, when the first is due to open in New York. About a third of the outlets are planned for North America, a third in Asia and a third in the rest of the world. Their menus will feature hot chocolate, cookies, affogato, chocolate-dipped strawberries and croiffles, a sweet or savoury cross between a croissant and a waffle..........The second part of Ms Young-Scrivner’s plan includes expanding Godiva’s distribution in grocery stores. The company estimates its share of the US packaged chocolate market at just 2 per cent and plans to expand the distribution of its chocolate bars and packages aimed more at self-indulgent snacking than at the premium-priced gift market where it has long focused.

Godiva was watching with interest the growth of cannabis-infused chocolates and drinks, which has prompted several large consumer groups to explore investments in cannabis companies, but this was “not a priority” for the company, Ms Young-Scrivner said.
brands  cafés  chocolate  coffee  Godiva  high-end  rollouts  expansions  cannabis  self-indulgence 
january 2019 by jerryking
Muhtar Kent: bottling Coca-Cola’s secrets for success
January 6, 2019 | Financial Times Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson.
beverages  brands  CEOs  Coca-Cola  exits 
january 2019 by jerryking
Tristan Walker on the Roman Empire and Selling a Start-Up to Procter & Gamble - The New York Times
By David Gelles
Dec. 12, 2018

Tristan Walker founded Walker & Company, a maker of health and beauty products for people of color, in 2013. On Wednesday, the company was acquired by Procter & Gamble for an undisclosed sum. The deal represents a successful exit for Mr. Walker and his investors. It also signals an effort by Procter & Gamble, the maker of Gillette, to reach new markets with its shaving products. But while many start-up founders make a hasty exit after getting acquired, Mr. Walker is planning to stay on and grow Bevel, his men’s shaving brand, and Form, his women’s hair care brand. “We’re a team of 15 with very grandiose ambitions,” he said of Walker & Company, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., but will move to Atlanta as part of the deal. “We want this company and its purpose to still be around 150 years from now.”

What’s that book you’ve got there?

It’s “Parallel Lives” by Plutarch. I’ve really been getting into Greek and Roman mythology. I’m reading something right now about the history of Rome during the 53 years when they really came into power, and this idea of the Roman state growing, the Greek state growing, and the differences therein fascinate me beyond belief. I’ve just been devouring it for the past few weeks now.

Walker attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. And from there, he got to see how the other half lived. It completely changed his life. He got to see what success could look like. He got to see what wealth was. And it completely changed his worldview.

How so?

I would walk down the halls and see last names like Ford, go to some classes and realize they’re Rockefellers. These are names that were in my imagination. It taught me the importance of name and what that can mean, not only for you but your progeny. When I started at Hotchkiss, I didn’t know what a verb was. So I spent all of my time in the library studying. I spent all of my time thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up.

What are your priorities as you keep building the company?

I’m dedicating my life to the demographic shift happening in this country. Not only for Silicon Valley. Not only for business. But for this country’s competitiveness. It’s changing. And folks need to respect that and they need to celebrate it.
African-Americans  Bevel  biographies  books  demographic_changes  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  exits  Form  insights  long-term  P&G  Romans  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  Tristan_Walker  wealth_creation  black-owned  brands  consumer_goods  personal_care_products  personal_grooming  founders 
december 2018 by jerryking
P&G Buys Walker & Co. to Expand Offerings to African-Americans - WSJ
By Aisha Al-Muslim
Dec. 12, 2018

Procter & Gamble Co. PG +0.19% has acquired Walker & Co. Brands as the consumer-products giant looks to serve more African-Americans with health and beauty products.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Walker sells grooming products for men under the brand Bevel and hair-care products for women under the Form Beauty brand.

Walker will operate as a separate and wholly owned subsidiary of P&G, continuing to be led by its founder and Chief Executive Tristan Walker, ......Last year, Anglo-Dutch consumer products firm Unilever PLC acquired Sundial Brands, a New York-based hair-care and skin-care products company predominantly targeting African-Americans, for an undisclosed sum. Sundial’s brands include SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and nyakio.
African-Americans  Bevel  black-owned  brands  exits  hair  P&G  personal_care_products  personal_grooming  Tristan_Walker  Unilever  founders 
december 2018 by jerryking
Luxury Brands Buy Supply Chains to Ensure Meeting Demand
Nov. 15, 2018 | The New York Times | By Mark Ellwood.

The luxury markets are booming to such an extent that brands look to ensure they can meet demand by buying companies that supply their raw materials.

In the last six years, David Duncan has been on a buying spree. This Napa Valley-based winemaker and owner of Silver Oak Cellars hasn’t been splurging on fast cars or vacation homes, though. He’s been buying up vines — close to 500 acres in Northern California and Oregon.

It’s been a tough process, at times: He almost lost one site to a wealthy Chinese bidder. It was only when he raised his offer by $1 million that he clinched the sale at the last moment. At the same time, Mr. Duncan also took full control of A&K Cooperage, now the Oak Cooperage, the barrel maker in Higbee, Mo., in which his family had long held a stake. These hefty acquisitions are central to his 50-year plan to future-proof the family business against a changing luxury marketplace.

As Mr. Duncan realized, this market faces what might seem an enviable problem: a surfeit of demand for its limited supply. The challenge the winery will face over the next decade is not marketing, or finding customers, but finding enough high-quality raw materials to sate the looming boom in demand. Though there might be economic uncertainty among the middle classes, wealthier consumers are feeling confident and richer because of changes like looser business regulations and lower taxes.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  brands  competitive_advantage  core_competencies  future-proofing  high_net_worth  high-quality  luxury  raw_materials  scarcity  supply_chains  sustainability  vertical_integration  vineyards 
november 2018 by jerryking
How Canada's Serruya Family Made Some $300 Million Off A Bunch Of Faded Food-Service Brands
Jun 19, 2016, 07:15pm
How Canada's Serruya Family Made Some $300 Million Off A Bunch Of Faded Food-Service Brands

Amy Feldman
Forbes Staff
ice_cream  private_equity  Toronto  franchising  cold_storage  brands  foodservice  Serruya 
october 2018 by jerryking
How Tech is Drawing Shoppers Back to Bricks-and-Mortar Stores - WSJ
By Rebecca Dolan
Sept. 12, 2018

Robin Lewis, "The New Rules of Retail"

E-commerce’s disruption of malls is impossible to deny, but sometimes shopping in stores is the only way to guarantee quality before you buy. The question: Will these technologies help you make the most of the trip?
books  brands  bricks-and-mortar  customer_experience  e-commerce  high-end  innovation  Nike  retailers  technology  mobile_applications  Nordstrom 
september 2018 by jerryking
Anti-Algorithm Fashion
Sept. 10, 2018 | The New York Times | By Vanessa Friedman.

Some fashion brands are displaying an increasingly confident adherence to their own ideas about what the world should look like now.

They make what they want, in the way they want. If that means getting rained on, so be it. If that means they lose audience members to shelter, well, O.K. It sounds like a small thing, but it’s getting harder and harder to find. The industry bends toward compromise. There’s a lot of pressure these days to design by algorithm. We know too much about buying habits and likes, and the result is an insidious bias toward giving people what they have already indicated they want. It may be safe, and easier to sell, but it’s antithetical to the whole point of fashion, which should be about giving people what they never knew they wanted — what they couldn’t imagine they wanted — until they saw it. There’s a clarity to such commitment that keeps people in their seats, a ruthlessness toward pandering to the prevailing winds (or rain) that is itself desirable.
====================================================
Excerpt from 'A whole new mind: why right-brainers will rule
the future' By Daniel H. Pink. "Indeed, one of design's most potent
economic effects is this very capacity to create new markets... The
forces of Abundance, Asia, and Automation turn goods and services into
commodities so quickly that the only way to survive is by constantly
developing new innovations, inventing new categories, and (in Paola
Antonelli's lovely phrase) giving the world something it didn't know it
was missing.
analog  fashion  messiness  inspiration  algorithms  apparel  brands  clothing_labels 
september 2018 by jerryking
Mattel turns to Hollywood to boost brands
September 7, 2018 | Financial Times | Alistair Gray in New York YESTERDAY.
Mattel  Hollywood  brands  toys  entertainment  films  movies 
september 2018 by jerryking
Is Thomas Goode a sleeping giant of British retail?
August 31, 2018 | Financial Times | by Horatia Harrod.

200 year old Thomas Goode & Co is a homewares powerhouse.... Outfitted in morning suits, the staff — many of whom have worked at Thomas Goode for more than two decades — are solicitous and impeccably well-informed. There’s only one thing lacking. Customers....Johnny Sandelson, is the property entrepreneur who acquired the store for an undisclosed amount in July 2018. .....Sandelson has set himself the task of waking the company up — and it’s going to take more than just turning on the lights. What is required is a 21st-century overhaul....Thomas Goode sells more over the phone than it does online, for the simple reason it has no ecommerce platform. Some 40 per cent of its £5m in annual sales comes from special orders — a loyal client outfitting their new yacht or private jet — but oligarchs alone are unlikely to keep the business afloat....The plan, Sandelson says, is to democratise. “Fortnums did it, Smythson did it. Those great British brands reinvented themselves to become relevant to the affluent middle classes, but Thomas Goode didn’t.”.......Sandelson hopes that, in an age of experiential retail, the shop’s peerless service will entice a new generation of customers. He’s also eyeing up collaborations to reach those for whom the Thomas Goode name has little resonance.......Parts of the business that had lain dormant are to be revived, with an injection of £10m-£15m in investment. There’s a voluminous archive to be mined for designs, and production of tableware in the Thomas Goode name is being restarted at factories in Stoke-on-Trent......Sandelson is committed to a revival. “We’re unashamedly proud of our British heritage and our British brand,” he says. “To honour that, you have to be involved with a very high standard of manufacturing in Britain. There would be cheaper ways of going about things, but the British way stands for quality. Stoke-on-Trent has been producing beautiful plates for 200 years. So it works for us.”....Almost inevitably, the top floors of the South Audley Street flagship are to be turned into luxury flats. “Will we be able to afford a shop of this scale in the coming years?” says Sandelson. “I think the brand is bigger than the premises. I’m pursuing the dream on the basis that the building will be developed over time and we’ll hope to have a space within it.”
21st._century  brands  commercial_real_estate  entrepreneur  experiential_marketing  gift_ideas  heritage  history  homewares  London  luxury  middle_class  property_development  real_estate  retailers  restorations  revitalization  turnarounds  United_Kingdom  Victorian 
september 2018 by jerryking
Amazon set for Prime Day ad revenue bonanza | Financial Times
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Amazon  Amazon_Prime  brands  advertising  e-commerce 
july 2018 by jerryking
What happened to Tim Hortons? The downfall of Canada's brand | World news | The Guardian
Arwa Mahdawi

Mon 9 Jul 2018 12.00 BST Last modified on Mon 9 Jul 2018 12.01 BST
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Tim_Hortons  brands  Canada 
july 2018 by jerryking
JetBlue Tech Execs Tap Startups To Help Airline Innovate - CIO Journal. - WSJ
As digital technology transforms business, enterprises can be at a disadvantage relative to newcomers. One solution is to work with startups, but that can be tricky because of security, regulatory and policy requirements at large companies. CIO Journal spoke to the top technology executives at JetBlue Airways about how they make the relationship work through a corporate venture arm, JetBlue Technology Ventures.

The Silicon Valley-based venture group looks for technology that could add business value within 18 months, as well as that which may have longer, 5- to 10-year payoffs. It has made early and mid-stage investments in 18 startups since 2016.

“Being part of the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem is very important for us,” Eash Sundaram, JetBlue’s chief digital and technology officer, tells CIO Journal.
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Ms. Simi said JetBlue may have never come across the startups in the venture arm’s portfolio if they had simply made a request for proposals for a specific technology project. Instead, the dedicated venture team vets startups, makes strategic investments and works alongside them to match technologies to JetBlue’s current and future needs.

“It’s been hugely helpful at JetBlue in terms of keeping our thinking fresh and innovative,”
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JetBlue  brands  large_companies  airline_industry  innovation  start_ups  CIOs  machine_learning  blockchain 
july 2018 by jerryking
Nestlé: Betting on big brands
July 2, 2018 | | Financial Times | Ralph Atkins in Zurich and Scheherazade Daneshkhu i
Nestlé  brands  coffee  CEOs 
july 2018 by jerryking
The GE-free Dow is the index our age deserves | Financial Times
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson 8 HOURS AGO

The avatar of American agglomeration is now slimming down to its aviation, healthcare and power businesses. Yet if you ask anyone who grew up around American kitchens or hardware stores what GE makes, they will probably mention fridges and lightbulbs. As its new chief, John Flannery, struggles to reverse the third steep slide in GE’s shares since the start of the century, one challenge he faces is that its brand is freighted with misconceptions. 
...The Dow tracks a mere 30 stocks, compared to the S&P’s 500; the points moves get increasingly meaningless as markets rise, and with no Facebook, Amazon, Netflix or Google it is missing most of the market-moving Faangs.
.......What earned GE its special place in the American imagination is that, in its conglomerate prime, it provided a similar guide to the US’s industrial evolution as it diversified from jet engines to television shows to finance. Even now, the company is as much a bet on healthcare.... as Walgreens,
........the Dow is as much a branding triumph as a GE fridge, and the story it tells best about the US economy is how it has come to be driven by brands........The market-movers of 1896 had solid, descriptive and quietly flag-waving names like Standard Rope & Twine, Pacific Mail Steamship and the North American Company. Today’s biggest businesses, like Apple, Alphabet and Amazon, are not defined by history, geography or even what they do. Instead, they stand as testaments to the rise of intangible assets at the expense of tangible goods — as does the survival of a well-marketed industrial average in a country where services are 80 per cent of GDP. 

The Dow no longer tells us much about American industry. But it still tells us plenty about America.
benchmarks  brands  conglomerates  DJIA  exits  FAANG  GE  indignities  intangibles  misconceptions  symbolism  indices  healthcare 
june 2018 by jerryking
‘You’re Stupid If You Don’t Get Scared’: When Amazon Goes From Partner to Rival - WSJ
By Jay Greene and Laura Stevens
June 1, 2018

The data weapon
One Amazon weapon is data. In retail, Amazon gathered consumer data to learn what sold well, which helped it create its own branded goods while making tailored sales pitches with its familiar “you may also like” offer. Data helped Amazon know where to start its own delivery services to cut costs, an alternative to using United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp.

“In many ways, Amazon is nothing except a data company,” said James Thomson, a former Amazon manager who advises brands that work with the company. “And they use that data to inform all the decisions they make.”

In web services, data across the broader platform, along with customer requests, inform the company’s decisions to move into new businesses, said former Amazon executives.

That gives Amazon a valuable window into changes in how corporations in the 21st century are using cloud computing to replace their own data centers. Today’s corporations frequently want a one-stop shop for services rather than trying to stitch them together. A food-services firm, say, might want to better track data it collects from its restaurants, so it would rent computing space from Amazon and use a data service offered by a software company on Amazon’s platform to better analyze what customers order. A small business might use an Amazon partner’s online services for password and sign-on functions, along with other business-management programs.
Amazon  AWS  cloud_computing  coopetition  partnerships  private_labels  fear  data_centers  unfair_advantages  data  data_driven  delivery_services  21st._century  brands  new_businesses  strengths  platforms  small_business  tools  rivalries 
june 2018 by jerryking
Imagining the Retail Store of the Future
APRIL 12, 2017 | The New York Times | By ELIZABETH PATON.

What will the store of the future look like? Gleaming robots using facial recognition technology to personalize sales pitches to mood or past spending preferences? Voice-activated personal assistants, downloading the availability, color and fit of any and every garment to your smartphone? 3-D printing stations? No checkout counters when you leave? Holographic product displays on the shop floor that change when a customer walks by? Virtual fitting rooms via virtual reality headsets? Drones dropping deliveries in the backyard or on the front steps?.......is this the sort of shopping experience that customers really want?
Scores of leading retailers and fashion brands increasingly say no.........Farfetch — the global online marketplace for independent luxury boutiques — held a daylong event at the Design Museum in London. There, in front of 200 fashion industry insiders and partners, José Neves, the founder of Farfetch, unveiled “The Store of the Future,” a suite of new technologies developed by his company to help brands and boutiques bridge the worlds of online and offline.......A report by Bain suggests that although 70 % of high-end purchases are influenced by online interactions, stores will continue to play a critical role, with 75 % of sales still occurring in a physical location by 2025.

What may change, however, is a store’s primary purpose. Forget e-commerce, or bricks and mortar, or even omnichannel sales; according to Mr. Neves, the new retail era is one anchored in “augmented retail,” a blend of the digital and physical allowing a shopper to shift seamlessly between the two realms.....Holition is an augmented-reality consultancy and software provider based in London that has worked with some well-known retail brands.......“The holy grail for retailers is creating digital empathy....No one knows what the future will look like....those using technology and data to create bespoke personalized shopping experiences...are more likely to come out on top.”.....boutiques and physical events remained vital “marketing opportunities,” with a more specialized inventory selection and the opportunity for customers to do more than buy merchandise......talks, film screenings and designer meet-and-greets, along with social media lessons, exercise classes and floristry sessions.......“Stores cannot just be row after row of product rail anymore,” he added. . “To survive, they have to tell stories — rooted in a sense of community and entertainment — and have points of view that makes the owner stand out.”.......“Ultimately the use of data to transform stores will separate those who make it to the next step and those who won’t.
reimagining  retailers  physical_place  shopping_malls  cashierless  e-commerce  reconceptualization  future  shopping_experience  brands  fashion  omnichannel  bricks-and-mortar  MatchesFashion  Holition  Yoox  facial-recognition 
february 2018 by jerryking
Big brands lose pricing power in battle for consumers
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Anna Nicolaou in New York and Scheherazade Daneshkhu in London 2 HOURS AGO

The product manufacturers are being squeezed by the big retailers — notably, Amazon and Walmart, which together sell $600bn worth of goods a year. Walmart has long put pressure on suppliers to cut prices. Amazon’s rise has exacerbated the “deflationary impact”, Société Générale says, creating a “much tougher environment in the US”. After Amazon bought Whole Foods in June, the price war grew more intense in groceries, pushing prices to historic lows that punished producers. 

Brand loyalty has suffered in the process. Equipped with the tools to compare prices online instantly, and bombarded with more choices, shoppers are growing more likely to opt for cheaper and discounted products — particularly in categories such laundry detergent and shampoo. To keep their spots on store shelves, brands are having to accept lower prices......Former Amazon employees say the company’s algorithms scan prices across competitors in real time, automatically adjusting its own so it can offer the lowest price. While most big brands have wholesale agreements with Amazon, third-party sellers are prolific on the site, complicating price control further. A 34oz bottle of P&G’s Pantene Pro-V Shampoo & Conditioner was listed by 10 different sellers — nine of them third parties — on the shopping site.

Amazon’s dominance makes it difficult for brands to abandon the platform, or try to sell directly on their own websites. “You have 200m customers on Amazon. If you walk away, there’s 200m people who are going to just buy from your competitors,” says James Thomson, a former Amazon manager who consults brands. “You’re probably not going to win.”

“This is a pretty dire situation,” he adds. “If brands are worried about meeting quarterly targets, they can’t afford to lose Amazon sales.”

Still, “the retailers have nothing to gain by pushing [consumer products makers] into bankruptcy”,
......Consumer goods companies have responded to the pricing pressures by aggressively cutting costs, led by the “zero-based budgeting” model of 3G Capital,
large_companies  Fortune_500  brands  CPG  pricing  price_wars  shareholder_activism  Amazon  P&G  Nestlé  win_backs  price-cutting  Nelson_Peltz  shifting_tastes  Colgate-Palmolive  upstarts  Unilever  zero-based_budgeting  3G_Capital  e-commerce  Mondelez  Big_Food 
february 2018 by jerryking
Daring rather than data will save advertising
John Hegarty JANUARY 2, 2017

Algorithms are killing creativity, writes John Hegarty

Ultimately, brands are built by talking to a broad audience. Even if part of that audience never buys your product. Remember, a brand is made not just by the people who buy it, but also by the people who know about it. Fame adds value to a brand, but to build it involves saying something that captures the public’s imagination. It needs to broadcast.

Now, data are fundamentally important in the building of a market. “Big data” can provide intelligence, gather information, identify buying patterns and determine certain outcomes. But what it cannot do is create an emotional bond with the consumer. Data do not make magic. That is the job of persuasion. And it is what makes brands valuable...... Steve Jobs or James Dyson did not build brilliant companies by waiting for a set of algorithms to tell them what to do.

Persuasion and promotion.

In today’s advertising world, creativity has taken a back seat. Creativity creates value and with it difference. And difference is vital for giving a brand a competitive edge. But the growing belief in “data-only solutions” means we drive it out of the marketplace.

If everything ends up looking the same and feeling the same, markets stagnate.
advertising  Steve_Jobs  creativity  human_ingenuity  data  massive_data_sets  data_driven  brands  emotional_connections  persuasion  ingenuity  daring  algorithms 
february 2018 by jerryking
James Quincey, Coca-Cola CEO, on why brands have to take a stand
MAY 21, 2017 | FT | Lindsay Whipp in Atlanta.

Coca-Cola will be going back to its roots, developing and marketing drinks, not distributing them. But even without the bottling operations, the 51-year-old has a complex assignment on his hands.....While its fizzy drinks still account for nearly three-quarters of its sales by volume, according to Beverage Digest, its shares have underperformed those of rivals PepsiCo, which has a snacks division, and Dr Pepper Snapple over the past five years.

Mr Quincey is only too aware of the need for diversification and plans to accelerate investments in start-ups with promise. “The company must be capable of being bigger than the brand,” he says.

That distinction is important. The significant shift in consumer preferences is evident in the brand value of Coca-Cola (as opposed to Coca-Cola the company), which has tumbled from the top position globally, as ranked by BrandFinance, to 27th over the past decade. That represents a decline of more than $10bn to $31.8bn this year.

But what does this difference between company and product mean for the brand? “It’s very difficult to have the name on the door of the company and brand, and not have some overlap in what they stand for,” Mr Quincey says. “You’d have to change the name of the company. It’s not what we’re doing, just to be clear.”....Mr Quincey believes brands have to take a stand in this volatile environment — even at the risk of alienating some consumers. Coca-Cola did this earlier this year, by denouncing publicly Mr Trump’s controversial executive order banning citizens of certain majority Muslim countries from travelling to the US.

“A brand has to stand for something and you have to make the choices of what you want it to stand for, and then stand behind those choices,”
CEOs  Coca-Cola  beverages  brand_identity  brands  Pepsi  shifting_tastes 
january 2018 by jerryking
In the fashion industry, McShopping has gone global - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
PUBLISHED AUGUST 7, 2017

invaded by the same global chains that have made the shopping streets of the world's great cities all start to look the same. In the main shopping districts of Paris, Madrid, London or Toronto, the invasion of the same global chains (e.g. Zara, H&M, Primark & Uniqlo) that have made the shopping streets of the world's great cities all start to look the same. It's destroying the visual identities of cities once visited for their unique charm.

The cheap-chic revolution has brought affordable fashion to the masses and, thanks to better monitoring of offshore factories, provided millions of decent jobs in developing countries. It also has its downsides. Massive amounts of "disposable" clothing end up in landfills each year. When clothes are this cheap, we don't think twice about chucking what we bought last month for something even trendier. Instead of four fashion seasons, we now have at least 12...... department stores are a dying breed. Those that survive will likely only do so by going global.
Konrad_Yakabuski  fast-fashion  fashion  apparel  retailers  department_stores  brands  globalization  concentration  identity  Uniqlo  H&M  HBC  Zara  Paris  Madrid  London  Toronto  disposability  Primark  uniqueness  J.Crew 
january 2018 by jerryking
Another Arnault Steps Into the Spotlight
NOV. 7, 2017 | The New York Times | By ELIZABETH PATON.

Clos19, LVMH’s first e-boutique and travel experience agency dedicated to Champagne, wines and spirits, had its debut in the United States, via a fizz-fueled soiree in New York. The focus of Ms. Watine Arnault’s brainchild, she said after the party, is on the “art of hosting” in the 21st century.

So what, one wonders, does that entail? Clos19 isn’t exactly an online bottle shop. Yes, you can order crates of LVMH’s finest drinks brands, like Dom Pérignon, Veuve Cliquot, Belvedere or Hennessy, to be delivered to your door in 24 hours. But you can also specify the temperature of the deliveries, and the glassware to go with it. Tastings or consultations with in-house experts will be regularly offered, as is event planning for weddings and dinner parties.

Clos19 also offers access to LVMH cellars or experiences designed around the spirits, including a fire-and-ice tasting in Antarctica or yachting off the Cloudy Bay vineyards in New Zealand. The lowest-priced experience is about $230, with the cost of luxury scaling up from there to dizzying heights.
LVMH  digital_strategies  Clos19  liquor  events  curation  brands  luxury  family-owned_businesses  Champagne  experiential_marketing 
november 2017 by jerryking
From Swiss post to Swedish retail
26 August/27 August 2017 | FT | Tyler Brule

Q: I know you're a fan of Italy, so what do you think will happen to Alitalia [that went into administration in May]? Or do you even care?

A: First, I...
H&M  brands  retailers  Tyler_Brûlé  department_stores  Alitalia  Lufthansa  fast-fashion 
november 2017 by jerryking
The next Coco Chanel will be a coder
Aug. 26, 2017 | The Financial Times. p4. | by Federico Marchetti.

Eager to know what the next big thing in luxury will be? I am utterly convinced that digital talent will be as important to fashio...
brands  CEOs  coding  digital_influencers  digital_savvy  fashion  Instagram  luxury  Yoox 
november 2017 by jerryking
Kenneth Cole on keeping retail fashionable in a modern age
Nov. 2, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | SUSAN KRASHINSKY ROBERTSON.

About a year ago, your company announced the closing of all but two of your stores in the United States. Why?

The retail model needs to be re-imagined. We're looking to focus on the brand experience in the virtual universe, and then recreate a new physical experience.

How much of your sales in the future do you envision coming from the brick-and-mortar space?

Everyone is trying to figure it out. The shopping experience needs to be very different. It's happening really fast. It will be an interesting time. A lot of people will not survive it. At the end of the day, you'll have a stronger, more efficient marketplace.

More than three decades into the business, how has your view of advertising changed?

In the past, my goal was to sell my brand. Over the past five years, it seems everybody is their own brand – they wake up every day and curate it on their Facebook, their Twitter feed, their Instagram feed. My goal is to hopefully convince you to allow me to be part of your brand. All of that is changing.
Kenneth_Cole  brands  Susan_Krashinsky  retailers  fashion  bricks-and-mortar  cause_marketing  advertising  store_closings  shopping_experience  physical_experiences 
november 2017 by jerryking
Inside the Decline of Sears, the Amazon of the 20th Century - WSJ
By Suzanne Kapner
Oct. 31, 2017 1:48 p.m. ET
186 COMMENTS
Shoppers hunting for this holiday season’s hot toy, the L.O.L. Surprise, may have trouble finding it at Sears or Kmart stores. Worried about the financial health of the retail chains, the company that makes the toy, a ball that children unwrap to reveal small dolls, has reduced shipments to Sears Holdings Corp. SHLD -5.75%

“We cut their credit line and shortened payment terms,” said Isaac Larian, chief executive of toy maker MGA Entertainment Inc. “If they pay one day late, we will cut them off.”

Sears once dominated American retailing and helped build famous brands, including Whirlpool appliances, Craftsman tools, Schwinn bicycles and Allstate insurance. Now, bleeding cash and losing shoppers, the 124-year-old company is scrambling to keep suppliers—the lifeblood of any retail chain—from bolting.

To guarantee shipments from LG Electronics Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. , Sears is paying them cash up front for some goods, said people familiar with the matter. Levi Strauss & Co. has stopped supplying women’s jeans to the chain, said another person. At Clorox Co. , “We have certainly adjusted our payment terms,” said CEO Benno Dorer.

A monthslong feud between Sears and Whirlpool Corp. burst into the open last week when the sides couldn’t agree on terms to keep their century-old partnership going. Earlier in 2017, Sears sued two longtime manufacturers of its Craftsman tools to keep them shipping merchandise to stores.
retailers  Sears  Kmart  brands  decline  payment_terms  Whirlpool  Levi_Strauss  Allstate  Schwinn  Craftsman  supply_chains 
november 2017 by jerryking
How Peloton is Marketing a $2,000 Bike Beyond the Rich - WSJ
By Alexandra Bruell
Oct. 25, 2017

When Carolyn Tisch Blodgett joined fitness startup Peloton as its brand marketing lead a year-and-a-half ago, the company’s executives were focused on promoting the functionality of their product -- a $1,995 stationary bike with an attached tablet and a $39-a-month subscription service for access to live and on-demand classes.

What they were missing, however, was a compelling brand story about the bike’s convenience and its role in connecting riders around the country, largely through a leaderboard that displays rider data, said Ms. Blodgett.

“My challenge over the last year-and-a-half has been telling this brand story,” she said. “We wanted to bring the product to life but also the brand.”

Ms. Blodgett also conducted research showing that the company had been targeting a core, affluent audience, but overlooking a less affluent consumer who was willing to splurge on a convenient fitness habit.

Peloton is now shifting gears with a new financing program ($97 per month for 39 months for both the bike and subscription service), an ad campaign that’s more relatable to a diverse consumer base and an NBC Olympics sponsorship.
Peloton  fitness  storytelling  brand_identity  brands  data_driven  connected_devices  subscriptions  overlooked  overlooked_opportunities  functionality 
october 2017 by jerryking
Procter & Gamble vs. Nelson Peltz: A Battle for the Future of Big Brands - WSJ
By Sharon Terlep
Oct. 8, 2017

Activist investor Nelson Peltz, who wants P&G to radically revise its strategy, argues the success of Ms. Francisco’s unit is the exception. He says the Cincinnati giant, hopelessly mired in the past, should shift to smaller, niche brands disconnected from its marquee products, pull in talent from the outside and split into three independent units.

“All the action today is local. It’s these small brands. It’s what the millennials want,” the 75-year-old investor said. “They want a brand with emotion, a brand that’s got a story behind it, a brand that brings value to the environment or is organic.”...P&G stands out as the largest company to face off against an activist investor.....

Many the world’s leading consumer-products companies, which once made the goods that stocked supermarket shelves the world over, have found it hard to adapt to rapidly shifting consumer tastes and the rise of smaller brands. The outcome of the Peltz-P&G battle will help determine the industry’s future direction.....P&G executives have transformed the company into a leaner organization. They say the future lies in the same fundamentals that guided the company for 180 years: huge brands such as Tide and Gillette that spin off products so effective they dominate their category.

“Declaring big brands dead and buried just because there is new media and a new generation is wrong,” said P&G’s lead independent director, Jim McNerney, the former chief executive of Boeing Co. and 3M Co. “Our new world is big brands presented in different ways through different media.”

Mr. McNerney argues that Mr. Peltz, who has had directorships at H.J. Heinz Co. and Oreo maker Mondelez International Inc., is trying to apply a formula that works in food, which is more susceptible to shifting consumer whims, but not for packaged goods such as diapers and dish soap.
P&G  brands  China  localization  shareholder_activism  Nelson_Peltz  shifting_tastes  CPG  emotional_connections 
october 2017 by jerryking
IKEA Jumps Into ‘Gig Economy’ With Deal for TaskRabbit
Sept. 28, 2017 | WSJ | By Saabira Chaudhuri and Eliot Brown.

IKEA agreed to acquire Silicon Valley startup TaskRabbit—the online marketplace that connects people with freelancers willing to run errands and do odd jobs—combining the pioneer of the flat pack with a trailblazer of the so-called gig economy.
....Documents related to a financing round from 2015 suggest TaskRabbit then had a valuation of about $50 million....the deal represents a bigger strategic tack at the furniture company. It also underscores a broader shift at many large companies grappling with big changes brought on by digitization. Many established corporations are increasingly turning to Silicon Valley to help their business grow, or slow their declines—sometimes spending heavily on small venture capital-backed startups that have strong traction with young consumers.

Especially where older industries are shifting rapidly, deals have piled up. Auto makers have become prolific investors and buyers of self-driving startups. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has become one of the more active buyers of startups as it grapples with a shift to e-commerce, including a June deal to buy men’s online clothier Bonobos.

Several large firms have launched small Silicon Valley outposts and venture capital arms of their own. Often, though, they say it makes more sense to buy these startups than build a new brand or operation themselves.

The TaskRabbit deal is IKEA’s first foray anywhere near Silicon Valley. The privately held company—when it has bought anything at all—has tended to focus on forestry and manufacturing firm purchases..... IKEA intends to also learn from TaskRabbit’s digital expertise. Retailers and brands globally have been racing to capture shopper data in a bid to personalize their offerings and build customer loyalty.......The bulk of IKEA’s sales are still made in its sprawling out-of-town superstores that house everything from plants to beds. It has 357 stores across 29 countries. But it has worked to adapt to a rise in online shopping, rolling out home delivery and click-and-collect options. IKEA has also been opening small, centrally located stores situated near public transport that stock a limited range of offerings and are also used as collection points.

The company’s website had 2.1 billion visits in fiscal 2016, up 9% from the prior year. Earlier in September, it launched an augmented reality app that lets people place IKEA furniture in their homes. It has also souped up its product range, offering tables and lamps that double up as wireless phone chargers and bulbs that can be controlled wirelessly.

“As urbanization and digital transformation continue to challenge retail concepts we need to develop the business faster and in a more flexible way,” Mr. Brodin said. “An acquisition of TaskRabbit would be an exciting leap in this transformation.”
IKEA  TaskRabbit  gig_economy  home-assembly  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  Silicon_Valley  large_companies  brands  Fortune_500  start_ups  e-commerce  home-delivery  BOPIS  augmented_reality  urbanization  digital_strategies  retailers  product_launches 
september 2017 by jerryking
The Not-So-Glossy Future of Magazines -
SEPT. 23, 2017 | The New York Times | By SYDNEY EMBER and MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM.

Suddenly, it seemed, longstanding predictions about the collapse of magazines had come to pass.

Magazines have sputtered for years, their monopoly on readers and advertising erased by Facebook, Google and more nimble online competitors. But editors and executives said the abrupt churn in the senior leadership ranks signaled that the romance of the business was now yielding to financial realities.

As publishers grasp for new revenue streams, a ‘‘try-anything’’ approach has taken hold. Time Inc. has a new streaming TV show, “Paws & Claws,” that features viral videos of animals. Hearst started a magazine with the online rental service Airbnb. Increasingly, the longtime core of the business — the print product — is an afterthought, overshadowed by investments in live events, podcasts, video, and partnerships with outside brands.

The changes represent one of the most fundamental shifts in decades for a business that long relied on a simple formula: glossy volumes thick with high-priced ads.

“Sentimentality is probably the biggest enemy for the magazine business,” David Carey, the president of Hearst Magazines, said in an interview. “You have to embrace the future.”.......experiments are part of an industrywide race to find some way — any way — to make up for the hemorrhaging of revenue.

Hearst recently introduced The Pioneer Woman Magazine, a partnership with the Food Network host Ree Drummond that was initially sold only at Walmart. Its new travel publication, Airbnbmag, is geared toward customers of the do-it-yourself online rental site, with distribution at newsstands, airports and supermarkets. Meredith has started a magazine called The Magnolia Journal with the HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Even Condé Nast, the glitzy purveyor of luxury titles, has recognized the advantages of outside partnerships....debuting a quarterly print title for Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand, with a cover featuring a topless Ms. Paltrow submerged in mud from France.
magazines  generational_change  brands  Vanity_Fair  print_journalism  churn  events  partnerships  sentimentality  digital_media  journalism  Hearst  Meredith  publishing  advertising  decline  experimentation  trends  Condé_Nast  resignations  exits  popular_culture 
september 2017 by jerryking
Toys ‘R’ Us versus Amazon: No contest
September 17, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | BARRIE MCKENNA.

It's a new era all right...The industry is grappling with the relentless onslaught of Amazon and Alibaba, excess retail space, the retreat of department-store mall anchors and intense price competition. Meanwhile, consumers are shifting their spending from things to experiences, including entertainment and dining-out
The harsh reality for Toys "R" Us and other big-box stores is that they aren't indispensable any more as North Americans discover new and different ways to shop. You don't have to schlep to a suburban shopping strip to find the newest Lego set, video game or electronic gadget. Order it online, and you can have it delivered to your door, often for free the next day, at the best price available anywhere.

....retail experts have warned that a tipping point was coming for the industry as more and more shopping moved online. This looks like the year.....Analysts predict that a record 9,000 retail stores will close across the U.S. in 2017. That would eclipse 2016, when roughly 6,200 stores closed....
Retailers have been filing for protection from creditors at a faster pace this year than at any time since the 2008-09 recession. Toys "R" Us joins a long list of famous retail casualties of 2017 in Canada and the U.S., including Sears Canada, The Limited, Wet Seal, BCBG, Payless Shoes, Sports Authority, Gymboree, Aéropostale and American Apparel. And there are still three-plus months to go.....The rise of Amazon is proof that consumers are embracing new ways of buying. The company's North American sales grew five-fold to $80-billion (U.S.) between 2010 and 2016. Half of U.S. households now subscribe to Amazon Prime, a fee-based service that offers free two-day shipping, music and video streaming plus other perks......What's alarming isn't so much the share of shopping that has moved online, but the speed at which it's moved.

Warren Buffett sold off nearly $1-billion worth of Walmart stock earlier this year, explaining that traditional retailing is "too tough" a business in the age of Amazon. "The world has evolved, and it's going to keep evolving, but the speed is increasing," Mr. Buffett said.

Amazon and China's Alibaba won't be the only winners in this new era. A vast array of other businesses feed off the online industry, including shippers and logistics companies, plus a vast network of technology companies, including store platforms (Shopify), analytics companies and app makers.
Amazon  Alibaba  e-commerce  store_closings  Barrie_McKenna  retailers  bricks-and-mortar  toys  Toys_"R"_Us  bankruptcies  brands  Amazon_Prime  home-delivery  accelerated_lifecycles  Warren_Buffett  Wal-Mart  big-box 
september 2017 by jerryking
Best Buy’s Secrets for Thriving in the Amazon Age
SEPT. 18, 2017 | The New York Times | By KEVIN ROOSE.

Here are the keys to Best Buy’s turnaround, according to Mr. Joly:

1. Price, price, price

The most worrisome trend in big-box retail was “showrooming” .....To combat showrooming and persuade customers to complete their purchases at Best Buy, Mr. Joly announced a price-matching guarantee....Price-matching costs Best Buy real money, but it also gives customers a reason to stay in the store, and avoids handing business to competitors.

2. Focus on humans

Mr. Joly also realized that if Best Buy was going to compete with Amazon, which has spent billions building a speedy delivery system and plans to use drones to become even more efficient, it needed to get better at things that robots can’t do well — namely, customer service & customer experience....Best Buy fixed its internal product search engine. It also restored a much-loved employee discount that had been suspended and embarked on an ambitious program to retrain its employees so they could answer questions about entirely new categories of electronics, such as virtual reality headsets and smart home appliances.....Customers had always loved Best Buy’s Geek Squad.....sometimes, people needed help before they bought big and expensive gadgets. So it started an adviser program that allows customers to get free in-home consultations about what product they should buy, and how it should be installed....a pilot program last year, the service is now being rolled out nationwide.

3. Turn brick-and-mortar into showcase-and-ship

Best Buy’s online ordering system was completely divorced from its stores. If a customer placed an order on the website, it would ship from a central warehouse. If that warehouse didn’t have the item in stock, the customer was out of luck.....Mr. Joly realized that with some minor changes, each of Best Buy’s 1,000-plus big-box stores could ship packages to customers, serving as a mini warehouse for its surrounding area. Now, when a customer orders a product on Best Buy’s website, the item is sent from the location that can deliver it the fastest — a store down the street, perhaps, or a warehouse five states away. It was a small, subtle change, but it allowed Best Buy to improve its shipping times, and made immediate gratification possible for customers. Now, roughly 40 % of Best Buy’s online orders are either shipped or picked up from a store.

Best Buy also struck deals with large electronics companies like Samsung, Apple and Microsoft to feature their products in branded areas within the store. Now, rather than jamming these companies’ products next to one another on shelves, Best Buy allows them to set up their own dedicated kiosks. (Apple’s area inside a Best Buy, for example, has the same sleek wooden tables and minimalist design as an Apple Store.) It’s a concept borrowed from department stores, and it’s created a lucrative new revenue stream. Even Amazon has set up kiosks in Best Buy stores to show off its voice-activated Alexa gadgets.

4. Cut costs quietly

Almost every business turnaround plan includes cutting costs. Best Buy has used the scalpel as quietly as possible, gradually letting leases expire for unprofitable stores and consolidating its overseas divisions, trimming a layer of middle managers in 2014, and reassigned roughly 400 Geek Squad employees within the company. No public rounds of layoffs, which can crater employee morale and create a sinking-ship vibe.

Best Buy has also found more creative penny-pinching methods. Once, the company noticed that an unusually high number of flat-screen TVs were being dropped in its warehouses. It revamped the handling process, reducing the number of times TVs were picked up by a clamp lift and adding new carts to prevent TV boxes from falling over. The changes resulted in less broken inventory and bigger profits.

5. Get lucky, stay humble and don’t tempt fate

It’s lucky that the products it specializes in selling, like big-screen TVs and high-end audio equipment, are big-ticket items that many customers still feel uncomfortable buying sight unseen from a website. It’s lucky that several large competitors have gone out of business, shrinking its list of rivals. And it’s lucky that the vendors who make the products it sells, like Apple and Samsung, have kept churning out expensive blockbuster gadgets.

“They’re at the mercy of the product cycles,” said Stephen Baker, a tech industry analyst at NPD Group. “If people stop buying PCs or they don’t care about big-screen TVs anymore, they have a challenge.”

Mr. Joly knows that despite Best Buy’s recent momentum, it’s not out of the woods yet. To succeed over the long term, it will need to do more than cut costs and match prices. Walmart, another big-box behemoth, is investing billions of dollars in a digital expansion with the acquisition of e-commerce companies like Jet and Bonobos, and could prove to be a fierce rival. Amazon has been expanding into brick-and-mortar retail with its acquisition of Whole Foods, and is moving into Best Buy’s home installation and services market....
“Once you’ve had a near-death experience,” he said, “arrogance, if you had it in your bones, has disappeared forever.”
Amazon  Best_Buy  big-box  CEOs  turnarounds  pilot_programs  nationwide  contra-Amazon  brands  kiosks  cost-cutting  luck  Wal-Mart  Jet  Bonobos  pricing  showrooming  price-matching  customer_service  search_engines  in-home  BOPIS  Samsung  Apple  Microsoft  store_within_a_store  consumer_electronics  product_cycles  customer_experience 
september 2017 by jerryking
Benevolent Bacon? Nestle And Unilever Gobble Up Niche Brands - WSJ
By Saabira Chaudhuri
Sept. 7, 2017

The global packaged-food industry is facing fierce competition from a burgeoning number of small, but high-growth food and beverage brands. These brands have struck a chord with consumers looking for locally produced or more healthy, natural choices.

Amid this shift, sales from traditional players have flagged, spurring consolidation, cost cutting and restructuring.

Unilever fended off an unsolicited takeover by Kraft Heinz Co. earlier this year. Activist investor Dan Loeb’s Third Point hedge fund in June disclosed a major stake in Nestlé, calling for changes in strategy to improve shareholder returns. In response, the two consumer-goods firms have focused on cost cutting and promises to boost dividends, while going on the hunt for nimbler food and beverage brands with the potential to accelerate growth.

‘We’re experiencing a consumer shift toward plant-based proteins.’
—Nestlé USA Chief Executive Paul Grimwood
Nestlé’s deal to buy Sweet Earth comes less than three months after it bought a stake in subscription-meals company Freshly, which sells healthy, prepared meals to consumers across the U.S.

Moss Landing, Calif.-based Sweet Earth bills itself as a natural, ethical, environmentally conscious company that substitutes plant proteins for animal ones in meals like curries, stir fries, breakfast wraps, burgers and pasta. Founded in 2011, Sweet Earth is available in more than 10,000 stores in the U.S. It is stocked at independent natural grocers, as well as bigger chains like Amazon.com Inc.’s Whole Foods, Target Corp. , Kroger Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

“We’re experiencing a consumer shift toward plant-based proteins,” said Paul Grimwood, chief executive of Nestlé’s U.S. arm. Plant-based food, as a sector, is growing at double-digit percentages rates, Nestlé said.
Big_Food  brands  CPG  emotional_connections  Unilever  niches  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  Nestlé  shifting_tastes  start_ups  large_companies  Fortune_500  plant-based  healthy_lifestyles 
september 2017 by jerryking
Hard sell for the ad men
| Financial Times |

Consumer goods groups are cutting costs amid slowing growth – the advertising industry is first to feel the pinch
CPG  cost-cutting  shareholder_activism  advertising  Big_Food  advertising_agencies  P&G  bots  marketing  budgets  Unilever  ABInBev  Mondelez  WPP  Interpublic  brands  Nestlé  slow_growth 
august 2017 by jerryking
Hearst ‘Incubator’ Focusing on Women-Led Startups - WSJ
By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
Aug. 17, 2017

HearstLab has looked at more than 700 companies, Ms. Burton said.

For HearstLab to invest, a business must be led by a woman, have a product generating at least some revenue, and be willing to move to Hearst Tower. “It’s a seed that has been created and we put it in the greenhouse,” she said.

HearstLab usually invests $250,000 to $500,000 through the form of a convertible note that typically converts to a 5% to 7% equity stake after a startup lands outside capital.

A separate women-focused, early-stage investment fund, Female Founders Fund, invests primarily in e-commerce, technology services, web services, and new platforms. It has invested in 30 companies through two separate funds since launching in 2014, including Zola, a wedding registry, and Maven, a digital clinic for women’s health.

“It’s typically been quite difficult for women to raise startup financing,” said Anu Duggal, the fund’s founding partner. “We’re proving you can get great returns by choosing this investment thesis.” Ms. Duggal declined to say how much Female Founders Fund has invested altogether.

Lindsay Jurist-Rosner, Wellthy’s co-founder and chief executive, said in an interview that she moved into Hearst Tower in June 2016. Wellthy has since struck a corporate sponsorship deal with Hearst that enables Hearst to offer its services as an employee benefit.

That deal, she noted, has helped Wellthy land other contracts with major employers. “It’s been a validator,”
Hearst  incubators  brands  start_ups  women  venture_capital  vc  founders  funding 
august 2017 by jerryking
Businesses must quickly count the cost of cyber crime
8 July /9 July 2017 | Financial Times | Brooke Masters.

Transparency without the full facts can be dangerous....Cyber attacks are frightening and hard for investors to evaluate. Quantify, to the extent possible, the impact as quickly as you can.
malware  Mondelez  cyber_security  WPP  transparency  cyberattacks  brands 
august 2017 by jerryking
Lego Turns to Digitally-Savvy Dane as Its New CEO - WSJ
By Saabira Chaudhuri
Updated Aug. 10, 2017

Lego named named Niels B. Christiansen, the 51-year-old former boss of Danish industrial group Danfoss A/S, as its new CEO. He replaces Bali Padda, a 61-year-old Brit who in December became Lego’s first non-Danish chief since its foundation in 1932.....The appointment comes as Lego, which employs 18,500 people, grapples with slowing sales growth and competition from smartphone apps and videogames. It is locked in battle with Mattel Inc. to be the world’s largest toy company by sales. For now, Mattel is slightly bigger, with $5.46 billion in revenue last year. Lego sales rose 6% last year to $5.38 billion, following a decade of double-digit growth, after a big marketing push in the U.S. failed to lift stalled sales there......Like rival Mattel, Lego is intensely focused on modernizing its toys for a digital era in which children spend more time on tablet computers and smartphones. The company launched an app in February that functions as a mini-social network, allowing children to share what they build online. It has also created Lego Boost, which combines computer coding with brick play, and is focusing on ways to use smartphones to bridge physical and digital play.

The executive reshuffle comes as arch rival Mattel has also sharpened its focus on technology. Earlier this year it named Margaret Georgiadis, a former president of Americas at Alphabet Inc.’s Google as its new CEO......Mr. Christiansen as having “transformed a traditional industrial company into a technology leader” while at Danfoss. He said the new CEO would look for digital opportunities in everything from sourcing and manufacturing to engaging with consumers and retailers, who are increasingly moving online.
Lego  brands  digital_strategies  Denmark  CEOs  appointments  toys  Mattel  play  product_launches 
august 2017 by jerryking
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