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tech in the spotlight

Can Apple Watch Aid Transition to Luxury Brand With $17,000 Wearable?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 9, 2015 06:25 PM

So the wait is over. And now we know that Apple Watch costs almost as much as Burberry's priciest timepiece at its top end. But this is no ordinary timepiece, of course.

The highly-anticipated Apple Watch reveal today was underwhelming to those who were paying attention when most of the features were revealed in September—with the notable exception of ResearchKit to aid medical research, and the pricing for the luxury top tier Edition Apple Watch.

The Edition duo above? Each one costs a cool $17,000, depending whether you want the 18-Karat yellow gold watch with the red strap or the 18-Karat rose gold with rose gray strap.Continue reading...

bc q&a

Wear Your Impact: 5 Questions with The Base Project's Chris Akin

Posted by Corey Lewis on March 5, 2015 06:02 PM

As the story goes, The Base Project started one night over dinner in New York. Brothers Doug and Chris Akin were griping about their day jobs, and wishing they could use their skills and connections to help others.

Now they're living their dream as partners with local artisans in Namibia and Ghana to make fair trade bracelets and travel bags. The socio-entrepreneurs have built more than a socially-conscious fashion brand—they're created a bridge for others without their opportunities to live their dreams. 

Not only are the artisans' sustainable goods exported to global markets, they're developing business skills, building their communities and futures, and gaining access to global markets, with the goods now available at Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew, Urban Outfitters, TOMS and other retailers.Continue reading...


Brand Speak: Remembering Nelson Mandela, Twelve Months On

Posted by Jeremy Sampson on December 5, 2014 01:01 PM

The following is a guest column by Jeremy Sampson, who launched Interbrand in Africa, on today's anniversary of Nelson Mandela's passing:

The death of Nelson Mandela at the grand age of 95 a year ago today was a day to celebrate and a day to mourn. The man had been through so much in his lifetime, spending over 26 years as a prisoner, yet had emerged as an iconic global giant full of humility, pragmatism and charisma.

The local and international media had for months been camping outside his door, first at his hospital in Pretoria and then at his house in Johannesburg. There had been premature reports of his death, false alarms that had sent the media into repeated frenzies, as global media personalities flew in and out of the country jostling to be on hand with breaking news.

For some months it had been apparent that the great man was ready to take his leave, but it appeared some would not let go.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Occupy Clorox: Company Pull-Out Leads to Venezuela Mess

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 13, 2014 02:36 PM

Clorox has been manufacturing and selling its products in Venezuela since 1990, when it introduced Pine-Sol to the nation. But now, just before its 25th anniversary, things have gone so sour that the cleanser company abruptly pulled out of the market—and is now protesting the government's decision to restart its operations.

In late September, the Clorox Company shut down its Venezuelan business by closing its plants and firing workers after “it could not get access to foreign exchange to pay for supplies and could not raise the price of its products because of Venezuela government restrictions,” according to the Latin American Herald Tribune

"This is a very difficult situation for our company," Clorox Chairman and CEO Don Knauss stated in a press release. The Venezuelan government did not take kindly to the move, however, and voted to take over the business and restart operations. Both sides are now gearing up for a legal battle.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Nestlé Continues Commitment to Fair Trade and Fair Work on Cocoa Farms

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 13, 2014 01:47 PM

Nestlé’s is increasing its commitment to hundreds of children working on the Ivory Coast's cocoa farms where cocoa for its chocolate is sourced, focusing on getting them out of the fields and back to the classroom.

Working with the International Cocoa Initiative, "Nestlé is providing cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire with the practical support and means to get their children into the classroom," said Sandra Martinez, head of the company's global Chocolate and Confectionery business. "Identifying exactly what is happening, and where, represents an important first step to resolving the issue of child labour in cocoa farming." 

The Nestlé Cocoa Plan, launched in 2009, is a consumer-facing initiative backed by an investment of over $120 million over the next decade that strives to address child labor while providing quality, sustainable cocoa. As part of the initiative, Nestlé is mapping and monitoring where children are working and coordinates with liaison officers to help identity families and children that may be at risk of a taking part in child labor.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Coke Leads the Way with Major Investment in African Development

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 7, 2014 11:22 AM

This week, the US-Africa Leaders Summit saw President Barack Obama and others engage in talks to help strengthen the continent and America's relationship with it. The President announced that US businesses will invest $14 billion in "construction, clean energy, banking and information technology projects across Africa,” to help ease hunger and poverty, according to Reuters. Coca-Cola is leading the charge with a promise of $5 billion, the Washington Post reports.

Coke’s contribution comes as a promise to source more of its products from Africa by the end of the decade, but it won't be alone. Brands including Chevron, Citigroup, Ford, GE, Lockheed Martin, Marriott, Morgan Stanley and Walmart are on the list of more than 90 US companies involved, Reuters notes. Some of Coke’s efforts in Africa will include “plans … to secure more reliable sources of mango puree in Kenya and Malawi and promote orange and pineapple concentrate production in Nigeria,” the Post reports.

"These investments will deepen US economic engagement in Africa, fueling growth that will support broader African prosperity and emerging markets for US businesses, which will support jobs in both the United States and Africa," a White House official told Reuters.Continue reading...

brand partners

After a Two-Year Courtship, Facebook Buys WhatsApp to Connect the World

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 20, 2014 10:57 AM

In its largest acquisition to date, Facebook announced Wednesday that it will buy mobile messaging juggernaut WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock, a massive landgrab that will cement Facebook's international growth plans. 

Widely used in Europe, India and elsewhere for sending text, images, audio and video messages over the internet for free, WhatsApp has 450 million active users, and adds nearly 1 million new users everyday that send over 50 billion messages daily. And while Facebook may rule the messaging roost in the US and Canada, WhatsApp was too far ahead of the international game for Facebook to even consider trying to play catch-up. 

With a youthful user-base that is snapping up mobile technology across emerging markets in Asia, South America and Africa, it's a safe bet to say that most of them will be using a Facebook-owned app in the future despite their growing habits to eschew mainstream social networks like Facebook itself. 

The huge move is indicative of Facebook's coming of age, the New York Times notes: "The company intends to acquire or build a family of applications instead of simply buttressing its core social network."Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Intel Aims to Spread Digital Literacy to African Women

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on October 2, 2013 07:27 PM

Intel is turning research into action with its "She Will Connect" initiative—a program born out of the company's "Women and the Web" report that showed the gender gap between men and women in developing countries concerning digital literacy. 

The program aims to reach five million women in Africa beginning this year, with the help of local and global governments and NGOs, according to MarketingDaily's MediaPost. 

The task will be tackled two ways: with a mobile gaming app that will teach digital literacy skills, and with a partnership with World Pulse, which will help create a peer network for the platform's digital training software.Continue reading...

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