Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 25, 2013 05:58 PM
Americans replace 130 million mobile phones annually, and not even 10 percent of those get recycled. Even those consumers that try to hold out from snapping up new technology immediately find themselves practically begging their phones to fall apart so they can make the upgrade in good conscience.
Google-owned Motorola is aiming to help the problem with its modular smartphone project, Project Ara. The company has just signed a deal with a South Carolina 3D printing company to create a modular phone production platform that can be scaled for mass distribution. The pieces only need to be snapped into a a frame if and when an upgrade is needed.
The modular smartphones will allow consumers to decide what elements are most important to them. If it is the camera, for example, a higher-quality camera module can be bought and snapped into place. If it is a different kind of display, the consumer will have access to that as well. Information Week calls it “Lego-style customization.” Such a phone, of course, would mean that smartphone sales in general could go down and less phones would be wasted.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 20, 2013 01:54 PM
Along with printed newspapers and books, greeting cards have been put on deathwatch for some time now due to the rise of digital communications via email, text and online greetings. But Hallmark, the biggest of them all, is fighting back.
The company has opened a new concept store in Kansas City, Mo., to test out new products and retail experiences that will keep the print brand relevant after a decade that saw the greeting card business fall 60 percent, Time reports. The brand has even opted to drop its full name, choosing to mark the store with "HMK."
What HMK is mostly pushing is customization. According to the Kansas City Star, consumers can buy cards, books, and cutting boards, among other things, that are customized. Plus, there are warm cookies when customers enter.
“We wanted to get credit for doing something buzzworthy,” Jack Moore, Hallmark Gold Crown president, told the Star. “We wanted our brand to feel younger and more exciting to today’s shoppers. We want the consumer to say, ‘Wow. This is different. This store will help me create the perfect, personalized gift that is not available anywhere else.’”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2013 07:27 PM
An under-appreciated aspect of the car business these days is the continued boom in customizing. Between the strong recovery of "stock" car sales in the US market and hand-wringing about Millennials taking the zing out of car ownership, it's possible to lose track of the fact that, for many Americans, customizing—or "tuning"—their rides remains a driving passion.
That fact is being restored this week at the 47th annual Specialty Equipment Market Association show and convention in Las Vegas, which show organizers have said promises to be their biggest ever. It's only open to people in the auto business, not the public—but if the customizing crowd and original-equipment auto brands didn't know there was a still-growing crowd of enthusiasts to buy the wares they're displaying, they wouldn't bother.
So Ford, for instance, is crowing about seeing its Mustang and F-Series named "Hottest Car" and "Hottest Truck" of the show. More Mustangs and F-Series are on display on the show floor than any other car or truck, the company said, leading to the award—and testifying to the popularity and appeal of each vehicle. And indeed, F-Series trucks remain America's most popular vehicle, and Ford is expected to launch a new 50th-anniversary version of the iconic Mustang sports car next year.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 18, 2013 03:52 PM
Burberry Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey promised back in September ahead of its global flagship store opening on London's Regent Street that Burberry would be stepping up its digital innovation lead even more. He wasn't kidding.
London Fashion Week kicked off Monday with Burberry's autumn/winter 2013 women's ready-to-wear show full of glossy trenchcoats, hearts, animal prints and polished metals. It's also taking a shine to latest in digital personalization: giving consumers the ability to order what they see on the catwalk straight from their mobile devices with a novel twist—customization using the brand's proprietary technology.
It's the latest example of how the Burberry brand is all in on tech, including its Art of the Trench and Burberry World digital platforms, pushing photos to Instagram, making contact with consumers across the social and mobile web. The fastest growing luxury brand on Interbrand's 2012 Best Global Brands list is now bridging social and mobile with its latest move: live streaming its fashion show on its website, on Facebook, on Twitter (a first, the brand believes, according to the New York Times) and in its digital-first flagship Regent Street store.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 27, 2012 10:20 AM
Brands can ask their fans to do some crazy things to show their love, but Nike Japan has found a new way to get its devotees to make themselves look a little crazy while helping to spread the Nike name.
Their marketing team's latest stunt: Free Face, which asks consumers to, well, load an image of their face that the magic of technology will use to create an oddly similar image of a Nike shoe. This, of course, has led to some hilarious results.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 24, 2012 06:33 PM
Nike is setting a goal to have consumers be able to get their shoes individually made to perfectly fit them. The shoe giant takes another step toward reaching its vision with this week's release of the second round of its HTM Flyknit collection, which features the brand's innovative new technology for customizing shoes that debuted in February.
The Oregonian reports that the company sees Flyknit as “game-changing technology” (Bloomberg Businessweek calls it "the swoosh of the future") because of two different things. One is that it streamlines production (read: lessens the need for humans). When the day comes that robots can do the whole thing, you can expect Nike CEO Matt Parker (and all of the company’s shareholders) to be doing a jig of joy.
The second reason Flyknit is so radical is that it creates less waste. The uppers of Flyknit shoes are constructed as they are needed (on the fly, if you will) rather than with excess material that ends up being scrapped, thereby living up to the Nike Better World eco-platform.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 12, 2012 10:13 AM
While regular chocoholics are spending their nickels and dimes on such treats as Kit Kats and Crunch bars, one global leader that specializes in such treats is looking at a new market to make a little extra: high-end, customized chocolates.
Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the Swiss-based Nestlé started inviting “Internet shoppers in Switzerland and Liechtenstein (to) order a taster pack from the Nestlé-owned Maison Cailler line of luxury Swiss chocolates” in January.
Once the consumer has a taste of the different “Ecuador-sourced chocolate(s)” inside, they can figure out their “chocolate personality,” allowing them to order boxes with the fillings they desire. Chocolate filling choices include peppercorn (yes, peppercorn), vanilla, raspberry, and verbena.
With sixteen pieces of personalized Maison Cailler chocolates costing about $30, can the concept — however delicious — work in these tough times? Mais oui, argues Nestlé.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 29, 2012 05:57 PM
Less than a month ago, the idea of Nike giving Jeremy Lin his own shoe was completely laughable. Before his breakout game Feb. 4 against the New Jersey Nets, Lin had scored only 32 points in the nine games he had appeared in for the New York Knicks. He hadn’t even stepped onto the court for 13 of the team’s first 22 matchups.
Then, of course, he became the toast of New York and a worldwide phenomenon, rising up from his brother’s couch to seemingly save Gotham and strike a pose for underdogs everywhere (though it’s hard to imagine too many situations where a Harvard grad is considered an underdog). With all that love coming his way, marketers were suddenly calling. And Nike was apparently was early to the phone, especially since they had signed Lin to a deal back in 2010. Now it was time for their payday.
In the wake of last week's early sighting, Nike started to sell “Jeremy Lin-themed shoes” in the New York Knicks' team colors, in time to be worn by Lin last weekend. They can be created by fans online for $130 a pair, based on the basketball sneaks (Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low) the brand built especially for the rising star. Just don't consider it Nike's official Lin shoe — yet.Continue reading...