Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 7, 2013 07:14 PM
Italian pasta maker Barilla won itself a boatload of bad blood back in September when its chairman, Guido Barilla, told a radio interviewer that his company would never use a gay family in its advertising.
Following the ill-advised remarks, consumers around the world vowed to boycott the brand while competitors jumped on the opportunity to tout their inclusive brand outlook. But since the outcry, Barilla has been working to better understand the needs of the market.
According to Reuters, the 55-year-old “held at least eight meetings with gay organizations and activists both in Italy and in the United States, a market where it is counting on for growth outside its crisis-hit home.” And now Barilla has apparently seen the error of its ways and is planning to not only make its company more diverse but to create a more inclusive ad campaign.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 28, 2013 03:56 PM
This week, much of the social media-verse was rejoicing: praise for SCOTUS and relief to see DOMA go. In a month-long celebration of Pride, brands small and large made their support known.
"Brands from a wide variety of industries have found that it's a smart business decision to stand not only with LGBT people, but with the majority of Americans who support gay and lesbian couples," Rich Ferraro, VP Communications of GLAAD, told brandchannel.
"Unlike years ago when companies were boycotted over pro-LGBT initiatives, today companies that actively support anti-gay causes are being met with vocal disapproval from the gay community as well as their friends and families, while brands like Delta, Johnson & Johnson and Wells Fargo are building loyal consumer bases simply by being inclusive.”Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 28, 2013 11:57 PM
Apple is the mine's canary. That's the takeaway from a recent press conference in China where the head of corporate sustainability for China tech giant Huawei told reporters that, unlike Apple, it will "learn from the issues that Apple has faced in China" and "never let supplier issues tarnish our brand.”
Whether Huawei means to "learn" from Apple or just copy it, the brand that has been singled out for a beating in the last few years over everything from China labor issues to tax avoidance has come under fire for a failure to innovate. But those critics all have tunnel-vision for Apple's electronics products.
What about innovating its "cultural product"? What if buying a iPhone 6 meant buying a better future? That just might be what Apple's aiming for with its latest high-profile hire. (Plus, the one better future we already have with Jackson's addition.) Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 23, 2013 03:04 PM
It’s been seven years since Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries told Salon.com that his company is only interested in outfitting the cool, hip, skinny, “all-American kid(s) with a great attitude and a lot of friends.” He’s been paying the price for his exclusionary comments, though, for the past few weeks since Business Insider republished the quotes in a story about how A&F didn’t carry any women’s XL or XXL sizes.
The A&F brand has been taking a beating since. YouGov’s BrandIndex charted 18- to 34-year-old’s thoughts on the brand versus fellow retailers H&M and American Eagle. The latter two went up slightly while A&F’s numbers plummeted. Jeffries, no doubt, is regretting his comments from way back when (or at least is annoyed that BI brought them to the world’s attention again). On May 15, Jeffries posted a note to the company’s Facebook page that went for the old “quote has been taken out of context” argument and claims that the company is “strongly committed to diversity and inclusion.”
That may be so, but Jeffries may have misstepped again Wednesday when a group of teen activists showed up at the doorstep of the Columbus, Ohio, headquarters of his company. They were taken in, People magazine reports, and had a meeting with company execs but Jeffries didn’t bother to stick his head into the proceedings even though this has been a PR disaster for his company.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 22, 2013 12:41 PM
German software company SAP is looking to break out of the mold and hire hundreds of people with Autism, recognizing their unique talent for information technology. By 2020, the company plans to have 1 percent of its global workforce of 65,000 employees be individuals with autism.
SAP executive Luisa Delgado told the BBC that the company believes that "innovation comes from the edges." While it is a developmental disorder, Autism has a very broad spectrum, and many people afflicted with the disorder demonstrate an impressive attention to detail and are highly focused and intelligent. "Only by employing people who think differently and spark innovation will SAP be prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st Century."Continue reading...
Posted by Kristen Van Nest on April 17, 2013 12:20 PM
Last year, Starbucks declared its support of same-sex marriage, which resulted in a boycott by the National Organization for Marriage. The coffee chain hasn't backed down one bit, however, as CEO Howard Schultz continues to blur the line between business and the personal lives of his millions of customers.
At a recent annual shareholders meeting, Tom Strobhar, a shareholder and founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center, an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage organization, suggested the boycott had a negative impact on first quarter sales and earnings. The ever-outspoken CEO swiftly responded, “Not every decision is an economic decision... The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity."
Schultz then told Strobhar he was more than welcome to sell his shares and take his money elsewhere. While the remarks seem brazen, Starbuck’s stance on hot-button political issues and support of equal rights for its employees have been a part of the brand’s long-term strategy to increase internal brand engagement and decrease turnover. What's more, taking a position on causes that affect its workforce has had a positive impact on its bottom line.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 12, 2013 04:34 PM
AT&T has landed at top spot on CR Magazine's 14th annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, beating out other top Russell 1000 large-capitalization companies on merits including human rights and corporate governance.
Rounding out the top 10 on the new list: Mattel, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eaton Corp, Intel, Gap, Hasbro, Merck & Co., Campbell Soup Co. and Coca-Cola.
The ranking crunches 298 data points of disclosure and performance measures across seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, governance, finance and philanthropy.
Notably, 26 companies on the 2013 list were not on the 2012 list, while 11 companies have appeared on the list every year since 2007. For those that were bestowed the honor, many were quick to highlight the significance of employee participation to the success of the company's initiatives.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 18, 2013 04:38 PM
It’s hard to believe that American Express is celebrating its 163rd birthday today, as the iconic brand continues a spry and active presence, pushing boundaries in social media while as fresh and enduring as those half its age. Case in point: its #163candles hashtag on Twitter today.
Just last month, the blue chip brand teamed with that whippersnapper on a social commerce experience that turns Twitter hashtags into purchases. The sync and tweet with #hashtags lets users buy $25 American Express Gift Cards and products from Amazon, Sony, Urban Zen and Xbox 360.
"Based on the initial success of Amex Sync for offers, we know there is significant power in combining our assets with Twitter's platform to bring value to Cardmembers and merchants," said Leslie Berland, SVP Digital Partnerships and Development. "Now, we're leveraging our unique technology and closed-loop network to introduce a seamless solution that redefines what's possible in the world of social commerce."Continue reading...