sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on June 3, 2013 07:06 PM
The recent Asian tour by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz highlighted an expansion initiative that may prove the company's most challenging ever: peddling coffee in lands dominated for centuries by drinking tea.
Still, Schultz gamely made stops in Japan and Thailand, where in addition to China and India and other places, Starbucks is bringing its unique brand of experiential drinking, sustainability and community involvement in the hopes of creating some of the same kind of brand magic that it has achieved in the United States and elsewhere. At the same time, it is pursuing LEED environmental certification for many of its stores there.
Actually, Starbucks already has nearly 1,000 stores in Japan, its first international market outside of North America. Schultz stopped by to celebrate the opening of the new Starbucks Meguro store in Tokyo, whose design and experience has been inspired by the traditional Japanese "Ichi-go ichi-e" service spirit (literal translation, according to Starbucks: one time, one meeting). The store features what the company called in a release "locally relevant, simple design solutions" including cues from traditional tea houses, parts of a green garden and local contemporary art.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 24, 2013 12:10 PM
Procter & Gamble's board is hoping that A.G. Lafley can pull a Steve Jobs and return to the helm of the CPG giant to make vast improvements, quickly.
Lafley is abruptly coming back to the CEO post from which he retired in 2010 after 33 years, this time to replace the soon-to-depart Bob McDonald, according to a P&G press release. Yet there will be enormous pressure on Lafley from the start to demonstrate that such a move—uncharacteristic of the conservative culture at P&G—was justified.
The changing of the guard, which will see McDonald formally exit on June 30 while Lafley returns as Chairman, President and CEO "effective immediately," surprised most P&G investors and employees, especially as the bombshell dropped before the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the U.S. But perhaps it became inevitable when McDonald, after improving the company's financial and market performance for a while last fiscal year, stumbled in late April by reporting weak sales growth, following on a tumultuous year for the company and its embattled leader.
During his four years at the top, P&G had lost a step to rivals such as Unilever in terms of market share and profitability. Despite the fact that McDonald had launched the popular Tide Pods product line, a $10-billion cost-cutting program and had managed to improve P&G's position a bit during the second half of 2012, he couldn't do enough, quickly enough.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...
media and politics
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 26, 2013 01:32 PM
What does a 28-year-old billionaire with the world’s largest social networking website do next to influence the world?
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is taking a lead role in a Silicon Valley SuperPAC organized by his former college roommate, Joe Green. Reportedly, the group will focus on education and immigration reform, two pressing issues in Zuckerberg’s own backyard in order to maintain a steady stream of talent.
First reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Zuckerberg has committed as much as $20 million to the effort which will most likely be nonprofit.Continue reading...
brands with a cause
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 25, 2013 06:16 PM
Starbucks met with investors last Wednesday to filled them in on the farm its buying in Costa Rica—a company first—as well as the expansion of its three-year-old My Starbucks Rewards program, now allowing folks who buy SBUX products in grocery stores as well as in other Starbucks-owned brands such as Teavana to earn points that they can redeem over in Starbucks cafes. The hope is to double the loyalty program to nine million folks by the end of fiscal year 2013.
But the biggest moment of the meeting was likely when CEO Howard Schultz proved he was worthy of being made to look heroic in a comic book by responding forcefully to a shareholder that questioned the company’s support of Washington state’s same-sex referendum last year: “We want to embrace diversity,” he said. “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.” He went on to suggest that the shareholder was more than welcome to sell his shares and take his money elsewhere. “This is not an economic decision,” he said. And then was applauded by other shareholders.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on March 24, 2013 01:02 PM
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg unveils $12 million ad campaign (above) for Mayors Against Illegal Guns that lobbies for background checks to reduce gun violence, while NYC's municipal data geek squad makes headlines.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz defends same-sex marriage support to shareholders as brand expands loyalty rewards to other retailers.
PepsiCo shares jump on Mondelez merger speculation sparked by Telegraph story which Pepsi "downplays."
Apple acquires indoor GPS startup WiFiSLAM for mapping, patents iPhone drop protection technology and faces EU scrutiny following iPhone and iPad distribution complaints — and may report first quarterly dip since 2003.
FTC "pay for delay" generic drug case, set to go before US Supreme Court on Monday, will be closely watched by pharmaceutical industry and economists.
Below: BlackBerry, Blockbuster, Dell, Diageo and other brands in the news —Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 22, 2013 06:30 PM
Newcastle Gets Real
Newcastle has taken a new tack in its advertising and it’s all about turning old beer advertising on its head. Beer marketers love to throw “heritage” imagery at consumers to make beer drinkers feel like they are part of something bigger, so Newcastle decided to go back to its roots, the English town of Newcastle, where residents—known as Geordies—are filled with humor and realism. The result? Newcastle’s “No Bollocks” ad campaign.
“If you look at the Geordies, they’re very friendly, down-to-earth; they don’t take themselves too seriously, and tell it like it is. We figured that is a really interesting space for us to be in," says Newcastle Brown Ale Brand Director Charles van Es, according to Fast Company's FastCoCreate blog. "We wanted to use that wit and dry sense of humor as our brand voice. We want to be transparent about the fact that we’re marketing to you and the fact that our beer comes from England.”Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 8, 2013 02:43 PM
Occasional coffee drinkers and Starbucks junkies alike all visit the Seattle-based brewer's shops for the same reason, and it's not a caffeine kick. The java giant is just as recognized for its lifestyle brand as it is its beverages, and that may be just the thing missing from competitors' offerings.
Despite the fact that Starbucks recently took a second-place post against McDonald's in a social hospitality survey, the company continues to be the most relevant coffee shop brand around—and they don't even try that hard. Continue reading...