Brands Find Sustainability Moving to the Top of Major CSR Initiatives

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 27, 2014 12:34 PM

Maximizing shareholder value has a new handmaiden: sustainability. And corporate social responsibility is her mirror.

“Social responsibility should be viewed through the lens of maximizing shareholder value,” commented The Wall Street Journal’s Bruce Nolop. “It’s no longer a 'nice to have.' It’s a strategic imperative."

No matter the industry, it’s increasingly clear that sustainability can drive profit, as Chris Humme, CMO of Schneider Electric, notes. He cites Intercontinental as a prime example of how green practices can lower costs—the hotelier has reportedly saved $30,000 a month at just two San Francisco hotels by micro-managing peak power.Continue reading...

Michelin Taps Teen YouTube Stars to Teach Kids About Safe Driving

Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2014 05:01 PM

All sorts of brands related to cars—and some that aren't—have tried public service campaigns and branded content to highlight the dangers of driving, especially while intoxicated or distracted, to the teenaged motorists who are most vulnerable to fatal mistakes.

Now, Michelin has come up with "Beyond the Driving Test," a campaign for National Teen Driver Safety Week this week with the hashtag #safedrivers to make new and young drivers more aware of potential safety hazards that are less directly the result of negligence or distraction but which can be just as deadly.

To make that message resonate, the tire brand is harnessing some of the biggest teen influencers on YouTube to share clever videos that shed light on problems such as poorly maintained tires.Continue reading...

chew on this

Chipotle Founder Disses Competition Even While His Own Stock Falls

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 21, 2014 12:22 PM

Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells was feeling pretty spiffy about his company Monday when it announced that same-store sales had gone up 19.8 percent last quarter, as compared to the same time period last year. (McDonald’s, meanwhile, reported a 3.3 percent decline today.) Ells was feeling so good that he went ahead and told the world exactly how he thought his “short-sighted” competitors were doing everything wrong.

“The traditional fast food sector has traded food quality and taste for low-cost and ease of preparation,” Ells said, according to Fortune. “[The fast food industry] has aggressively marketed low prices to entice customers to visit more often, which has resulted in the need to reduce cost by cheapening ingredients and by compromising the overall dining experience.”

Ells went on to say that no shortcuts can be taken, since customers, particularly millennials, “are increasingly unwilling to compromise.” This is a demographic that Chipotle is markedly interested in and has attracted with its long-term dedication to sustainability efforts. Continue reading...

mobile marketing

Starbucks Wishes You a Digital Holiday and a Mobile New Year

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 17, 2014 11:08 AM

Starbucks is on a tear, unveiling a “roadmap of innovations” to “further transform and elevate the Starbucks Experience in Holiday 2014 and beyond.”

Top of the list: Pay Ahead, a US-only mobile order and payment program that will be available nationwide by the end of 2015, starting in Portland, Oregon, in the fourth quarter.  

The coffee giant (up 22% on Interbrand's Best Global Brands this year) is targeting its mobile-first messaging at its core millennial customer base, who prefers to order on a smartphone, and appreciates incentives in the Starbucks customer rewards program mobile app such as free beverages.

About 15% of all Starbucks purchases are made with mobile devices, and many brands are lining up to sign up in the mobile payment app arena. Dunkin' Donuts rolled out its mobile payment app in 2012, and both Taco Bell and McDonald’s are working on proprietary apps.Continue reading...

media brands

The New Cosmo Makes Women's Brains an Erogenous Zone

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 16, 2014 03:13 PM

Cosmopolitan has come a long way since Helen Gurley Brown urged young women to stop being mouseburgers, put on high heels and roar. The magazine and its digital properties are no longer just fun tips on style and sex, shorthand for how to please your man and look fabulous doing it.

Today’s Cosmo also has stories on reproductive healthcare and equal pay, and in May, won a national magazine award for an in-depth (12-page) story on contraception. 

The changes came with Joanna Coles assuming editor-in-chief duties in 2012 and turning the wheel towards politics and the modern business woman. 

"I have no problem understanding that women are interested in mascara and the Middle East," the outspoken British magazine veteran (and occasional Project Runway judge) said in an NPR interview this week.Continue reading...

political brands

Political Branding 101: Millennials Crave Inspiration, Not Emoji Messaging

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 16, 2014 11:01 AM

It's not just brand marketers who are trying to better understand and reach Millennials. Politicans, naturally, are trying to figure them out, too. While First Lady Michelle Obama is killing it on Vine and Twitter, President Obama is finding it harder to connect with kids his daughters' ages and slightly older. 

Case in point: last week the White House released a report, "15 Economic Facts About Millennials," while the President traveled to Los Angeles to speak at a shared workspace for start-ups and VC. He called millennials “the best-educated, the most diverse, the most digitally fluent generation of adults in American history.” Yet his report was scattered with emojis as a winking way to connect kids into the subject of the infographic-style report, which struck some as pandering to millennials. The report was re-released, without emojis, following complaints.

Long gone are the days when political parties could count on kids to, MTV-style, Rock the Vote. Even though today's Millennials are the largest generation in US history and the more likely to vote Democratic, their enthusiasm and support for the President and his party have waned. A recent poll conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics found that less than one-quarter of 18-29 year-olds committed to vote in November. 

If politicians want to engage Millennials, don't give them emojis—give them substance, authenticity and a voice.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Millennials and Citizenship: It’s a Brand New Day for Marketers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 14, 2014 11:02 AM

Millennials already number nearly 2 billion worldwide, or nearly 30% of the world’s population, and they will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025, according to Deloitte.

In addition, the earning and spending power of Millennials will exceed their Boomer parents by 2018, which is why brand marketers are stretching to meet these digital natives who come equipped with conscience, confidence and competence.

A recent survey of 8,000 Millennials in 17 countries on active citizenship by MSLGROUP and Research Now, "The Future of Business Citizenship," identifies key insights about the rising cohort and what they expect from business and advertising.

brandchannel asked Scott Beaudoin, Global Practice Director, Corporate & Brand Citizenship, MSLGROUP, commented on what the global study indicates that brand marketers must to resonate with Millennials.Continue reading...

social media

Myspace Doubles Down on Music and Video

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 9, 2014 05:02 PM

Less than a decade ago, Myspace (then MySpace) ruled the Internet as a social hub for music and selfie-loving kids, but the mighty has fallen a long way down.

The company bought by Justin Timberlake and Specific Media LLC back in 2011 for $35 million and then relaunched a year later has just announced both platform enhancements as well as new partnerships to help engage and grow its one million users.Continue reading...

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