brand insights

Paying for Premium: Do Name Brands Survive on Consumer Ignorance?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 22, 2014 12:52 PM

Pharmacists buy store-brand aspirin and chefs buy store-brand sugar and salt, so why won’t the rest of the consumer population?

A new study from Dutch economist Bart Bronnenberg of Tilburg University and three researchers from the University of Chicago into the purchase funnel and what drives consumer choice suggests that the more informed consumers are, the more likely they are to buy private label or store brand items. 

The study analyzed more than 77 million shopping trips at markets and chain stores from 2004 to 2011 and matched purchases with consumers’ jobs and knowledge. The less education a consumer had, the more likely they were to buy name brand products vs. private-label brands.

When a consumer worked in a specific field, he or she was more likely to buy store brands of products related to that field. For example, 23 percent of the time that chefs bought such pantry staples as salt, sugar and baking soda, they bought name-brand products. That number rose to 40 percent with all other consumers.Continue reading...

that's entertainment

Summer's Here and the Time is Right for Branding of Your Beats

Posted by Claire Falloon on July 21, 2014 01:03 PM

As concert and festival-goers don their denim cut-offs and band t-shirts this summer, they should also get ready for the usual barrage from brands clamoring for their money and attention.

This year fans will encounter everything from advertising and promotions to carefully integrated digital and live experiences from brands including Jim Beam, HondaBudweiser, Vans and even Staples, which is sponsoring Katy Perry’s Prismatic World Tour (seriously, office supplies? What happened to sex, drugs and rock & roll?)

Old school purists may not like it, but concert sponsorship is nothing new and the presence of big corporate brands in music is a reality we may all have to get used to. 

As Lady Gaga noted at SXSW back in March, “without sponsorships we won’t have any more artists in Austin, because record companies don’t have any f*cking money.” And as music labels recede, the big brands are marching in.Continue reading...

bc q&a

Of Mazda, Music and Miata: 5 Questions with Russell Wager

Posted by Dale Buss on July 18, 2014 03:03 PM

Music has long been a great currency of marketing. But automotive brands are taking their involvement with music to new levels these days as they seek ways to make connections digitally and with their toughest demographic, Millennials.

Honda, for example, just launched an ambitious effort called Honda Stage that involves concert sponsorships and other music touch points. Nissan this week announced a two-year partnership with the Americana Music Association, give the brand closer ties to country music and Nashville.

And Mazda, though a small brand by automotive standards, now also is trying to mount an outsized presence in the music arena. The automaker just announced an expanded partnership with the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, making Mazda the official automotive partner and doubling the brand’s participation this year to eight or nine events.

The series involves combining entertainment and running, featuring live bands performing at every mile along the course and a post-event headliner concert. Mazda will also have lots of on-site activations such as the Mazda Fueling Station with free food and beverages. It kicked off in Chicago this week and continues through December.

Mazda’s North American vice president of marketing, Russell Wager, talked to brandchannel about the new partnership and the brand's bigger strategy and goals:Continue reading...

bc q&a

Now Read This: 5 Questions with Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin of theSkimm

Posted by Taylor Goddu on July 17, 2014 10:29 AM

At some ungodly hour each morning, your alarm is bound to go off, and if you’re like me, you’ll blindly slap your phone, eyes still closed, hoping you happen to press “snooze” rather than inadvertently turn it off. Eventually, though, chances are you’ll roll over and grab said phone and begin your morning ritual of scrolling through feeds and email. Born was the beauty of a simple business plan: “We read. You Skimm."

Founded by two former producers for NBC News, Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin teamed up as the masterminds behind theSkimm, a daily email newsletter that arrives in subscribers' inbox sometime around 6 a.m. that has been featured in NBC's Today Show, Vanity Fair, Forbes, Bloomberg, InStyle, CNN and more.

theSkimm, which turns 2 on Friday, primarily targets Millennial women pressed for time with its bite-sized, gender-neutral news that ranges in topic from politics, sports, entertainment, international affairs, finance and more, all of which is made both relatable and easily digestible through the lens of Weisberg and Zakin’s signature voice.

(Extra, extra!) Read all about it:Continue reading...

chew on this

General Mills is Banking On New Flavors, Products and Grumpy Cat to Boost Sales

Posted by Dale Buss on July 10, 2014 04:29 PM

General Mills says it’s going to try hard to revive US cereal sales, but the CPG giant isn’t going to be content with re-inventing the wheel: The company also is investing heavily in a variety of other new products, in marketing to Millennials and in expanding its distribution in convenience stores and foodservice locations.

The company, like Kellogg's, has been stymied by a steady decline in sales of their traditional staple, ready-to-eat cereal. So part of its answer is to exploit more eat-away-from-home occasions where General Mills brands and products have never been a big part of the menu. C-stores have become a main target.

“Many of our snack items leverage our US retail brands and offer different formats and flavors specifically for our convenience-store customers,” said Bethany Quam, the company’s newly named president of convenience stores and foodservice, in a recent investor presentation.Continue reading...

diversity watch

Burger King Courts LGBT Community and Millennials With Proud Whopper

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 2, 2014 12:21 PM

Pride Month may have just come to a close, but Burger King is looking to make it last a bit longer with the showcasing of its Proud Whopper, a burger sold in a San Francisco location during last week’s Gay Pride festivities that is no different from other Whoppers but came encased in brightly-colored paper.

When the burger was unwrapped, the text inside read, “We are all the same inside.” The brand unveiled a video today about the burger (watch below) as the chain is working “to connect with customers, particularly with the younger individuals fast-food chains are known for courting,” the Associated Press reports.

"A burger has never made me cry before," a young woman says in BK's pride burger spot. Reaching consumers on a personal level was also the rationale behind the brand’s recent replacement of its longtime “Have It Your Way” slogan with “Be Your Way.”Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

IKEA Joins Costco, Gap in Voluntary US Wage Hike

Posted by Dale Buss on June 27, 2014 09:54 AM

IKEA joined a still-limited list of US retailers that is raising minimum wages voluntarily even as the issue of boosting the legally required minimum pay for low-wage workers continues to roil American business and politics.

The maker of inexpensive Scandinavian furniture said that it will raise the average hourly minimum at its 38 US stores to $10.76 an hour, a 17 percent increase, with actual new pay rates varying locally depending on the cost of living in a particular area. The new average would be $3.51 above the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The new policy will raise the pay of about half of IKEA’s 13,120 US employees.

“This stems back to Ikea’s decision to create a better everyday life for our people,” Rob Olson, IKEA’s acting president for the US and its CFO, told the New York Times. “We of course are investing in our co-workers. We believe they will invest in our customers, and they will invest in IKEA’s stores.”

Plus, he told USA Today, the company can absorb the pay increase partly because it has cut costs in recent years. The wage hike will narrow profit margins but ultimately should benefit the bottom line, he said. IKEA has no plans to raise prices, cut staff or reduce hiring. The move also is a “shrewd business tactic that helps retailers attract top talent,” an economic analyst told The Huffington Post.Continue reading...

auto motive

Luxury Autos Grapple Over EVs, International Expansion and Laser Beams

Posted by Dale Buss on June 24, 2014 11:29 AM

Recall madness has been obscuring most of the other news out of the auto industry these days, but there’s plenty of scrambling that has nothing to do with safety campaigns and investigations. At the top is the still-intensifying competition among BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz for the global lead in premium-vehicle sales.

Audi has just thrown the latest punch with news that it has drawn up blueprints for a range of high-performance electric cars, according to Reuters. The brand had sidelined EV-development efforts a couple of years ago in the face of slackening prospects but recently has stepped up such efforts again in the wake of the sales success of Tesla and accelerating EV moves by BMW, the news service said.

One of the new blueprints Audi has drawn up is for an electric version of a new Q8 SUV that would pit the vehicle against Tesla’s upcoming Model X crossover, Reuters said. Audi also has improved the once-limited range of its first EV, the R8 e-tron, which now is slated for a 2015 release in Europe, according to Digital Trends.Continue reading...

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