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The Top Three Mobile Marketing Trends to Watch in 2015

In the past year, mobile developments have led to the adoption of the Twitter and Facebook "buy" button in limited areas, the rollout of Apple Pay, lackluster Samsung earnings, and the recent announcement of Xiaomi's growing dominance in China.

By 2018, nearly half the world is expected to have Internet access, with the largest increases anticipated to take place in emerging markets. That increase is caused in large part to initiatives such as Facebook's and significant investments being made in infrastructure to establish connectivity in global markets Africa and India, with a majority of connections taking place on mobile.

Moreover, GSMA predicts that by year's end, global connections will reach 7.2 billion (equal to that of the global population total projected by the United Nations).

We are living in a mobile-first world, continuing to drive brands not only to evolve with the rapidly expanding mobile landscape but compelling brands to capitalize on new opportunities and capture the attention of the next five billion consumers in developing nations.

Following are three global mobile marketing trends that we can expect to see in 2015.

Increase in localized content and network. Consumers in developing nations have trouble accessing localized content, as shown in Upstream's "2014 The Next Mobile Frontier Report" (email required) with 20% of consumers in emerging market nations, such as Nigeria, Brazil, China, India, and Vietnam indicating content not presented in the local language as a barrier to entry.

For purposes of purchasing mobile apps, and accessing content such as news and health services, localization is of great importance. As consumers are increasingly looking to access different types of content, taking a localized approach will be crucial to refocusing efforts to grow on mobile in non-Western markets. This will include addressing specific language obstacles, network speeds, and the varying content desires that exist.
Brands reaching consumers via the mobile ads. Facebook's advertising revenue in the third quarter jumped 64% to $2.96 billion—two-thirds of that from mobile alone. There is no greater indication that the power of mobile for brands is bigger than ever.

As more consumers enter the mobile space, reaching and targeting them is increasingly vital, and Facebook has risen to the challenge to provide an outlet to do so. Facebook's approach to emerging market advertising is also a win for brands. Facebook's new mobile advertising strategy bypasses current technological infrastructure issues in emerging markets—namely network speeds—and instead formats ads as missed calls, so consumers' interest with the ad is relayed back to the advertiser. The advertiser then can call the user back and deliver the information audibly.

Facebook is paying heed to the intricacies of advertising methodology in the mobile sphere, and the company is the first step in completely transforming the mobile-ad experience.
Localized payment methods, such as Apple Pay, with service provider partnerships. Payment structures should not pose an obstacle to consumers. As revealed in Upstream's "2014 The Next Mobile Frontier Report," 44% of Nigerian consumers indicate that the preferred way to purchase content is through their mobile operator. In accordance with the need for localized content, localizing payment methods is vital.

Moreover, more than one in five (21%) consumers in developing nations do not have access to credit or banking facilities, making a typical credit card payment service like Apple Pay ineffective. In those nations, Apple Pay cannot be unveiled universally but on a case-by-case basis. Across Nigeria, Brazil, India, China, and Vietnam, 19% of consumers say they would like to purchase mobile content using a credit card and 10% via a debit card. There will need to be more collaboration with local operators with whom consumers have clearly indicated their intent to purchase.

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More than three quarters of the world's mobile phones are located in emerging markets, and that figure is only growing, meaning developing nations are home to the largest mobile growth worldwide.

Faculty Sections / The State of B2B Event Marketing
« on: December 17, 2014, 09:36:39 PM »
The State of B2B Event Marketing

Some 91% of B2B marketers say they invested some budget in event marketing in 2014, according to a recent report from Regalix.

More than half (57%) of B2B marketers say events were extremely significant for accelerating lead generation/growing their sales pipeline, and an additional 33% say events were somewhat significant.

Most (57%) of the marketers surveyed say they organized only physical events in 2014; 35% conducted a combination of physical and online events; 9% were only virtual.

The most popular type of event was conferences, with 72% of B2B marketers saying they had helped to conduct at least one.

Other popular event types included tradeshows (66%) and exhibitions (55%).

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 212 senior B2B marketing executives.


80% of respondents say lead generation and brand building are top objectives for investing in event marketing.
64% say customer engagement is a top objective.

Number of Events

44% of respondents say they conduct or organize more than 10 events per year.

Event Promotion

84% of respondents say email is an effective channel they use to promote events.
68% say their websites and social media pages are effective.

Marketing Smarts Special: Mistakes Marketers Make and Lessons From Industry Experts

Last year's special yearend episode featuring a group of marketing stars was so popular that we've decided to do it again this year! To end 2014 with extra fanfare, we produced a special, extra-long episode of Marketing Smarts featuring 15 of the smartest marketers in the business, all answering a single question:

What's the biggest mistake marketers make (and how can they fix it)?

Some marketers shared their own biggest mistake, and others discussed troubling trends. All shared advice and insight for doing it better!

To discuss how you can best apply these insights to your own business, I've brought back special guest host Mack Collier, social strategist, speaker, and author of the book Think Like a Rock Star.

This episode features all-new Marketing Smarts content from authors, thought leaders, strategists, and big-brand marketers. Listen to the show and find out the marketing tactics these industry luminaries can't live without.

For each guest's full Marketing Smarts interview, click the episode number:

C.C. Chapman, founder of conscience-based consultancy Not Enough Days, author of Amazing Things Will Happen, co-author of Content Rules and 101 Steps to Making Videos Like a Pro, Marketing Smarts episode 143
Gini Dietrich, founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, author of Spin Sucks, Marketing Smarts episode 129
Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs, author of Everybody Writes, co-author of Content Rules, Marketing Smarts episode 146
Rebecca Lieb, analyst at Altimeter Group, author of Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher—How to Use Content to Market Online and in Social Media and The Truth About Search Engine Optimization, Marketing Smarts episode 142
Ahava Leibtag, president and owner of Aha Media Group, author of The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web, Marketing Smarts episode 137
Margaret Molloy CMO, Siegel + Gale, Marketing Smarts episode 131
Marcus Nelson, founder of Addvocate, Marketing Smarts episode 124
Jill Rowley, social selling advocate, speaker and trainer, Marketing Smarts episode 127
Dan Sullivan, founder of advocate management platform Crowdly, Marketing Smarts episode 148
You Mon Tsang, CEO of Outmarket (formerly Vocus), from an unbroadcast interview
John Wall, consultant, speaker, author of B2B Marketing Confessions, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee podcast, Marketing Smarts episode 125
Ekaterina Walter, EVP and CMO of National Geographic, Marketing Smarts episode 122
Larry Weber, chairman and CEO of Racepoint Global, and Lisa Leslie Henderson, writer, educator, and consultant. Larry and Lisa co-wrote The Digital Marketer: Ten New Skills You Must Learn to Stay Relevant and Customer-Centric. Marketing Smarts episode 136
Tom Webster, vice-president of strategy and marketing at Edison Research, co-author of The Mobile Commerce Revolution, and co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast, Marketing Smarts episode 119
This star-studded episode is action-packed! Be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

"Show the readers everything, tell them nothing."
—Ernest Hemingway

Show, don't tell. That is the simplest yet most powerful lesson a storyteller can learn. As marketers put more emphasis on content that tells a story, we need to remember that old writing adage—even though it's much easier said than done.

Fortunately, today's marketers are using video to put the emphasis on showing. Video is the perfect format for quickly grabbing busy audiences' attention. It enables strong storytelling in a short but memorable format that viewers can enjoy—and marketers can measure.

Grabbing the attention of potential customers is more important than ever in a world where buyers do most of their own research online before ever contacting a vendor. We have to cut through the noise and engage our prospects with content that entertains, inspires, and educates them about what we do and who we are, including the culture of our companies.

Facts tell, but stories sell, as they say. There is no better medium than video for storytelling.

Up until recently, most marketers have used video sparingly as a way to enhance their website, but very few have invested in it strategically as a way to improve the results of marketing and sales programs. That's about to change.

Here's what to expect from video marketing in 2015.

1. The play button will take center stage as the most compelling call to action on the Web

How do we know that audiences prefer video content over other formats? We have the data to prove it. Survey after survey supports it.

Some 65% of viewers watch more than three-quarters of a given video, according to Invodo. Any content marketer would be thrilled with that kind of readership for a piece of text. Moreover, more than 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium.

Video content is becoming a surefire way to increase click-through rates and digital conversions, and marketers are starting to take notice.

Simply put, the play button has become as the most compelling call to action on the Web.

2015 will be the year that video becomes an integrated part of email marketing, content marketing, social, SEO, and demand-generation programs, helping marketers improve their day-to-day results while increasing brand affinity and enhancing customer relationships.

2. Video analytics and attribution will take the lead

Data-driven marketing is all the rage, and new marketing technologies have made it possible to track the digital interactions of online audiences and measure the performance of marketing programs. This trend will continue in 2015 as marketers look to extract greater insights from their marketing systems to improve results.

As video becomes a more prominent part of the marketing mix, video analytics will become extremely important—and extremely valuable.

Modern video marketing platforms now offer the ability to track much more than just view counts. Marketers can gain insight into actual audience engagement and average drop-off rates for their videos, as well as how each video is contributing to lead generation and revenue.

The days of view counts being the ultimate measure of success will soon be gone, replaced by an understanding of who is watching each video asset and how video is actually contributing to marketing and sales goals.

3. Video will become a strategic tool for lead generation and qualification

Videos can easily become active lead-generation tools. Adding an email gate to the start of your video or a lead collection form to the end allows you to create new, well-qualified leads who are interested in your content. That information can now be tied directly to contact records in marketing automation and CRM systems, providing a qualified lead that can be tied back to actual engagement in your online content. Marketers are already starting to take advantage of this capability, and we'll see an uptick in usage in 2015.

But what's even more compelling is the use of video-viewing data to better score, segment, and qualify your leads.

By tracking video viewing activities of your prospects, you can gain better insight into who your hottest leads are and you can increase your conversion velocity. And as video becomes an increasingly important part of your website and content marketing programs, tracking video interactions will be critical.

What's even more powerful is that you can now track how long an individual actually remains engaged in a video, enabling you to treat a lead who watches only 10 seconds differently from one who watches the video all the way to the end.

Only video offers a reliable means of tracking actual engagement with content, and 2015 is the year that marketers will start to use these insights to their advantage.

4. YouTube will be a complement, not the focus

YouTube is a great channel for distributing videos. It can help you expand your reach and attract new audiences. But it should not be the only place you distribute your content, nor should it be the hosting platform for videos embedded on your own website and across other social networks.

Though YouTube offers a very affordable solution for video hosting, it lacks the tools you need to make video an integrated part of your digital brand and content marketing programs, and it doesn't offer the data and tools you need to turn video assets into valuable marketing tools.

In 2015, more marketers will realize the importance of video as a part of their digital marketing and demand generation strategies, and they will come to understand that YouTube isn't the best way to optimize results.

5. Use of video analytics as part of marketing automation and CRM will increase

Although more than 70% of marketers report that video converts better than other content types, fewer than 10% are actually using video analytics to enhance lead qualification and customer insights. As more marketers use video to attract and engage their audiences, they'll quickly want to start collecting video analytics within their marketing automation and CRM platforms to turn data into results.

That step is critical to maximizing the value of video. It's what gives marketers the comprehensive insight into how prospects interact with the brand across multiple channels throughout the buying journey, and it also enables them to start reporting on video's impact on lead generation, pipeline development, and closed revenue.

And that's when marketers will know whether they've been doing too much telling and not enough showing.

Marriott Brings Millennial-Targeted AC Hotel Brand to America

Marriott has officially opened the AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon, a major move in the nearly 60-year old brand’s renaissance as a destination for next-generation travelers, who bring expectations of well-designed hotels with social lobbies for work and play, along with rooms featuring the latest smart tech.
Founded in 1998, the AC Hotels brand has nearly 80 properties in Spain, Italy, France and Portugal. AC joined the Marriott portfolio in 2011, and the New Orleans property is the first of 100 planned U.S. hotels in the next few years in urban markets including Miami and Washington, D.C.
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson realizes his company has been suffering from "predictability of room size, predictability of design and consistency," USA Today reports. "I think increasingly, over the last couple of years, (guests are) saying, 'We want that genuine, authentic service, we want to do business with a company we think is good, but let us also have something that turns us on when we travel.'"

The AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon’s 220 rooms have minimalist design, hardwood floors, bedside USB ports, Bluetooth-enabled speaker systems and flatscreen TVs.
Instead of a minibar in the room, a small shop off the lobby sells wine, beverages and snacks, and an open library with computers and wireless printers replaces a traditional business center. A "media salon" offers a contemporary alternative to the standard conference-room fair, and is wired for presentations.

Everything's Possible: McDonald's Pins Turnaround on 'Experience of the Future'

McDonald's is hoping to regain its past glory with customer-centric tactics, because the brand certainly isn't lovin' its present.
The chain once again posted a monthly decline in comparable-store sales, today reporting a global decrease of 2.2 percent in November sales. Its most dismal performance was in the U.S., with a stunning drop of 4.6 percent in its home market attributed to what McDonald's called "strong competitive activity."
The struggling economy in Europe saw help McDonald's dip 2 percent in that market, while sales plunged by 4 percent in its Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region.
Understandably, McDonald's CEO Don Thompson didn't dwell on awful monthly performance. In October, explaining a 30 percent decline in McDonald's third-quarter profits, Thompson cited fewer restaurant visits and the continued fallout from its problems with a supplier to the China market.
But increasingly, in an admission that McDonald's woes are more than skin deep, Thompson has been talking about a comprehensive initiative to reshape the company that he's calling the Experience of the Future.

Its overall goal is to deliver a "more relevant McDonald's experience" for all its customers, and it includes what Thompson called "innovations to deliver sustained profitable growth."
The brand's Experience of the Future vision was highlighted in a recent Morgan Stanley investors' conference, where CFO Pete Benson and global chief brand officer Steve Easterbrook talked up how the company plans to turn around its performance by focusing on menu innovation, customer experience, its brand and digital as a way to be more convenient (and relevant) in a presentation.
Benson, at the conference, described it as
a comprehensive concept that integrates consumer-led innovations around our menu, service and digital in order to elevate the entire dining experience and drive greater relevance with our consumers. Our experience of the future builds on the many key investments that we’ve already made to our business, including 'made for you,' reimage the course and free in-store wireless while incorporating the leading edge, point of sale and mobile technologies which we are currently building out across the system. We’re putting the pieces in place and intend to take our restaurants to the next level.
From what customers can order, to how they order and pay, to the level of service they receive, around the world we have markets already implementing different components of the future experience, from menu customization to self-order kiosks, to mobile ordering and payment. Our menu and digital innovations ... are aimed at delivering a more personal, more convenient and more enjoyable visit to McDonald’s. As we focus on our future journey, we are also working to strengthen our business over the short-term by taking actions and driving change especially in our most-challenged markets: the U.S., Germany, Japan and Australia.

Faculty Sections / Brand News: Amazon, Sony, Nissan's #RedThumb and more
« on: December 14, 2014, 08:58:52 PM »
Brand News: Amazon, Sony, Nissan's #RedThumb and more

Amazon threatens to shift drone testing overseas and tests faster deliveries by bike in NYC as company refuses (with Apple) to release diversity data.
Sony Pictures employees are left fuming after data breach as PlayStation Network also hacked.
Honda finally plans worldwide recall for Takata air bags.
Volkswagen names new head for eponymous brand after suffering year's biggest sales drop, while it plans to reveal new crossover at Detroit auto show and grants partial recognition to UAW in Tennessee.
Nissan promotes Red Thumb driver safety campaign with Adam Levine.

Abercrombie & Fitch parts ways with controversial CEO.
BMW names next CEO as Norbert Reithofer plans to step down earlier than expected.
Boeing sees strong demand for new aircraft.
Bud Light releases bottles with "Whatever" messaging.
Cisco invests in thought leadership to reinforce brand.
Coca-Cola unleashes "Happy Cab" on unsuspecting Londoners.

Despite Millennial-Wooing BMW, Mary Kay Stays True to Pink Cadillac

Cadillac may be struggling to revive its sales and redefine its brand, but there's no doubt about the value of Cadillac to Mary Kay Cosmetics. The leader in multi-level beauty-products marketing has proudly entered its 45th year of awarding pink Cadillacs to its top salespeople. The Mary Kay Pink Cadillac even has its own Twitter feed.
In fact, GM has painted more than 100,000 custom cars for Mary Kay over the decades since founder Mary Kay Ash purchased five Cadillac Coupe de Villes, had them repainted to match the "Mountain Laurel Blush" in a makeup compact that she carried and rewarded the company's top five salespeople, according to marketing blogger David Meerman Scott.
For Halloween, the Cadillac "dressed up" in various costumes and fans could vote for their favorite online, Scott reported. (No surprise: Miss Piggy won.) By staging promotions such as these, the brand's Twitter feed "helps modernize the brand by making its icon retro cool," the blogger added.

Also in the holiday season, Mary Kay was preparing to make its annual donation to the Today Show annual Holiday Toy and Gift Drive on NBC and presented a donation of more than $3 million on the show this morning.
Interestingly, however, some things are changing at Mary Kay on the auto partnership front. While not replacing the pink Cadillac as a loaned prize for its top performers in building a big and successful sales team, Mary Kay has changed up the automotive prize that goes to its second-tier "premier" directors who are working their way from black to pink. Until lately, that car was a black Ford Mustang, Bloomberg reported.
But at a sales meeting early this year in New Orleans, Mary Kay revealed that it has replaced the Mustang with a black BMW 320i. The move is aimed in part at appealing to younger Mary Kay salespeople. Even so, the news service reported, a pink Cadillac will remain the ultimate prize.

Walgreens Promotes Digital Health With Wearable Tech, Virtual Doctor Visits

Walgreens is trying to lead retailers with its digitized approach to healthcare. America's biggest drugstore chain's strategy now includes a branded wearable fitness monitor, in-store augmented reality product locators and a new telehealth partnership to provide around-the-clock access to physicians via its mobile app.
CVS may have stolen a march on the industry competition in the realm of anti-smoking, but Walgreens has become a trailblazer in setting up a systematic network of apps and other digital itouchpoints to give customers unprecedented control over their health and wellness information, whether they're in or outside the store.
"We're absolutely focused on this area of omnichannel digital health," Adam Pellegrini, vice president of digital health for the Chicago-based chain, recently told a recent conference. "We're working every day on new ideas."

The brand is trying to become a one-stop shop not only for pharmaceuticals but also for lifestyle and preventative healthcare products. Walgreens has already been among the leaders in the pharmacy business in providing in-store flu shots and other services, and continues to make heavy investments in its Healthy Choices rewards campaign.
One of the latest is a Walgreens-branded wristband that the chain debuted in November and is selling online at a discount for $59.99. The Walgreens Activity Tracker provides tracking of sleep, distances traversed and calories consumed, and multitasks by offering text and meeting notifications as well.

The tracker also syncs with the Walgreens Balance Rewards app, which awards participants points for logging weight, tracking blood pressure and glucose levels and other "healthy" activities. The app also works with other popular fitness devices such as those made by Fitbit and iHealth, and with other popular health apps.
"Walgreens' successful integration of wearables into their customer experience has in turn grown customer loyalty and fundamentally changed their relationship with customers from transactional—that is, simply selling health and wellness products—to a partnership in their customers' journey to wellness," wrote a Communispace blogger.
Another move in that direction is the indoor retail-mapping project that Walgreens launched with Google's Project Tango 3D computer-vision technology and with aisle411, an in-store mobile marketing platform.
The program provides a user with a tablet when they enter the store which they can carry or attach to a shopping cart. And as they traverse the store and head down specific aisles, the Project Tango software uses augmented reality to "pop" out products with detailed information or promotions.
"Stores and brands can leverage this to create a branded destination experience with the store, rewarding shoppers for visiting the store and thereby driving store traffic," said Nathan Pettyjohn, CEO of aisle411. In a conference video, Pettyjohn added: "People can merge digital with reality and get rewarded with points as they walk through the store. And we can overlay personalized special offers that turn the store into an immersive, game-like experience."
Also on the conference video, Pellegrini added that one of the retailer's aims is to "provide a place for the customer to come and adopt healthy habits and actually get rewarded for them, [which helps make] those tiny habits stick."
Walgreens also is boosting its mobile app with a personalized dashboard that includes an industry-first immunization widget offering a visitor's immunization history and recommendations for further action. "The goal," Pellegrini said, "is not just healthy choices around fitness but also around your health habits."
And this week came its latest move: a deal with telehealth provider MDLive that enables Walgreens mobile app users to consult a board-certified physician from their computer, tablet or phone, according to Forbes. The service will start in California and Michigan and roll out from there.
Clearly, the digital health arena will be an ever-expanding one, and Walgreens wants to be in the driver's seat as it does.

Intel Brings Fashion Tech to CES with TAG Heuer Smart Watch

Intel is reportedly teaming with Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer for a smart watch launch at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next month in Las Vegas (Jan. 5-9).
Running on an Intel processor, the watch will reportedly look similar to a regular wristwatch—i.e., more like the Witherings Activité—and less like the flurry of warable monitors with touchscreens and rubberized bands already flooding the marketplace.
The move is the latest step in Intel’s pursuit of the Internet of Things, with wearables a top priority since Brian Krzanich took over as CEO in 2013.

To pave the way to bring "Intel Inside" other brands' wearable tech platforms, Krzanich launched the New Devices Group, acquired Basis Science (a builder of health- and fitness-tracking smartwatches) and launched the Basis Peak device as well as the Quark family for small, low-power systems-on-a-chip (SoCs).
As for why wearable tech makes sense of TAG Heuer and its parent, luxury goods group LVMH, CEO Jean-Claude Biver saw an opportunity for the brand given that (as he sees it) the looming Apple Watch has “no sex appeal” and looks “like it was designed by a student in their first trimester” (of school, not pregnancy, presumably).

This deal follows Intel's collaboration with Italian eyewear behemoth Luxottica to create premium, luxury and sports eyewear with smart tech. The first products are set to launch in 2015.
“Through our collaboration with Luxottica Group, we will unite our respective ecosystems and bring together Intel's leading-edge silicon and software technology with Luxottica's design innovation and consumer expertise," Krzanich said in a press release on the deal.
“We expect the combination of our expertise to help drive a much faster pace of innovation and push the envelope of what's possible."

Intel is also dipping its toe into fashion tech, partnering with the CFDA and indie boutique/fashion brand Opening Ceremony to launch MICA (short for My Intelligent Communication Accessory). The $495 wearable tech jewelry bracelet is now available for pre-order at OC boutiques (as part of its "tech nerds" gift guide) and Barney's New York.
In addition to looking chic stacked with other bracelets, MICA features alerts from Facebook and Google, Time to Go appointment reminders, "Near Me" powered by Yelp and directions via Garmin GPS, and 18k gold coating.
The cuff comes in two designs: "black water snakeskin, pearls from China, and lapis stones from Madagascar" on one; and "white water snake skin, tiger's eye from South Africa, and obsidian from Russia" on the other.

eBay's Holiday Gift: A New iPad App and Festive Good Deeds

As announced today, eBay has launched its first iPad app in a bid (if you will) to “enhance the shopping in time for the holidays,” according to a press release. The e-commerce platform is intent on reinvigorating growth and sales by catering to the more than half of its users (59%) who are multi-screen shoppers.
The immersive platform—available in 8 languages to buyers and sellers around the globe—enhances the brand's content marketing efforts and features an elevated design aesthetic.
The app features a simplified navigation and checkout, gesture-based exploration, a refined photography gallery, a more user-friendly "My eBay" experience (Buying, Selling, Watching, Following), new item detail (View Item) and seller profile pages and fresh collections across popular categories (Motors, Fashion, Electronics, and Collectibles).

According to Re/code, the new app comes as eBay’s marketplace business continues to contract. Marketplace revenue growth decelerated to six percent year over year in the third quarter, down from nine percent in the second quarter and 11 percent in the first quarter. Plus, the company was hit with a double whammy earlier this year: A hack of shopper information and a penalty by Google that knocked a chunk of its pages out of search results.
While it has some catching up to do, engaging its community (and new users) in a visually compelling tablet experience is certainly a step in the right direction.
This may explain why “we approached the development the new iPad app in a more agile way than ever before," as chief product officer RJ Pittman stated in the release. "We want to bring more improvements to our customers faster, and solicit their feedback early in the product lifecycle. We will use our customers’ feedback to improve the quality and pace of innovation at eBay."

McDonald's Trims Menu, Expands Customization to Turn Around Brand

McDonald's has an new unofficial tagline: "We won't do it all for you."
Starting in January, the quick-serve giant will trim items from its bulging menu, including recession-busting Extra Value Meals, as it starts to roll out "Create Your Taste" do-it-yourself digital kiosks across America so customers can build and order their own burgers and chicken sandwiches.
The slimmed down menu and customization moves come as the chain faces its worst financial slump since 2001, and are a key part of the brand's "Experience of the Future" turnaround plan.

n an operational acknowledgement that its domestic menu has become unwieldly, the plan is to cut eight items in the new year from a board that offers more than 100 options overall.
The moves, disclosed at the chain's investor meeting this week, amount to the best evidence yet that CEO Don Thompson and his ever-changing roster of top U.S. executives are finally bringing potential solutions to some of the company's biggest problems to the fore.
The chain didn't say which items would be axed, but executives did point out that market tests of the changes have cut drive-through wait times. McDonald's also will reduce the number of extra value meals to 11 from 16 in a further effort to simplify its menu.
The cuts are "not significant in terms of percentage" of McDonald's menu, Mike Andres, recently promoted USA president for McDonald's, told investors. "It is significant in terms of the impact on the back of the line."

Brand News: Sony, McRib, Gucci and more

Sony hack offends comedian Kevin Hart and President Obama (not to mention Angelina Jolie) as controversial film premieres, while company readies for PlayStation battle in China and life after game consoles.
McDonald's brings back the McRib on New Year's Even—to the UK.
Gucci CEO and creative director/girlfriend leave struggling brand.
Uber sells minority stake to China's Baidu.
SeaWorld CEO steps down in wake of Blackfish documentary backlash.
Aston Martin seeks funds for new models.
CBS extends contract of CEO Les Moonves.
Cisco makes big move into big data.
Coors Light opens pop-up ice bar in London.
Danone will keep medical nutrition division.
Facebook CEO Zuckerberg contemplates "dislike" button.
Ford predicts "breakthrough year" in 2015.
Google shuts Russia engineering office.
Hearst buys 25 percent of YouTube's Awesomeness TV channel.
IKEA fined for misleading advertising in Bulgaria.
Instagram thrives as it surpasses 300 million users.
Lincoln goes back to Vimeo for trio of films.
Microsoft integrates Bitcoin payments, buys HockeyApp to spur mobile development.
Nike CIO leaves the company.
Nissan doubles output at Russia plant.
Ralph Lauren opens first restaurant in New York.
Rice Krispies teams with A Taste of Home for holiday digital campaign.
Samsung boots up its smart home division.

BBA Discussion Forum / Re: Top 10 business ideas & opportunities for 2014
« on: December 13, 2014, 07:32:22 PM »
Found interesting :)

Unilever Extends Project Sunlight to Combat Childhood Hunger This Holiday

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Unilever’s Project Sunlight has partnered with SheKnows Media and digital literacy platform Hatch to launch a campaign that aims to increase awareness of the child hunger plight in America, which affects more than 16 million kids.
Project Sunlight launched about this time last year, making a commitment to sustainable living so that today's adults have something to hand down to their children.
“There is no doubt that our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is ambitious,” Marc Mathieu, SVP Marketing, Unilever told brandchannel.

The video below—a collaboration by the three partners—illustrates how to teach children the practicalities of shopping for a week’s worth of groceries on $36.50, the average amount of money Americans living in food insecure households have for seven days of groceries.

“We have been very open about the fact that we cannot make all these changes on our own: we need to work with our suppliers, with other companies, NGOs, governments and so on to make this happen," Mathieu added in an interview. "And Project Sunlight is launched with this very much in mind: we need to work with people, with consumers, if we have any hope of achieving our goals for a more sustainable world.”

Giving children a voice in the process is a logical extension for a major global company that depends on continuing the food chain of products from one generation to another. Nonetheless, Unilever has come to personify the phrase, "philanthropy as the new marketing," coined by Twitter founder Biz Stone.
Building on their substantial sustainability profile, the consumer packaged goods giant recently launched video series, #BrightFuture Speeches, highlighting youths' ideas on how to address food poverty.

Project Sunlight asks for "acts of sunlight" that can translate into aid for millions of children through partnerships with the World Food Programme, Save the Children, UNICEF and Feeding America.
To date, nearly 149,000,000 acts of sunlight have been given. Now, the goal is to turn Black Friday sunny with an outpouring of generosity over Thanksgiving.

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