Category Archives: Branding

McDonald’s feeling the heat to drop antibiotics

mcdonalds antibiotics

For a long time, McDonald’s and other fast-food franchise brands have been unwilling and unenthusiastic participants in the ongoing debate over healthier food options. Especially for kids.

It’s not really that Mickey D’s wants kids to eat unhealthy. It’s simply that the business model is not based on freshly made and prepared foods. It’s about decent quality meals at a reasonable price served fast and consistently across all locations. The latter concerns, fast and consistent are the biggest keys to the success of the franchise. That’s the model, and there is a long chain of events that leads to the cashier putting that wrapped burger in the brown paper bag. Continue reading

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Lululemon Facing Dangerous Drawstrings

lululemon athletica

Lululemon is recalling nearly 320,000 women’s tops from the U.S. and Canadian markets, and there are rightfully concerns about Lulu’s second Lemon product within a few years and the negative PR of the two incidents. Just when Lululemon looked like they had put the see-through yoga pants behind them, now they are getting smacked in the face with hazardous drawstrings. And, of course, that means not only are they dealing with the current fallout but the ghosts of yoga pants past hover only a breath away once again.
The good news is that they are addressing the problem. These tops in a variety of styles and colors have all been fitted with a drawstring at the neck to pull the hood or collar tight. The problem is that at each end of the drawstring is a heavy metal or plastic clasp that makes it easy to thread through the casing and keeps the cord from fraying. But the metal/plastic clasps are at the perfect length to come swinging upward when pulled and released to smack them in the face causing injuries.
Lululemon has had seven reported injuries from the tops that were all manufactured and sold between January 2008 and December 2014. However, there have been no lawsuits filed, and Lululemon’s spokesperson says none of the injuries were serious. The company has made a wise decision in removing the products and should consider additional possibilities of reversing the negative PR. The faster they turn this situation around, the better will be their forward momentum.
If you happen to have one of these tops, stop wearing it or remove the drawstring. You can also contact Lululemon on their website to request a non-hazardous drawstring and instructions on how to put it in place. You can also check their website for a full list of the 20 styles of tops with this problem.
But one thing is certain Lululemon needs to create better guidelines when developing new products so their sales in the future will not generate another marketing fiasco. Three strikes is not what any company wants to face. And it is a good lesson for all companies that manufacture products, look for possible problems or hazardous impact attachments before releasing your product to the public.

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Why are iPad Sales Falling

falling ipad sales

Remember when the iPad was the undisputed Future of Computing? Not that long ago, really, but since the summer of 2013, Apple has been on the defensive, trying to explain away plummeting sales and a shifting place in the consumer mind. Even the competition got caught up in mobile madness. Tablets were being advertised toe-to-toe with laptops and notebook computers, daring the larger “bulkier” machines to strike back. Well, apparently the honeymoon is over. At least for the iPad.

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Nike Negates Infringement Claim

nike infringement juda engelmayer

The eponymous Nike “Jumpman” logo is arguably even more famous and revered than the omnipresent swoosh. The image adorned Michael Jordan, basketball royalty and one of the richest athletes – from royalties – to ever play any game. Of course, Nike also made untold billions thanks to the “Jordan-Jumpman” brand, a fact that has them back in court defending every nickel of those millions from an artist who says Nike stole his work.

Jacobus Rentmeester sued Nike in federal court claiming copyright infringement. His suit demands profits associated with some $3.2 billion in retail sales (from 2014 alone), but Rentmeester did not stop there. The aggrieved photographer also wants Nike to halt current sales of any products featuring the Jordan brand.

At the heart of the complaint is a photo session Rentmeester says he shot while Jordan was warming up for the 1984 Olympics. Life Magazine had commissioned the work, but Rentmeester says the rights to the images remained his own. After the images had been published, reports indicated that Nike’s Jordan brand designer, Peter Moore, paid less than two hundred bucks for “temporary use of the photo slides.”

According to the suit, Rentmeester argues Nike used his photo to recreate the shot with Jordan wearing his NBA Chicago Bulls gear. The Chicago skyline was added to the shots Nike used, but Rentmeester claims the work is still fundamentally his own. According to media reports related to the suit, the claim states: “Mr. Rentmeester created the pose, inspired by a ballet technique known as a grand jete, a long horizontal jump…”

Subsequent to that initial use, Nike used the image additional times, how many depends on who you ask, as does the amount and reasons why Rentmeester was compensated on those occasions.

This case is an example of how a legal dispute can – and often will – spill over into the court of public opinion. While the case itself will be decided in the court system, the culpability and credibility of each party will have long since been decided by the fans watching this case.

Plus, public opinion will not be limited to perspectives on Nike and the photographer. Opinion and perspective will spill over onto any other athlete who is paid to sport the Jordan brand. This presents a multi-faceted branding and PR scenario requiring both a winning narrative in court and a strong positive message to offer to the court of public opinion.

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Four Ways a Strong Public Relations Campaign Can Help Build Your Brand

Help Build Your Brand

Public relations campaigns can have a huge impact on a business. They can change public perceptions, increase sales, and improve a business’s viability. However, a strong public relations campaign can also help you to build a brand. Here are a few ways.

Create a Narrative

The best brands have a story. Everyone knows Bill Gates‘ unlikely story of success; it is part of the narrative we associate with Microsoft. Similarly, Whole Foods uses their ads to tell stories about the farmers and suppliers who work with their stores, giving a human face to a large corporation. A strong public relations campaign will not only build sell products and build consumer loyalty; it will create a story that is positively associated with your brand.

Educate Your Consumers and Clients

Many companies use public relations and advertisement as an opportunity to educate the public. These campaigns not only are more likely to go viral, but more likely to build a positive brand. As your educational materials are shared, they will reach more people. In addition, consumers and clients by nature view educators as experts. Most brands can benefit from being viewed as an expert in the field with an interest in helping and educating the public. For this reason, many major financial companies include financial education as a major portion of their public relations budgets.

Add Some Personality

A strong public relations campaign has personality. Whether you choose to use humor, wit, or poignancy, these personality characteristics are what make a campaign memorable. In addition, they can add substantially to your brand. This is the reason that it is so important to plan public relations campaigns that complement your brand and reflect brand characteristics. This is the chance to show who you are!

Create a Connection

A strong public relations campaign make your target audience feel connected to your business. This will create an interest in and connection to your brand at the same time. When your customers feel engaged and connected to your company, you have an incredible opportunity to promote your brand and create a lifetime of loyalty.

While you may see a strong public relations campaign as an end in itself, it is actually a beginning. This is your chance to promote your brand and create a relationship with your target audience. Every campaign is an opportunity that you cannot afford to miss.

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Communicating Via Skype: Quotes on the Power of Skype

communicating via skype

With the blizzard in the Northeast, many people will now resort to Skype calls. Some quotes on how SKYPE has changed the way people communicate.

· “Skype is not a top-down communication channel. It offers free conference calls. Thus nine people can communicate and interact simultaneously online. This way, one person’s message gets transmitted to a lot of people – who can immediately react and give the original communicator their feedback.” Mark Gwilliam

· “The most obvious benefit to Skype is the amount by which it lowers costs. This is especially valuable to businesses that have to make international calls or simply have to make a lot of calls in their business, saving you money every day.” Kay Kinsella

· “Business can be done around the globe in an instant thanks to communication tools such as skype.” Elie Hirschfeld

· “Your office will likely become more productive when you can have everyone sign on to Skype and join a conference call, rather than calling everyone in a room to host a meeting.” Gurdeep Pall

· “You can work remotely anywhere with your computer and conduct business with people all over the globe. Make a call, enable a video chat, try instant messaging, or even send photos and files. Doing business through Skype makes work more effective.” Mindy Kingswood

· “When you communicate using Skype, its software encrypts your communication to prevent hackers from deciphering its contents. Then, the communication travels across a network of fast and powerful computers running Skype until it reaches the recipient.” Timothy James

· “It’s beautiful for multitasking when you have a client on hold and need an answer fast.” Kelly Fallis

· “I don’t have to pass up the opportunity to help people who are far away.” Sharon Jakubecy

· “With Skype, clients get a sense of who I am as a person since face-to-face communication is the most persuasive and comprehensive.” David Mitchel

· “Employees and business contacts feel more empowered because they are more included with Skype. Since up to nine participants can simultaneously interact online through video conferences, people are given more opportunity to react, give feedback, and express their ideas on the spot.” Mindy Kingswood

· “More clients use Skype to call me now than my actual phone. If I’m on a business call and don’t know the answer to a question, I can simply add another person from my office to the call who will know the answer, without either of us having to even be in the same building.” John McCarthy

· “Skype for Business will again transform the way people communicate by giving organizations reach to hundreds of millions of Skype users outside the walls of their business.” Gurdeep Pall

· “Skype assists business communication through simplifying the means of inner-office communications, simplifying national and even international communications, and making these connections possible with less financial impact than other common business communication services.” Linda Richter

· “Between its core service and the add-ons you can install, Skype can essentially handle any type of business communication.” Adam Ostrow

· “Skype obviously has benefits, otherwise we would not be using it. We see great value in being able to communicate with external partners and development groups in other countries at low cost.” Kevin Fitzpatrick

· “We put a lot of time into surveying customers last year and one thing that came up was that approximately 25% of our 61 million registered users rely on Skype for business purposes.” Saul Klein

· “Skype can improve your customer service if you provide clients with a Skype button, allowing them to contact you and letting them know when you are available to talk.” Kay Kinsella

· “Skype has changed the way that many businesses conduct meetings, interact with clients and interview new recruits.” Anthony Oster

· “I’m going on vacation soon for 20 days in a different country. Normally, I might only take a one-week vacation. I can meet with my team, talk to clients, chat with investors and set up business deals all while on the road.” Spicer Matthews

· “I’m able to work from home a lot, and Skype lets me stay in contact with my partner, freelancers, contractors and clients. Without Skype, I don’t know what we’d do, although I’m sure it would involve more office hours.” Kari DePhillips

· “Skype group calls provide a convenient (and often free) alternative to conventional phone conference calls. You can set one up with other Skype users, of course, but you can host group calls even if you’re the only one on Skype.” Ural Cebeci

· “Employees and business contacts feel more empowered because they are more included with Skype. Since up to nine participants can simultaneously interact online through video conferences, people are given more opportunity to react, give feedback, and express their ideas on the spot.” Mindy Kingswood

· “Skype simplifies business communications because it allows everyone in the business to use the same platform. With everyone using the same platform, all you need to do is add new employees to a master list, and distribute this list to your employees accordingly.” Gurdeep Pall

· “With two Skype accounts, if one is placed on auto answer you can call when you are away and it will answer, allowing you to see around the room the computer is in. This is especially convenient for people going on holidays or leaving offices unoccupied for periods of time.” Kay Kinsella

· “I do business all over the world and I use Skype to contact everywhere, with extremely high quality lines.” John McCarthy

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Ronn Torossian on 3 Self-Promotion Tips that Protect your Ego

torossian-ego

There’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn, but you need to do it at the right time, to the right audience, and for the right reasons. CEO of 5WPR Ronn Torossian explains.

Some people would love to live in a world where you are actually judged on the quality of your work and the content of your character. Unfortunately, we live in a world of dog eat dog competitiveness, where petty people do everything they can to put themselves over … often at your expense. Even in the best possible situation, “fair” is probably not in your future.

So, what, should you crawl into a hole and hide from the world? Good luck with that, Salinger. That won’t get you anywhere. Instead, PR Executive Torossian suggests you create or work within contexts in order to put yourself over without damaging your reputation or getting pegged as a braggart.

Make it topical

When talking about your successes, keep it in the context of overall success. Talk about WHAT was a success and WHO helped you make it possible. Clearly include yourself in the success, but be sure to strategically include others in your appreciation. No one works in a vacuum, and no one does it all by themselves. When you talk about what was accomplished, you also open yourself up to people asking “how” it was done and “why” you did it that way. This creates both a broader context and an opportunity to specifically detail your skills and choices.

Make it responsive

Speaking of context, it’s always best to pat yourself on the back in the context of answering questions. It’s much better to create a situation in which people are genuinely interested in the aspects of your success instead of trying to force them to listen to how awesome you are. This way, you are connecting with their curiosity rather than invading their space.

Make it objective

While it seems like all self-promotion must be subjective, that’s not the case. Objectively addressing a situation and methodically including your involvement in successfully addressing the challenges is a much better strategy than making the whole issue about you. If something is about something, keep it about that thing. Making it about yourself is the first step toward losing your audience.

Following these tips will not turn Seinfeld characters into decent people, but it will put you in the best possible position to show yourself in the right light at the right time. The rest, of course, is up to people with open eyes, ears and minds.

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