BRAND: But Patagonia is not a fashion brand, nor does it have any intention of becoming one. Kinman explained that each product is built for a specific sport, and it has to be one of its core sports — climbing, skiing and snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing and trail running — at that. "I think there's a lot to be acknowledged and learned from those brands," Kinman said, in reference to Lululemon and Nike. "We aren't those brands. I can look at what they're doing and see if there are certain things that apply to our customer. Read More ⇢
BRAND: Burberry’s exposure to the pound is an important part of this. It sees about 14% of its revenue in pounds, 15% of its cost of goods sold (COGS, in retail parlance), and 40% of its operational expenses. Luca Solca, luxury goods analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, explained to Business of Fashion why those numbers mean Burberry, and other British brands that do a lot of business outside of Britain, could actually thrive post-Brexit: “If their costs are largely in pounds, but their revenues are in euros or dollars, the euros and dollars they would get from abroad would buy a larger amount of pounds." Read More ⇢
BRAND: Westbrook was the first athlete that Barneys, which is better known for working with the likes of Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, collaborated with. "This was something that seemed to us to be a natural," explains Kalenderian. "He can sit and have a conversation with me or any of my merchandising teams and any manufacturer or designer and speak on the same terms." Unlike Barneys' work with Lady Gaga and Jay-Z, which lasted only for two months, Westbrook's work with the retailer spanned two years. Read More ⇢
DATA: Brands today collect multiple data points across consumer interactions, ranging from key promotional events and social comments to consumer whereabouts and inquiries. One of the key challenges faced by brands and enterprises is to fuse these multiple data streams in real-time and act on them. Overcoming this challenge would redefine how brands interact with their consumers using data today. Here is how: Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: The 7.5% fall in the British pound could curtail sales in the short run for the 212 Top 500 e-retailers in North America that sell to British consumers. The longer-term impact could be more complexity in selling to U.K. online shoppers. The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will likely impact North American online retailers, both immediately and in the longer term. The immediate impact will fall on the many U.S. and Canadian e-retailers that accept orders from consumers in the United Kingdom. Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: Thrive, founded three years ago by a group of entrepreneurs, is one of several start-ups built around a membership model. But customers pay $60 a year to be able to buy organic food at what the company says are lower prices than what traditional grocers like Whole Foods offer. The aim is to give more customers access to what the founders say is better food. “We’re looking to make healthy living affordable and accessible to any American family,” Nick Green, a Thrive Market co-founder, said in an interview. It was an idea that initially drew little enthusiasm, according to Mr. Green. Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: The merchant on Thursday did not disclose its e-commerce sales figures, but company executives say those declines are due to lower e-commerce sales and a big drop in revenue from its Nook e-reader business. Store closures also contributed to lower sales. Barnes & Noble unveiled a website redesign about a year ago, and chief digital officer Fred Argir told investors that the new site has had mixed results. “We've had a fair amount of opportunities and challenges with the site,” he said. “Subsequent to the launch, we've completed 2,200 fixes to address those opportunities. Additionally, we been focused on new opportunities for on-site search and optimizing the on-site experience in terms of the journey." Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: Two years ago, the game hit the App Store and went on to become a viral hit. Its gameplay, which hinges on amassing the money, clothes, and notoriety that would make you a celebrity in the Kardashians’ world, was and still is addictive. But its real mission is to create a window into what life is like for Kardashian West herself — in a more immersive, interactive way than even her family’s long-running reality TV franchise is equipped to. With help from the game’s creative team, she paints a cartoonified picture of what it’s like to be in her inner circle. In effect, she’s turned a video game into a kind of personal blog — something no one else had thought to do, much less pull off. Read More ⇢
BRAND: While Nike could look outside for its next CEO, it’s unlikely. The company did that once before, naming William Perez CEO in 2004 to replace Knight. Perez lasted less than two years before Knight asked him to resign. The company then named Parker, a Nike lifer, as his replacement. Parker learned the value of internal competition from Knight, who put him in a race with Charlie Denson for the top job. Denson and Parker both joined Nike in 1979 and worked their way up opposite sides of the business. Denson started in store management and had several roles in sales and operations, while Parker began as a designer and shifted into marketing. In 2001, Knight named them co-presidents of the Nike brand, setting off a battle for CEO that Parker won. Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: Mistaken by some as an April Fool’s joke when Amazon rolled them out in the spring of 2015, the thumb-drive-sized devices enable shoppers to order things like Tide detergent and Cottonelle toilet paper simply by pressing a button. Customers are encouraged to put the wireless devices by their refrigerators and washing machines for quick reordering. But fewer than half of people who bought a Dash button since March 2015 have used it to place an actual order, estimates Slice Intelligence, which conducts market research based on emailed consumer receipts. Those consumers who do order make a purchase roughly once every two months, Slice found. Read More ⇢
ECOMMERCE: Ever since its IPO in September 2014, Alibaba has, on many occasions, been compared to its US rival Amazon.com. To begin to compare the two, however, one must understand that the two companies operate and monetize quite differently from each other. Alibaba makes most of its revenue from ad monetization and vendor services, whereas Amazon makes revenue from selling cloud computing services through its Amazon Web Services platform and takes a portion of the revenue generated from goods sold on its e-commerce platform. Read More ⇢
MEDIA: Many big names in the digital media industry have invested in native advertising. Investing in this strategy has projected up to $7.9 billion this year and is expected to escalate to $21 billion in 2018. In spite these numbers, the industry strategies are still blur. There is too much said about native advertising as well as subscriptions and pay-walls, but just 11% and 8% of the respondents respectively believe that these strategies will continue to be the main revenue sources in the future. Read More ⇢
Last Word: Is branding a skill or a talent?
Under Armour founder Kevin Plank once said,"Brand is not a product, that's for sure; it's not one item. It's an idea, it's a theory, it's a meaning, it's how you carry yourself. It's aspirational, it's inspirational." But can you teach someone how to do it and do it well?
Nike founder Phil Knight on paying $35 for the iconic logo, which he first called fat lightning bolts and chubby check marks:
When Knight saw the revised logo, “I frowned, scratched my cheek. ‘You guys like it more than I do,’ I said. ‘But we’re out of time. It’ll have to do.’ … Now we just needed a name to go with this logo I didn’t love. Over the next few days we kicked around dozens of ideas, until two leading candidates emerged. Falcon. And Dimension Six.” (Shoe Dog: A Memoir By The Creator of Nike)
While Plank has maintained a strict and obsessive brand focus, Knight was originally nonchalant. Knight was more of a "the product is all that matters" type of executive who was clearly influenced by a brand-minded thinker, down the line. From the founding day, Plank was the master-brander for Under Armour whereas, it is clear that Knight delegated that to someone else. The technician is rarely the mapper of the brand's genome.
Branding isn't a data-driven process, nor is it a science. It is difficult and unrelenting, when done well. While I don't think that it can be taught to just anyone, I do believe that brand management and its many facets can be taught. I'd love to hear your thoughts by responding to today's last word.