This Week in Business and Brands: Gloom vs. Boom, Slow Growth or No Growth, and More

Brands Facing Demise…

We’ve talked before about the individual jobs that will be replaced in the coming years – first there were the factory butchers, and then the ones on Wall Street – and now it looks like not just employees, but entire S&P 500 companies will find themselves out of a job in the next ten years. As the financial sector’s technological advances like Bitcoin make for the rise of fintech startups and the fall of traditional banks, it’s possible the backend “blockchain” tech could be their saving grace in an ironic twist of fate. No one likes to find themselves as the victims of these industry-wide evolutions, and big brands of all sectors die hard – even Richard Branson claims his beloved Virgin America isn’t going anywhere, despite its recent acquisition by Alaska Airlines. This week has truly been a tale of survival of the fittest – at its finest.

Continue reading This Week in Business and Brands: Gloom vs. Boom, Slow Growth or No Growth, and More

This Week in Business and Brands: Bloom or Bust, Seeds of Success, and More

Spring has sprung! And along with it have come all sorts of new initiatives by businesses both young and old alike. Time will tell whether these fresh seeds take root and flower into fruitful practices, or else wither under an already overgrown industry landscape. But if this week is any indication, there’s no shortage of hopeful sowers when it comes to corporate innovation, and we’re certainly excited by the season’s renewal. Grab a spade and let’s dig in.

Green Thumbs and Overgrowth

In the on-demand service space, the grounds might seem plenty fertile for newcomers looking to replicate the success stories of giants like Uber, growing strong and tall in no time at all. Unfortunately, it turns out the model isn’t so easy to copy in other industries like food delivery and parking, and not all start-ups have such a green thumb. But for older brands looking to rejuvenate, there’s still hope in the form of complete revitalization, as seen in 124-year-old Abercrombie & Fitch’s spruce-up comeback. The company looks to reconnect with a customer base it lost for years by catching up with an older, more sophisticated sensibility and changing its look accordingly.

Meanwhile, other established brands are taking advantage of the garden paths forged by newcomers. In the fashion industry, for example, luxury labels are following Lululemon’s foray into “athleisure” wear, garnering $200 price tags for a pair of leggings – and actually finding the customers for it. Elsewhere, other longstanding brands are employing a slash-and-burn tactic in order to stay relevant, doing away with time-honored mascots and replacing them with social stars of the moment. Perhaps a good idea for some, though not necessarily great for others.

Roots and Offshoots

We’ve said it before and the MIT Sloan Review is saying it again here: no matter how well your new product flourishes, the only way to sustain growth is to put the customer’s needs first. Today’s technology evolves so fast that brands need to make sure their consumer comprehension can keep up or else be left in the dust.  Best of luck to car companies in this regard: with ownership being replaced by on-demand mobility tech, many auto brands are joining those they can’t beat.That said, with the annual International Auto Show opening today in New York City, we’re still looking forward to what the established motor corps has to offer –aside from a new logo.

Fresh as a Daisy

Cars aren’t the only ones in need of a paint job – when it comes to brand identity, a little touch-up can go a long way. Here at Vivaldi, our Fifth Season team was proud to revamp the PPG Paints visual identity and retail design, giving some gloss to the company whose business is in color.  And sometimes the best possible hue for a rebranding is going clear: in the age of disruption, honing in on core values can keep your company true to itself while also managing to stay relevant.

Being true to yourself means being true to your consumer base, and non-stop innovations in tech can be harnessed to further elevate that customer experience.  Whether that’s by incorporating the Internet of Things into a regular doctor’s visit or fostering loyalty through truly valuable content marketing, as hand-made as the brand’s actual product, the possibilities are endless and growing fast.  What method will you choose?

Wisdom from the Forest

That’s all for this week! We’ll leave you with these great koan-like insights from Tuesday’s Adobe Summit, offering such gems as, “If your audience didn’t tweet about it, did it really happen?”

Continue reading This Week in Business and Brands: Bloom or Bust, Seeds of Success, and More

Marketing & Innovation: Key factors of entrepreneurial success

We were honored to attend and speak at the annual Brand & Marketing conference in Zurich, Switzerland, hosted by the Swiss Marketing Association. An association of marketing pioneers, founded 75 years ago, that fosters the development of a market- and brand-oriented management approach with events, publications, education programs and corresponding research.

Continue reading Marketing & Innovation: Key factors of entrepreneurial success

Awakening the force of IoT at SXSW

Following the siren’s call of SXSW Interactive, Philip Ryan and Gesina Gudehus-Wittern traveled to Austin, Texas to share our latest thinking and get some insights into what’s on the minds of industry experts. At the German Haus on buzzing Rainey Street, Philip spoke on the powerful opportunities the Internet of Things offers brands – beyond the buzz. Inspired by one of the keynote speakers, JJ Abrams, Philip drew a comparison between the Internet of Things and the The Force – “if it exists, it can be smart and connected”! But just like the Force, IoT is always at risk of abuse: From airconditioned shoes to smart shovels, many an IoT innovation feels wildly disconnected from true customer needs, or even intent on making our lives more complicated. So how can brands stay clear of the dark side?

Continue reading Awakening the force of IoT at SXSW

Don’t Worry About Doing Things Right, Worry About Doing the Right Things: Q&A with Senior Partner Marc Scherer

We’re excited to introduce Senior Partner Marc Scherer, who leads our Düsseldorf office. With more than 15 years of international experience as a management consultant, Marc drives our Outside-In approach with his specialization in customer-centricity and customer-centered organizations. Through his deep knowledge and experience in the field of transformation & change management, he skillfully combines his analytical background with the pragmatism of real business requirements to drive impact and business results. Here Marc shares his thoughts about the new normal for businesses in an era of digital transformation, organizing for agility, and why companies should worry more about “doing the right things” than “doing things right.”

Continue reading Don’t Worry About Doing Things Right, Worry About Doing the Right Things: Q&A with Senior Partner Marc Scherer

Writing the next chapter in brand strategy.