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  • Posted by: InterbrandHealth on Wednesday, February 5 2014 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

    In a dramatic move today, CVS/Caremark announced that by October 1, its stores will no longer sell cigarettes or tobacco products. (The company has not made formal decision regarding e-cigarettes, but does not currently carry them.) CVS noted that the change could cost them $2 billion in sales, but that it is well worth it to avoid aligning their brand with the chronic illnesses that are a result of smoking and second-hand inhalation. The decision is sure to delight anti-smoking advocates, parents and health practitioners, but will it alienate customers who smoke?

    Maybe. But CVS has made the tough call that it can no longer supply a product that is demonstratively damaging to people's health. Embracing "health" as a crucial element of its identity, may help CVS position itself for the future and pave the way for other brands. It will be interesting to see if other "healthy" retailers follow suit. This change may also help CVS grow with the changing healthcare marketplace.

    Post by CVS.

    With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the US this year, healthcare providers anticipate a huge influx of patients, many of whom may not have had insurance in the past. Small walk-in facilities expect to accommodate many of these new patients. CVS currently hosts 800 MinuteClinics that cater to this very dynamic.

    And the company plans to add 700 more by 2017. The New York Times reported that CVS Chief Executive Larry J. Merlo wanted to correct the cognitive dissonance between selling cigarettes and providing health, but that the decision also allows them to position the company for future expansion and growth.

    It's a strong demonstration by CVS of the authenticity that we think should go into business goals and then be adapted strategically for brand development. Despite the $2 billion hit, CVS may find its revenues increase based on this decision, which reflects not only CVS's core values, but our culture's own changing behaviors. The decline of smoking overall, ubiquitous government bans and growing popularity of e-cigarettes, all point to a shift in our own thinking about smoking and its role in our lives. 

    By marrying business strategy with brand strategy, InterbrandHealth believes CVS is well on its way to being both an industry trailblazer and company to watch in the new world of health.

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  • Posted by: Lucas Piazza on Monday, January 13 2014 01:20 PM | Comments (0)
    DOT Image

    The new year kicked off in Las Vegas with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – an event that convenes the world’s leading technology brands for days of press conferences and product launches, providing insights into the future of the electronics industry. We watched with awe as Samsung unveiled its bendable TV, LG announced a service allowing users to text their home appliances and Pebble revealed Steel, its sleek new smartwatch.

    However, what we didn’t observe demands equal attention; that is, brands that promote truly sustainable, practical solutions for consumers and our environment, rather than just mere wonderment. Some brands continue to lead the conversation, such as auto brands, Toyota and Ford, who displayed fuel cell and solar powered vehicles, respectively, and Intel, whose CEO announced the brand’s commitment to conflict-free minerals in its processors and urged other tech giants to follow suit. But, these represented an exception rather than a rule.

    In Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2013 report, technology companies claimed six of the ten top spots, demonstrating this sector’s burgeoning importance in consumers’ everyday lives. It is time for these highly influential technology brands to capitalize on an amazing opportunity to introduce innovative products that offer consumers control and convenience, while protecting our planet, and advance the broader conversation around the environmental benefits of technology. The opportunity is too great not to.

    Machine-to-machine technology (M2M) connects appliances and infrastructure and allows them to communicate with one another in a growing connected ecosystem; the technology that took center stage at both last year’s and this year’s CES. With an estimated market potential of $19 trillion, this Internet of Things excites brands and investors alike. At the same time, this technology offers unimaginable environmental benefits, a fact that is often ignored in the current conversation.

    In a recent study, AT&T and the Carbon War Room found that global greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced 9.1 billion metric tons by 2020 through rapid deployment of M2M technologies. These innovations could touch the most energy intensive industries, including energy generation, heating and cooling systems, transportation and agriculture.

    Imagine a world where all the vehicles on the road can communicate with one another, allowing them to travel more closely together and reduce accidents. Such is the promise of automotive brand Nissan, who recently announced multiple autonomous vehicles ready for production by 2020. As this technology proliferates and safety increases, cars could travel in caravans and be made with lighter materials, both of which would improve efficiency.

    Or, in the future your fridge alerts you when your spinach is about to spoil and conveniently provides a recipe using that produce. Not only will you have a delicious meal, but you have also eliminated potential food waste.

    With these benefits so readily available, why aren’t brands touting their products’ environmental benefits? It deserves acknowledgement that CES is a tech nerd’s heaven. Attendees wish to see what is sparkly and new, not what is necessarily the most environmentally friendly. However, promoting environmental benefits is absent across all conferences and big tech reveals.

    It is a brand’s responsibility to use this global stage and their influence to educate consumers about these benefits and drive demand. In fact, a study even found that almost two thirds of consumers expect companies to lead solutions that improve the environment – an unrealized opportunity to promote technology products that already include these benefits.

    Some in industry could profess ignorance of these impacts altogether, but in the contemporary Information Age it is unimaginable that a brand wouldn’t understand the environmental benefits of their products when that same information is so readily available to consumers. Rather, it’s likely they are making a strategic decision not to promote these benefits for fear that doing so would make them more susceptible to criticisms of greenwashing – a criticism they are not prepared to defend against.

    What the world needs now are truly innovative products that offer solutions to one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century – protecting our planet in a time of unprecedented global growth.

    Companies must first embrace sustainability as a key component of their brand and challenge others to do the same. Today, brands that are rising leaders in sustainable practices, such as HP and their Living Progress platform, started with a sense of humility and admitted imperfection at the onset, which was greeted with encouragement rather than skepticism.

    These companies continue to demonstrate their commitment through transparency and clearly articulated future goals. This model can serve as a guide for technology brands as they seek to spark their own industry conversation around the environmental benefits of new technology.

    Lucas Piazza is an Associate Consultant, Strategy, at Interbrand New York.

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  • Posted by: Floortje Beemsterboer on Monday, December 9 2013 10:30 AM | Comments (0)
    Regent Street

    Recently J.Crew solidified its presence on the London high street with the opening of its first international flagship store on Regent Street. As the brand’s fastest growing online market, the UK is a viable growth opportunity for the classic American brand. Senior management has described the brand’s international growth strategy as “thoughtful” and “careful” and the success of the London store will determine whether or not J.Crew moves forward with their plans of expanding to Asia next Spring.

    The brand’s establishment of bricks-and-mortar in London has provided a unique opportunity to engage and delight customers beyond the experience the brand offered them thus far online. On its opening day cabs in J.Crew’s signature bright colours waited in front of stores, ready to take customers for a complimentary ride. Shoppers were feted with tulips and umbrellas decorated with fun statistics about the rainfall in London and NYC, a clear indicator of the brand’s cool yet accessible persona and a nod to its growing international presence. The highly anticipated opening succeeded in being an engaging and memorable experience, a testament to the brand’s attention to detail and commitment to delivering exceptional shopping experiences.

    Lauded for the level and consistency of its customer service, J.Crew is a brand that understands in business, people come first. Indeed, the example is often cited of CEO Millard Drexler personally calling customers who have had a negative experience with the brand.

    Whether online or in-store, J.Crew offers an experience tailored to the customer’s increasing demands for efficiency and quality. Ahead of the Christmas shopping season, the brand has partnered with MasterCard to offer an easier and faster payment method for customers shopping both online and in-store. It is fast becoming clear that the brand is setting an example for other retail brands on how to engage consumers successfully and consistently across all touchpoints.

    Reportedly, finding salespeople in the UK with the brand and product knowledge necessary to deliver a customer experience on par with that in the US was a challenge. In response, the brand has brought staff from America to train British employees, to ensure they deliver the service and product knowledge the brand prides itself on and that customers have come to expect. Maintaining this consistency as the brand enters new markets will be key to its continued success.

    Although a higher price tag relative to the US may deter some shoppers in the UK – those looking for the inimitable J.Crew experience will no longer need to cross the pond to find it.

    Floortje Beemsterboer is a Consultant on the Strategy team at Interbrand London.

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  • Posted by: InterbrandHealth on Thursday, November 7 2013 04:48 PM | Comments (0)
    Jane Parker

    Prioritizing brand and its role in consumers’ lives is essential for healthcare c-suites in the rapidly changing healthcare industry. All healthcare businesses can adopt best practices and leverage their brands to increase customer loyalty, improve market share, boost internal focus and morale and ultimately, increase revenue and success.

    Jane Parker, CEO of InterbrandHealth, spoke to the CTPartners Life Sciences Commercial Dinner today and armed attendees from companies such as GE Healthcare, IMS Health, and Danone with six basic questions to test the health of their brands:

    1. Does Your Company Treat Brand As a Business Asset?

    When brand strategy is seen as an expression of business strategy it strengthens all of a company’s planning and goal setting. When treated as an asset, brand can clearly express to outsiders what business the company is in, what its values are, and drives the company’s ability to command premium prices, physician preference, and customer loyalty.

    2. Is Your Company Discerning About What You Choose to Brand?

    Inconsistent branding can be just as harmful as no branding at all. A strong, focused corporate brand helps consumers find a company in the marketplace, quickly embrace its new products and services, and recognize that brand’s relevance to their well-being.

    3. Are Your Brands Consumer-Driven?

    Healthcare brands can break through marketplace noise by focusing on the impact of their products in the lives of their customers instead of simply the functionality of those products.

    4. Do You Make Your Brand an Experience for Your Audience?

    To give customers a distinct brand experience, healthcare companies must shift their thinking: sell a service, not a product. The relationship between service and consumer is crucial for brand loyalty and future purchasing decisions.

    5. Are Your Employees an Army of Passionate and Informed Brand Ambassadors?

    Your corporate brand aligns the vision of your company. It also helps employees understand the role they play in its success and to become key spokespeople. By building and nurturing a strong brand strategy, companies can connect emotionally with their employees, driving loyalty, company perception, and, ultimately, revenue.

    6. Are You Measuring Your Brand?

    Benchmarks and tracking studies of customer attitudes towards your corporate and franchise brands can be incredibly effective in shaping your business strategies. It’s imperative that all healthcare pioneers ask themselves key questions about the vitality and relevance of their brands and take the time to measure the effects of their brand strategies. Effective healthcare branding builds a lifelong relationship with customers and their families, ensures better adoption of future products, and overall, increases a company’s success and the internal wellness of its workers, consumers, and business strategies and goals.

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  • Posted by: Claire Falloon on Tuesday, September 24 2013 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

    People have been letting their fingers do the walking since 1886, when the first official Yellow Pages was invented. But now there’s a new way to get everyday tasks done. Enter YP, “the new way to do”— or, the Yellow Pages reinvented and rebranded for a new audience and a new age.

    Anticipating the decline of its print business, and recognizing the need to make a strong move into digital and mobile channels, YP has focused its vision.

    YP Rebrand

    With brand strategy and identity created by Interbrand NY and a fresh advertising campaign by BarrettSF launched this week, YP targets a specific group—“doers”—with a clean, bold, and direct approach. Through its app and website, YP appeals to this task-orientated segment, making it easier and quicker to get things done.

    YP Rebrand

    YP is now poised to bring in more mobile ad revenue than Twitter in 2013. The new branding is designed to do the same, aiding doers with clear, quick, communication and celebrating the act of finishing.

    YP Rebrand

    Looking to create a timeless mark, the logo moves away from the app-inspired jewel to a custom-crafted YP configuration underlined with a simple yellow bar. The gestures of the doer inspired the design team: underlines, checkmarks, circles, and highlights — where the yellow line becomes a visual shorthand for efficiency and task completion.

    YP Rebrand

    Clean, bold, typography within the brand system makes headlines quick and easy to read. Refined and focused use of yellow—a color that was previously used gratuitously as a signature cue—now points the way to useful information or highlights a result. A brisk, direct, brand voice brings refreshing personality to headlines while swiftly and succinctly delivering only what the reader needs to know.

    YP Rebrand

    From the original analogue search brand, the brand update signals a refresh in relevance, and places YP firmly in the here, now and beyond.

    Claire Falloon is Associate Director, Verbal Identity, Interbrand

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