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Branding

Budweiser, Miller Reveal the Secret Sauce in Their Alcoholic Water

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I see hops. And yeast. And water.

We all know that customers care about ingredients thanks to the GMO debate and the “is it really pomegranate” false advertising case that received a big thumbs up from the U.S. Supreme Court this week.

Seems shoppers don’t trust big-name clients to be honest about what’s in their products–and given the fact that Minute Maid’s “pomegranate blueberry” juice is actually “0.3 percent pomegranate juice, 0.2 percent blueberry juice and 0.1 percent raspberry juice”, we can’t say that we blame them.

It never really occurred to us to apply this principle to beer, but someone did–and two of the world’s biggest brands just responded.

Their findings are refreshingly dull!

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Brands Turning Fashion Bloggers Into Millionaires

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Today we learned that certain fashion bloggers are making a lot more money than…well, pretty much anyone in the “real” journalism game. In fact, they’re becoming millionaires thanks, in large part, to brands and their media outreach teams.

Speaking of real fashion journalism: the original WWD piece is wearing that paywall well, but the good people at StyleCaster have blogsplained it to us

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Buzzfeed + Cats = Perfect Recipe for a Viral Video

Cat food brand Friskies has figured out the perfect, deliciously simple formula for a viral video: Buzzfeed + cats, proving once and for all that the internet was, in fact, created for the sole purpose of sharing adorable/hilarious videos of our feline friends.  

The below ad for Purina’s Friskies brand, which depicts an older and wiser cat grudgingly bestowing sage advice unto a kitten, was published by Buzzfeed on June 5 (less than two weeks ago), and has already been viewed well over 10 million times. The spot has even spawned a popular Twitter hashtag #DearKitten, without either the brand or Buzfeed attempting to spread it.

Ah, to be a promoter of cat products and have the whole of the interwebs just waiting to do the heavy lifting for you. Sometimes all it takes is a fuzzy face, a couple of tugs at the heartstrings, a few laughs, and some seriously smart advice about the dreaded monster they call “Vacuum.”

Mollie Chen, Editorial Director of Birchbox, Talks Content Marketing

Mollie-Chen-ArticleBirchbox, the online subscription service that sends its customers a box of beauty and grooming goodies every month, has exploded since its inception four years ago. Subscribers have doubled to more than 800,000 since last year alone and an international expansion is in the works.

Editorial director Mollie Chen understands that the success of the company is due in large part to its smart branding skills. In our latest So What Do You Do column, Chen talks about the company’s vocal community, mobile initiatives and creating content its audience will love:

What goes into creating content that considers all stakeholders: the customer, your brand partners and Birchbox itself?
We think about these things on a monthly basis, but also things are definitely on a daily basis. We start building our video and story lineup. And then on a day-to-day basis we keep a lookout for news, such as Lorde collaborating with MAC on a makeup line — is that something that our customers would love to know about? What’s the Birchbox spin on that? Or we see that a customer tweeted a question about wearing sunscreen in the winter, and we whip up a blog post to answer them. So there’s the lineup that takes a longer view, and then there [are] the day-to-day reactions.

For more from Chen, including why she believes people should think of a brand as a person, read: So What Do You Do, Mollie Chen, Editorial Director at Birchbox?

Girls Are Scientists, Too: LEGO Responds to Customer Demands for Female Minifigures

lego 1_0Last week we told you about Disney coming to the hard-won, customer-fueled realization that girls like Star Wars, too, and that it might be a good idea to make Princess Leia toys (who knew??). Now, thanks to consumer demand, LEGO has come to a similar conclusion; the company has just announced the approval of the “Research Institute” set, which will feature a female astronomer, chemist, and a paleontologist.

A few months back, we covered the story of a little girl named Charlotte, who, dissatisfied with the limited selection of female minifigures and their stereotypical themes (beauty parlor, shopping, etc.), wrote a strongly-worded letter to LEGO, saying:

“My name is Charlotte. I am 7 years old and I have LEGOs, but I don’t like that there are more LEGO boy people and barely any LEGO girls. Today I went to a store and saw LEGOs in two sections…All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs, but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks. I want you to make more LEGO girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun OK?!?”

Little Charlotte, it seems, is nowhere near alone in her strong sentiment; Read more

STUDY: Young Americans Are Less Emotionally Engaged With Your Brand

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A new survey from marketing agency Momentum Worldwide is an interesting and familiar read, though it probably won’t be too encouraging for those who struggle to establish a connection with followers on social.

Its main conclusions: people in first-world countries feel less attached to the brands they follow than those in developing areas. This is especially true among younger audiences–and the root cause might just be overexposure to brand promo messages.

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Brands Rush to Sign the Latest Social Media Stars as Ambassadors

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Hundreds of young people with a bit of time on their hands are now moving to turn their mastery of social media into legitimate careers with backing from big brands–and The New York Times is ON IT.

A couple of stories this weekend highlighted the ways in which these social artisans have begun turning their Vines and YouTubes into cold, hard cash–while helping some businesses stay relevant with core demos in the process.

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Disney to Make Princess Leia Toys Thanks to #WeWantLeia Hashtag

leiaBack in May, Disney announced it would be rolling out a new line of Star Wars themed toys, which will be available for purchase in Disney stores. As excited customers browsed through the soon-to-be-collectibles, they quickly noticed the lack of products featuring female characters — Sure, Luke and R2 and Han and Vader were all represented, but where was the no-nonsense heroine Princess Leia?

A mother shopping for her daughter asked Disney that exact question via Twitter, to which the brand responded:

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Naming Names in the Growing Ranks of Hotel Brands

Epiphany HotelWhile there’s no magic formula for launching new hotel brands, E = mc2 best suits some recent hotel concepts. That’s because the famous physics energy equation reflects new or planned properties and brands, namely Epiphany from Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Moxy from Marriott International and Curio collection from Hilton Worldwide.

Branding was a hot topic at NYU’s International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference this week in New York, where panelists weighed in on the degree-of-difficulty factor, the rationale for launching new offerings and repositioning legacy brands. Names do matter, but they’re only part of the picture. Below are key takeaways.

Creating new brands for the long-haul: “Brand building isn’t for wimps; it’s for the persistent and patient. Most brands grow slowly, and you need to think several years out, since you’re often signing 20-year licensing agreements”, said James Anhut, SVP of design and quality at IHG/InterContinental Hotels Group.

Big hotel companies still have an edge, noted David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western International. “It’s immensely difficult to start from scratch. But it’s easier for larger scale hotel companies to create smart brands that will appeal in the long run.”

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Millennials Are A Big Reason Panera Bread Will Dump The Additives In Its Food By 2016

panera tweetPanera Bread isn’t stopping with the bread. The company has announced that it will rid its food of all artificial additives by the end of 2016. “That means no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives in any of the hundreds of food items it sells,” reports USA Today.

Consumers have become much more cautious about what they eat. With issues like allergies, obesity, and just overall good health at the forefront, restaurants — whether fast food, cafe chains, or anything of the like — that can build a brand on being good for you (or at least not bad for you) have a new and very powerful selling point.

“I want to serve food that I want to eat,” Ron Shaich, founder and CEO of Panera, told the newspaper. Beverages could be next, with high-fructose corn syrup on the chopping block.

Among the ingredients that will be nixed are maltodextrin, ascorbic acid and potassium lactate. If it’s too much like a chemistry class, people will be wary. Panera believes this is especially true for millennials.

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