Apple’s iPhone Allows VoIP Internet Calls with Fring and iCall

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By Tara Lane, Staff Writer

Though the iPad has dominated online discussion and social media blogs this week, there was one announcement made at the recent Apple event that has been seemingly overlooked. On Wednesday, Apple has changed its strict iPhone developer policies, and successfully updated its software development kit (SDK) to allow VoIP calls to be made through the cellular network – not just on WiFi anymore. VoIP, which stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, refers to a technology enabling digital communication through the Internet, rather than through a traditional telephone network.

For now, there are only a handful of applications supported by the change, though the most notable is the free application, iCall and Fring. Shortly after the announcement was made, the developers of iCall issued a news release detailing the applications new functions, and why this change is so monumental for VoIP technology: “VoIP on the iPhone has been the source of many debates with companies such as Google being denied access to the platform and the FCC inquiring as to the restrictions in the Apple App Store; iCall is one of the few VoIP applications that has been permitted by Apple to operate on the iPhone platform.”

The change has opened doors for recognizable applications like Skype, Vonage, and Google Voice (which, although is not a VoIP-reliant application, has not been allowed on the iPhone since its inception). Vonage’s debut of their new app — aimed at customers who make frequent international calls — has a similar look and function to Google Voice, sparking the thought that the latter will be available to iPhone users in the near future. Apple has faced scrutiny because of their rejection of Google Voice, including an investigation by the FCC in summer 2009.

Previously, Apple and AT&T have not allowed VoIP calls to be made over a cell network, citing that the use of such technology was too draining. Though AT&T dropped their ban on VoIP in October, it’s taken Apple a little longer to follow suit. Clearly, Apple is now responding to customers, and is finally giving them what they want. This small and subtle change could also be a sign of more major changes to come – such as an end to the iPhone’s exclusivity with AT&T, as well as improved technology and functionality for the rumored iPhone 4G. As Google Voice grows in popularity with just-as-popular Android devices, Apple is fighting back and getting ready to compete.

The rumor that has the Internet buzzing, however, is VoIP functionality for the iPad. The new device does boast a built in microphone, leading many people to believe it will be able to be used to make VoIP calls. Without a camera, what good does will the microphone do if it can’t be used to make phone calls? There are still many questions that need to be answered surrounding the iPad, but one thing is for certain – Apple is heralding a new era of technology and gadgetry, and has no plans of slowing down.

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What do Tweetups & Polaroid Have in Common?

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By Tara Lane, Staff Writer

The rise in digital media and technology has definitely given us many advantages over the last decade. Entrepreneurs can run an entire business using only a smartphone and a laptop. But is all of this change for the better? Do we lose something when things go digital? It can be easy to lose sight of our actions and relationships in the digital world if they’re not reinforced by physical actions. Often, we’re too focused on the digital side of something, and fail to see the effects and impact something has in the real world. To balance this out, we need to find the intersection between the two, and making things tangible, real again and making virtual reality back to reality.

Examples

Tweetups – Out of all of the people you follow on Twitter, and those that follow you, how many of them have you actually met in person? Chances are, there are very few. While Twitter has done a great job of helping us establish new connections with people from all over the world, these connections can be made even more powerful and effective when you’re able to converse in more than 140 characters, instead of talking face-to-face with someone else. Tweetups are a way people are making this happen. In any given city, someone can start a Tweetup, spreading the word about it and organizing all of the happenings using only Twitter. Tweetups provide a way to reinforce the relationships we make online by establishing a real, human connection.

Polaroid – Not everyone is transitioning to digital photography. In 2009, a massive campaign by Urban Outfitters, as well as an independent group The Impossible Project, successfully brought back the production of the classic Polaroid film. This group has proved that just because photos are going digital doesn’t mean everyone wants them to be that way, while at the same time proving the power of the crowd.

Stats

  • While stocks have been unpredictable, the price of gold reached an all-time high of $1,200 per ounce in Dec. 2009.
  • In a survey done by Rasmussen Reports, 81 percent of respondents said they prefer reading a book in a traditional printed format as opposed to a digital reading device.
  • People who pay with cash spend about 20% less on average than those who use credit cards.

Take Aways

We cannot forecast that we’ll go completely digital anytime soon. There will always be resistance, and many times, it may be for the better. While there are has no doubt been improvements made in our lives because of new technologies, we may be losing those things that we hold closely, without even realizing it. Though a friendship can be maintained via the Internet, it will never be the same as seeing someone in person.

We often lose sense of what is real if we don’t encounter it very often. With nearly every retailer accepting credit and debit cards, the use of cash has declined significantly. We receive salaries through electronic transactions, never actually seeing the money or even a check – just a number representing our buying power – which can also lead to a false sense of financial security. By reintroducing these tangible things back into our lives, we are brought back to a reality that is often blurred by the virtual world.

Predictions

 

  • The use of cash will increase over credit cards, as consumers seek to rebuild the economy the right way
  • Skype replaces landline phones for its video chat capabilities, which help us communicate on a more personal level.
  • Defriending will occur on more sites when physical connection has not been restablished

Who’s On Trend

  • Amazon
  • Polaroid

Read all of the 2010 trends here. (PDF)

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Toyota’s Recall and Crisis Management 2.0

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By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

Crisis management is not just about contacting news outlets or writing an apologetic press release. In the digital age, crisis management requires swift, sweeping action on all digital fronts: social media, blogs and company websites. For the potentially long-term damage to Toyota’s no. 1 auto brand, you’d expect the Japanese automaker to be more proactive in managing the media firestorm surrounding its faulty floormats and accelerator pedals.

“It’s not good news because it hurts their image for quality and reliability,” said Thierry Huon, an auto analyst at Exane BNP in Paris to the NYT. “It’s not good advertising.” For a brand whose core competency is superior quality and leadership that needs to grow 50% in the next year to meet it’s ambitious goal of 15% global market share, the company could do better to manage its recent recall crisis.

Toyota has the opportunity to utilize social platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to manage this branding crisis, but has shown a half-hearted effort. Facebook, the largest social network, is not being utilized by Toyota to reach out to its nearly 70,000 fans. While loyal fans stick up for the brand — for instance Ron Short points out GM is also recalling its vehicles — Toyota’s voice is silent. The Japanese car manufacturer is also under-utilizing its Twitter account to get the news to its 14,000 followers. Toyota has posted a mere six tweets regarding the recall — not as much as you might expect a brand in crisis management mode.

The consequences of poor crisis management could severely damage its reputation as the number one automotive brand, with $30.5 million brand earnings, according to Interbrand. Should we expect the Toyota brand to move down Interbrand’s list next year? Depends on how they manage the situation. At least for now, Toyota needs to stop the bleeding or it could cede its brand earnings to its automotive counterparts. Since Jan. 15, Toyota’s stock has tanked 430 points, or 10.4% while Honda and Ford have seen a mere 4.3% and 2.1% decline, respectively. While the auto market is slumping, Toyota’s stock is falling like a rock compared to its competitors. Toyota can minimalize damage through effective crisis management.

Successful crisis management requires timing, response and sincerity. Dr Rory Knight and Dr Deborah Pretty have performed extensive research in crisis management. They have studied the stock price of brands facing catastrophic failures (similar to Toyota). They bucketed those company’s whose stock price recovered to the level prior to the catastrophic event and those that did not recover. Knight and Pretty determined effective management is critical in the recovery of company value.

How can a be crisis managed well? Mattel Inc. faced a recall similar to Toyota when it retracted 28 of its products in 2007. The toy manufacturer reacted quickly to identify the problem and took immediate action to recall faulty products. To curb a public outcry, Mattel worked closely with the media. At the end of the day, Mattel contacted 40 major media outlets and a responded to a total of 300 media inquiries. In fact, Mattel established a customer relations page wherein they disclose all product recalls, including the product description, date of recall, country and serial number.

Since Mattel’s catastrophe, the online social space has become a critical crisis management tool. Consumer expectations have changed with the advent of social media and brands in crisis management mode, such as Toyota, must dial-up and utilize all digital tools at their disposal to be a part of the conversation, show sincerity, and be responsive. Has Toyota done this? Toyota could be more proactive by utilizing social media to reach out and start a dialog with its loyal customers and the media.

Wii Fit, Localvores & Clean Plates Leading Health Movement

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By Tara Lane, Staff Writer

When filmmaker Martin Spurlock released “Super Size Me” in 2004, he made a big impact on the food industry. While everyone knew fast food wasn’t the healthiest option, few realized just what it was doing to their bodies. Ever since then, there has been a noticeable shift in health and fitness activity across the United States. As we enter a new year, millions of people around the country will resolve to lose weight and get healthy. Though this happens every year, getting and staying healthy seems to have become increasingly more important over the past few years. As more and more reports and studies are released chronicling the effects of being overweight and unhealthy, individuals are responding and making a difference for themselves – with a lot of help along the way.

Examples

Wii Fit – Five years ago, who would have thought that a gaming system could do so much for fitness? Combined with its unique balance board, the Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus systems are revolutionizing the way people work out. Better yet, it makes working out fun. The Wii Fit program tracks user’s progress, showing how they’ve improved and other areas they should work on. Nintendo has brought the gym into the living room, providing a product that really works, and is accessible to everyone.

Going Local – Forget vegetarian and vegan – the newest trend in health is going local. Also known as the “localvore” movement, people following this trend strive to only eat foods produced in their local areas. The movement has many positive effects – money stays in the local economy, and the foods they eat aren’t processed – encouraging a much healthier diet. To help localvores in the New York City area, authors Jared Koch and Alex Van Buren wrote the restaurant guide Clean Plates NYC. The book offers reviews of New York’s 75 best restaurants, including details such as where the food is grown and produced.

Stats

  • Wii Fit has sold more than 22 million copies worldwide, making it the number two console game of all time.
  • So called “Twinkie Taxes” have been put in place at seven to 10 percent of U.S. corporate cafeterias, adding extra taxes on junk food and other foods deemed unhealthy for workers.
  • Increased desire to eat locally has also increased the number of community farmers markets around the United States.
  • The global sustainability packaging market is estimated to double to $170 billion by 2014

Take Aways

The passage of the health care reform bill has brought health and wellness issues to the forefront, as we contemplate where we stand in our own personal health and fitness goals. With dozens of tools at our disposal, there is no excuse to not get healthy. Being in good health can actually decrease health care costs and future health problems down the road. Many health insurance providers offer incentives for members who join gyms or see a nutritionist – because they’re a more affordable investment in the end.

Economists predicted an economic slowdown in 2009 due to the retirement of the baby boomer generation. While this generation has put a number of things into perspective – the economy and social, just to name a few – they’ve also made the health movement front-and-center. New technologies help us predict future health problems, so we can see what effects past actions can have on the body. As a result, we’re prompted to change our actions now in order to prevent similar occurrences.

Predictions

  • Gym memberships will be required for many insurance plans
  • Supermarkets consisting of only local foods will pop up, taking the farmers market to a new level
  • The average life expectancy in the United States increases from 78 to 73, then jump to 83, due to positive health and eating habits of younger generation.

Who’s On Trend

  • Nintendo Wii
  • Clean Plates

Read all of the 2010 trends here. (PDF)

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Did the State of the Union Re-Cast the Obama Brand?

By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

The State of the Union Address was Obama’s opportunity to re-align his brand and re-capture the spirit that won him the presidency. His first year has been marked by incremental failures, such as healthcare and the economy, that have severely tarnished his Messiah-brand. As we have discussed, for Obama to put his brand back on track he would need to address his constituents needs, rally his party and set tangible goals. Did Obama’s first State of the Union address meet these criteria? Overall, we give him a B.

Obama’s State of the Union tag cloud:

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Addressing his constituents needs (A)
Every effective brand must meet its consumers needs. Obama broke the fundamental rule of branding by focusing on health care, while the economy was an overwhelming concern among Americans. In his address, Obama re-prioritized and did a good job of down-playing health care and instead focusing on the economy — touching upon tax cuts, financial reform and small business.

Rallying the Dems (C)
Apple’s iPad announcement crashed TechCrunch with the influx of traffic yesterday. Why? Apple rallies its passionate audience through not only innovative products but an us vs. them attitude (think Mac Vs PC commercials). Obama had an opportunity to rally his troops (i.e. Democrats) and fight for reform, but instead he played the bi-partisan card. Nearly every time Obama mentioned Democrats, Republicans followed. This bi-partisan approach damaged health care reform as Republicans consistently put up roadblocks for Democrats. To exacerbate the situation, Obama scolded Democrats for not making more impact: “To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades and the people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills.”

Setting Tangible Goals (B)
As in business, aligning your team with tangible goals paves a clear path forward. For instance, we are going to sell 10% more products this quarter and we are going to do it through X,Y and Z. This was Obama’s chance to set realistic, tangible goals but he fell short of the mark. Instead of sweeping statements, such as “…we need to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, and more incentives” Obama could have said, we are going to decrease the unemployment rate by X% by 2011 through X, Y and Z. Overall, Obama fell short of creating tangible goals.

Obama’s first State of the Union address was an opportunity to re-cast his ailing brand, in which he could re-prioritize his efforts, rally his party and make real impact. While the State of the Union address was inspiring, beyond re-prioritizing his efforts, Obama fell short of expectations.

War of the Tablets: Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle & Microsoft’s Slate

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By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

Apple is going to be a major competitor in the tablet market with its much-anticipated, iPad. Apple, Amazon and Microsoft are vying for market leadership in what is “expected to be the PC industry’s hot new category for 2010,” writes Information Week.

Apple has set the industry standard with its iPad, with a clear opportunity for market leadership. Amazon is poised to be the #2 market competitor as it adds more tablet-like features to its successful Kindle. We anticipate the Windows 7-powered HP Slate to take the #3 position in the tablet market.

Historically, Apple’s products are category game-changers (think the iPod in the MP3 market and the iPhone’s touchscreen and app store in the smartphone market). Apple has home-team advantage with its touch-screen technology and will surely deliver a higher-quality user-experience over Amazon’s Kindle and Microsoft’s Slate. If consumers are willing to pay a potentially higher price for a better user experience, then Apple will be the market leader.

Amazon’s Kindle is certainly poised to take the #2 position. Amazon is transforming its e-reader into a tablet with new features, such as internet connectivity and apps. Amazon can leverage Kindle’s existing user-base to generate revenues. The Kindle has 90% e-reader market share and analysts estimate the Kindle to reach $2 billion a year by 2012.

Microsoft is taking a different approach. Microsoft learned a hard lesson in the MP3 market with its disappointing, Zune. Instead of developing the tablet hardware, Microsoft is providing the operating system for HP’s Slate. By leveraging the leader in the PC market, Microsoft could make some traction in the table market.

Unlike the MP3 market, Apple does not have a clear leadership position — giving Microsoft and Amazon’s Kindle a fighting chance. However, the tablet is a new, cutting-edge product and Apple’s core brand competency is innovation. This inherent quality could give Apple the advantage it needs to be the market leader (promotion: e-course to boost app sales) .

The one area Amazon and Microsoft can compete, is price. Traditionally, Apple’s products are more expensive than its competitors. If consumers want a tablet, but don’t want to pay Apple’s high prices, Amazon and Microsoft generate significant market share.

State of the Union and Re-Branding Obama

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By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

In 2008, Obama was the answer to the ailing economic, political and social strife. Astoundingly, his hope-inspiring brand was the gold standard in politics, with approval ratings soaring from 65 percent in January to 76 percent in February. Expectations were high and his rhetoric indicated such change was possible. His leadership and charisma could correct the broken path we were headed down. Obama faced a deepening recession, a broken financial system, rising unemployment, two wars in the Middle East and numerous other challenges. He was going cross party lines to spark vital change in Congress and fix the broken American machine.

“The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift. And we will act, not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth.” Nearly one year ago, Obama spoke these words to millions of hopeful supporters in his inaugural speech at the National Mall. Today, Obama’s approval ratings have sunk to 51%. Why? The American people don’t feel that he has done enough to address the economy and instead, that he has gotten bogged down in healthcare.

By comparison, at this stage in George W. Bush’s presidency, he enjoyed approval ratings of 83%. While Bush’s popularity ended at historic lows, his first year was perceived as a success. Bush showed leadership after the 9/11 attacks and united the American public on a common cause. In contrast, Obama has divided the country with healthcare reform that strays from the priority of job creation.

Pundits label Obama’s first-year performance as lackluster. A year ago, hopes were high as Obama was masterful in communicating his vision and building a Messiah-like brand image. Today, Obama’s brand value has plummeted. In short, Obama broke a cardinal rule of branding by not focusing on his constituents needs (i.e. jobs), instead wasting political capital on less important issues, such as healthcare and cap and trade.

The Obama Brand Cloud Today:

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Americans want tangible impact — or at least understand that Obama is working towards it. Obama has kept 91 promises, made 33 compromises, broken 15 promises, stalled 87 and 275 are “in the works,” according to PolitiFact.com. To show his effectiveness as a leader and put his brand on track, Obama will need to outline clear, specific goals in his State of the Union address and meet them in the coming years. Obama needs to take ownership of something he can solve, quickly. American’s need to see tangible results to indicate he is actually creating change. For instance, the unemployment rate must decline. Providing the jobs in construction and alternative energy — he discussed in his inaugural speech — would go a long way with the American public.

Ronald Reagan faced similar challenges. Reagan’s approval ratings were comparable to Obama’s today. In 1981, the Republican president dealt with a deepening recession and published his fundamentally flawed Reagonomics theory — whereby the rich trickle-down wealth to lower classes. His approval ratings were 50% at that time. So how did Reagan rise above to become a Republican demigod and what lessons can we learn for Obama? Just as former presidents facing similar challenges, Obama needs to change his strategy; beyond rallying his party, he will have to be partisan and a uniter — to create change.

To add complexity to the mix, the majority of Obama supporters (i.e. 66%) are Gen Yers and Gen Xers — digital natives who expect fast, sweeping change. America’s youth is dealing with the harsh reality that Obama is not a miracle worker and Washington is still Washington. It turns out that Obama cannot single-handedly win the Olympics for Chicago or shoe-in Coakley’s Congressional seat or fix the economy in one year. Obama is a little less powerful than we thought, but it’s not too late to re-brand and re-capture American hearts.

Obama needs to become more assertive, with more fight and less “Ghandi.” Despite his bi-partisan, “cross-the-aisle” aspirations, Obama needs to fight for change. The Republican party of “no” is always going to fight him, tooth and nail. Obama could take a page from the Sarah Palin play-book. Palin’s recent move to Fox indicates she’s not afraid of new challenges to get in front of her key demographic — hardcore Republicans. For Obama to impact change, he will need to re-win the hearts of Democrats and also rework his image with the public at large. He needs to evolve his own devaluing brand from promise to action, success and progress.

Image via Whitehouse.gov

Kleiner Perkins & Green Packaging Inc. Leading GreenStream

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By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

While there were flickers of the green movement in the 1960s only recently have we seen an explosion in the green sector. Much like plastics in the early 1970s, starry-eyed investors are lining up at the door to invest in sustainable technology because it is not just a trend, it is necessary for a sustainable future. Whether it’s green innovation from Kleiner Perkins or sustainable packaging, the eco-sector is booming.

Examples

Green Funding — Venture capital firms are funding powerhouses and every year, more are turning to the green sector to invest. Last year, the venture capital firm that helped usher in some of the most successful tech companies (most famously Google), Kleiner Perkins launched their $500 million Green Growth Fund.

“Many socially responsible investors are under the impression that there needs to be a tradeoff between social impact and financial returns. We believe it’s possible to have both and tradeoff is not always necessary,” said Josh Cohen, managing partner at the VC firm City Light Capital. However, many green companies are challenged to create not only a functional product, but a positive user experience. For instance, if an eco-car takes a long time to hit 60-mph, its functionality hinders its potential for success.

Green Packaging Inc. — “Designers are the architects of how we interact with the world around us,” says Krista Svalbonas, a Graphic Design Instructor at The Art Institute of New York City. “They have the ability to shape our relationships with products.” Green Packaging Inc. speaks to the green movement in the design world. Providing sustainable packaging (with eco-materials), Green Packaging Inc and other green collar designers are finding new and innovative ways to stretch their thinking to make a sustainable impact.

Stats

  • The pool of socially responsible investment dollars in the United States has now grown to $2.34 trillion and the second quarter of this year has seen a 12% increase in clean tech investment, a $1.2 billion upswing.
  • Though “green” products typically cost more, 80% of consumers are still buying green products and services today, according to Green Seal and EnviroMedia Social Marketing. Half of the 1,000 people surveyed buy just as many green products now as before the economic downturn, while 19 percent say they are buying more green products.
  • Hewlett Packard ranked #1 on Newsweeks’ Green Study. Newsweek says, “[Hewlett Packard has] strong programs to reduce GHG emissions. The first major IT company to report GHG emissions associated with its supply chain. Has made an effort to remove toxic substances from its products, but Greenpeace has targeted it for failing to do better.”
  • Intel took the no. 1 spot on Fortune’s Green Power Partnership Challenge, using 1.3 billion kWh in annual green power usage.

Take Aways

  • What is your green edge? It’s more than just hanging a big sign that scares people into recycling. It’s time to rally your team to get serious about sustainability.
  • Being green isn’t special in and of itself. Consumers are expecting more. Today, green is merely the cost of doing business so entrepreneurs and industry leaders need to do something extraordinary to stand out.
  • While a green mission is a kind gesture to consumers and the environment, it should not interfere with the end product. If, for instance, you’re new eco-vehicle cannot make it to 0-60 in 20 seconds, the cost of a poor driving experience will outweigh the eco benefits.

Predictions

  • Hybrids are a short-term answer to a much deeper issue. Kliener Perkins and other green VC funds will ultimately deliver a vehicle that has the horsepower of a petro-auto with the fuel efficiency of a green car. The results of venture capital-backed companies will drastically change the way we drive.
  • Lexus paved the green path for luxury auto makers. As green becomes the cost of doing business, other luxury brands will incorporate a sustainability element into their product.
  • There is a war waging between petro-backed lobbyists and eco-conscious activists — one denying global warming, the other backing it. Unfortunately, people will be caught in the crossfire. With campaigns supporting each view point there will be more confusion about global warming than ever.
  • Several of China’s metropolitan areas are covered in a thick, pollution-filled fog. As the emerging super-power makes significant economic gains, the country will address the cost of unsustainable petro-consumption.

Who’s On Trend

  • Kleiner Perkins
  • Green Packaging Inc.
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Whole Foods

Read all of the 2010 trends here. (PDF)

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Brangelina: The Power of Brad and Angelina’s Co-Brand

By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

Brangelina: the split that was so close, but wasn’t. News of the World‘s false rumor about the Brangelina split was the latest example of how co-branding can generate greater impact than individual brands alone (i.e. just Brad or Angelina). Would Brad’s split from a D-list actress or Angelina’s breakup from a no-name model spark such a media frenzy as this latest rumor? Probably not. Their combined star-power (or co-brand) ladders up to something significantly more interesting and buzzworthy.

Co-branding is the joining of two or more brands to make a larger market impact. Just as Nike teams up with Apple’s iPod to create a new product, or Aston Martin partners with Nokia, co-branding is a powerful way to create more publicity, generate revenues and develop new products. For instance, the Brangelina brand generated significant revenues for Mr. & Mrs. Smith and raised public awareness for adoption.

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Pre-Brangelina, Brad Pitt’s core brand strength was about meaningful relationships (think the long-term relationship with Jennifer Aniston) with a little sex-appeal thrown into the mix — similar to the current Brangelina brand. On the other hand, Angelina was about pushing limits — from her rocky relationship with Billy Bob Thorton to her infamous family kiss. Brad and Angelina’s brands transformed when they partnered (Angelina more so than Brad). As Brangelina, they have created a new brand — one that is about family and social responsibility (think adoption and their $1 million donation to Haiti relief).

Through co-branding, brands can generate significantly more impact together than individually. It borrows from the adage, united we stand, divided we fall. Whether it’s a personal brand, such as Brad and Angelina, or a corporate brand, such as Nike and Apple, joining forces borrows individual core strengths to create a more compelling and powerful end-product.

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Rise in Multiculturalism: China & Hispanic Continue Growth

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By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

For many years now, the US has been top dog on the international stage. However, that level of influence might decline as other economies experience tremendous growth. The economic impact of the recession might have changed the US’s influence in the long-term. More and more, China is moving into the purview. The Shanghai Composite Index was valued at 35 times reported earnings, more than doubling in a year. Aside from our international presence, within US borders, Nielsen predicts multi-culturalism is going to drastically impact our national consumer package goods (CPG) in the future. The growth of the Latino population is reflected in political and social systems (think Sonia Sotomayor) and that same influence is going to greatly impact economy — particularly in the CPG industry.

Examples

China — “Economists think it will take only three to four years for China, which recently overtook Britain, to surpass Japan ($4.4tn GDP) to become the world’s number two economy,” writes the Guardian. The emerging nation’s manufacturing sector grew by the largest margin in five years in December, reports the BBC. This is fueling expecations of an estimated 10% economic growth in 2010. “While other countries slipped into recession in 2009,” writes the BBC, “China saw its annual GDP growth rate slip to a low of 6.1% in April last year.” Can this unfettered growth continue or will China’s bubble burst?

Multi-culturalism — “While the aging population will be dominated by non-Hispanic white consumers,” writes Nielson, “the majority of new families will be multi-cultural in less than two decades.” Nielson predicts that more than 50 percent of families with children are expected to be multi-cultural and one of every two people entering the US workforce will be Hispanic by 2025. This shift in demographic will greatly impact marketers and brands in the future.

Stats

  • China’s overall economy is expected to grow 10% in 2010
  • One out of two workers entering the US workforce will be Hispanic by 2025
  • Fifty percent of families with children are expected to be multi-cultural by 2025
  • The Department of Education reports that Latino children enrolled in NJ public schools increase by more than 90,000 in the new millennium
  • More than 70% of Facebook’s users are outside of the US
  • Beijing’s stimulous contributed to in increase in auto sales in 2009 — from 10.3 million to an estimated 13.6 million. That is a 45 percent increase over 2008.

Take Away

  • Who will be your demographic in 10 years? What is your long-term strategy? Re-evaluate your target audience based on future market opportunities. For instance, the Latino population has created burgeoning market. Entering the market on the ground floor could position you for future success.
  • If you manage a blog, consider appealing to a greater audience. You might discuss more conceptual topics that can be easily accessible and relevant to an international audience.

Predictions

  • The rise in smart phones in 5 years will be attributed to emerging nations, not developed nations
  • As China continues to grow exponentially, the US will lose economic influence on the international stage
  • China will surpass Japan to become the world’s second largest superpower by 2013
  • “Majority rules” will not suffice as new demographic splices make the former minorities the new majority

Who’s On Trend

  • China
  • Google Translate

Read all of the 2010 trends here. (PDF)

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