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  • Posted by: Interbrand on Thursday, March 20 2014 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

    People around the world are changing their attitudes, behavior and consumption patterns to support products and services that shift toward a sustainable global economy that promises better health and dignity for all. Brands that embrace this shift are seeing positive results across multiple levels of their businesses. With CSR at the heart of everything they do, a willingness to experiment with new models, and a commitment to redesigning every aspect of their business, its no wonder that, as Triple Pundit points out, Corporate Citizenship enhances performance, recruitment, and sales growth.

    From sharing food and gratitude with FEED at SXSW to surveying the powerful ripples of the “CVS Effect,” Interbrand’s March newsletter supplies the information and inspiration you need to help you accelerate change. Highlighting the link between CSR and financial performance, the encouraging impact of CVS’s decision to end tobacco sales, and TOM’s decision to expand its “one for one” model into the coffee business, our Corporate Citizenship outlook focuses on the stories that are moving the needle and companies that are making a difference.

    To find out more about how to align personal and corporate values, how to take CSR initiatives to the next level, and learn more about the “Diffusion of Innovations” theory in action, check out this month’s installment of Closing the Gap!

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  • Posted by: Lauren Gallo on Tuesday, March 11 2014 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

    FEED Supper

    What if sharing your supper with others could feed millions of people around the world?

    FEED Projects, an organization founded by Lauren Bush Lauren with the mission to create good products that help FEED the world, has launched a brand new initiative called FEED Supper today at the annual interactive SXSW conference in Austin, TX. Conceived in partnership with Interbrand, FEED has created an experience that presents an opportunity to share food and gratitude while enjoying each other’s company, and remaining mindful of the people in our world who go without.

    FEED Supper will kick off Come Together, a FEED initiative that harnesses the power of group giving around the world. On September 16, 2014, the first annual, month-long fundraising event will begin. Around the world, friends and family will join together to create groups with a shared fundraising goal and intention and encourage their peers to host their own suppers as well, building the movement.

    Come Together

    Toolkits will be available for purchase that include FEED placemats and menus to remind us all why we Come Together. Participants can continue to give back by donating the amount normally spent on a meal to the FEED Foundation.

    One month of worldwide FEED Suppers will culminate in a reveal of the impact FEED has made on World Food Day, October 16, 2014. Be sure to visit FEED’s website on September 16 to learn more.

    Lauren Gallo is a Senior Associate, Client Services, at Interbrand New York.


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  • Posted by: Hugh Tallents on Wednesday, May 29 2013 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

    The last CTIA Wireless conference in its current form allegedly took place in Las Vegas last week. I say “allegedly” because even those in Vegas had no idea it was happening. The big players in the technology industry stayed away from Nevada having pretty much told their story at SXSW and CES. What was left was a fascinating exercise in the smaller mobile and tech brands trying to push themselves into the shop window for a takeover by making themselves as pretty, but unthreatening, as possible.

    It has long become apparent that the gap between the have and have-nots in the tech industry is increasing. CTIA 2013 showed no evidence that there are any companies out there that are currently capable of challenging them and playing a meaningful role in the future behavior of the US consumer. This is not to say there weren’t some interesting plays out there.

    Box touted its platform as enabling “simple, secure collaboration on any device” with a particular focus on small business, an audience that many large tech players are struggling with. Payvia offered an intriguing Carrier Billing Mobile Payment system and Sonostar previewed its “pearl-like” “Simply Smart” smart watch, but the overriding feeling among attendees was that the biggest gap between large and small tech players is the development horizon that they are able to focus on. Small technology firms, which need to sell today, are creating products with no real future vision on display and no sense that they can help define the future of wireless technology. They may make the cases, screen cleaner and carrying case, but that’s about it.

    I left CTIA with an overwhelming sense of what these companies weren’t focusing on. Authentication technology, big data and analytics for small business and voice/speech technology are all rich areas for exploration, and all were significant by their absence. There was also a complete and total absence of the consumer in any of the tech products on display. There was an overwhelming obsession with Machine 2 Machine (M2M) that seemed to operate in a world where people no longer exist. A terrifying prospect for us all.

    The biggest announcement was by Verizon, which brought along—drum roll, please—Jennifer Lopez to unveil Viva Movil, a new brand designed in partnership with JLo to transform the wireless experience for the Latino consumer. The announcement generated fairly limited buzz in the press but in the context of the show overall, it was the big news.

    The best exhibit was a simulator for It Can Wait, AT&T’s pro-social platform that aims to educate teens to not text and drive. Drivers got behind the wheel of a real sedan and attempted to text while driving a simulated course. Suffice to say I will not be texting and driving after that experience. They are encouraging young people to take the pledge not to text and drive.

    Beyond the wireless network carriers, four companies are best-positioned to tackle the future and define where the world is going: Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook. Sadly, none of them exhibit at Vegas in either January for CES or May for CTIA, even though both shows have such a profound effect on what everyone else is doing that the smallest whisper of Facebook’s Social Graph or Google Wi-Fi in New York can send the rest of the world into the deepest throes of Monster-induced development frenzy.

    Perhaps it will all change next year, when the CTIA’a annual mobile showcase will relaunch as Super Mobility Week with high hopes that moving to September will attract bigger announcements and more buzz. One can only hope—its final conference felt a little like the last person dancing at the party while the hosts clean up around them.

    Hugh Tallents is a Senior Director in Interbrand New York’s Strategy Group

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  • Posted by: Forest Young on Tuesday, March 12 2013 06:09 PM | Comments (0)

    SXSWAs the 5-day SXSW® (@SXSW) Interactive Festival comes to a close today, it celebrates 18 years of providing a unique and unmatched culture of inspired creativity and international community. The combined entities of SXSW Interactive, Film and Music will be the highest revenue-generating event for the city of Austin this year with projections easily surpassing $200 million. 

    While a predominantly start-up culture initially differentiated SXSW Interactive, the festival is now inclusive of both the bootstrapping entrepreneur and the corporate giant. As a festival veteran and attendee this year, I will try to distill the main themes that emerged from the 2013 talks and symposiums.

    #TheGreaterGood

    While SXSW Interactive continues to be a wellspring of inspiration for emerging and potentially disruptive technology, a growing number of panels focused on the societal outcomes beyond digital tools and platforms. Elon Musk (@elonmusk), an SXSW Interactive keynote speaker and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, delivered a well-received session. He stressed the application of technology to solve the problems of sustainable energy and "non-terrestrial" exploration. 

    Former Vice President Al Gore (@algore) spoke at length about our "stalker economy" — how forms of surveillance are being monetized, such as check-in apps, RFID tags, embedded cookies and geo-location, and that we will inevitably reach an impasse. Apps such as Snapchat (@Snapchat) allow the privacy-conscious to enjoy being social without accruing a potentially incriminating digital record. 

    The tech-savvy Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) lists among his many mayoral credentials an impressive Twitter following of 1.3 million people. He emphasized using social media channels to expand degrees of political and civic influence and, more importantly, as a potent vehicle for delivering hope and inspiration.

    TED celebrity Cindy Gallop (@cindygallop) returned to SXSW Interactive to discuss enhancements to her Make Love Not Porn properties — digital platforms that work to course correct sexual misconceptions stemming from hardcore pornography viewing. At the core of her multi-faceted and controversial initiatives, however, is a concern for more humane types of intimacy, reproductive health and safety. Always a provocative persona, Gallop, whose panel coincided with Al Gore's, tweeted: "At 3.30pm today, don't do @algore, do me. As it were :)"

    #TheInternetOfThings

    Tim Berners-Lee (@timberners_lee), inventor of the World Wide Web, spoke about the past, present and future state of the internet on Sunday morning. The Internet of Things — a term Kevin Ashton coined to describe the connected network of intelligent machines — was long foreseen by Berners-Lee, who was adamant that the Web be preserved "as a space where any compatible device works." Berners-Lee expressed excitement over the versatility of HTML5 and the surge in coding literacy. He also cautioned about potential threats to this expansive connectivity, namely ISP interference, state surveillance and a lack of robust digital rights management (DRM) protocol.

    The frog SXSW Interactive opening party, titled "The Other Singularity" — a playful Kurzweillian twist, provided a compelling take on The Internet of Things, exploring how smart connectivity will extend to mundane gadgets and impact our lives in the future. Reminiscent of conceptual designers Dunne & Raby, the frog technologists exposed SXSWers to a crowd-sourced DJ jukebox platform, a robotic Zen gardener, smart Porta Potties and a user-device controlled "light as ink" installation.

    #WearableTech

    Echoing the growing presence of hardware at the festival, SXSW featured exciting developments in wearable tech that introduced new form factors and HCI models altogether. Leap Motion (@LeapMotion) — a motion controller peripheral for PCs and Macs — debuted at SXSW with much fanfare. Designed for detecting precise hand gestures with little-to-no latency, the product boasts an accuracy 200 times that of its Kinect predecessor, and might someday be integrated into standard computer hardware. In the demos, drawing with your finger in the air appeared effortless, and the fidelity of the motion capture was remarkable. Leap Motion CEO and co-founder Michael Buckwald sees his product as a solution for faster modeling with 3D software in addition to the obvious gaming applications and will be available to consumers in May.

    Google and its oft discussed Google Glass (@projectglass) technology stole the show on Monday as Timothy Jordan, Senior Developer Advocate and presenter, provided SXSW developers a first look at the Google Glass Mirror API and app integrations for Gmail, The New York Times, Evernote and Path. The glasses feature a small screen visible over your right eye with a microcomputer in the right arm of the eyewear. As Jordan flipped through news articles on his glasses in front of an awestruck audience, the excitement was palpable and served as a key element of Google's product socialization — a reminder that your digital products are only as good as the developers who are excited to continually redefine the envelope of possibilities.

    #DIYHardware

    There was a noticeable and shifting emphasis this year of hardware and devices over software and social apps and platforms. MakerBot CEO and keynote presenter Bre Pettis (@bre) introduced the "Digitizer" — a 3D desktop laser scanner that eliminates the need for computer-aided design (CAD). MakerBot (@MakerBot), along with MaKey MaKey from the MIT Media Lab (@medialab), Arduino microcontrollers (@Arduino) and the Raspberry Pi (@Raspberry_Pi), are ushering in a new era of affordable DIY power tools. 

    This democratization of technology coincides with the proliferation of open source and entry level hardware projects and is part of a larger Maker Movement that supports STEM education and seeks to revive American manufacturing, and subsequently the economy, through a growing and technologically skilled labor force. Next year I'm anticipating another spike in hardware start-ups that will descend upon Austin.

    Game of Thrones#SocialXSW

    SXSW is an inherently social festival. Simple advice for a strong appearance in Austin: be memorable and be talked about. Internet star and meme sensation Grumpy Cat (@RealGrumpyCat) became an instant Austin celebrity as people waited hours to take pictures with the frowning feline. The Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) guerilla campaign was a smash hit as SXSWers took pictures of themselves on the Iron Throne in the Convention Center. Who would have thought that tech nerds would be drawn to Sci-Fi-/Fantasy?

    #NextBigThing

    While there was no discernible unveiling on par with the historic Twitter or FourSquare debuts, two apps and a platform did make an impression at SXSW, with social media chatter, investment and downloads to prove it. Takes is a camera app that transforms still photos into dynamic video, with filter and music options. MessageMe (@msgme) is a group messaging app that allows users to send rich content in addition to SMS, such as songs, videos and doodles. 

    Realty Mogul (@Realty_Mogul), a real-estate crowdfunding platform won the HATCH pitch competition held at the 2012 SXSW Startup Village. The Los Angeles-based start-up provides a vehicle for "accredited investors to pool money online and buy shares of real property like office buildings, apartment buildings and retail centers."

    This was the largest SXSW Interactive to date with an estimated 27,000 to 28,000 registered attendees. An optimal SXSW Interactive experience is a blend of inspiring and structured speaker sessions with the impromptu and organic discussions — convivial exchange that happens away from the official venues. I can't wait for next year’s festival.

    Forest Young is Associate Creative Director at Interbrand New York.


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