January 24, 2014

Over the past few decades farming towns across America have seen populations drop as more young people leave their rural homes behind in favor of big cities. However, urban living today doesn’t present as many opportunities as in the past. Not only do cities demand a higher cost of living, but also chances for career advancement can diminish given the large talent pool.

That’s the situation systems manager Wallace Harwood encountered at his job with an energy company in Lexington, Continue reading

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January 23, 2014

As emerging markets like India and Brazil continue to grow, more and more of their citizens will enter the middle class. This relatively untapped consumer group presents plenty of lucrative opportunities for companies across the globe. However, finding the right products to sell to this expanding class is not so simple, even for companies operating in their home countries. For instance, Tata Motors launched its ultra-cheap Nano model as an introductory vehicle for Indian consumers. But with a price tag Continue reading

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December 10, 2013

Engaging with customers through social media has become an essential part of doing business in this digital age. But in many cases, it’s not what companies say on social networks that connect with consumers; it’s what they show. A recent study of the top brand pages on Facebook found that photos gather more than twice the likes of regular links. That’s nothing compared to videos, though, which are shared by users 12 times more often than text.

One gets an Continue reading

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December 1, 2013

Although many people can think of a great business idea, not everybody has the time or money to see their product come into fruition. That is unless they’re lucky enough to have their idea produced by crowd-sourcing manufacturer Quirky. The New York-based company has built a $50 million business by turning user-submitted blueprints into marketable goods.

Each week Quirky receives more than 2,000 invention ideas from its community of approximately 500,000 members. Staffers then select the best ideas of the Continue reading

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November 30, 2013

 

People today are becoming less and less dependent on cash, though you wouldn’t know it from looking at most vending machines. More than 40 percent of American adults said in a recent survey that they could go a week without paying for something in cash. Meanwhile, many of the nation’s vending machines continue to accept only bills and coins. This reluctance to change likely led to the vending industry’s 18.3 percent drop in sales between 2007 and 2011. When Continue reading

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November 19, 2013

 

For many image-conscious consumers, product customization provides a way to stand out from the crowd without searching high and low for something totally unique. At Big Shot Bikes, for instance, customers can choose the color and shape of up to 10 parts of the Colorado company’s fixed gear bikes. Once customers select their preferences, Big Shot assembles the bicycles and ships them to the buyers for under $500. With such a relatively reasonable price tag, the company wants consumers Continue reading

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November 17, 2013

The information that appears on food packaging is under more scrutiny than ever as many people carefully count their calories and regulators research companies’ health claims. However, there’s one line on nearly every item of food that bamboozles both consumers and producers alike: the “sell by” date. Or should we say the “use by” date? Whatever name it goes by on a particular package of food, misunderstanding of its meaning causes Americans to toss out more than 40 percent of Continue reading

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November 13, 2013

As Americans become more health conscious, food companies have had to come up with increasingly creative ways to keep people snacking. In fact, just last month we featured an article in the newsletter about how smaller packaging can lead people to eat more than they normally would. But for a growing number of consumers, fatty snacks like candy and potato chips are to be avoided no matter how they’re packaged. That’s why a number of niche brands have popped up Continue reading

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October 30, 2013

Though it might not seem like it to the casual snacker, packaging plays a big part in the way we eat. Food companies spend a fortune studying the psychology behind our eating habits in order to discover the most effective pathways into America’s stomachs. Surprisingly, they’ve found out that perhaps the best way to keep customers snacking is through resealable packages rather than individually wrapped ones. For example, research conducted by Hershey showed that individual wrappers on items like candy Continue reading

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October 26, 2013

Velcro Industries is a company in a peculiar situation. On the one hand, if asked to describe Velcro, nearly everyone in America could provide at least some kind of relevant answer. Perhaps they’d talk about the distinctive ripping sound or be reminded of their favorite pair of tennis shoes as a kid. But the fastener these people would describe isn’t exactly Velcro, at least not in the eyes of the company who uses that name. To Velcro Industries, the word Continue reading

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