October 24, 2017

For the last few weeks wildfires have ravaged the northern portion of California, claiming dozens of lives and destroying at least 5,700 buildings. This catastrophic state of affairs is a far cry from the sunny paradise that many imagine when they think of wine country. In fact, October and November are usually the region’s busiest months as tourists arrive by the busload to sample vintages and enjoy the countryside. Not this year, though: one winery owner said she’s already Continue reading

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October 6, 2017

frankieleonTwo years ago General Mills made an admirable announcement when the company pledged to remove all artificial flavors and colors from its cereal brands. The Minnesota-based business noticed that sales of sugary, processed foods had been falling for some time as more consumers turned towards organic and natural options. General Mills figured it could win over these healthy eaters by switching to simpler ingredients. The plan seemed to work at first as the reformulated recipes increased cereal sales by 6 Continue reading

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September 22, 2017

adidasIn 2015 the future was looking bleak for Adidas. The Germany-based apparel company had experienced years of declining sales as they lost market share to Nike’s growing dominance. A new batch of competitors like Under Armour and Skechers took their toll as well, causing Adidas to lose its position as the world’s second most popular seller of sportswear and footwear.

But just as analysts began to write off Adidas as a dying brand, the company set off on a major Continue reading

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August 31, 2017

flash-proAfter years of skipping television advertisements with DVRs, many Americans have little patience for commercial breaks. And although ads are largely unavoidable during live programming like sporting events or award shows, that doesn’t mean people are paying attention. Oftentimes viewers will fiddle with their smartphones or simply tune out completely while commercials are rolling. This is bad news for companies who pay big bucks to advertise during high-rated time slots.

In an effort to get people watching ads on TV Continue reading

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August 25, 2017

lyzadanger-diliffFor decades millions of Americans kept their pantries stocked with plenty of established names like Campbell’s soup and Hamburger Helper. Consumers trusted these brands to provide their families with reliably tasty meals in a short amount of time. But Big Food’s dominance could be coming to a close as America’s eating habits change. After all, many modern consumers are eliminating processed foods from their diets while others don’t seem to care about buying name brand items.

Just visit your local Continue reading

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August 11, 2017

annagoldbergwwWhile you may not recognize the name Stephanie Courtney, chances are you know Flo, the cheery saleswoman for Progressive Insurance. Over the last decade Courtney has portrayed the character in more than 140 commercials, becoming “the personification of the company,” according to chief marketing officer Jeff Charney. “She represents our core values of integrity and honesty and transparency and customer service. She’s a character who has character.”

Of course, Flo is far from the only fictional spokesperson to be associated Continue reading

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August 8, 2017

popcornLast week we looked at how Netflix has loaded on debt while developing a new slate of original content. Although the streaming giant is taking a big risk with this strategy, many entertainment industry insiders still think Netflix is in a much stronger position than traditional movie theaters. With attendance down 3 percent from 2016, AMC Entertainment recently downgraded its outlook for the rest of the film industry’s year. The announcement sent theater stocks tumbling and caused the top four Continue reading

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July 21, 2017

When starting a new business, many entrepreneurs opt to enter an established industry so they can know what to expect. At the same time, however, these markets are packed with fierce competitors who must vie with one another for their piece of the pie. The most fortunate entrepreneurs avoid cutthroat industries and create new markets based on previously unknown consumer demands. The video below looks at how this “blue ocean strategy” can ensure long-term dominance for innovative companies.

Questions:

  1. Can Continue reading
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During this year’s Fourth of July holiday, Americans will spend an average of $71 per household on food for barbeques and cookouts. While 63 percent of people will attend a professional fireworks display sometime over the weekend, 26 percent of the populace will launch their own pyrotechnics (hopefully in a safe manner). This short video features a few more Fourth of July facts to add some statistical context to the nation’s Independence Day celebrations.

Questions:

  1. Why are 98 percent of Continue reading
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June 27, 2017

daniel-orthDuring the 1990s and early 2000s, studies showed that Americans drank an average of more than 50 gallons of soda per person. In the years that followed, however, soda began to lose its appeal as consumers increasingly avoided sugary drinks. American soda consumption has since shrunk to an average of 38.5 gallons per person. In the meantime, many of these former Coke and Pepsi drinkers switched to bottled water, which now exceeds soda in terms of total volume sold.

Last Continue reading

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