World Watch

Conventional wisdom suggests that brand loyalty is on the decline. But, a new IBM study suggests otherwise.

Marketers who blame declining brand loyalty for lackluster sales need to rethink how they understand their consumers.

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As corporate office towers were planned on Times Square in the 1980s, preservationists who were worried the Great White Way might go dark turned off all lights except one with a message to Ed Koch: “Hey Mr. Mayor, it’s dark out there. Please keep the lights on in Times Square.”

Thanks in part to the protest, Times Square landlords have been required since the late 1980s to have advertising on their buildings, said Carol Willis, director of the Skyscraper Museum.

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A CMO we worked with not too long ago reflected on his firing: “I learned my lesson.  I’m going to get fired in the end anyway. From now on, I’m just going to go for it, from day one.”

What was noteworthy about this to me wasn’t its brashness. Instead, it made me wonder: If the average CMO’s tenure is so lamentably short, why aren’t more of them talking this way?

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Catmull and Wallace’s recent account of Pixar’s decades-long journey is an empassioned call for individuals and organizations not just to speak their core beliefs and values but to act on them consistently and imaginatively. Many of these beliefs, from quality and excellence to “trust the process” and “story is king” are familiar invocations of business intent and purpose. Yet running through Creativity, Inc. is the crucial insight that repeating such words and phrases can actually provide false confidence and be counter-productive if they ring hollow and are not put into practice.

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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc said it would buy Procter & Gamble Co's Duracell battery business in exchange for its US$4.7 billion (RM15.6 billion) stake in the world's No. 1 household products maker.

P&G, in the midst of selling about half of its slow-growing brands, said it would pump in about US$1.8 billion (RM6 billion) in cash into Duracell before the transaction.

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An interesting fact to note about television is, the medium still plays the same role it has played for decades which is to be a source of entertainment and information. However, today television stations have metamorphosed to adapt to the ever-changing ways viewers consume information and entertainment screened by broadcast stations.

In Malaysia, the TV industry has grown tremendously – from being just the basic national free-to-air channels. Consumers in Malaysia are spoilt for choice with the entrance of pay-TV sector and Internet Protocol television (IPTV).

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Never underestimate the power of good marketing. Politicians need it to win elections. Entertainers need it to gain popularity. Musicians need it to sell tickets. Skilled marketers can spin stories and create elaborate facades to manipulate the viewpoints of targeted groups of people. It can be done on a small scale, or on a grand scale.

Now that I've visited the Petronas Towers in the city of Kuala Lumpur ("KL") in Malaysia, I have come to appreciate the impact of successful marketing at the global level. In fact, I believe the Petronas Towers are part of a well-executed scheme to convince the world that the country of Malaysia, as embodied by its capital, KL, is as modern and advanced as the towers themselves. Unfortunately for Malaysians and for investors, this simply isn't true.

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