Sunday, December 31, 2006

Coke Placing Bets on Zero



Coca-Cola is reportedly going to put more money behind Coke Zero in 2007. In fact, it will be spending an estimated $13 million on advertising. Coca-Cola will be changing packaging design to improve shelp impact. In addition, its 2007 media schedule for Coke Zero will include national TV and digital support including the NCAA, national print around football and sponsorship of Notre Dame. Ads will also be placed on AOL, Grey's Anatomy, 24, MTV and late-night talk shows with radio ads in 20 markets.

Coke is attempting reposition Zero around its "Coke-ness" theme. The "Coke-ness" theme illustrates how Coke Zero tastes more like regular Coke. Coke Zero was originally positioned as a carbonated beverage for males. Despite widespread skepticism since its June 2005 launch, Coke Zero has logged five months of growth since July, steadily climbing to a 1% share. (By comparison, the country's No. 10-selling brand, Diet Mountain Dew, holds 1.4%.) Sales volume for Coke Zero increased 154% in mass channels excluding Wal-Mart in the first nine months of last year, according to Beverage Digest, making it one of the best performers in the company's fizzy-drink portfolio.

An interesting note: Pepsi ranked No. 1 in Customer Satisfaction Despite New Products, Quarterly Surveys Shows Coke Lagging.

Coke Zero Website

Source: Adage

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Intel Multiplies Inside



Intel has purchased the rights to use Time Square's bookend video billboards for its 'Multiply' campaign which goes through January 7, 2007. Intel's goal is to have people upload photos of themselves. Each persons' photo will show as one image, then mulitply into many smaller ones.

"'Multiply' is now our overall campaign for all we do at Intel," said Thom Campbell, Intel senior media manager. "Our mission is to manifest 'multiply' in media."

The term 'Multiply'is used to describe Intel's new processing architecture, the Core brand. Intel plans to use creative media solutions to advertise its brand. Mr. Campbell said. "We're pushing creativity with media; it's really in the forefront now of what we're doing." It is generating good traffic thus far.

Source: Adage

Pepto Bismol on YouTube



Here is an interesting Pepto Bismol commercial that I saw on YouTube.com.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ford Edge Commercial Too Much Like GM Flying Cars



Now don't get me wrong. I like Ford. In fact, I'm the proud owner of a 2006 Ford Explorer. However, I see to many similarities between the Ford Edge commercial and GM's Flying Cars. I have listed three main similaries below.

1. Both commercials show cars off the ground
2. Both commercials focus on exterior shots primarily
3. Both commercials focus on the ease of traveling with one of their vehicles

I don't like the fact Ford had to think that the Edge needed to be off the ground to send the right message. Overall, I like Ford's marketing strategy for the Ford Edge. They have enlisted several hip-hop stars in an attempt to attract 30-sometings. Unfortunately, Ford needs to make sure its commercials don't resemble GM's if it wants to differentiate itself.

In addition, I find it very interesting that both commercials show off the exterior features (i.e. design). However, I do feel Ford placed slightly more emphasis on presenting interior quality and comfort.

The third and final point I'd like to make illustrates how both brands show the ease of travel when driving one of their commercials. It is important to note that both brands made this point in different ways. GM focused on the speed of getting to where you need to be by showing its cars flying. In contrast, Ford showed that it provides a more comfortable ride when going from point A to B. This eludes to why I feel Ford place a little more emphasis on the interior compared to GM.

Overall, it looks like Ford is positioning the Ford Edge to be an affordable, comfortable ride with and edge (no pun intended). Likewise, it should be able to compete with the Chevy Equinox and Nissan XTerra very easily. Ford has always been known for building high quality SUVs. I may even go out on a limb and say it may compete as a lower cost alternative to the Lexus RX. However, Ford will have to place much more emphasis on comfort and quality if it ever plans to go in that direction.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Do Customers Separate Product From Service?

Do customers separate product from service? Most people I talk to feel product and service are equivocal. However, I beg to differ. I feel that customers do distinguish between product and service.

I see a product as something that meets my needs. For example, I may purchase a Snickers because I'm hungry and want a nice mid-afternoon snack. Snickers really satisfies! Therefore, I find myself full and not hungry. Hence, I am satisfied with the product since my need has been met.

Customers realize they have an issue with a product when their needs are not met. For instance, a credit card holder may feel their needs are not met if their APR is too high or they are continuously charged an annual fee despite being a long time cardholder. It is at this point when a customer sees a problem with the credit card (product) they are using.

Now it is possible for a product issue to be confused with a service issue. In fact, most people feel they are one in the same. A bad product equals bad service and vice versa, supposedly. However, product issues and service issues are distinguishable. It is important to note that product issues (i.e. candy bar has a bad taste) may be worsened by bad service (i.e. inability to contact a representative to handle the situation). This is due to the fact that many people expect to get through to a representative quickly.

Unfortunately, level of service is something that is set by a customers expectations, not a companies evaluation of its ability to handle claims efficiently. Everyone has their own perception of what they deem to be good service. This may be why it is so hard for companies to meet the needs of so many consumers.

Servicing issues occur for many reasons. Now, I don't mean to keep going back to credit cards, but they are a great example for my case that product and service are different. Many customers call the bank issuing their card to have fees removed (late once - shame on me, late twice - shame on you). Customers who expect the fees to be removed find themselves dissappointed when they are told that the fees cannot be removed. This is due to their expectations about what should've happened.

To sum things up, I have included the following.

Product = Needs
Service = Expectations

Failure to meet a customers needs is a product issue.
Failure to meet a customers expectations results in a service issue.

Therefore, any company looking to get my dollar will have to meet my needs and expectations. Will you hold companies to the same standard going forward?

Anyway, I've put my two cents in on this interesting topic. I feel taking a deeper dive into this topic may prove very beneficial. Unfortunately, its 3:29 AM and I'm tired. Also, I'm just a recent college graduate who thinks he's found the holy grail for problem resolution between businesses and their customers. I have much to learn about this topic. However, it is very important in the world of Sales and Marketing. We live in an age where customers are always looking for a win-win situation with businesses (i.e. I forgot to read the fine print when I signed the contract. Is there something we can do about this since I'm unhappy with my decision?) In contrast, businesses are looking for ways to make a profit (i.e. You should've read the fine print. That's what its there for!). Obviously, customers have a lot to learn and so does business.

Monday, December 25, 2006

I'm Not Thinking Arby's...I'm Thinking Online Video Contest



Here is a commercial that Arby's has been running for quite a while. I like Arby's slogan, "I'm thinking Arby's." However, I'm not that impressed with this commercial. The sheer fact that three adult men (construction workers) would pass on a hot model for curly fries and a drink is wrong! Also, why are the construction workers slacking on the job. Perhaps they are already on lunch. However, they should just go directly to Arby's if that's the case.

I feel a better ending to this commercial should show the three men exiting an Arby's restaurant with their food. Arby's can illustrate its point even better if they used this alternative ending to this commercial.

I noticed a few consumer videos created by consumers about Arby's on YouTube. Arby's slogan is not all that bad. In fact, it could be more viral in nature if they take the correct course of action. I think Arby's could capitalize on an "I'm thinking Arby's" online video contest. Arby's could offer prizes to consumers posting the best video's about their experiences thinking about Arby's. This would be a great way for Arby's to be one up on the burger chains.

There are three ways Arby's could do this. They could have consumers submit videos on YouTube, to their corporate office, or create a website (i.e. similar to Coke) where consumers can submit creative content related to their experiences with Arby's. However, Arby's would need to be opened minded about such a contest since. Customers who have had bad experiences with Arby's would likely view take advantage of the contest to voice their opinion.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Chad Johnson Partnering With Degree




Unilever has signed up Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver, Chad Johnson, to promote its Degree deoderant. There are multiple billboard signs around Cincinnati featuring Chad Johnson and Degree deoderant. The advertisements are based on the list of cornerbacks Chad Johnson feels could not cover him in 2005. Do you remember who can cover 85 in 05'?

Degree deoderant also set up a website for Chad Johnson as part of its sponsorship. The website is called www.chadjohnson85.com.

Kay Jewelers Targeting Males



I was watching NCAA basketball over the holiday weekend and noticed a bunch of advertisements by Kay Jewelers. This sparked some thoughts about the audience Kay was trying to attract. It is apparent to me that Kay Jewelers is trying to attract a male audience. And this makes sense to the extent that many men buy jewelry as gifts for their significant others. I'll be tracking advertisements by Kay Jewelers over the NCAA basketball season. Also, I'll see if I can find some market research on purchasing habits of consumers who buy jewelry.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Chock Full o' Nuts Expanding Cafes

Chock Full o' Nuts currently has 135 cafes and kiosks throughout New York's tri-state area. However, it plans to expand to other markets such as Las Vegas to introduce a new generation "for whom coffee is as much a cultural phenomenon as a beverage," per the company.

"Chock full o' Nuts has been on of New York's most beloved brands of coffee for generations, known for having the highest reputation for quality, consistency and value," Jim LaGanke, svp-Chock full o' Nuts Cafe division said in a statement. A recent company survey showed more than one-third of consumers asked chose Chock full o' Nuts as teh brand of coffee that best represents New York.

I've always known Chock Full o' Nuts to be a very good coffee at a low price. It is typically available through most grocery retailers. It's like Starbucks, but without the sex appeal. I think urban professionals when I think of Starbucks. However, I see New York, then urban professionals when I think of Chock Full o' Nuts. I see morning commuters in New York City waking up and drinking Chock Full o' Nuts with a bagel and cream cheese. I don't think my vision is too far from reality. There are thousands of bagel shops all over the country touting themselves as replicas of New York City bagel shops. I feel tapping into some of these 'New York' style bagel shops would be a great way for Chock Full o' Nuts to capitalize on their current image. However, I'm not sure entering upscale markets where Starbucks already has a prominent presence is a good growth strategy. Chock Full o' Nuts will need a clearly defined marketing strategy which positions their product effectively in the minds of consumers.

Friday, December 22, 2006

McDonald's Offers Breakfast Value Menu


McDonald's has begun testing morning items on its Dollar Menu in select markets. See more information at Adage.

Is Enterprise Creating a New Image?



Enterprise has gone through a series of recent marketing initiatives such as offering exotic cars, introducing a new logo and expanding its market at airports. But why is Enterprise introducing all these new ideas? Is Enterprise trying to reposition itself or take a different marketing strategy? I am currently trying to figure out why it is doing this.

Hertz introduced a variety of collection cars (i.e Fun Collection, Prestige Collection) which received a considerable amount of buzz. Hertz's offering of a Shelby Mustang GT-H has received a lot of discussion from bloggers and automotive experts. The unique car rental offerings are positioned to attract the "weekend traveler" looking for something different to drive.

Interestingly, Enterprise has began offering Lotus Elises at select locations. This may prove to be a great alternative to some of Hertz's options. In addition, offering a line of exotic and exciting cars to rent will be a great way for Enterprise to fight back at Hertz which has been expanding rental locations in many residential areas. This is important because Enterprise has long held its position in residential areas renting cars to individuals. However, it has recently decided to focus on expanding its product offerings at airports. Airports have been Hertz's primary place for conducting business.

Enterprise deserves recognition for a job well done. In fact, it has done quite well servicing its customers at airports. It received a customer service award from J.D. Powers due to providing outstanding customer service at airport locations.

Below is Enterprise's new logo.

Ford Edge Targets 30-Somethings



Ford is rolling an $80 million blitz for its new Ford Edge which targets 30-somethings.

I am very impressed with Ford's current marketing intiatives. It is taking a very aggressive approach, especially with the promotion of its new Ford Edge. It will be the official sponsor of fordedge.msn.com where visitors can find events and activities in 25 cities or share their suggestions. Ford hopes the community-style site will attract social-minded adults.


"These are very tech-savvy consumers who like social networking and this allows us to connect with them where they naturally spend time," said Jeri Ward, the vehicle's marketing manager. Ford's "Ideas from the Edge" push "really represents where advertising on the web is going -- into much more participatory media that lets consumers be part of the experience.

Ford has also set up an AIM page Ford Edge Profile and is partnering with singer Kelis to promote its urban-marketing effort. The singer created a song, "Push It to the Edge." Kelis also appears in targeted magazine ads and will play a role in various Edge sweepstakes starting in February on radio's "The Steve Harvey Morning Show" and "The Tom Joyner Morning Show."

Despite falling stock prices and declining sales in the U.S., Ford has done a good job capturing majority of the SUV market in South America. I hope Ford continues to leverage market research and technology to make an impactful return on the car industry in the U.S.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Citibank Rewarding Commercials



Some consumers may find the Citibank Reward commercials to be very funny. However, I feel they are very much annoying. I read a similar take at CaffeineMarketing with which I totally agree. Also, I have yet to see a bank or financial institution create a campaign which surpasses MasterCard's "Priceless."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Fidelity Investments Becoming More Innovative

Have you visited Fidelity's homepage lately? Well, I'm here to inform you to take a look at it. Fidelity is doing a great job of differentiating themselves from competitors such as Vanguard, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade and Scwhab.

It is becoming a very innovative financial brokerage. Many e-brokerages show their innovative side by releasing a new charting services. However, Fidelity is going a few steps beyond offering charts. It is making podcasts discussing market trends, investment strategies, and personal finance availabe to consumers regardless whether they invest with Fidelity or not. In addition, it offers text alerts, and a neat Market Monitor Widget. These are just a few of the great things Fidelity is doing to differentiate its product in the mind of consumers. Might I add that it is more important now than ever before that Fidelity be on top of their game.

Bank of America began offering 30 free online trades on October 11, 2006. Fidelity may find itself in the middle of a brokerage price war if it fails to position itself effectively. However, it is taking a step in the right direction finding creative ways to add value through technology.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Santa Drinking A Coke



Here is an interesting Coke billboard advertisement that I saw on the way to work.

Monday, November 20, 2006

New MasterCard Ad Featuring Peyton Manning



MasterCard does it again. They seem to always be one up on Visa. This MasterCard ad has over 13,000 views since it debuted on YouTube November 2, 2006.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Volkswagon Ad



This is the first ad in a campaign by Volkswagen promoting its partnership with First Act where customers purchasing or leasing new models will receive a customized First Act guitar that matches their vehicle.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Viacom Now Wants To Keep Videos Available On YouTube

Though YouTube has removed Comedy Central clips, their corporate parent Viacom has confirmed that it wants to find some way to keep the clips available. Viacom has apparently given the green light for YouTube to put the material back up.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Viacom Wants Videos Removed From YouTube

The Washington Post reported Viacom asking YouTube to purge video clips at YouTube.

Viacom asks YouTube to purge certain clips.


Viacom requesting videos to be removed from YouTube is generating negative reactions from some consumers.

Monday, October 16, 2006

ABC News 20/20 Coverage of Consumers Fighting Back

Please take a take a glance at this story from ABC News 20/20 on Friday, October 13, 2006 which elaborates on consumers video taping their thoughts and feelings about encounters with bad customer service experiences with companies.

Unfortunately, the HTML link does not work properly. Therefore, copy and insert the link into the address bar.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2563615&page=1

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Financial Football



Visa is reaching out to teens/young adults with its new "Financial Football" campaign. Please visit www.practicalmoneyskills.com for more information.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Popular Capital One Commercial Featuring David Spade



What's In Your Wallet?

Interesting Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

I have been rather busy as of lately. I recently created a customer satisfaction survey for a local dental office to give out to its customers. I have since collected the surveys and analyzed the data for the dental office. Some of the findings were quite surprising. Unfortunately, I cannot provide a lot of information about the results due to professional courtesy. However, I did learn a great deal about different ways dental offices may be able to market themselves.

This dental offices doesn't plaster ads in magazines or create hilarious commercials to entice consumers to visit them. However, it does benefit from good old-fashioned word of mouth. In fact, over sixty-percent (60%) of the survey respondents stated they referred a friend/family member.

There are several ways this dental office gets the word out about its services. It uses print items (i.e. brochures and business cards) and offers referral incentives. Interestingly, survey respondents in the satisfaction survey stated they need more experiences with the dental office. It is interesting that the customers of this dental office feel they need more experiences before they will refer friends/family members. Unfortunately, most people only get to the dentist once or twice a year. Ultimately, this finding means this local dental office will need to offer additional services to get customers into its office more often.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Grocery Shopping Moving To Wireless

MobileLime, a Boston-base company, is working with Chevy Chase Supermarket to input scanners that will let customers pay for groceries with a new type of mobile phone. Mobile phones with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips will work as a "wireless wallet." Consumers will be able to store credit card accounts on their mobile phones. They will need to verify a pass code into the phone, select the card to use and waive it over a scanner. The scanner will charge the consumers credit card and send a receipt back to the phone. MobileLime says the mobile phone based payment system is more secure than carrying plastic credit cards.

Chevy Chase Supermarket is currently sending text messages advertising products. However, it hopes to roll out the "wireless wallet" by Thanksgiving 2007. Only five percent of phones are expected to have RFID chips to make the "wireless wallet" possible. However, proponents feel the technology will catch on.

Leshan, Bruce. The Wirless Wallet. 9NEWSNOW. September 25, 2006. http://wusatv9.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=52334

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Visa Check Card



Here is the new Visa commercial promoting its Check Card products and security services.

Friday, September 01, 2006

NFL.com Fantasy Draft Advertisement



Here is an interesting commercial for all you sports fans out there!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Coke Reaching Out To Teen Segment



Coke created a commercial which has become viral in nature. It includes features from a popular video game: Vice City. The commercial video is titled Grand Theft Auto: Coca-Cola. There are many more videos similar to this on YouTube.com and http://video.google.com/.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Reaching Out To Customers

Companies are learning that mass marketing techniques are not as effective as they use to be. Companies can no longer run a television ad and expect people to react.

Companies are beginning to use email blasts, interactive games and viral marketing campaigns designed specifically to reach small market segments. Companies are doing this by using non-traditional means of advertising, starting company blogs to interact with customers and creating podcasts for consumers to view.

Companies such as Mastercard, Visa and American Express have created websites specifically designed to generated buzz (See Below). MasterCard has used its website to promote an interactive ad campaign. Interestingly, it is one of the most successful campaigns from a major credit card company.

Credit Card Campaign Websites:
MasterCard - www.priceless.com
Visa - www.lifetakesvisa.com
American Express - www.mylifemycard.com

Many advertisers also release press releases in the form of RSS feeds to reach key influencers in an attempt to get them to write about their products and services. The blogosphere is proving to be a very active community. Blogs are very easy for individuals to set up and update. Additionally, information can be passed along by bloggers very quickly. The very nature of blogging makes it an excellent resource to create viral campaigns.

Companies are also finding out that video is becoming a popular medium of choice by consumers. People are submitting home video and company commercial clips at sites such as YouTube.com and Vimeo.com.

One thing is for sure; companies must find new ways to reach out to their customers. How will you reach yours?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Staples Strives For Innovation

Staples has a contest called InventionQuest. Winners of the annual contest receive $25,000 and up to an 8% royalty. The annual contest is in its third year and continues to attact investors from across the country. People submit ideas for improving office products. The contest is part of a broad effort by Staples make a stable of exclusive products to differentiate its own-brand line from those of competitors.

Staple's also got a boost after providing to pay for judges on an episode of the Donald Trump show, "The Apprentice." Contestant's on the show developed a useful desk organizer. The winning product went on Staple's shelves the next day and quickly sold out.

Staples brand products, which carry a higher profit margin than other goods, accounted for 18% of Staple's $16.08 billion in revenue last year. Cheif executive Ron Sargent says he expects that to rise to 20% this year. Mr. Sargent says his ambition is to make the chain's own products "the top national office products brand."

Bulkeley, William M. "Got a Better Letter Opener?" Wall Street Journal. Page B1. Thursday, July 14, 2006.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bold Moves Way Forward

Ford South America has become the company's biggest success stories. It accounted for nearly $1 of every $5 Ford earned in last year. "What we can learn from South America is a willingness to start with a clean sheet of paper," Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford said.

First, Ford overhauled its manufacturing facilities by closing inefficient plants. It took a risk by opening a new, low-cost factory. Second, Ford began making cars that were aligned with consumer tastes. Ford polled young people at nightclubs and churches in low-income communities. Its market-research pointed toward designing a small SUV to compete with Nissan Pathfinders and Toyota RAV4s. In 2003, Ford introduced the Ecosport. It is so popular that it has captured 80% of the SUV market in Brazil. The Ecosport is designed to fit customers in emerging markets. It is smaller and designed to cope with bad road conditions.

Michael Robinet, a vice president at CSM Worldwide, a Michigan-based auto-industry research firm said "Bland or non-aggressive design is not a recipe for long-term growth and stability of any company." Ford is closing 14 North American plants and cutting up to 34,000 jobs during the next six years. It is doing this in an attempt to reinvent itself. Industry insiders say Ford must show the same boldness in North America if it really wants to move way forward.

Samor, Geraldo. “In Brazil, Ford Has Discovered ‘Way Forward’.” Wall Street Journal. Page B1. Monday, July 10, 2006.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Nestle Sales Down 18%

Nestle has been unsuccessful trying to increase sales for its candy bar, KitKat. Nestle has been trying to launch different flavors for the popular candy bar. Nestle has been trying to improve sales by introducing line extensions for its current popular product offerings. Meanwhile, it has been trying to avoid introducing new products. "Line extensions are a lot less risky, while new brands tend to be fewer and far between now," says Tom Vierhile, analyst with Datamonitor. Nestle's rival Kraft Foods Inc. turned Oreo cookies into Oreo ice-cream cones, an Oreo pie crust, miniature Oreos, and "spring themed" Oreos with purple filling. Additionally, retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. provide shelf space to brands receiving the most sales. Unfortunately, new products sales not very strong in most cases.

Nestle dropped the tagline "Have a break, have a Kit Kat" for "Make the most of your break." It hopes sales will improve.

Ball, Deborah. "Flavor Experiment for KitKat Leaves Nestle With a Bad Taste." Wall Street Journal. Page A1. Thursday, Julay 6, 2006.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Old Navy Going Upscale

Old Navy is repositioning to attract customers who are willing to spend more. Sales have been down for Old Navy. In fact, they have been declining since November 2004. Sheryl Clark, Old Navy’s executive vice president of merchandising, says Old Navy had become "overly focused on value." However, there was little product and brand differentiation from other low cost retailers. Therefore, Old Navy is going to begin selling higher quality clothes at higher prices. Old Navy plans to use Abercrombie & Fitch as an internal gauge to compare its progress.

Merrick, Amy. "Can Silk and Leather Tempt Shoppers Back to Old Navy?" Wall Street Journal. Page B1. Friday, June 30, 2006.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Superman Returns Discussion

Posts that contain Superman Returns per day for the last 30 days.
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Discussion about Superman Returns is increasing faster than a speeding bullet!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Crystal Clear Pepsi

YouTube On The Rise

YouTube.com is gaining popularity. Traffic has picked up since being mentioned on the influential techie site Slashdot.com. Millions of people make and view home made videos everyday. Videos can be uploaded easily from computer and cell phone. However, media companies such as NBC and CNN question site content. Many people record television episodes and sporting events to post them on YouTube for the world to see. YouTube tries to filter out questionable content. In fact, it informed NBC that a Saturday Night Live skit dubbed "Lazy Sunday" appeared on YouTube. Videos of copyrighted material may turn out to be a big problem for YouTube to monitor. However, upcoming movies and television series feel YouTube is an excellent way to generate buzz by posting clips. YouTube intends to find ways to make the site more profitable by selling ad space. However, it is against "preroll" advertisements which load at the beginning of videos.

Delaney, Kevin J. "With NBC Pact, YouTube Site Tries to Build a Lasting Business." Wall Street Journal. Page A1. Tuesday, June 27, 2006.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Reach Out and Microsoft Someone

Microsoft is taking initiative to tap into the telephone business market. New technology makes it easier to use software and servers to combine channels of communication. Voice mail, email, voice calling, conferencing and instant messaging will be options available on Microsoft's new telephone. Microsoft is shifting its strategy to the Internet to grow and protect its existing businesses. Microsoft is trying to be more innovative with new product to slow the spread of Linux, another popular operating system. Microsoft is new to the telephone industry. However, it will work with its strategic partners' to develop products and spread technology.

Guth, Robert A. and Silver, Sara. "Microsoft Wants Your Office Telephone." Wall Street Journal.Page B1. Monday, June 26, 2006.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Clothing Retailers See Profits In China

Clothing retailers see the potential of China's growing market. Companies such as Jones Apparel Group, Espirit and VF Corp., owner of Lee jeans, will be opening stores in different parts of China. Most brands are positioning products as premium, even though they have a different image elsewhere. "It's hugely expensive," for China says VF President and Chief Operating Officer Eric Siseman. If consumers don't respond to high prices, "we could always come down...it's hard to go up if you start in the middle." Additionally, apparel brands find it tough to compete with low cost Chinese produced goods. China has one of the fastest growing middle class populations around the world. Retailers are trying to find a way to tap into it.

Dodes, Rachel and Fong, Mei. "Some Apparel Makers Now See China as a Customer." Wall Street Journal. Page B1. Friday, June 23, 2006.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Security Services Keep Consumers Safe

There are criminals online who seek to cause harm and commit fraud. Online criminals find ways to breach online security systems, steal identities and bombard consumers with advertisements they do not want. Also, consumers visit many sites that contain malicious software, pornography and offensive topics. What are consumers to do? They need to know which websites are safe before visiting them.

Two free services, Scandoo and SiteAdvisor, offer features to protect consumers online. Scandoo is still in its test phase. It reviews websites prior to loading. However, you must input search terms through its website www.scandoo.com instead of going through a search engine. In contrast, consumers may download SiteAdvisor from www.siteadvisor.com. SiteAdvisor matches Web sites against a database it has compiled about content. Both services work on Windows and Macintosh computers.

Mossberg, Walter S. "Two New Services Try to Warn You About Sleazy Sites." Wall Street Journal. Page B1. Thursday, June 22, 2006.