Is it just me, or does something seem fundamentally…I don’t know…off about the business models of Groupon, Living Social and the like? I just read that Living Social is a few steps closer to achieving its goal of being in 300 markets by year-end, and is boasting of some 24 million subscribers—big numbers that are…

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In previous posts I’ve highlighted key reasons why mergers are often ill-advised. Now comes news that last year’s much talked-about marriage of Kraft and Cadbury is turning out to be less fulfilling than expected. When the merger was announced 14 months ago, I wrote a post entitled Will Cadbury give Kraft indigestion? Among other things,…

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A couple of weeks ago I posted about the difficulties Borders was having staying solvent in the rapidly-changing book retailing environment. I made the point that the company seemed to be preoccupied more with restructuring its balance sheet than it was with reformulating its strategy. I’m sorry to say things are getting worse for Borders,…

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You may have read about the troubles Borders Group is having paying its bills. With Amazon pressing hard on one side and Barnes & Noble the other, Borders is facing the threat of buyout, bankruptcy, or even extinction if it can’t find a way to fix its balance sheet and shore up its revenue. Things…

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Nearly a year and a half ago, I wrote about Dr Pepper Snapple Group‘s bold strategy to increase it’s $350 million marketing budget, even in the teeth of a great recession. At that time Jim Trebilcock, executive VP of marketing at Dr Pepper, said in an Ad Age interview that the company looked at what…

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“The most important word in strategy is uniqueness, uniqueness, uniqueness.” Those are the words of Todd Zenger, a professor at the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis. His observation is as true as it is simple, but things get more complicated as he continues the thought: “On the other hand, there’s…

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In a client presentation last week, I made the point of how Apple has deftly and consistently associated its brand with the concept of innovation. I offered its retail stores as one of many proof points; instead of starting where any normal, smart corporation would—studying the most successful competitive concepts (Best Buy, for example) and…

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I recently attended a confab of senior-level executives who oversee online and digital activities at a variety of leading corporations. While what happened at the conference was enlightening, I think I may have been more enlightened by what I didn’t see happening: social media activity. I have to admit, that confused me. My first clue…

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Few brands were hit as hard by the recession as Harley-Davidson. Demand for motorcycles has taken a hit, and demand for premium motorcycles has taken an even bigger hit. It’s hard to sell a lot of twenty-some-thousand-dollar bikes when discretionary income is at a premium. Harley’s revenues continue to suffer, dipping 7.7 percent in the…

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Three months ago if you would have asked me to cite the first three things that come to mind about Chile, I would have said something like South America, interesting terrain, and a fearful dictator named Pinochet. Today ask me to cite the first three things that come to mind about Chile and I’ll say…

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