Brands Brief: Voters Divided on Whether Celebrities Should Perform at Trump’s Inauguration

Top Stories

  • Republican voters say celebrities should set aside their political opinions and perform for the incoming president if they are invited to the inauguration, according to a recent poll. Democrats say performers should stick to their convictions. (Morning Consult)
  • Macy’s Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. reported weaker sales in November and December compared to the same period in 2015, prompting Macy’s to increase its projected job cuts 10,000. Kohl’s lowered its profit target for the year. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Hulu’s forthcoming livestreaming service will be the first to include CBS, giving Hulu an advantage over competitors like DirecTV that don’t carry the network. (Adweek)

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas 8 a.m.
Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas 7 a.m.


Advertising and Marketing

Macy’s and Kohl’s Are Hit by Weak Holiday Sales
Suzanne Kapner, The Wall Street Journal

Macy’s Inc. and rival Kohl’s Corp. warned of weak holiday sales, more evidence that department stores have lost their central place in American retailing and the chains haven’t been able to solve the shift to online shopping. Macy’s outlined restructuring plans Wednesday to eliminate more than 10,000 jobs, or 6 percent of its workforce, as the first nationwide department store chain retrenches and looks to find new ways to draw back shoppers.

The company that makes pop-up stores pop
Megan Woolhouse, The Boston Globe

It was just last month, as Emily Isenberg dashed around Boston in her Mini Cooper, juggling preparations for four pop-up shops set to open that night while getting city permits to debut another, when the realization struck: her nearly five-year-old business had taken off. “It was nutty,” the former gallery director said. “But this is our new normal.”

BJ’s uses site redesign to enhance dining experience
Bobby Whitman, SmartBrief

In late 2015, BJ’s Restaurants approached Dynamit with a problem all-too-common for the industry: The company’s website had become disconnected from the BJ’s brand. The site didn’t tell the right story and was inconsistent with the BJ’s in-store experience.

Amazon plans to sell its own line of workout clothes
Jason Del Rey, Recode

Amazon has quietly developed its own brands of suits, dresses and shoes. Yoga pants and running tights could be next.

Fashion Nova Is The Clothing Brand You Can’t Stop Hearing About, And For Good Reason
Avon Dorsey, Essence

What do you get when you place a few, famous faces in your fashion designs? Six million followers (and counting) is what you get — along with loads of cash registers ringing and online sales that any retailer would kill for!

Miuccia Prada: ‘You Have to Put More of Yourself Out There’
Tim Blanks, Business of Fashion

Over the next few weeks, Prada will begin the roll-out of its new public identity. Described by art director David James as “a continuous visual data stream”, Prada365 is an ambitious multi-platform endeavour that embraces everything from print media to the entire warp and woof of the internet, from magazine ad to Instagram post.

Marc Fisher Footwear Snaps Up the Easy Spirit Brand
Sheena Butler-Young, Footwear News

Marc Fisher Footwear Co. is toasting the new year with some high-powered deal-making. The New York-based footwear firm — which already lists Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Kendall + Kylie and Ivanka Trump among the brands in its portfolio — told FN today it has purchased women’s comfort brand Easy Spirit from Nine West Holdings.

Media and Entertainment

Hulu’s Upcoming Livestreaming Service Will Be the First to Include CBS
Jason Lync, Adweek

Hulu’s upcoming livestreaming TV bundle won’t launch for another couple of months, but it has already landed a key network that DirecTV Now and its other competitors lack: CBS. Hulu and CBS Corp. have struck an agreement for CBS to be included in Hulu’s upcoming livestreaming bundle, as well as CBS Sports Network and Pop.

‘Sunday Night Football’ is still king of TV, but its throne got smaller this season
Frank Pallotta, CNN

“Sunday Night Football,” the reigning ratings king of TV, took a hit this season but it’s still sitting on the throne. The broadcast averaged 20.3 million viewers this season for NBC and the NFL, which puts it on pace to be the top show on prime time television for the sixth consecutive season.

The New York Times wants to offer you a guided tour of the Met (and eventually a lot more too)
Ricardo Bilton, NiemanLab

An increasingly product-focused New York Times is building on the idea that it has a lot more to offer readers than each day’s news. With “Make the Most of The Met,” its first museum guide, the Times is giving readers its own tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, highlighting some of the museums’s most notable attractions, giving pointers on what to look for in pieces of art, and offering other tips to make the most of a visit.

Medium pivots and lays off one-third of its team
Ken Yeung, VentureBeat

Medium announced it is changing business models in a bid to salvage its original mission, but in doing so, it has to lay off 50 employees, or one-third of the workforce. The departures come from “sales, support, and other business functions”.

Social Media and Technology

Twitter says live streaming of NFL games went ‘incredibly well’; no word on deal for next season
Taylor Soper, GeekWire

Twitter is happy with how the company’s NFL live streaming product performed this season, but it remains to be seen if the league will continue airing games on the social media platform. Millions of football fans around the world had a new, free option for streaming NFL games this season thanks to Twitter after the company paid the NFL a reported $10 million to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games this season.

Bae, The Top Dating App for Black Singles, Is Going Global
Lindsay Goldwert, Fast Company

Bae, the fastest-growing dating app for African-American millennial singles in the U.S., is going international. The app was just acquired by if(we), the parent company of Tagged, one of the largest dating sites in the world, with an eye to becoming the place for black singles to meet, play, engage, and find love.

‘A secondary agenda’: What media companies and marketers really do at CES
Sahil Patel, Digiday

If 2016 is any indication, nearly 180,000 people will descend on Las Vegas this week to attend the annual Consumer Electronics Show. But for many in the media and marketing businesses, the annual gathering has almost nothing to do with the conference’s’ main attraction: the show floor, where attendees can see all sorts of interesting or just-plain-weird gadgets.

CMO’s Guide to Chatbots
Jeanine Poggi, Advertising Age

Chatbots are the next phase in the migration from a desktop-dominant world to a mobile one. While bots are still nascent, as technology improves they are poised to replace brand websites and individualized apps.

PR and Communications

Apple Removes New York Times Apps From Its Store in China
Katie Benner and Sui-Lee Wee, The New York Times

Apple, complying with what it said was a request from Chinese authorities, removed news apps created by The New York Times from its app store in China late last month. The move limits access to one of the few remaining channels for readers in mainland China to read The Times without resorting to special software.

4 PR-Related Trends to Watch at CES 2017
Seth Arenstein, PRNews

There’s nothing better than a business trip during the first week of January to shock staffers back into the harsh reality of the work world after well-deserved time off during the holidays. While that’s probably not why the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) begins this week—the cost of convention space is lower in early January, particularly in colder climates, and travel budgets are full at the year’s start—it accomplishes the mission well.

Corporate Social Responsibility

These Companies All Boosted Paid Parental Leave In 2016
Clare O’Connor, Forbes

For many workers, particularly women, 2017 brings with it the disappointment of dashed hopes. A whole 48.2 percent of voters cast their ballots for a Presidential candidate with a strong workplace equality platform, including the closure of the gender pay gap, an increased minimum wage, and 12 weeks of guaranteed paid family leave.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

A Study of 46,000 Shoppers Shows That Omnichannel Retailing Works
Emma Sopadijieva et al., Harvard Business Review

Traditional retailers are feeling the heat. Even as competition intensifies, shoppers’ visits to retail stores are declining every year, leading one industry veteran to ominously ask his peers, “Is anyone not seeing large traffic declines?”

Google, Researchers Seek To Develop Brand Search As A Metric
Laurie Sullivan, MediaPost

Could Google Trend Data replace brand tracking studies? New research from Drexel University, Brigham Young University, and Google suggest the data could at least supplement traditional methods to lower costs and develop brand search as a metric.

3-Step Guide For Telling a Compelling Brand Story
Jonathan Chan, The Huffington Post

When you’re looking for solid advice for launching a successful startup, it makes sense to turn to experts like Gary Vaynerchuk for advice. Gary is a serial entrepreneur and New York Times best selling author.