Adios, Middleman: The Rise of Direct-to-Consumer Platforms

Turning a great idea into a reality is getting easier by the minute. Small businesses and individuals can pitch, barter and sell straight to the masses. The audience is connected directly to the creator, sans middleman. With the help of platforms like Kickstarter, Kiva and Etsy, funding any number of projects has become a democratic, and virtually seamless, process. More and more the crowd is enabling individuals to make great things happen. If this is the marketplace of the future, how do already established brands fit in? Let’s delve deeper.


Will Mobile Rule the World in 2012?

You know Grandma Mildred’s annual holiday proclamation "Everyone is using them dang cellular telephones!"? You can say that again, Grams. And while she may still be resisting the constant influx of newfangled tech and software, almost everyone else has embraced mobile with open arms. A while back, predictions had Internet usage on mobile devices overtaking the same on desktops and laptops by 2015. We happen to think that at least for millennials, mobile may already have usurped more traditional devices, thanks in part to a number of key apps and events.

Join us as we take a look back at mobile’s massive growth this year as a way to forecast 2012: the year in which mobile takes over and rules the world.

Converse Rubber Tracks - The ultimate brand story

Converse: Writing Their Story with Rubber and Vinyl

When we think about brand storytelling, we often imagine a brand as defined by its history. But how many brands pay homage to their histories? Especially those that have fluctuated as greatly as Converse’s?

Converse’s story began with great success. With a distinct American image and near stranglehold in athletics — particularly basketball — Converse ruled the feet of teenagers and young adults in the ’50s and ’60s. But new players like Nike, Puma, and Adidas appeared, slicing at its market share and innovating the field to the point that Converse lost its NBA sponsorship and ultimately was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2001.

Usually this would be the death knell for a shoe company — but not for Converse.


A Sound Move for Brands

This year at MIDEM, a gathering in France for the music industry elite, a number of panels focused on branding. Execs from Converse, NASCAR, PepsiCo, and Carhartt shed some light on the current state of music-based branding efforts. Advertising and the music industry are getting in harmony, Brandweek explains.