This Week in Business and Brands: Disappearing Acts, Chopping Blocks, and More

maple syrup, pancake mix and single serve coffee

At Vivaldi, we’re always excited about the ripe opportunities for growth and disruption within our world of business and brands. But with fierce competition forcing some once-promising startups (worth $1.4B) to shut down, this week has us wondering: is there really room for everyone? And if not, what’s causing some to disappear?

Leveraging Legacy: The CMO’s Survival Guide

Setting aside whole companies and industries for the moment – on the individual level, why is it that Chief Marketing Officers have the highest turnover rate of the entire C-suite? For a position that’s now wearing more hats than ever before and tackling new responsibilities on a daily basis, it seems what makes the role so indispensable is also what makes it so tumultuous. And with a high mutual dissatisfaction (~80%) between CEOs and CMOs, perhaps it’s no wonder that more than 50% of them spend less than 3 years at their respective companies. But not all hope is lost: by clearly defining their important role from the very start and aligning metrics with expectations, firms can start forging better relationships with marketing chiefs to bring short flings into the longer term. That said, proactivity is paramount – otherwise, anticipate more attrition.

Disappearing Act: The Anti-Brand

When it comes to the awesome power of brand recognition, one $50-million startup is making us question everything we believe in. Pricing all of its products at a flat $3, Brandless is removing the “brand tax” from the tags of everyday household items, from peanut butter to paring knives. They’re challenging established brand notions, but following a third successful funding round, it seems that despite an imaginary logo, the demand is very real. In an age of greater transparency called for by savvy shoppers, this new disruptor is certainly putting the customer front and center, offering quality with value and compromising on neither. But with an online-only purchasing model, only time will tell whether the emerging enterprise can really get traditional shoppers running from the aisles…

The Evolution Exchange: Adios Humans, Aloha A.I.

Sure, Amazon boasted another big week after Monday’s Prime Day – but in the #2 spot, Walmart is still making strong strides to keep up by teaching new tech to tango. Harnessing the power of machine learning, the massive online retailer is able to enhance what it does best: offering low prices and helping shoppers find what they’re looking for with a process that’s as convenient as possible. That means using algorithms to help delivery associates route their best paths; drawing insights from customer data to improve personalization and recommendation; and speeding up the bottleneck scenario at the checkout line, virtual or otherwise. So it’s no coincidence that the recent AI implementation lines up with a 63% increase in revenue over the last year. With so much digitization happening throughout the organization, perhaps even the beloved in-store greeters will one day face robotic replacement…

Revolutionary Roads: A Fond Fuel Farewell?

With quieter streets, cleaner air, and bolder business, it’s hard to argue against the benefits of an all-electric car market. But it looks like a battery-powered Britain could carry a whole new pack of problems that might warrant a cautious consideration. While the lines at petrol stations might diminish, the demand on National Grid’s electricity will surge in unprecedented scale – no small challenge for a country-wide supplier, who will have to prepare for possible brownouts from serious usage spikes. Not to mention a trade-off from taxation, as declining duties from fuel purchases could very well tighten the Treasury’s purse strings. While the major consequences might not be felt until 2030, proper preparation is certainly still needed to prevent these imaginable inconveniences.

Influencer Innovation: Canine Competition

That’s all for this week! We’ll leave you with this lighthearted look at the next human replacement for Instagram influencers: the power of the pup…