National / International News
It's been almost a year since the data breach that sent some Target customers packing. And Target, which reports earnings Wednesday, is trying a number of strategies to get them back.
For one, it has a new CEO, Brian Cornell. And he’s not above admitting the company has problems. He says Target needs to be cool again.
“What does it mean to be Target in today’s retail landscape?” says Amy Koo, a senior analyst at Kantar Retail. She says Target is trying to beef up customer service. “They’re doing beauty advisers, they’ve expanded to do baby advisers. You know, ask us if you need help.”
Target is also experimenting with smaller stores in cities.
One experiment that didn’t go so well? Opening stores in Canada. Canadians complained about the prices, and shortages of popular products. Some analysts are weighing whether Target should close those stores.
“If they can’t get it to be a profitable venture then they’re going to do what’s best for the shareholder,” says Sean Naughton, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray.
Naughton has already calculated how much it would cost Target to pull out of Canada: about $1.2 billion.
Carnival Corp., which operates nine cruise lines worldwide, plans to launch an online social media campaign next week which it says is aimed at people who are new to cruising.
The plans include a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #LoveCruising and an online ad contest on its new website.
The cruise line shook up its management in 2013 after several high-profile incidents, the biggest of which were the Costa Concordia disaster in which 32 people died and the stranding of the Carnival Triumph at sea after an engine fire. Many of the headlines for the latter incident read "Poop Cruise."
Just last week, Carnival suffered more bad headlines with news of 172 passengers sickened with the norovirus on one of its ships.
In the aftermath of the Concordia and Triumph disasters, Carnival said it expected its image recovery to take two to three years. But Ken Jones, VP of Corporate Marketing for Carnival Corp., insisted that this latest online campaign is not intended to fight negative headlines.
“This campaign is not designed to combat any particular press that’s happened in the past. This campaign is designed to speak for the fact that, for the first time ever, as a corporation, we’re talking about all nine of our brands simultaneously,” said Jones.
The campaign’s efforts are to introduce new customers to its various lines which cater to differing types of customers, Jones said. To that end, the company’s new online website will include a “Cruise-a-nality” interactive tool.
Mitch Joel, president of the digital marketing firm Twist Image, said Carnival’s plans, specifically in terms of the Twitter hashtag, are “not only risky, but I don’t even understand why they would even engage in this.”
Joel said companies that run online campaigns need to know the answers to some crucial questions ahead of time. "Do people really, really care and really want to help us? Or are they going to turn this into a parody and a joke, and make matters a whole lot worse for us,” Joel said.
"There are times that you can do it, if there is strong brand affinity,” said Don Stanley, an online marketing consultant and professor at the University of Wisconsin.
"The biggest mistake I see companies make is they think through the potential benefits of a campaign, but they don’t plan for potential problems,” said Stanley.
Carnival’s Jones said they’re confident of their Twitter campaign, although they will “curate” the tweets.
“We’re confident in the cruise public. From what we know they like to speak up about cruising, and we’re excited to hear what we hear,” Jones said.
That was the final vote in the Senate Tuesday, striking down broad reform of the National Security Administration by two votes. The bill would have stopped the bulk data collection exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year, and it had bipartisan and White House support. Ultimately a divided Republican opposition—some thought the reforms went to far, others wanted them to go further—gathered enough votes to strike down the proposal, Politico reported. The bill is unlikely to come up for debate or vote before Republicans take over the Senate.172
That's the number of passengers stricken with a norovirus just last week on a Carnival cruise. Reacting to the latest in a series of high-profile incidents, some fatal, Carnival Corp. is attempting to repair its image with a social media campaign.$2 billion
The average cost of lost tuition after sexual assault, per college graduating class nationwide, the Washington Post calculated by estimating one in 50 victims misses a semester. A blog post explores the many hidden costs to students who were assaulted, from tuition to lost wages to moving costs to counseling.$3.3 billion
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is set to announce on Wednesday the sale of rights to royalties for drugs it invested in 15 years ago. The initial investment was met with some skepticism: $150 million given to a biotechnology company to develop drugs to treat the disease. But as the New York Times reports, Wednesday's sale will bring in $3.3 billion, which is "20 times the foundation's budget for last year."1/3 of a horse’s value
That's how much is generally charged in leasing a horse for a year. It's a lot of money when you consider that at a a place like Echo Farm, owner Callie Kuntz-Bauer has horses that range in value from $2,500 to $50,000. And that's just the beginning of the costs you end up paying in taking care of a horse.U+1F4A9
Not technically a number, but that's unicode designation for the little pile of poo emoji. Special characters and emoticons all have a special designation to keep them consistent across all platforms. Companies have to design the icons themselves and - at least in Google's case with the poo - hide the emoji behind special commands. A new oral history from Fast Company explores not just the story of the poop symbol, but emoji's global appeal and standardization.
Vermont's Bernie Sanders, an independent in the Senate, says he may run for president. He says Americans "do not see a party representing the working class of this country."