SOURCE: YAHOO / AFP
Yahoo! vit ses derniers jours comme compagnie indpendante depuis son rachat par Verizon, en 2016, pour prs de 5 mil-liards $. Les tentatives de redressement de Marissa Mayer, sa tte depuis 2012, nont rien donn. Pas plus que le recrute-ment de plusieurs journalistes vedettes, dont Katie Couric, pour attirer des visiteurs sur le site.
En quatre ans, Yahoo! a investi 2 milliards $ dans lacquisition de plus de 50 startups , maintenant fermes pour la plupart. Ya-hoo! a tout essay : la recherche web, les mdias sociaux et le commerce en ligne, mais elle nest devenue leader en rien. Sa plus grosse acquisition a t lachat du site de Tumblr pour 1 milliard $, dans le but daugmenter laudience de Yahoo! et de raviver sa branche publicitaire. Ce fut, l aussi, un chec.
Yahoo! a chang de mission plus de vingt fois en vingt ans : une vraie girouette ! On na jamais rellement compris ce que Ya-hoo! voulait faire, tre, devenir, bref, o elle voulait en venir. Ses employs non plus dailleurs
la dfense de Madame Mayer, Yahoo! tait dj en dclin lorsquelle en a pris les rnes en 2012. Toutefois, la PDG na pas su dvelopper de strat-gie claire ni imposer une ligne directrice. En essayant dtre partout pour tout le monde, avec un pied sur le terrain de chaque comptiteur, lentre-prise sest parpille, passant plus de temps copier les autres qu se concentrer sur ses forces.
DE TOUT ET DE RIEN YAHOO!
Research in the print media and on the weband from the contents of our brains
THE BEST PRODUCT & BRAND FAILURES
1SOURCE: YAHOO / AFP
ALL AND NOTHING
To Ms Mayers credit, Yahoo! was already sinking when she took over as CEO in 2012. Still, she was never able to develop a clear strategy or chart a guiding principle. By trying to be all things to all people and stepping on its competitors toes, the company spread itself too thin, spending more time copying others than building core strengths.
In the past four years, Yahoo! has invested $2 billion in the acquisition of more than 50 startups, most now de-funct. Yahoo! has tried it all: search engine, social media and e-commerce, but has taken the lead in none. Its big-gest acquisition was Tumblr for $1 billion, aimed at building an audience for Yahoo! and boosting its advertising branch. Chalk up another failure.
Yahoo! has changed its mission over twenty times in as many years: mission impossible! We have never really understood what Yahoo! was trying to do, to be, to become, in short, where it was trying to go. And neither have its employees
Yahoo! is on its last legs as an independent company since it was bought out by Verizon in 2016 for close to $5 billion. Attempts by Marissa Mayer, at the helm since 2012, have not paid off. And bringing in hotshot journalists like Katie Couric has done nothing to draw traffic to the site either.
SUCCESS IS ONLY SKIN-DEEP
Danier remained inert for too long in a fast-evolving competitive environment. Changing your image and building a new clientele is never easy, but can be done if you proceed gradually and dont alienate your loyal customer base along the way. This is where Danier Leather went wrong.
The growing popularity of down-filled parkas squeezed out this niche retailer, which had allowed itself to become outmoded over the years. But, in attempting to refocus its brand on a younger, trendier clientele, Danier let down its loyal, long-time customers, who had valued and sworn by the brand from the start. The company suffered huge financial losses.
For 45 years, Danier Leather sold its leather coats and accessories in 84 stores across Canada. Established in 1972, the brand never set out to be cool; it sold classic leather coats for adults at reasonable prices.
Faced with bankruptcy in March, the company reopened in Ontario last fall with only three stores, and dropped the word Leather from its name. Under new ownership, Danier switched over to fashionable sportswear in a variety of fabrics, targeting a young, trendy clientele. But wait a minutearent there a lot of world-famous brands already doing that?
DONT ASK CHOCOLATE LOVERS TO FILL IN THE GAPS
Mondelez decided to tinker with the Toblerone brands DNA: its distinctive signature triangles. They compromised product integrity and Toblerone lovers felt betrayed. You have to be very careful when it comes to altering a brands differentiator and promise that which makes it recognizable and distinctive the backlash can be very harsh.
When Toblerone UK then took the surprising step of increasing the space between the triangles, which represent Switzerlands Mont Cervin, reactions were swift and negative. TOBLERONE now reads T_ B _E _O_ E.
With all these gaps, Toblerone lovers no longer recognized their chocolate bar. Many wondered why Toblerone didnt simply shorten the bar so it looked the same as before.
Last November, Mondelez International, owner of the Toblerone brand, decided to reduce the weight of its famous chocolate bars in the UK. The 400-gram bar dropped to 360 grams, and the 170-gram to 150.
So far, so good. Its common practice in the food industry to cut product weight when the cost of basic ingredients goes up as a way of keeping the same sales price.
1SOURCE: JENNY HUESTON
THE BLEEDING EDGE
Today, we expect brands to be honest and transparent and to keep their promises. Its intolerable to learn that brands claiming perfection and to be the ultimate have been lying to us all along. Ms Holmes paid the price where it counts the most: by losing her fortune and her credibility.
Then, the highly respected Wall Street Journal revealed that Theranos only conducted 15 of the 240 screening tests on its own equipment. The others were conducted using competitors equipment.
Last November, Walgreens drugstores, a partner from the outset, filed a $140-million lawsuit for fraudulent prac-tices. Theranos had failed to respect its promise because the product simply didnt work.
In 2015, Theranos CEO Elisabeth Holmes was on Forbes magazines list of the worlds wealthiest businesswomen under 30, at $4.5 billion. Less than one year later, her net worth was an estimated $0.
Ms Holmes claimed that Theranos had developed technology that could screen for hundreds of diseases in a sin-gle drop of blood, thereby saving millions if lives. The company raked in over $700 million in investments, and its CEO was widely touted as the next Steve Jobs.
BOGUS ACCOUNTS, REAL FEES
In todays highly-connected world, its becoming harder and harder to get away with lying, and with the growing erosion of consumer trust in big business, there are sure to be some great opportunities out there for startups that truly believe in the importance of giving their customers good service and respect. Its up to us consumers to vote with our wallets.
In an effort to hit management sales targets from 2011 to 2016, Wells Fargo opened 1.5 million unauthorized bank accounts and issued 550,000 credit cards to clients without their knowledge. It also created fake electronic addresses and phony PINs to sign them up to online services for which fees were collected. The company then accused its employees of fraud, firing 5,000 of them. Even the president, John Stumpf, was forced out.
Last September, Wells Fargo was finally ordered to pay a $185 million fine to the CFPB, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for illicit trading practices.
Founded in 1852, Wells Fargo is Americas biggest bank in terms of market capitalization. The brand name evokes an era when its stagecoaches carried gold across the United States at record speeds.
The values Wells Fargo adheres to, its corporate ethics, are clearly expressed on its website in words such as trust, integrity and honesty
PAYING THE PRICE FOR HIKING THE PRICE
By aiming for profits at any price, a company can shoot itself in the foot. Pricing is a reflection of trust between a company and its market. Once this relationship of trust has been broken, its hard to recover. Valeant tried to smooth things over by naming new directors and lowering prices. But is this too little, too late? Its better to play fair from the start than to try to pick up the pieces.
In 2016, Valeant came under investigation for its pricing practices. The report found that the company had first determined revenue targets, then set drug prices to reach these targets. To maximize profits before the advent of generic equivalents, Valeant inflated the prices of these lifesaving products and treatments by 200% to 800%.
By selling these drugs to hospitals, generally less rigorous in terms of prices, Valeant and its exclusive distributor, Philidor, took advantage of a favourable context. This is obviously a question of ethics and questionable practices. The outcome: loss of trust in the company and its directors, and plummeting stock prices.
In recent years, the Laval-based pharmaceutical company, Valeant, showed strong growth and generated high shareholder returns. In 2014 and 2015, it prided itself on its unconventional sales approach based on acquisitions. This period saw earnings and market quotes soar.
Developing a new brand in the automobile industry is a colossal task. In entry-level categories, Scion competed with industry giants, including Toyota. In bringing the best prospects for Scion under the Toyota banner, the com-pany hoped to make good on its bets: time will tell if Scion has what it takes to rejuvenate Toyota.
Even though Scion cars turned heads in the beginning for their bold and appealing design, sales quickly levelled off. Scion looks good on paper, but in reality, not only are its models in the same category as Toyota, theyre sold at Toyota dealerships. In the end, Toyota realized that the two brands overlapped, and that they could do just as well with only one.
This is not unlike the case of the GM Saturn, also intended to attract a younger clientele. Similarly, Scion did not succeed in carving out or maintaining a suitable territory distinct from that of its sister brand.
With its reputation for dependable, safe products, Toyota projects a conventional image that doesnt tend to at-tract young drivers. Bring young customers into Toyotas ranks: this was what the Scion brand, launched in the United States in 2003 and Canada in 2010, was supposed to do.
1SOURCE: CITY NEWS
Faced with this widespread outcry and its own inability to meet demands, Air Miles rescinded its decision in De-cember 2016. When you make a promise to your customers, then change the rules of the game along the way, you better be ready to deal with the fallout. Especially when this promise goes right to the heart of customer ex-perience, in this instance, claiming rewards. As the saying goes, a fault confessed is half redressed, but a broken promise is much harder to mend.
The purpose of this initiative was to incite members to claim their rewards on a regular basis. Internal data showed that this would help retain membership. But the outcome was just the opposite.
As the deadline loomed in 2016, many collectors rushed to redeem their miles, and even with increased customer service staff, Air Miles was unable to meet the demand. Members became extremely dissatisfied and lost faith with program partners. Air Miles was hit with a class action suit and a proposed law to prohibit the expiration of points under loyalty programs.
Air Miles is Canadas most widespread loyalty program: with a 72% penetration rate and over 220 participating partners, including IGA-Sobeys, Shell and Amazon. LoyaltyOne, the corporate owner of the program, announced in 2011 that all miles collected to date would expire on December 31, 2016. Successive miles would only be good for five years.
GIGA HIKES IN DISSATISFACTION LEVELS
Despite appearances, this same situation wouldnt have made a ripple at Costco, Wal-Mart, Maxi or Super C. The Achilles heel of IGA didnt lie in raising prices on a few items the competition does the same thing :). Their mis-take lay in promoting a campaign based on a value that it is not known for: a low-price policy. By turning the spot-light on its pricing strategy, IGA came under close scrutiny. Anything that seemed to diverge from its campaign became the focal point for unwanted attention.
In the spring of 2016, IGA launched with great fanfare a campaign to introduce everyday low prices on 8,500 of its products labelled GIGA low prices. The supermarket chain announced an overall 5% to 7% price cut, offset by bringing an end to its policy of offering consumers free items and by negotiating new agreements with its suppliers.
In fact, during this same period, the price of 2,000 items actually went up and promotions were withdrawn or modified. A wave of popular discontent came crashing down, along with commentary and articles about the price hikes in the media. IGA was forced to reorient its campaign, at times shifting the blame over to its suppliers.
An affiliate of Sobeys, IGA is a leading supermarket in Qubec and a local retailer known for the variety and the quality of its products. Obviously, to support this kind of offer, prices in such stores tend to be higher.
TOO HOT TO HANDLE
Pressure is heavy when youre the leader in such a competitive market. In its push to become the most innovative, Samsung cut corners that allowed defects to slip by. The speed at which information travels today greatly increas-es its impact on a brands reputation. Samsung must now take extra care and work extremely hard to win back consumer trust and rise from its ashes.
The company could not have foreseen how this would blow up in its face. Just a few months following the launch, a few Galaxy Note 7 phones caught on fire. By the end of summer, some one hundred such instances were re-ported. Samsung, believing it to be a faulty battery issue, offered to replace defective phones. But when some of these replacements also began to overheat, it decided to recall all the phones and stop production.
Obviously, Samsung was faced with consumer redress and both its reputation and its stock took a hit on the markets. This whole affair went so far as to affect the South Korean economy. At the height of the crisis, several airlines even prohibited the device onboard.
In the mad rush to the top in smartphone sales, South Koreas Samsung has led the pack in recent years, overtak-ing even the giant, Apple. Its Galaxy Note 7 was meant to be its 2016 star product, securing market dominance. The new Samsung smartphone boasted more functionalities and innova...