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Former U.S. ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development joins Nielsen

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Nielsen Holdings on Monday named Karen Kornbluh its EVP external affairs, effective immediately. Reporting to incoming CEO Mitch Barns — who succeeds CEO David Calhoun on Jan. 1 — Kornbluh will lead Nielsen’s global work in a number of key areas, including: government and public affairs and services; privacy strategy; corporate social responsibility; and multicultural market development. She will be based in Washington but will split her time in New York.

“[Karen’s] unique experience spanning government and international policy, and her insight into our Watch and Buy segments and data privacy will be invaluable to our work of providing our clients with the most comprehensive understanding of consumers," Barns said. 

Kornbluh is assuming a number of the duties of outgoing vice chair Susan Whiting, who is retiring at the end of 2013 after a more than three-decade career with Nielsen. “Karen’s remarkable experience at the highest levels of government, with an emphasis on economic conditions around the globe, will lend an important perspective to the company,” Whiting said.

Kornbluh was the U.S. ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development from 2009-2012. During her time at the OECD, she worked with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to develop the first global Internet Policymaking Principles and launched both the Gender Initiative and the Middle East-North Africa Women’s Business Forum. Previously, Kornbluh was policy director in the office of then-Senator Barack Obama. In the Clinton Administration, Kornbluh was deputy chief of staff at the Treasury Department and director of the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Federal Communications Commission.

Earlier, Kornbluh was a management consultant at Telesis and an economic forecaster at Townsend-Greenspan & Company. She founded the New America Foundation’s Work and Family Program and is a senior fellow for Digital Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Kornbluh has published articles on economic policy in outlets that include the Atlantic, the New York Times and the Washington Post. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Public Policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

 

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Under the Willow announces new line of men’s grooming products

BY Ryan Chavis

NEW MARKET, Md.— Under the Willow has introduced a new line of men’s grooming products just in time for the holidays. 

The Navigator Collection, which includes soaps and scented sprays, is made with natural ingredients and is free of harsh chemicals. These products are an extension of a previously established line of natural soaps and laundry products crafted by the company.

Under the Willow products have been featured in outlets such as Green Child and Bedrooms & Baths magazines, as well as MarthaStewart.com. You can purchase Under the Willow products at the Under the Willow Shoppe in historic New Market, Md. or by visiting UnderTheWillowShop.com.

 

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GfK: Brands considered ‘best friends’ boast 3x more positive word of mouth and 2.5x the recommendations

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — GfK Consumer Experiences North America on Thursday released its GfK Brand Benchmark Study, which assessed US consumers’ relationships with hundreds of products and services in 48 categories, and found stark disparities in what different generations value in a brand. For example, while both Generations X and Y value a product’s functionality, Gen Y also cares strongly about a brand’s image and notoriety. 

“It is essential for brands to create positive and memorable experiences to build strong consumer-brand relationships," stated Jo-Ann Osipow, EVP of GfK’s Brand and Customer Experience team. “Our study shows that negative or even casual brand relationships result in low market share and low price premiums. Bolstering a brand’s reputation as having the qualities of a true friend – with a clear understanding of customers’ needs and a presence in their social world – can be a win-win for both marketer and consumer.”

GfK has also found that brand relationships can translate directly into revenue. Brands thought of as "Best Friends" enjoy a share of wallet up to several times greater than average.

Best Friend connections — one of the most desirable brand relationships — can be found in diverse categories, from food and beverages to cosmetics. To be a Best Friend, a brand needs to be seen as trustworthy, understanding of consumer needs, reliable, and committed. Brands considered Best Friends by 20% of category users have an average of five times the share of wallet of brands with less than 10% Best Friends. Further, high-ranking Best Friend brands have three times more positive word of mouth and 2.5 times the recommendations, compared to those with low Best Friend rankings.

By contrast, Star and Guru relationships require that a brand be perceived as being of superior quality, unique and more visible than other brands. Buzz is key for this relationship type. Star and Guru relationships drive not only high market share, but also premium pricing. Brands that are seen as Stars by over 5% of category users achieve an average of three times more share of wallet compared to brands with a Star rating under 2%. They also receive three times as many recommendations from customers, and have six times as many consumers calling them “favorite brands.” 

The study shows that Gen X – dealing with the multiple demands of family and career – respond to brands in a pragmatic way, seeking out products that meet needs and help them gets things done faster. They focus on quality more and style/design less compared to other generations: over 90% equate product quality with value, while fewer Gen Y consumers make that connection.

Based on online surveys among 17,000 consumers, the GfK US Brand Benchmark study yielded results for the total market (ages 18 to 65), Generation X (35 to 48), Generation Y (18 to 34), and Baby-Boomers (49 to 65), in addition to other demographic sub-groups. The categories included packaged goods, technology/telecom, automotive, retail/restaurants, hospitality, media, financial services and government.

 

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