Using Gamification to Engage Customers and Employees

Expanding on the premise that most activities – including shopping and work – aren't as stressful if they feel like fun, gamification has risen to prominence in the world of retail. Merchants as diverse as Nike, Whole Foods and New York-area drug store chain Duane Reade are taking a long, hard look at how online games and apps can help them improve the bottom line while keeping customers -- and employees – entertained. And, the retailers hope, loyal.

Recycled, Reused and Redesigned: Clothing for a New Century

Recycled clothing has become something of a commodity these days. Practically everyone -- from thrift shops to activist organizations to a designer with a household machine that could recycle and re-make clothes -- wants us all hopping onto the latest recycling bandwagon. Is recycled clothing a timeless fashion statement? Or just another faux fad?

Marketing Lingerie to Tweens

Victoria’s Secret recently started – then pulled -- a Spring ad campaign, “Bright Young Things”, which some felt targeted under-age girls, known as “tweens” – no longer children, not quite teens. Was it all just a misunderstanding? Did parental types over-react? What’s considered fair game when marketing products associated with sexual activity? Is lingerie really the problem, or is it something else?

Plastic from a Plant?

Companies that use plastic in the packaging of their products have been experimenting with the use of a plant-based substance that seems to work just as well as its petroleum-based cousin. With corporate giants like Coca-Cola and Heinz using PlantBottle technology, is plant-based plastic the real thing? And just how recyclable is it?

How Many Fitness Gadgets Does It Take to Get You in Shape?

Everyone knows that gadgets aren't supposed to get us in shape. Yet we still seem to have a need for them. Now that they've gotten even more high-tech and portable, have fitness gadgets finally turned a corner? Are they worth more than what you’d pay a personal trainer? Can a price even be placed on the willpower needed to achieve real workout results?

Celebrities Get Creative with Charity Fundraising

Do new charity fundraising tactics by the likes of Madonna and Angelina Jolie signal a new trend in celebrity fundraising? Have people grown fatigued by merely writing checks or donating to a web site? Does giving them something tangible – whether a painting or pieces of jewelry – provide a necessary level of satisfaction? Or is it just a cheap trick to take a smudge or two off a celebrity’s checkered reputation?

The Lowdown on Glamour’s 2013 Spring Fashion Trends

Spring fashion roundups from magazines like Glamour are supposed to present bold concepts. Can you imagine flipping through the volumes of ads if all that passed as editorial filler were tired old stories about preppie favorites? Or just another batch of celebrity wardrobe “don’t”s? Nope. You need inspiration. And ideas. Plus the common sense to know when too much isn't enough.

21st Century Technology That Fashionably Strains the Brain

Forty years after the invention of the cellular telephone, technological advances continue to allow people to do things that, these days, strain the brains of their older siblings, not to mention those of parents or grandparents. And many of the newest high-tech developments include wearable items, some promising the capability of being directly applied to one’s body. Which leaves practically no form of technological breakthrough beyond the realm of possibility.

Niche Food Marketing Is More About the Message than the Menu

With more and more people determined to keep to dietary restrictions, it makes business sense for stores and restaurants to do whatever it takes to meet those needs. Restaurants, in particular, can’t simply rely on atmosphere or speed of service to keep their customers. Now more than ever, it’s critically important for foodies to pay attention to the message they’re sending as much as to the products they’re selling.

Digital Mavericks Using Social Media to Change Our Lives

The leaps and bounds taking place in social media amount to more than graduated upgrades. And the people driving the changes are no longer referred to as movers and shakers. According to Details magazine, the new social players are known as “digital mavericks” because what they bring to the technological table promises to change the way we live and interact on a daily basis.