Avon's new Chief Executive Sherilyn McCoy has a daunting task in store: helping the cosmetics company catch up with the times.
Avon, which made a name for itself by popularizing the "Avon Lady" model of marketing—sending sales representatives door to door—is struggling as consumers increasingly buy products online through competitors like Beauty.com, Drugstore.com and Sephora.com. Operating profit per U.S. representative has fallen 75% over the last 10 years, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Its products can be ordered online in the U.K. and the U.S., and Avon has developed iPhone and Android apps for some of its smaller brands. However, the company's sales reps are left to their own devices when it comes to harnessing social media, smart phones, tablets and other online tools to drive sales.
McCoy, who joined Avon on Monday after a 30-year career at Johnson & Johnson, comes aboard at a time when the cosmetics company is fending off an unsolicited takeover offer from Coty. Bart Becht, Coty's chairman, told WSJ he would make a "greater investment in IT to create digital toolboxes to assist their account reps" should the takeover succeed.
Avon made headlines last year after the failed implementation of a new computer system in its key Brazilian market. The company has also been the target of an investigation by U.S. regulators into whether it broke bribery laws overseas.
Analysts and former executives polled by WSJ have predicted that turning the company around in the U.S. could take three to five years. (WSJ)
GM to Add 600 China Dealerships (WSJ)
General Motors will increase its China dealerships by 600, or 20%, bringing the auto maker's dealer network in the country to 3,500 stores. GM is China's largest foreign auto maker. GM will add new models and factory capacity, and expand a technology center near its China headquarters in Shanghai.
Vodafone to Slash C&WW Jobs (BBC)
U.K. mobile-phone behemoth, Vodafone, says there is likely to be "a reduction of headcount" and premises following its takeover of C&WW, reports the BBC. Vodafone did not give details about the number of layoffs or where these will occur.
Philips Beats Expectations (Bloomberg Businessweek)
Philips reported first-quarter earnings of $725 million, following an effort by Chief Executive Frans van Houten to cut costs and make the work culture more competitive, reports Businessweek. Last year, the CEO announced that Philips would ax 4,500 jobs to save 800 million euros.
Nestle to Buy Pfizer Nutrition (WSJ)
Nestle will buy Pfizer Nutrition for $11.85 billion, subject to regulatory approval. Its biggest deal in over a decade, the acquisition will give Nestle a strong toehold in the burgeoning Asian baby-food market, while Pfizer will focus on its core business of developing and selling drugs, reports WSJ.
Dunkin to Open 25 New Locations (CBS)
Dunkin Donuts will develop 25 new restaurants in Texas--16 in Houston and nine in San Antonio--over the next several years as part of a larger plan to double the number of restaurants it has in the U.S. in the next two decades.
Google+'s New Marketing Head (MarketingWeek)
Google has appointed Cristian Cussen, vice president and managing director at Ning, as its first head of marketing in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for social network Google+. Prior to his three-year stint at Ning, Cussen served as director of content and marketing at MySpace.
Kimberly-Clark to Tap Emerging Markets (WSJ)
Kimberly-Clark's marketing spending is outpacing its sales growth this year, reports WSJ. The company is focusing especially on emerging markets, where sales have risen 13% since the same period last year, including 48% growth in China and around a 25% increase in Russia and Latin America.
Video Marketing Zooms Ahead (eMarketer)
Marketers take heed: video marketing is gaining traction. EMarketer reports on a study showing 2011 marketing investment in electronic content formats like websites and email was down slightly from 2010 but spending on other forms of content marketing—which includes events and video—rose 44.4%.
Buzz Around the Office
Giant Rubber Duck (The Daily What)
A Dutch creator's rubber duck has been traveling the world since 2007.
List of the Day: Best Business Practices
It never hurts to have a refresher on top etiquette tips.
1. Send a thank-you note – in both electronic and physical versions.
2. Don't check your phone in a meeting.
3. Wait until your clients have left before rehashing a discussion with colleagues.