This Week in Business & Brands: Big Business Bromance, Brains & Blockbusters and More

They call it “cuffing season” on the North American east coast. As autumn’s temperatures continue to fall, the cold gives rise to pairing up — better to band together than go it alone. This week it looks like the major corporations are feeling the effects like the rest of us, as the past few days saw the debuts of the biggest mega-merger power couples of the year.

First up was A-B InBev’s $105 billion proposal to SAB Miller, which has the alcohol industry giving cheers on an international scale. If accepted, chances will be 1 in 3 that the beer they’re toasting with would be under “Megabrew’s” control. With such a massive valuation, Dell’s $67 billion takeover of EMC looks small in comparison, but the computer manufacturer is hoping for a honeymoon in the cloud computing and infrastructure sectors. And in the third pairing of the week, publishing giant Condé Nast was serenaded by online music mag Pitchfork, ultimately seduced by the millions of 18-to-25 year-old males who use the site every month.

The acquisition is the latest move in the media titan’s embrace of the digital space, having already increased its online audience to 84 million monthly users in the past 5 years. If they want to make these conglomerate marriages work, they’ll need to use their new reach to form deeper relationships with their customers. New studies show the surest way to their hearts may be through their brains, as neuromarketing’s potential continues to grow. While scanning consumer’s brains to see their future behavior sounds like a scene out of Minority Report, it’s hard to argue with the new science of consumer motivation; aside from their thoughts, tapping into customers’ emotions through research and analytics can yield big returns. As the Harvard Business Review reports, “fully connected” customers are 52% more valuable than those considered only “highly satisfied.”

Whether they’re budding connections or long-term relationships, this week provided insight from several big brands on how to sustain both. While fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg fosters her May-December romance with millennial gals through reality television, Jameson Irish whiskey is “looking for the lads” via Twitter-data algorithms.

Another in the long line of Millennials’ suitors is Telemundo, whose new social-native strategy aims to create branded content organically. And as Adidas rests on the nostalgia factor in the 65-year reign of the Samba sneaker, other brands have their eyes on the future, like GE — as an early adopter of emerging platforms like Vine and Instagram, the science/tech mammoth will soon be incorporating virtual reality into its branded content.

Naturally, they’re not the only ones attracted to VR, since the fetching innovation (along with augmented reality) is now expected to bring in $150 billion in revenue by 2020. Still, amidst the excitement of all this week’s big-number projections, it’s easy to forget that valuations can be a tricky thing — especially when it comes to hot commodities like Uber, whose highs and lows make for assessments that are all over the spectrum.

No stranger to scandal nor billion-dollar forecasts, Snapchat has also come a long way from its first impression as a mere “sexting app,” continuously evolving as a content platform and collaborating with big brands like GE above.

Time will tell whether these new corporate matches are just puppy love, seen through rose-colored (and 3D-printed) glasses…or the beginnings of a beautiful friendship. Either way, we’re excited as ever about the future of business and brands, and look forward to seeing what’s in store for us next week.


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