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The latest news on Branding from Business Insider

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    coworkers laptops

    You're hardly the only person who's ever Google-stalked a crush or scoured a future employer's Facebook page. In fact, there's a really good chance that the person or the company has done exactly the same reconnaissance on you.

    What they find can have a profound impact on your relationship (or potential relationship) with them. Which is to say: The "real you," or your personal brand, now encompasses your behavior in face-to-face interactions and your behavior online.

    Below, Business Insider has rounded up five examples of times when you might be judged —fairly or unfairly — based on your online presence.

    SEE ALSO: 3 things you're doing on Facebook that make people dislike you immediately

    60% of employers use social media to screen job candidates

    That's according to a 2016 CareerBuilder survey of 2,186 hiring managers and human resource professionals. It's a meaningful increase from the previous year, when the survey found that 52% of employers reported using social media to screen candidates.

    Meanwhile, 59% of employers said they use search engines to research candidates.

    Interestingly, just 21% of employers surveyed said they're looking for reasons to disqualify the candidates, such as information about those candidates drinking or using drugs. Most employers — 60% — are looking for something that supports their qualifications, such as a professional portfolio.

    Remember, too: You're hardly out of the woods once you get hired somewhere. As many as 41% of employers in the CareerBuilder survey said they use social media to research current employees — and 26% have found something that's caused them to reprimand or dismiss an employee.

    Nearly half of single women research someone on Facebook before a first date

    And 38% of men say they do the same, according to a 2013 survey by online dating site Match.

    If something unsavory does come up, 49% of women and 27% of men say it would motivate them to the cancel the date.

    Some people seem to have caught on — just over a quarter of single men and women say they have cleaned up or would clean up their Facebook profile before accepting a friend request from someone they were interested in.

    About half of married Brits have secretly checked their partner's Facebook account

    A 2015 survey organized by law firm Slater and Gordon found that one in five of the Facebook snoopers ended up fighting about what they found — and one in seven have considered divorce because of it.

    Distressing findings, according to the survey, included contact with an ex-partner, secret correspondence, and inappropriate photos.

    As Andrea Newbury, head of family law at Slater and Gordon, said in a release:

    “Five years ago Facebook was rarely mentioned in the context of a marriage ending, but now it has become common place for clients to cite social media use, or something they discovered on social media, as a reason for divorce."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Getty Images the weeknd

    Some of the world's top music artists are turning to a classic tech startup strategy to find success in the digital age: scale with a compelling free product, and then convert your most passionate users into paying customers.

    In a new interview, Abel "the Weeknd" Tesfaye described his initial breakout, which came with a series of mysterious free mixtapes starting around 2011.

    "I really wanted people who had no idea who I was to hear my project," the 27-year-old Toronto native told Forbes. "You don't do that by asking for money."

    The idea was to get his music into the hands of as many people as possible. That notion was partially driven by the understanding that live concerts is where a big chunk of money is made, and this income stream only comes from passionate fans.

    "We live in a world where artists don't really make the money off the music like we did in the Golden Age,"Tesfaye said. "It's not really coming in until you hit the stage."

    Tesfaye isn't the only star who has recognized that the "freemium" model favored by many tech companies, or something close to it, is effective in the new era of music.

    “For the artists' fans and for artists, in terms of exposure, music should be everywhere and as easily accessible as humanly possible ... especially for an artist you are still building,” Andrew Gertler, who manages teen singer-songwriter sensation Shawn Mendes, told Business Insider last month.

    “The music really is not as much the revenue generator as the marketing tool to then create other income streams,” Gertler explained.

    Those other income streams include not only things like live events and brand deals, but also opportunities at the crossroads of music and TV (or video in general), where Gertler said the line is getting more and more blurred. Forbes also notes that Tesfaye has made a bundle on festival and arena concerts, and deals with big names like Apple.

    Tesfaye and Mendes have recognized that while the actual recorded music might not be the revenue driver it once was, it is still a way to get a music artist incredible reach. If that artist has a valuable product, this reach will create a subset of loyal fans, who can help drive the real moneymakers.

    SEE ALSO: As YouTube stars pursue new dreams, keeping millions of loyal fans happy is a tough balancing act

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How to undo sent emails in Gmail

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    brendan kelly nihilist arbys

    On January 14, 2015, a Twitter account named Nihilist Arby's was born, and it didn't take long for Arby's corporate office to notice.

    With a double beef and cheese as its avatar, the angst-ridden account confronted followers with a negation of everything they held dear in life and offered they fill that void with a sandwich and curly fries.

    By mid-February, Nihilist Arby's had 13,000 followers and, as Adweek noted, a significantly better engagement rate than the real Arby's account, which had nearly 400,000 followers.

    At the same time, Arby's was receiving praise in the press and on Twitter for acknowledging years of being the butt of "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart's jokes with a clever joke of its own on the day Stewart announced he would retire from the show that year. A year earlier, an Arby's tweet reacting to the musician Pharrell Williams' Arby's-logo-esque hat worn in a Grammys performance went viral.

    Arby's was now a "cool" brand on Twitter. If it overreacted to Nihilist Arby's, no matter how dark or raunchy the tweets got, it would risk becoming just another lame corporate account. The Arby's team let it be.

    Then, in August, Adweek revealed that the man behind the account was Brendan Kelly, a longtime punk-band frontman from Chicago with a day job in advertising.

    Arby's CEO Paul Brown and his marketing team read the piece.

    "We had discussions around what do we do with that? And we said, 'Well, one, even if we wanted to do something, we couldn't,'" Brown told Business Insider. "But we also had a little fun with him, too."

    Arby's would soon make peace with its nihilist counterpart, flying an executive out to meet Kelly with a bag of food and a puppy.

    The inanity of corporate Twitter

    Kelly is well-known in the punk scene for his bands the Lawrence Arms, the Falcon, and the Wandering Birds, and he has been touring since he was a teenager in the '90s.

    About six years ago, when crossing the country in a packed van for months at a time lost its appeal, he got into the more stable world of advertising. He would still record and play music, just a bit less frequently. And while working as a copywriter wasn't exactly punk, it was still a creative outlet.

    In January 2015, Kelly was working at the ad agency FCB when he found himself in a conference room with a brand executive pitching Twitter strategy to the head of social media.

    "It just seemed so impossible and stupid," Kelly told Business Insider.

    He imagined a scenario where someone in charge of a brand's Twitter account lacked the executive's naive enthusiasm and instead had a "red pill" experience, a reference to the pill in "The Matrix" that frees people from an artificial world. This social-media employee would be "exposed to how f---ing horrendously tragic life actually is — you know, how meaningless everything is," Kelly said, laughing.

    A phrase that popped into his head was "Nihilist Arby's," which had less to do with anything specific about Arby's and more with how goofy it sounded. Kelly decided he would make this hypothetical account real, just to amuse himself.

    He was going to give it a cleverer name when he decided to follow advice that helped guide his approach to his job. A mentor of his told him that effective advertising used extremes to grab potential customers' attention.

    "It's got to be a little bit stupid," he said this mentor told him.

    After nearly five months of running the increasingly popular account, Kelly thought it would be fun to bring even more attention to it. Using his showmanship and marketing skills, he produced a minute-and-a-half video that opened with him saying, "I was born out of an infinite blackness." A couple of his Wandering Birds songs provide the soundtrack.

    He sent the video from his Nihilist Arby's Gmail account to David Anthony, the music editor at The AV Club, The Onion's nonsatirical site. (Kelly now works for The Onion's ad team, Onion Labs.) Anthony immediately recognized Kelly in the video and wrote it up, bringing more exposure to Kelly's parody account as well as his bands.

    But Anthony didn't conclude whether Kelly was the creator of Nihilist Arby's or had just collaborated on this weird video.

    That August, Christopher Heine at Adweek reached out to the same Gmail account that contacted The AV Club. He asked if Kelly was the one behind it and whether he'd like to talk about it.

    "So at that point I was like, yeah, I'm ready to tell people, I don't care," Kelly said.

    On August 13, Heine published a profile of Kelly that ran across three pages in the print edition of Adweek. It included praise from ad creatives about how Kelly demonstrated genuinely sharp insight into what young people look for on social media. Kelly thought it made him look great.

    "I almost got fired for that, actually," he said.

    Even though FCB was not mentioned in the article, managers at the agency were afraid Kelly's hijinks could compromise some of their accounts. Kelly said his boss gave him a warning: "You cannot talk about this at all. I don't want to hear the word 'Arby's' in this office."

    As his job hung in the balance because of the profile, he began receiving interesting job offers from other agencies for the same reason.

    Arby's makes peace

    Meanwhile, at Arby's headquarters in Sandy Springs, Georgia, Brown and his leadership team discussed the Adweek profile. Brown said it could be difficult as a CEO to see your company be the subject of harsh jokes, but that the success of playfully sparring with Stewart earlier that year was a teaching moment.

    "Do you write a cease-and-desist letter?" Brown said. "The way I look at it is what kind of person do you want to be a friend with? You don't want to be a friend with that kind of a person who's defensive and you can't joke around."

    Six days after the Adweek story, Kelly was at FCB's offices in Chicago's John Hancock Center preparing to leave early for a secret job interview he'd landed as a result of that profile. Before he could leave, he got a call around 3:30 from the building's front desk letting him know that a team from Arby's was there to see him.

    Kelly said the thought that the team was there to confront him never crossed his mind. But some of his coworkers he told on his way out came down to the lobby with him, "inspired by the promise of free food, the curiosity surrounding my weirdly popular Twitter account, and, finally, because the whole thing had become such a weirdly forbidden topic in the office," Kelly said.

    Christopher Fuller, Arby's senior vice president of communications, was there with several members of Arby's marketing team, a bag full of sandwiches, and a black Labrador puppy they had borrowed from a friend. They greeted Kelly and handed him a handwritten note on Arby's stationery: "Cheer up, buddy. You live in a world with puppies ... and sandwiches."

    Kelly later posted a photo of the exchange on his personal Twitter account, expressing sincere gratitude at the gesture.

    "I don't want to give away the mystique surrounding the man behind the tweets," Fuller told Business Insider "I'll just say his personal demeanor is very different from his online disposition. He seemed like an all-around nice guy."

    Kelly got on the ground with the dog and had a pleasant chat with the Arby's team, but he still needed to rush out of there for his job interview disguised as a doctor's appointment.

    "It's kind of hard to have regrets about a stupid parody Twitter account about the futility of corporate Twitter, but I do regret that not going a little more smoothly," Kelly said of the meeting with the Arby's team. "But I really would have liked to have hung out a little more with those people and talked to them." He said he wanted to get more insight into how they approach handling their brand and what they thought when they discovered his account.

    The bag of sandwiches was a gift to Kelly and his coworkers, but because anything related to Nihilist Arby's was off-limits in the office upstairs, he couldn't even send one of his friends up with the food. He grabbed one of the loaded Italian subs — a sandwich name that could be used to describe him a lot of the time, he said — and left the rest with a coworker who said he'd give the rest to homeless people. ("I don't know if that happened or not, but he seemed pretty motivated, I guess," Kelly said.)

    The interview didn't lead to anything, but Kelly can now be open about his Nihilist Arby's account at his job at The Onion, and he even sells Nihilist Arby's merch.

    The account now has nearly 300,000 followers, and his tweets get thousands of interactions. Arby's marketing team still keeps an eye on it.

    "We've cringed, laughed, and maybe even cried just a little," Fuller said.

    Kelly is still an Arby's fan, no matter how caustic his parody account gets.

    "I try to mix it up a little bit," he said of his orders. "But I like a good Beef and Cheddar. I like that Loaded Italian. I like the potato cakes quite a bit."

    We told him we ate some of the potato cakes the day before.

    "That's about where I'm at," he said.

    SEE ALSO: The Arby's CEO asked 1,000 US employees the same question before his hugely successful brand turnaround

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Michael Lewis on how to deal with bosses and control your own career

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    iPhone X Tim Cook

    With a massive screen behind him displaying the text, "iPhone X"Tim Cook hopped on the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater during Apple's September 12 launch event and proclaimed, "This is the iPhone ten."

    Apple consumers across the globe have been in a tizzy ever since, and not just over the souped-up phone, but over how on earth to pronounce its name. 

    The "X" refers to the Roman numeral 10, not the letter of the alphabet, and is supposed to mark the ten-year anniversary of the release of the original iPhone. But the diction dictate from Apple and its mandarins does not appear to be getting through to the masses. 

    Whether out of confusion, personal preference or mere stubbornness, many people, it seems, prefer to call the new iPhone the "Ecks," like the letter.

     The $999 iPhone X doesn't hit store shelves until November 3, but with a massive marketing machine and press cycle already swinging into action, the norms and customs that will define the new phone's identity are being established now.

    With that in mind, we took to the streets of San Francisco to see if we could find out what the general public has decided to call Apple's new phone. 

    More natural

    Apple Store iPhoneOur first stop was at the Apple store in San Francisco's Union Square

    The first customer we queried was browsing a display of phone cases, and quickly responded that the phone was called the "iPhone Ecks." He immediately started second guessing himself but eventually settled on his original pronunciation. The next shopper knew it was supposed to be pronounced as the number ten, but said using 'X' was much more natural. 

    Early lunchers at a nearby park had a different perspective. An avid Apple user said she called it the ten, but thought it was funny Apple had decided to use the 'X' symbol in all the marketing. A man at a table nearby had watched Cook at the Apple event and called it ten ever since.

    We decided to head to a few close-by wireless service provider retail stores to see what the people selling the phones and interacting with customers all day had to say. 

    At the Verizon store, general manager Ryan Gish said, "Everyone's been calling it the ten. I've called it the 'X' a couple times but been corrected, I know it's supposed to be called the ten.”

    Daniela Contreras, a T-Mobile sales representative, had a different interpretation, saying that all of her customers had been calling it the "X." She reasoned that since the X was the Roman numeral representing 10, it was supposed to be called the X. 

    Snafu or masterstroke?

    It's not the first time Apple has burdened its customers with uncertainty and angst over its product names. Before it changed to macOS, Apple called its desktop operating systems Mac OS X. The company eventually dropped the X to make its computer operating system more in line with iOS, watchOS, and tvOS products.

    Whether the iPhone X name ends up being a clever marketing move or a branding snafu for future business school textbooks remains to be seen.

    Apple StoreIf the Ecks pronunciation sticks, it could actually save Apple from another potential branding headache: Given that both the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 10 models are available this year, what will become of 9? Will Apple try to drum up excitment for an iPhone 9 next September, a year after the iPhone 10 came out? Or will an iPhone 9 never see the light of day, like a lost manuscript that gains mythical status over the years?

    Ryan, an employee at a San Francisco AT&T store, had just gotten back from vacation and said he'd been the calling the new phone the "Ecks," until it had dawned on him that since all the other iPhones had been numbered, it made no sense that Apple would suddenly switch to letters. 

    Brandon Iaacson, the manager at the AT&T store, acknowledged that the official pronunciation was ten. But he hadn't made a habit of correcting wayward customers.

    "It's called the 10 but customers say Ecks," he explained, "and we just roll with it."

    SEE ALSO: Here's everything Apple announced at its big iPhone launch event

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I spent a week using the iPhone 8 and I think you should wait for the iPhone X — here's why

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    Lincoln Navigator at NYC Seaport

    Lincoln, Ford's luxury brand, was on the chopping block after the financial crisis. But Ford decided to keep Lincoln alive and invest in a turnaround.

    That process is now well underway, as Lincoln has relaunched its famous Continental nameplate on a new flagship sedan and is preparing to roll out the latest version of its all-important Navigator SUV.

    But Lincoln continues to face challenges, particularly as it develops the brand to compete against heavy hitters, including BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, and its Detroit rival Cadillac. The theme the carmaker has chosen is "Quiet Luxury," to contrast its low-key approach with the more in-your-face, high-performance approach that other luxury auto brands employ.

    Borrowing a page from Lexus' mid-2000s "relentless pursuit of perfection" marketing and advertising campaign — but with a suave, "Mad Men"-like American updating and the hiring of Matthew McConaughey as a pitchman — Lincoln is speaking softly, not shouting.

    Lincoln Continental 1

    Last year, the company opened its first Experience Center in California's Orange Country, a traditionally tough market for Lincoln. A Dallas location followed. Now Lincoln brought something similar to New York, partnering with the Howard Hughes Corporation in September to join in a revitalization of the Seaport District, a dining-and-shopping destination located in a historical section of lower Manhattan.

    "We're bringing the brand to where affluent customers are hanging out naturally," Kumar Galhotra, Lincoln's President, told Business Insider, adding that the Seaport collaboration provides an "opportunity to create new experiences  and engage customers at a personal level."

    Galhotra said that Experience Center at Newport Beach in Orange County has thus far been well-received, but he cautioned that Dallas, despite being a better market for Lincoln, is still a work-in-progress.

    "We start with the customer and stay incredibly focused," he said, pointing out that for Lincoln to succeed, it has to expand the suite of services it can provide, such as a new chauffeuring offering, without overdoing it. He used package delivery as an example of a possible overreach. 

    "A customer will say that they have Amazon to do that," he said.

    Kumar Galhotra

    At the Seaport, Lincoln hosted a concert event in September and also constructed an experiential event around the new Navigator. Similar events will take place in coming years via the extended collaboration with Hughes, the company said.

    Lincoln is also working to change the car-buying experience, enabling 24-to-48-hour test drives, after which a dealer representative can bring financing and insurance paperwork to a customers house and leave the vehicle behind, if the customer decides to buy.

    "Our lives are expanding,"Galhotra said. "Things that used to be effortful have become effortless."

    Lincoln doesn't want to miss out on that trend. And the effort extends to every aspect of the brand. 

    The results thus far have been encouraging. Sales for 2017 are on track to nearly match 2016's, when Lincoln sold about 112,000 new cars and SUVs and enjoyed its best year since the brand's turnaround began.

    And while Lincoln sells fewer vehicles annually than Cadillac, it has been able to grow sales at a time when the market appears to be flattening ahead of a downturn, especially for luxury badges. 

    FOLLOW US: on Facebook for more car and transportation content!

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Ford replacing its CEO points to the short-termism on Wall Street

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    KFC Twitter

    The Twitter account of global fast-food giant KFC has more than 1.2 million followers, but it follows only five English women and six men in return. They’re all certified accounts.

    The women include Victoria Beckham, Mel B, and Geri Halliwell.

    The six men include a musician, journalist, a Green Bay Packers player, a university football coach, and the LA city council president.

    The men have one thing in common: They’re all called Herb.

    The woman are all former Spice Girls, which — drumroll — gives KFC ... 11 Herbs and Spices.

    We have Twitter’s Mike Edgette, social-media manager at Tall Grass PR, to thank for solving one of the biggest mysteries since Stephen Hawking tackled Black Hole Theory.

    We dip our hat to you, sir.

    SEE ALSO: Arby's sent sandwiches and a puppy to its biggest troll, and it shows why its transformation has been so successful

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We compared Popeyes and KFC fried chicken — here's the verdict

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    On a very sunny day at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Business Insider's Sara Silverstein spoke with Wharton School marketing professor David Reibstein. Following is a transcript of the video.

    Sara Silverstein: And how does somebody like Trump affect America's brand?

    David Reibstein: So a lot of where a country gets its image is from its overall long-term reputation and the products that come from there. But also some of the people that come from there and the political leaders definitely have an impact. And so the image of Trump carries over to the US and directly affects the US brand. So what I've observed is when I first did the study two years ago — and I did it together withUS News and WPP— when I first did this study, the US was ranked as the fourth-best brand. I next measured it immediately after the election, we fell to number seven and we've now fallen to number eight in the world. So this whole notion of make America great again, it should be the number one brand — we're now in the number eight position, not the number one.

    Silverstein: And there will be some economic repercussions for that you think as far as capital coming in and trade?

    Reibstein: Absolutely, so we see it through policy as well as just imagery. So in terms of immigration and closing the borders for immigration — that has an impact — the sense of pulling out of the Paris Accord has an impact of how much we care about the world. Tourism — people are less willing to come to the United States, less willing to start businesses in the United States, and have a lower inclination to buy products from the US. So it has a direct impact on our economy.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Botella Roja de Coca Cola

    • The iconic red of Coca-Cola is easy to spot — but few people know why the colour was chosen.
    • According to the company, the barrels of bottles were originally painted red so tax agents could distinguish them from alcohol during transport.
    • The red colour is a mixture of three different shades.

    You don't even need to see its logo — a brief glimpse at the simple bottle cap on a bar counter or the can on a supermarket shelf is enough to identify that this soft drink is indeed a Coca-Cola.

    The brand's impactful design is comparable to other industry greats such as Apple (so white, with its pure, straight-line boxes and its bitten apple), Twitter (that little bird), or Chanel (its two crossed 'C' letters and its eternal black-and-white combination), among others.

    In the case of Coca-Cola, it's clear that it's the red color that we look for, or that lets us know what we're drinking.

    But why red?

    The company says the red color comes from the early days of the creation of the soft drink, more than 130 years ago. 

    Coca-Cola was first sold in pharmacies in 1886 as a syrup for digestion that supposedly gave energy, glass by glass.

    Five years later, the company was created, and in 1897 it was already being bottled throughout the United States — although at first, each bottler used its own label.

    According to the brand, "from the mid-1990s, we began painting our barrels red so that tax agents could distinguish them from alcohol during transport."

    That seems to be the origin of the iconic red that artists Salvador Dalí (in 1943) and Andy Warhol (in the 1960s) came to paint.

    In 1892, the brand's first "wall painted" posters were designed with a red background with white letters.

    Coca Cola botella Contour

    The official colour of the beverage was created by mixing three different shades of red, but it is not registered in colour catalogues or by Pantone, because it's a combination.

    On the other hand, the brand's typography is actually registered. It's called "Spencerian," and it became one of the favourites in the design world at the end of the 19th century and has remained associated with the brand ever since.

    The Coca-Cola bottle, called the "Contour," is the other thing that has also remained the same since 1899.

    What has changed is the tin can, which was created in 1945 to supply the drink to soldiers displaced in World War II. Although its size is the same, its design evolves.

    coke cans

    SEE ALSO: A wine expert says you shouldn't drink Champagne from a traditional flute — here's the glass you should use instead

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why you should never pour grease down the drain

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    hellmanns best foods

    You know that some of the words we use in America are translated differently in other countries — the word "hall" in America is sometimes called a "corridor" in England — but did you know that some of the biggest brands masquerade behind other monikers, too?

    Whether because of language laws, trademark issues, or franchising, the following 15 food brands go by multiple names depending on which region you're eating them in.

    Keep reading to see what your favorite food is called abroad.

    KFC is called PFK in Quebec, Canada.

    Popular fried chicken chain KFC doesn't go by "PFK" in Quebec, Canada just for fun. In accordance with Section 63 of Quebec's French Language Charter — which states that the name of an enterprise must be in French— the fast food franchise changed its name to PFK, or "Poulet Frit Kentucky."

    3 Musketeers are called Milky Ways in Europe...

    Both candy bars feature fluffy, whipped nougat enveloped in chocolate.

    But American Milky Ways are called Mars Bars in Europe.

    The American Milky Way bar was first released in 1923; many believe the bar was named after the solar system, but its moniker actually stemmed from a popular drink called malted milk.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Whole Foods Prime Signage

    • Amazon quietly updated the logos for all of its Prime services earlier this year, dropping the word Amazon.
    • Prime is now a brand in its own right.
    • It signifies Amazon is taking Prime beyond the Amazon-branded ecosystem as it heads into Whole Foods stores and elsewhere.

    Earlier this year, Amazon refreshed its logos for its Prime services.

    Notably, it dropped the word "Amazon" altogether.

    prime logo evolution

    In its new logo, Amazon Prime became simply Prime, Amazon Prime Video became Prime Video, and Amazon Prime Now became Prime Now.

    In place of Amazon's signature orange and yellow, Prime services now uniformly carry a calming blue hue. It's Prime blue, the color that signifies to shoppers on "Hey, this item is one of the things you can get free two-day shipping on."

    Prime EnvelopeThe move signifies what Amazon has likely long considered: Prime is a brand in its own right, and it's time for it to stand on its own two-day shipping feet.

    Amazon is now rolling out the new logo to more facets of its operations. The tape that holds together Amazon boxes now carries just the Prime logo, and the mailer bags for smaller items are white with a blue Prime logo. 

    Even the sign-up page for Prime on, with copious amounts of blue and fun cartoonish figures, barely mentions the word "Amazon."

    The most brazen example of this new branding strategy occurred when Prime started integrating with Whole Foods stores.

    In place of Whole Foods' typical muted signs are bright blue ones calling Prime members' attention to the deals that are designed just for their benefit. Workers were given blue Prime hats, shirts, and aprons to wear to advertise the deals.

    What you won't find in the store: any mention of the word Amazon. It appears on none of the signs, clothing, or other marketing materials. Not even the Whole Foods app, which customers must sign in to with their Prime accounts to get a code to scan at checkout, has the word Amazon in it.

    Amazon is clearly signifying something of a separation between Prime and Amazon, and it perhaps wants customers to think of Prime as a service that offers benefits beyond the Amazon-branded ecosystem.

    Whole Foods and the gaming-streaming service Twitch — which allows for free Twitch Prime membership with an Amazon Prime subscription  — are just a few examples of where Amazon is taking the Prime brand outside of Amazon. But, it seems the sky is the limit for the service.

    It makes sense for Amazon to invest so much in Prime's branding: the service is one of, if not the most, important part of its retail business. Its subscribers are, overall, pleased with it, and they often spend more money, more often on Amazon. In April, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that more than 100 million people pay for Prime

    SEE ALSO: Amazon is quietly upending a $19 billion business, and it's terrible news for Target and Bed Bath & Beyond

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How Nike's dad shoes became an iconic sneaker

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    McDonald's Ronald McDonald 2

    You probably recognize a lot of brands by their mascots.

    McDonald's has its clown Ronald, Wendy's has its pigtailed Wendy. The entire cereal industry has longstanding visibility in the American public largely because of mascots.

    But while they may seem larger than life, some brand mascots are based on real people.

    SEE ALSO: Here's some of the world's most adorable military mascots


    The redheaded, pigtailed girl in the Wendy's logo is indeed a real person, and she's still alive today.

    The mascot for the restaurant chain is based on Melinda Thomas, the daughter of Wendy's founder R. David Thomas. People reported in 1990 that Melinda beat out her other siblings in being the namesake of their father's restaurant chain.

    The eight-year-old's portrait, taken in 1969, became the iconic mascot for the brand.

    The Sun-Maid Woman

    The woman on the front of Sun-Maid rising boxes is a real person.

    According to Sun-Maid, the mascot was based off the image of a woman named Lorraine Collett Petersen, a 17-year-old girl from Missouri who was working as a seeder, packer, and promoter for a subsidiary of the Sun-Maid company in Fresno. In 1910, she was stopped in the middle of drying her hair and was asked to hold a basket tray of grapes for a watercolor portrait.

    Her face would first appear on Sun-Maid boxes in 1916, and would remain with slight changes over the years up until today.

    Uncle Ben's

    The Uncle Ben you see on the boxes of rice isn't the real Uncle Ben. But he did exist.

    According to the Museum of Public Relations, Uncle Ben was a black Texan rice farmer whose crop continuously won awards for its outstanding quality. 

    In 1932, German and British chemists Erich Huzenlaub and Francis Heron Rogers refined a process to make more nutritious parboiled rice and started the Converted Rice Company. The company itself didn't have any ties to Uncle Ben — he was dead by the time they started the company.

    But Huzenlaub and Rogers took Ben's name, leveraged his reputation, and named their product after him. The two based the mascot's likeness on a Chicago maitre d' named Frank Brown.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    It's time to shave the mustache.

    On Tuesday, Lyft is ditching its familiar pink mustache logo in favor of a more streamlined look. And the ride-hailing company is equipping its drivers with a sleek, glowing gadget designed to help customers quickly spot the car they ordered.

    The changes, which also include a new TV advertising blitz, add up to a major makeover that Lyft hopes will give its fleet of on-demand cars a more professional and universal veneer as it battles deep-pocketed rival Uber in the cut-throat ride-hailing business.

    Lyft's new gadget, dubbed Amp, will start to appear on drivers' dashboard in certain cities in the coming weeks. The cucumber-sized device uses Bluetooth to synch with a driver's phone and lights up in one of five colors to help passengers identify their vehicle.

    Here's how it works: 

    • Right now, Amp glows five different colors besides its default magenta: green, yellow, orange, purple, and light gray
    • Drivers pair the device with their phones and are encouraged to install its magnetic base on the middle of the dashboard of their cars
    • When passengers hail a ride in the app, Lyft will randomly generate a color for the Amp in the car. The app will show that color beaming off the animated car inside the app, as well as in the driver's profile, so riders know what color to look for
    • When the passenger gets in the car, a subtle screen on the back of the Amp will flash basic "hospitality" messages, like displaying a custom hello and goodbye to the passenger.

    Lyft Amp

    Goodbye, mustache

    The device marks a big departure from the furry pink mustaches that adorned Lyft vehicles when the company started four years ago, and some of the company's top executives see it as a sign that the company — which was most recently valued around $5.5 billion — is growing and changing. 

    "We’ve seen the branding of the company go through an evolution from that first big, fun, furry mustache that I think really encapsulated the spirit of the brand and the sense of irreverence as the dynamic, playful, personality-driven company," Lyft's creative director, Jesse McMillin, told Business Insider. "Functionally, it was really hard to use. It was a big furry thing that could get weather-worn; it was hard to apply. It was something that we wanted to update and change."

    The company rebranded in January 2015, swapping the original mustache — the Cuddlestache — for a new, high-tech version: the Glowstache. 

    But Lyft realized that the mustache logo itself no longer worked for the company. 

    "As fun and interesting as the mustache is, it’s a harder thing to recognize. It takes more storytelling to bring it to life." McMillin said.

    Lyft_Amp_06McMillin said that while the company isn't shedding its "whimsy," it wants to appeal to a broader audience. 

    "If you didn’t relate to the mustache, if that wasn’t something you were excited about, this kind of makes us more open to a wider audience," he said. 

    Lyft's new head of marketing, Melissa Waters, said ditching the company's logo was a "big step."

    "Internally, we had that moment of 'We’re retiring the mustache? It’s such a big icon for our company,'" Waters told Business Insider. "But this for me really takes everything to an entirely new level — it’s a multifaceted step. We not only are upping our branding in the car and our messaging in the car, we’re making ride-sharing’s first connected device."

    Lyft's main rival, Uber, has already tested out an idea similar to what Amp is trying to do. Last year, Uber piloted customizable LED lights in its vehicles to help riders find their cars in busy areas. Called SPOT, the program was only available in Seattle and has not expanded to other markets. 

    Taking it national

    Lyft will roll out the new devices over the next several months and will be in four markets by New Year's: New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. The devices should be in all of Lyft's markets — more than 200 in the US — by mid-2017. The company plans to continue updating the device, adding color and pattern options or customizing the Amps to display sports team colors for different cities.

    Starting Tuesday, the company is also launching a national TV and digital ad campaign that satirizes a Lyft rival — it's anyone's guess which one — and touts Lyft's commitment to safety, in-app tipping, and more. 

    Waters calls the new campaign a pivot from tactics Lyft has tried in the past.  

    "We know that when you go from point A to point B, certain things are non-negotiable," Waters said. "But at Lyft...we feel like you have a choice in that moment to either go with a utility player who’s really only going to talk to you about the transactional nature of getting you there, or with us."

    SEE ALSO: Uber is still crushing Lyft in every major US city — but Lyft is slowly making progress

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    Terri Trespicio

    A recent episode of This American Life (#598: “My Undesirable Talent”) told the stories of people who had become really good at things they regretted.

    One of them was a guy named Zora, born to Ugandan parents and raised in Fresno, who went off to college and pretended to be an African exchange student. He did a whole Coming to America Eddie Murphy impression, first as a joke, and then, because so many people fell for it — and him — he had to sustain it for months.

    He had fun with it at first — mainly because playing the extroverted, fun, upbeat kid from Uganda, he found, earned him far more friends and attention than he’d ever earned as the sole black kid in Fresno. He liked this newfound personality and character, and so did everyone else. He was beloved.

    But, as you can imagine, he cracked under the pressure.

    Forming real relationships under the guise of being someone else (in effect, mocking everyone you now call a friend) is, I imagine, a terrific source of stress. Especially when one of them was a girl he really liked.

    When he finally broke character, his friends were thrown, but most recovered…except for the girl, who understandably felt mocked and betrayed. She was disappointed because he turned out to be, well, like every other dude. They were both hurt.

    The whole thing kind of reminded me of Mrs. Doubtfire. And Tootsie. Anyway.

    My point is this: How often do we get good at a thing because of what other people seem to want or need from us—and how long can and do we keep it up?

    Fine, Zora is an extreme example. But think about it: How often or for how long have you been doing a thing you’re good at, that you don’t even want to do?

    Because of the work I do in the brand space (ew did I really just say that) I know that there’s this level of weirdness that happens when someone fears they’re “pretending at” being someone or something else. There’s this whole panicky thing that happens. I’ve seen it. They worry that they won’t get “past” who they were or they don’t know who they are now.

    Your brand shouldn’t be some other fake, glossy version of you. It should be, well, you.

    Who you are now. And that that does change over time. It evolves. Like any organic thing.

    The less of a gap between who you are and what you represent, the less confused you will feel and the more powerful your positioning. I always say this about brand: It’s a blend of your promise, your presence, and your practice—in other words, what expectations you set, what you’re like to be around, or what vibe you give off, and what you do over and over again.

    So my warning is this: Don’t work hard at being a thing you don’t want to deliver on. Seems like a no-duh. But really think about it. Are you doing that?

    This is of particular concern for one-man shops, freelancers, solos, business owners who are looking to grow and shift away perhaps from what they’ve been doing, to what they want to do.

    Be wary of doing the things you can do, especially if you don’t want to do them.

    Whether that’s certain services or offerings, or even being the person people come to for “x” when you don’t want to do “x” anymore.

    The reason you may be afraid of doing this is because, like anyone, you’re afraid of turning business away. You think people are coming to you because of this one thing you do, even if you loathe doing it.

    It requires an act of bravery to come out as you, to do what will serve you, even if it’s not what everyone else expects.

    But what’s the alternative? Faking an accent so long you forget what you actually sound like? Bad idea.

    This post was originally published on

    Terri Trespicio is a New York-based writer and brand strategist, and the co-creator of Lights Camera Expert, a program to help experts and entrepreneurs get, and keep, media attention. Visit her at

    SEE ALSO: How to succeed when you're not good at anything in particular

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    howard schultz starbucks

    Starbucks' brand has taken a beating since the company announced plans to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide in the next five years in response to Donald Trump's executive order intended to prevent refugees from entering the US. 

    The coffee giant's consumer perception levels have fallen by two-thirds since late January, according to YouGov BrandIndex.

    The perception tracker measures if respondents have "heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative." In Starbucks' case, perception is still overall positive, but significantly lower than it was prior to CEO Howard Schultz published a public letter outlining the company's plans to give refugees jobs. 

    "We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question," CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a letter to Starbucks employees about the plan.

    The graphic below shows YouGov's brand perception since October of last year. The red arrow points to when Starbucks announced its plan to hire 10,000 refugees. 

    starbucks perception

    YouGov says that there's reason to believe backlash will impact the chain's bottom line. Two days before Starbucks' announcement, 30% of consumers said they'd consider buying from Starbucks the next time they were craving coffee, the highest proportion in nearly a year. Now, the percentage is down to 24%, according to YouGov. 

    While many customers were immediately supportive of Starbucks' actions to support refugees, others threatened to boycott. 

    "Upon hearing about your decision to hire 10000 refugees instead of Americans I will no longer spend any money at Starbucks," one such Facebook user wrote on Starbucks' page in late January.

    Some of this resentment seemed to be rooted in a belief that Starbucks was hiring refugees instead of veterans. Starbucks, however, does have a program in place to support veterans and their families, hiring 8,000 veterans and military spouses since 2014 — an initiative the chain has attempted to highlight in recent days and weeks online and on social media. 

    SEE ALSO: People are boycotting Starbucks after CEO announces plan to hire thousands of refugees

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    NOW WATCH: Here are the top 10 fast food chains that dominate in America

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     Slim James

    "All natural,""organic,""local,""handcrafted"— no doubt, the artisan food craze has gotten out of hand.

    At least, that's how writer and illustrator Dan Meth felt, which is why he decided to rebrand junk food to appeal to the organic mustache wax-wearing, only-local-buying hipsters.

    Meth was inspired to create this series after seeing a presentation by a graphic designer who designs "classy" food packaging.

    "I thought it'd be funny to see how her style would transform the way we think of junky, guilty-pleasure foods," Meth said.

    Meth, a self-professed health nut, decided to rebrand "the grossest items in the supermarket with the tackiest packages."

    "These are all items that I ate or would have eaten when I was a kid, but wouldn't touch now. I know that sounds snobby, but this stuff is poison!" he said.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Supposedly 80% of the information we receive from a logo comes from the colors contained within it. That's because different colors evoke different feelings and emotions.

    Companies will often go to great lengths to make sure their logo perfectly matches their branding strategy. Google famously tested 40 different shades of blue in its logo to see which one performed the best.

    Some industries favor particular colors, like tech companies that predominantly use the color blue, or fast-food restaurants which prefer to use red.

    Read on to see why these brands are using certain colors in their logos. 

    The information in this article was sourced from Towergate Insurance's "Colour in Branding" infographic, plus our own research.

    SEE ALSO: Apple's new ad for iPhone stickers is filled with pop-culture references


    McDonald's uses red because it's seen as an energizing and stands out easily. It's even thought the color stimulates hunger, which may be why a number of other fast food brands use the color.

    Red is also often used to signal a sale, so many brands will use it in combination with a softer color like white or yellow to convey the properties of red without risking the perception the brand may be going out of business.


    With the use of green, which is often used to signal health and restoration, Subway looks to convey the values of freshness which it has put at the core of its brand.

    Yellow is also another color that can easily be spotted from far away and draw consumers to its restaurants.

    Baskin Robbins

    Blue and pink are often combined to promote sugary products since pink signals sweetness and playfulness.

    Carol Austin, VP of marketing for the brand told CNBC the logo is "meant to convey the fun and energy of the Baskin-Robbins brand."

    The logo also has a hidden message: The pink 31 in the logo stands for each day in the month that consumers can discover a new flavor.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    YouTube Nike

    It's an indisputable fact that no brand has driven sneaker culture like Nike. 

    It has connected running, hip hop, and streetwear, made athletes into legends, and helped change American attitudes on exercise. 

    Here's just a few of the ways Nike has defined "cool" in American culture since its founding more than 50 years ago.

    Drake Baer contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article.

    SEE ALSO: Nike's business is 'going to get darker before the dawn'

    1973: Nike signs its first athlete to an endorsement deal

    Steve Prefontaine, a 22-year-old known as "Pre," as he came to be known, was an elite runner.

    He set his first national record at age 15 by running two miles in 8:41:5. He held an American record in every long-distance event, from 2,000 meters to 10,000 meters, before his tragic death in a car accident at 24 years old.

    Pre signed his deal with Nike in 1974 for $5,000. The Nike brand was just three years old.

    With his flowing hair, punk rock attitude, and unprecedented success, Pre helped brand Nike as swaggering, dominant, and committed to athletic excellence.

    1970-1978: Nike helps popularize jogging

    Nike cofounder Bill Bowerman was a track coach at the University of Oregon. He was instrumental in luring Pre to the University of Oregon and having him sign on to Nike. 

    Bowerman was a huge proponent of running recreationally, or, as it would become known, joggingWhile it seems like running has always been popular, it didn't actually become a common pursuit until the running boom of the 1970s.

    "Certainly running was already popular among kids and athletes in the 1970s, but it wasn't the social activity that we see it as today,"says marketing analyst Garrett Moon."The growing white-collar workforce helped pave the way for social activities that included the promotion of cardiovascular health. Once the trend was ingrained, the need shifted and the 'jogging shoes' themselves became the felt need."

    Bowerman helped push running into the mainstream with "Jogging," a book he wrote with a medical doctor explaining the benefits of running recreationally. As a sportswear maker with a US market share of close to 50% in running shoes, Nike was able to benefit from this.


    1985: Nike launches the Air Jordan.

    No one could have predicted what Michael Jordan's Nike endorsement would mean for the brand. The first shoe the two collaborated on, the Air Jordan, was released in September 1985

    The shoes were famously "banned" from the court by the NBA in October 1985, as they didn't fit the required color scheme. The league fined Jordan $5,000 each time he wore the sneakers during a game, and Nike gladly covered the expenses.

    Nike created a TV commercial with this fact, giving the shoes an infamously cool vibe. The attention gained from the incident helped the shoe become a runaway success.

    The Air Jordan brand later became its own sub-brand of Nike. It developed a cult following, with sneaker fans lining up for every new limited release.

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    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Scott Galloway is a marketing professor at the NYU Stern School of Business and the founder of business intelligence firm L2.

    Galloway appears on this week's episode of The Bottom Line with Henry Blodget and explains how Amazon could eliminate the existence of brands with voice technology. The following is a transcript of the video:

    So I think the biggest thing in technology in 2017 is voice. I think Amazon has effectively conspired with voice and technology and half a billion consumers to kill brands.

    When you go into a store, you see the packaging, you see the endcaps, you might see pricing go up and down. All of these things that big brands ranging from Unilever and Procter & Gamble to Kraft and Heinz have spent billions of dollars and generations building.

    When you begin ordering groceries and things and CPG products via voice on Alexa, all of those things go away. And if you look at search terms on Google and voice commands on Amazon’s Alexa, the percentage of time that brand prefixes are used in a request is declining. So effectively, I think Amazon has declared war — with the backing of 500 million consumers and a lot of cheap capital — on brands. And we will, using our algorithm, find you as good a product for a lesser price. Amazon will figure out in a nanosecond the best deal and most likely trade you into the highest-margin product for them which will be Amazon toothpaste.

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    James SwanwickMoney, time, vision, sacrifice: Investment takes many forms for entrepreneurs. Here's how 11 millionaire (and billionaire) members of The Oracles did it right.

    SEE ALSO: 10 things I learned about rich people while helping millionaires manage their money


    If you can afford to, invest in branding. Think of branding as getting married and selling as hooking up. It's why I’m winning; I’m branding while everyone is selling. Even the little things I sell — like shirts or a $13 book every three years — is branding. I don't care about the money; my economics just reinforce long-term branding and awareness. The quickest way I know somebody doesn't think they’re big time is by their short-term behavior.

    — Gary Vaynerchuk, founder and CEO of VaynerMedia (700+ employees with more than $100 million in annual revenue) and the NYT-bestselling author of "#AskGaryVee"

    Investing in tech

    Hotmail was a turning point for me. I came up with the idea for viral marketing so that Hotmail could be spread from customer to customer like a virus. All of a sudden, one of the companies I'd seeded was a household name. It made fundraising easier, and more entrepreneurs wanted my backing and advice. Hotmail affected an extraordinary number of people: Approximately 3 billion people communicate through the internet for free, largely due to Hotmail.

    — Tim Draper, founding partner of VC firm DFJ

    Seeding passionate entrepreneurs

    The fastest money I ever made was investing in a young technology startup before I sold my brokerage business. I didn't even understand what the guy actually did, but he was hard up for money, and I believed he would find a way to succeed. I bought 10 percent of his business for $100,000 and forgot about it until he bought it back from me for $1 million five years later. I used that million dollars to invest in my first 15 businesses on "Shark Tank."

    — Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and Shark on "Shark Tank"

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    shawn mendes

    For a rising pop star, the money side of the music business has drastically changed in the last few years, according to Andrew Gertler, who manages teen singer-songwriter sensation Shawn Mendes and runs AG Artists.

    “The music really is not as much the revenue generator as the marketing tool to then create other income streams,” Gertler told Business Insider, speaking by phone from Mendes’ worldwide arena tour.

    Those other income streams include not only things like live events and brand deals, but also opportunities at the crossroads of music and TV (or video in general), where Gertler said the line is getting more and more blurred.

    The growth stage

    Though Mendes has already cracked the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 multiple times, Gertler looks at his career as a growth-stage business.

    “For the artists' fans and for artists, in terms of exposure, music should be everywhere and as easily accessible as humanly possible ... especially for an artist you are still building,” Gertler said. Mendes is on an upward trajectory, and hasn’t yet reached mega-stardom, Gertler explained. The idea is this: “Let’s get him in front of as many people as possible.”

    That style of thinking sounds strikingly similar to tech startups, where the initial focus is often on grabbing as many users as possible, before turning toward better monetization later on.

    And as far as making money from the actual music, Gertler has also seen a shift. He used to see about 75% of that revenue from sales on iTunes, with 25% coming from streaming services like Spotify. Now it’s more like 65-70% streaming, and 30% iTunes. “It’s been a complete flip in only a few years,” Gertler said.

    shawn mendes and manager

    Unlimited access

    Besides revenue, the other biggest change for up-and-coming music stars is the amount of access fans want to their private lives.

    “Fans and the general public are so used to unlimited access,” Gertler said. So is there any line? “There really isn’t one,” according to Gertler. Fans “probably know [pop stars] better than anyone should know someone.”

    This also means that it is extremely difficult for a pop star to have continued success without a sense of authenticity. It’s not like the past, where there were flashing lights and spectacle, and you didn’t really know what the artist was like in day-to-day life. Now you see what an artist is doing when they wake up, Gertler said.

    Artists that succeed in this model are those who can make a one-to-many relationship feel like a one-to-one relationship. “How do you make it feel like they really know you,” Gertler said.

    That necessity for a sense of authenticity can also make brand deals tricky. It used to be you could do an exclusive clothing deal, and no one saw you every single day, Gertler explained. Now people see stars at all times on social media, and you have to be a bit more careful. It’s more of a commitment.

    Hand-to-hand combat

    For a manager, this new world requires much more “hand-to-hand combat,” according to Gertler. He’s traveling all over the place with Mendes, and a lot of young managers doing the same, he said, citing Pat Corcoran who manages Chance the Rapper.

    You have to be at the center of the universe of that artist to understand what is going on at all times — and what the fans want. It is an ongoing dialogue with fans that happens in real-time. If you aren't at the center of it, you could get out of step.

    SEE ALSO: As YouTube stars pursue new dreams, keeping millions of loyal fans happy is a tough balancing act

    Join the conversation about this story »

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