News Briefs


Creative Agency EIQ Brand Lab Wins 7 AVA Digital Awards

EIQ BrandLab logo

Marketing and creative agency EIQ BrandLab, operated by RIS’s parent company EnsembleIQ, has won seven AVA Digital Awards for digital excellence. 

The AVA Digital Awards is an international competition that recognizes excellence by creative professionals responsible for the planning, concept, direction, design, and production of digital communications. They are awarded by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP).

Each of the award-winning entries were developed in partnership with clients ranging from CPG brands to enterprise technology companies. 

Platinum Awards

Gold Awards

Darren Ursino, vice president of brand engagement at EnsembleIQ said that EIQ BrandLab aspires to be “a true firebrand in business marketing.” He added the brand is honored to work with forward-thinking companies across the retail, healthcare, and hospitality industries. “We are very proud to have been recognized by the AVA Digital Awards for our work.”

Joe Territo, executive vice president of content and communications at EnsembleIQ stated that the company’s redesigned corporate website, which was created by EIQBrandLab, has been well received. 

“We are very pleased to have received this honor from the AVA Digital Awards,” he added.

This was first posted on the site of sister publication CGT.


1-800-Flowers Kicks Off Mother’s Day Celebrations With First Foray Into NFTs

NFT graphic

Floral brand is launching into the NFT space just in time for Mother’s Day

To celebrate the holiday, the brand released two collections featuring illustrations by artists Devi Namira and Maaz Rahell, that reflect “the special and unique bond fostered between a child and mother.” The company stated that 1,800 distinctive PFPs (profile pictures) are a nod to the brand’s name and pay tribute to “how moms blossom their children through love and affection.”

The first collection, called “Moms Run the World,” features backgrounds with strawberry fields that represent the brand Sherri’s Berries while pear trees showcase Royal Riviera pears from Harry & David. The images also feature flowers and accessories. 

Each image is randomly generated to provide a “one-of-a-kind” experience.

[Related: Pacsun Dives Deeper Into Metaverse With Pac Mall Rats NFTs]

According to the company, a second collection — “The Love of a Mom” — features 180 one-to-ones showcasing “a mother’s nurturing hands guiding their child through the ever-blooming garden of life.” This collection includes 12 unique NFTs with multiple copies of each. 

The brand’s NFTs are being minted on Polygon. There are no gas fees for anyone that is pre-approved to receive an NFT. Those who are pre-approved can enter for a chance to win a free mint NFT and a year of flower deliveries for a mother figure in their life. Contest details can be found here

“ has a history of innovation and always strives to be at the forefront of where consumers are going next,” said Jason John, chief marketing officer, “These collections are a great way for us to test in this space as we delve into the possibilities within Web3 and gain a better understanding of our customers’ interest in digital products. We’re excited to officially be part of the NFT community!”

Abi Sachdeva, chief technology officer for, said that introducing customers to blockchain has been an inspiring journey, adding that the company is still in an early stage of understanding the opportunities and challenges related to these technologies. 

“One thing we know is that Web3 — a vision for a decentralized internet built on blockchain technology — has infinite possibilities, and we are ready to ride that wave,” he added.


DemandTec Optimizing Pricing With New Platform

Pricing analytics graphic

Retail pricing technology company DemandTec by Acoustic has launched a new AI-powered price optimization platform, Autonomous Pricing On Demand. The technology allows mid-market retailers to better respond to market and consumer behavior fluctuations.

Capabilities include intelligent pricing across zones and categories, weekly price optimization recommendations, a dedicated pricing team, time-to-value in four to six weeks, and annual subscription-based pricing. 

According to the company, the solution eliminates cost, training, and resource barriers, as well as improves price perception to grow revenue up to 3% and margins up to 5%. 

[Read more: Five Truths, No Lies]

“Competing in today’s economy — riddled with record-breaking inflation, growing consumer price sensitivity, and continuing supply-chain challenges — is increasingly difficult,” said Anis Hadj-Taieb, general manager for DemandTec. “Retailers of allsizes need access to AI-powered capabilities to rapidly respond to changes in the market and consumer demand with intelligent pricing.”


Walt Disney Company Opens Applications for Accelerator Program

Accelerator program graphic

Growth stage companies looking to transform the technology and entertainment space can now submit applications for The Walt Disney Company’s Accelerator program. Now in its seventh year, the program is taking applications until May 13, and is looking to accelerate the growth of innovative companies from around the world. 

Disney is focusing on companies that are innovating in areas such as artificial intelligence, data and analytics, immersive experiences, machine learning, personalization, robotics, sports tech, and web3. Program participants will be able to connect with experts at Disney to receive guidance on their tech.

[More on tech: Yum Brands, Danone, Kellogg’s Tech Leaders Join Analytics Unite 2022]

Past participants include CAMP, the Family Experience Company, which launched in December of 2018 and was an RIS Hot Retail Startup in 2020.

“The Disney Accelerator introduces us to visionary companies that are leading innovators in their respective industries,” said Bonnie Rosen, general manager of Disney Accelerator. “We are looking forward to this year’s program and can’t wait to connect with the next generation of talent that will help us make bold decisions and identify new opportunities for innovation at The Walt Disney Company.”

The Disney Accelerator program will kick off in July, closing with a Demo Day in the fall. Applications are being accepted here


Home Depot Names Fahim Siddiqui EVP and CIO, Matt Carey EVP Customer Experience

Matt Carey and Fahim Siddiqui Headshots

The Home Depot recently announced two leadership hires, naming Fahim Siddiqui executive vice president and chief information officer and Matt Carey as EVP of customer service. 

Siddiqui will lead the company's tech strategy, infrastructure and software development for its 2,317 retail stores, supply chain facilities, store support centers, and online systems.

He joined The Home Depot in 2018 as SVP of information technology, developing applications and solutions for online, marketing, merchandising, supply chain, data, and analytics. He also managed the buildout of a central platform of common services to improve the customer experience. 

Prior to The Home Depot, he spent more than three decades leading software development in the retail, energy, and telecom sectors, including Staples, MCI, Time Warner Telecom, and Sprint

"Fahim is a tremendous leader and a brilliant technologist who understands the power of technology to unlock a better experience for our customers and associates, and I look forward to working with him in this next phase of growth for The Home Depot," said Ted Decker, CEO and president of The Home Depot.

As EVP of customer service, Carey will lead the vision, design, and development of new consumer experience solutions across stores, online, or mobile.

Carey served previously as SVP and CTO at eBay, where he oversaw product development, site operations, cybersecurity, platform engineering, data warehousing, and catalog operations for eBay Marketplaces. Prior to joining eBay in 2006, he spent more than 20 years with Walmart, where he was SVP and CTO.

Decker stated that Carey has spearheaded “an enormous technology transformation” across the company’s stores, supply chain, merchandising, and digital presence.

"Now more than ever, our customers expect to shop with us how, when, and where they want — and there's little tolerance for friction in the shopping experience,” said Decker. “Matt has a proven track record driving customer-first technology innovation."    


Crocs Taps Danone’s Deanna Bratter to Lead Sustainability Efforts

Deanna Bratter headshot

Casual footwear brand Crocs, Inc., has created a new role: vice president of global head of sustainability. 

Deanna Bratter will assume the new role, responsible for helping the company achieve its goal to be net zero by 2030, as well as enhancing commitments and impacts across environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and corporate governance (ESG).

Prior to joining Crocs, Bratter was the vice president of sustainable development/One Planet. One Health at Danone North America. In that role, she oversaw the company’s push to address climate change, focusing on responsible sourcing, the restoration of natural ecosystems, sustainable packaging, and community support. 

Bratter also previously led corporate sustainability for WhiteWave Foods, managing the company’s annual CSR and ESG reporting. 

"Consumers are keenly focused on purpose, inclusivity and a sustainable future, and Crocs has set clear ambitions to integrate sustainability into every part of their business and products," said Bratter. "This is an iconic brand, and I am thrilled for the opportunity to apply my experience in creating more sustainable systems to Crocs, bringing collaborative and innovative solutions in an effort to ensure we meet our commitments and create a more sustainable and comfortable world for all."

Last year, the company committed to reducing its carbon footprint to become a more sustainable brand, outlining its strategy. Since then, the brand has transitioned to sustainable ingredients across its product lines. Changes were also made across the company’s packaging, looking at new ways to give Crocs a second life, transitioning to renewable energy, and investing in responsible resource use. 

Crocs CEO Andrew Rees said that climate change is an urgent issue that requires “meaningful and rapid action.”

"We have an equal responsibility to ensure we're doing our part to create a more comfortable world," added Rees. "We are excited to welcome Deanna into this key leadership position and are confident that her deep experience and expertise will help Crocs achieve its ambitious sustainability goals."