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Understanding the Genius Bar Index

4 MINUTE READ | July 13, 2020

Understanding the Genius Bar Index

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Abby Long

Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.

The following is included in PMG’s Summer Briefing Series, exclusive content and commentary provided to PMG clients 2/week on the marketing and business news that’s making headlines.

If you’re in the Northeast, we hope you had a quiet, safe weekend tucked away from Tropical Storm Fay. Everyone else, we hope you had a quiet and safe weekend, too. There’s plenty to catch up on, so let’s get to it. 

  • News you might have missed

  • The Genius Bar Index

  • What’s up with TikTok?

  • The week ahead

Over the weekend, all eyes were on Florida as Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened to the public while cases of COVID-19 grew exponentially right outside the gates. Florida reported a record-high of 15,299 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. According to Axios, seven times in the past two weeks, America has set new records for the most cases in a single day.

COVID-19 cases are increasing in 39 states while officials debate how and under what circumstances schools can reopen, restaurants will be able to return to full occupancy, and employees return to work. This weekend, the debate to reopen school boiled over, with teachers, officials and policymakers weighing the pros and cons of allowing children to return to school amid the outbreak. 

Worldwide: South Africa reimposes its ban on alcohol sales to encourage distancing and reduce public “drinking sprees.”

In a bit of good news, New York City reported its first day with no coronavirus deaths since the outbreak began on March 11th. Testing capabilities across the US remain limited, with the availability of tests still low. From the Morning Brew, “former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he expects the ‘apex’ of cases in the South to hit in two to three weeks.” 

With states managing outbreaks on a more local level, the reopening status of Apple stores has become a more telling sign of how local economies are faring with what experts call the Genius Bar Index. Apple is in a better financial position than most companies in the world, giving the brand more freedom in re-closing and reopening stores based on local data versus national reporting. In the beginning, the Waffle House Index served as the benchmark, but with coronavirus outbreaks occurring in more urban areas, Apple stores serve as a better barometer for the nation’s current situation. 

It was a rough week for the fastest-growing social app of the year. The US is reportedly considering banning TikTok and other Chinese social apps, enlightening a frenzy of commentary and responses from companies and consumers alike. In a stunning reversal on Friday, Amazon tried to walk back its memo that employees should delete the app while Wells Fargo said it’s maintaining its employee ban

  • The NFL’s Washington Redskins announced the team would be changing its name

  • The Pac-12 joined the Big 10 in announcing they’ll only play in-conference this fall. 

  • The Verge reported only eight percent of Quibi users stuck around after the free three-month trial expired, a stat Quibi executives vehemently refutes. 

  • Facebook is considering banning political ads leading up to the US election, Bloomberg first reported.

  • McClatchy, America’s second-largest newspaper chain, announced that Chatham Asset Management would take over the newspaper company’s assets as a result of its bankruptcy auction.

  • The US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission is investigating TikTok after advocacy groups filed complaints in May over the app’s potential violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), per Reuters.

  • Sony invested $250 million in Fortnite maker Epic Games.

Earnings season is back, but with over 180 companies in the S&P 500 pulling their guidance, analysts and investors are flying blind on what we can expect in the weeks to come. Two things we do know for sure: in the coming days, expect two significant EU rulings concerning Big Tech. One on whether Apple must pay Ireland $14.5 billion in allegedly unpaid taxes, the other, a judgment on how companies transfer European users’ data outside the EU. 

Monday: Pepsico earnings

Tuesday: June’s Consumer Price Index, Bastille Day, Wells Fargo, Delta, JPMorgan, and Citigroup earnings 

Wednesday: Tax Day, don’t forget. NBCUniversal’s Peacock launches, Goldman Sachs, BNY Mellon earnings

Thursday: June US retail sales, Netflix, Domino’s, Johnson & Johnson, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America earnings

Friday: World Emoji Day and BlackRock earnings

The Weekend: Buckle up, Congress returns to the Hill next week. 

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That’s all I have for you today, I’ll catch back up with you on Thursday.