Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.

Should Target put "Alex," the Frisco, Texas, kid getting a lot of Twitter love because of his Bieberish mug and the pure randomness of the internet, in an actual ad campaign? "Why not?" answered Will McInnes, chief marketing officer of Brandwatch. "Social media is a powerful and direct avenue to consumers. Given the velocity and reach of the #AlexFromTarget hashtag, there are a number of marketing and ad campaigns that Target could execute. For example: store appearances by Alex or Alex's picks for clothing and seasonal items. Target could even use Alex to showcase its corporate culture."

Jewelry and design have always been a part of Carolyn Rafaelian's life. Her father, Ralph, opened a jewelry manufacturing business in 1966. It was there that Carolyn developed her love of design. In addition to designing pieces for her father's business, Rafaelian began to create her own jewelry line. An overpowering sense of belief in those products led Carolyn to start Alex and Ani, the jewelry company named for her two eldest daughters.

If you were one of the 111.5 million people watching the Super Bowl earlier this month, you might have noticed a commercial from jewelry company Alex and Ani. While the Super Bowl might seem like a funny place for a jewelry company to be advertising — amidst all the beer, soda, technology and cars — the move was just another one of Alex and Ani's unconventional business strides. The Rhode Island company was started by jewelry maker Carolyn Rafaelian in 2004. Over the last 10 years, the company has grown 365 percent in revenue from $2 million to $230 million.

The rush of retailers rolling out iBeacons is beginning. On Thursday, the jewelry store Alex and Ani announced it's using the sensors in its 40 stores nationwide, which is believed to be the first full deployment of iBeacons in a retailer aside from Apple. "We always want to try the latest and greatest," said Ryan Bonifacino, vice president of digital strategy for Alex and Ani. "By the time it hits the common vernacular or early adopters we've already been first in line."

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