Thursday, January 05, 2017
Watching a brand die is an ugly, disheartening experience, especially when that brand once dominated the marketplace. That is what is happening to Sears. People of a certain age remember when the retail chain dominated America's malls. It was an anchor store. Tens of thousands moved through its aisles monthly. Then it was bought out by a financial engineer who thought he knew how to run retail. He wrecked the chain and along with it the struggling K-Mart stores. Now he is doing the only thing he knows how to do -- closing stores and retrenching in a process of slow strangulation. The problem with Sears is that consumers don't need it. They have plenty of shopping options whether online or on the floor of other stores. Sears has not kept up and the harder it struggles, the worse it gets. There is no compelling story behind the brand, no sense of flair, nothing to entice consumers into its space. It needs lessons from Target, which has a sense of style that Sears is missing with its stodgy approach. Sears should be a reminder to marketers and communicators that nothing is safe in the marketplace. One needs to work each day to advance a brand or watch it slip quickly into irrelevance.