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When a Brand is Losing Mind Share, Who's To Blame?
By: Emory Brown
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We see it happen all the time: brands losing mind-share. The great Sears has fallen from the top of our consideration set, from “all-star” to “who’s that brand?” The company continues to close stores in the Midwest and other areas around the country. As marketers, can we stop brands from losing mind-share? If we can’t, then who do we blame? 

Brands fail for a number of reasons, but the number-one reason is management. Yes, management. The people that sit in the C-suite and make the decisions. It is these individuals that drive the brand, from selecting the agency that produces the campaigns to the hiring process for selecting the engineers and craftsmen who make the product.

Executives who manage major brands have to deal with a lot while trying to compete in the marketplace. When you look at companies like Sears who were, until the invasion of Walmart, powerhouses that not only sold products but also used to make them, you’ll see that many of today’s innovations in consumer products came out of those companies.

Great industrial designers like Chuck Harrison, the first African-American industrial designer to work at Sears, helped create over 750 consumer products. Sears created the first plastic garbage can, which, as you know, is now a staple in stores all around the world. Sears created the View-Master, for heaven’s sake, which was a staple in kids’ play tool kits. I had one. It was like having your own personal picture show. (App kids just wouldn’t understand.) How do you go from this to almost obsolete in the minds of America? Poor management, hands down!

Now, Sears is struggling to hold on. The once-behemoth of retail is being forced slowly out of business in the Chicagoland areas by brands like Target and Walmart, and not because Sears sold poor products. Poor executive decisions and execution have become the kryptonite that has put Sears to rest in the minds of many consumers.

It’s hard to say if Sears will ever have the power it once had. Currently, they have 783 stores. Compare that to Target, which has 1,790 stores in the U.S. with expansion plans for India, and Walmart, which has 4,177 stores in the U.S. alone. Walmart also operates 11,000 retail units under 21 banners across the world.

Sears is going to have to shape up or ship out, because the next generation of consumers may not know what Sears is at all.


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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