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Brand Admiration Is Earned, Not Given: Here's How to Make It Last Forever

by Josh Zywien  |  
October 27, 2016
  |  2,191 views

Editor's note: This article is part of a series exploring the characteristics of brand admiration, including why it matters and how B2B and B2C businesses can benefit from investing it. To find out more about what brand admiration is, read the first article.

There was a time—before Amazon became Amazon—when Sears was one of the world's most revered retail brands. In fact, when my wife and I bought our first house in 2004, I remember my parents reacted incredulously to the suggestion that we'd buy appliances from any store other than Sears. To them, Sears was the definition of service and reliability, which meant that buying from anyone else was foolhardy.

That perspective makes sense when you consider the historical context. When my parents were growing up, Sears had earned that reputation. Its in-store service was legendary, and its treatment of customers, employees, and stakeholders was unmatched.

By 2004, however, the brand's actual reputation didn't at all resemble my parents' perception of it. And today, Sears's bottom line is suffering the consequences. In the second quarter of 2016, in-store sales fell $310 million and the company's market share fell to half of what it was 20 years ago.

So, what went wrong?


A Playbook for the Destruction of a Brand

It's hard to distill Sears' collapse down to a few simple screw-ups.

Some of the brand's failure is the result of massive changes in the competitive landscape (Amazon...), and some of it can be attributed to radically different consumer behavior. Furthermore, it's not like Sears is the only large—and formerly revered—brick-and-mortar retailer to fall on hard times. Just ask RadioShack or Blockbuster.


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Josh Zywien is a content marketer who writes for MarketingProfs: Made to Order, Original Content Services, which helps clients generate leads, drive site traffic, and build their brands through useful, well designed content.

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  • by Audrey D. Mon Apr 10, 2017 via web

    This article is very well-written in terms of clearly communicating what causes the demise of some brands and why others rise to great success. The example of Netflix and Blockbuster hits the nail on the head when referencing your main points of ignoring evolving technology and customer expectations, as well as growth at the expense of core values. Blockbuster makes such a great example because had they evolved with the technology boom and made the deal with Netflix to start streaming online movies and physical movies in store they could still be around today. It also works when talking about Netflix because that is exactly what elevated them to became industry giants in the video renting/streaming market. When they were mostly making money by renting DVDs online, and had a very limited online streaming selection they were not doing very well as a company. Their website was lacking, the user interface was not easy to navigate, and they simply did not have enough content online. Because they were innovative and able to see what consumers would want in the coming years they stayed relevant. In contrast with how far behind brick-and-mortar video renting companies like Blockbuster were, they did not stand a chance. I think the main points of this article can be seen true in many other companies that failed to adapt with evolving technology and customer wants and those that did manage to change.

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