Posted by Dale Buss on October 10, 2013 11:36 AM
If Ron Johnson were dead, he'd be spinning in his grave. Instead, the ousted CEO of JCPenney can simply watch from afar as his predecessor-turned-successor Myron Ullman dismantles the former Apple retail head's failed ambitious plan to transform the venerable retailer, piece by piece.
The latest back-to-the-future moves by Ullman? Scrapping the simple new logo that Johnson instituted as well as some of the ad-agency help that he hired. Such gambits are part of Ullman's efforts to ensure that Penney has bottomed out as the crucial 2013 holiday shopping season gets underway.
Johnson introduced the red-framed logo last year to great fanfare, "updating" the marque to simply "jcp" in a blue box in the upper-left corner of a square that was intended to invoke an American flag with its patriotic colors.
Instead, it became just another reminder to JCPenney's traditional customers that Johnson didn't really care about their business. So the old "JCPenney" logo in a simple red font is back—albeit slightly updated—marking the fourth logo in as many years for the embattled department store brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 1, 2013 02:38 PM
The second A.G. Lafley era is under way at Procter & Gamble, and the first quarterly report card on his new tenure is—well, middling.
P&G today reported fiscal-2013 annual net sales that were up 1 percent, to $84 billion, and core earnings per share up by 5 percent. For the last quarter, which saw Lafley replace CEO Bob McDonald—whom Lafley had tapped to succeed him four years ago—revenues ticked up to $20.7 billion from $20.2 billion a year, slightly outpacing analyst expectations that previously had been downgraded.
"It feels good" to have Lafley back, P&G CFO Jon Moeller said on CNBC this morning. "I'm very optimistic about the future as we look forward."
To be sure, it's still (relatively) early days yet. But in the earnings conference call, Lafley said something which may have indicated that his task in restoring P&G to the greatness it enjoyed during his "first term" as CEO, from 2000 to 2009, might take a bit longer to achieve than when the company's board eased out McDonald in May and asked Lafley to return.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 2, 2013 02:53 PM
Now that RadioShack is presumably done with its executive shuffle, the electronics retailer's new CEO, CMO and VP of store concepts are wasting no time in trying to get the company back into the minds of younger, hipper consumers. This week, the chain debuted a new logo and opened its first concept store in New York (above), a first-of-its-kind customer experience for the brand that it's billing as an "interactive technology playground."
According to the Dallas Business Journal, the Fort Worth, Texas-based chain plans to open several other concept stores in New York, New Jersey and Texas in the coming weeks before deciding on a new design to roll out to its entire footprint of 4,300 stores. The move comes at a critical juncture, as The Shack is in need of a serious revamp. It lost $63 million in the fourth quarter last year and $43.3 million in the first quarter of this year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 26, 2013 10:47 AM
Nissan's aggressive price discounts and incentives in May clearly distressed many in the US auto industry who'd hoped that the days of price-cutting, brand-eroding competition were done, at least so closely in the wake of the late-2000s industry restructuring and in the midst of an American-market recovery that only still seems to be picking up steam.
But no brand is more on edge than Hyundai over Nissan's gambit, which was enabled by at least a short-term decline in the value of the yen. That's because Nissan is one of its closest competitors across the board in terms of vehicle segments where they compete and don't compete. And most acutely, it's because Hyundai's tight supplies for the US market mean it could afford a price war perhaps least of any major brand.
"The first month [of Nissan price cuts] wasn't an indication of, oh, the re-pricing was successful or not," Hyundai US CEO John Krafcik said in Detroit recently, according to Automotive News. "It said if you put bigger discounts on your car, you'll sell more of them.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 20, 2013 02:39 PM
Men's Wearhouse founder George Zimmer may have been able to guarantee the way you'd look in his suits, but that same comfort didn't extend to his own job. In fact, Men’s Wearhouse tossed the 64-year-old Zimmer out the door Wednesday after he spent 40 years building the brand, starting with the first location that he opened with his college roommates.
No reason was given for the ouster but analysts suggested to The New York Times “that the conflict might be over the company’s efforts to appeal to younger customers, who could have been hampered by Mr. Zimmer’s continued presence in ads.” A person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Zimmer, who still owns about 3.5 percent of the company’s shares, and his handpicked CEO, Doug Ewert, have had “repeated clashes” about buying back shares and selling off apparel chain K&G.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 28, 2013 11:57 PM
Apple is the mine's canary. That's the takeaway from a recent press conference in China where the head of corporate sustainability for China tech giant Huawei told reporters that, unlike Apple, it will "learn from the issues that Apple has faced in China" and "never let supplier issues tarnish our brand.”
Whether Huawei means to "learn" from Apple or just copy it, the brand that has been singled out for a beating in the last few years over everything from China labor issues to tax avoidance has come under fire for a failure to innovate. But those critics all have tunnel-vision for Apple's electronics products.
What about innovating its "cultural product"? What if buying a iPhone 6 meant buying a better future? That just might be what Apple's aiming for with its latest high-profile hire. (Plus, the one better future we already have with Jackson's addition.) Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 27, 2013 12:06 PM
The world will soon see whether the departure of Bob McDonald and return of A.G. Lafley as CEO leads to crisper financial and market-share results for Procter & Gamble. A conservative management culture like P&G's doesn't undergo such a wrenching change lightly, so the appetite for immediate results will be enormous.
But in the meantime—and only for the meantime—two personal brands are ascendant in this sea of change at P&G: Lafley, of course, and activist investor Bill Ackman.
Lafley didn't exactly go quietly into "retirement" when he left P&G in the leadership of his hand-picked successor, McDonald, in 2009. Joining the private equity firm that also wooed Jack Welch post-GE, he's been busy as a business guru.
As the architect of P&G's golden era—doubling sales, quadrupling profits, boosted its market value by $100 million, launching hit products such as Swiffer and Febreze, acquired Gillette and built a global reputation for innovation management during his decade-long tenure at the company's helm—Lafley hasn't exactly been laying low since he left.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on May 24, 2013 01:01 PM
"During the past year, much attention has been focused on me from several angles, which has been a distraction that is not in our best interests. When we get to a point where too much attention becomes a distraction, it's time to change that dynamic."
That statement to Procter & Gamble employees (as reported by Ad Age) by Bob McDonald was cited as the primary reason he's stepping down from the world's largetst consumer packaged goods company after 33 years and making room for his old boss, A.G. Lafley, to retake the reins.
Here's a look back at the past year for McDonald and P&G, as reported on brandchannel:Continue reading...