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This is not a customer complaint. Would that it were.

Sears’ same-store sales are down (again) nearly 16% this year, with total revenue down more than 25%. So any customer complaint would probably be welcome at this point. That would mean Sears still had enough customers so they could disappoint some!

No, the brand’s in trouble, facing what the company called, “Significant near-term liquidity constraints.” We’re not precisely sure what that means, but it sounds really bad.

Bad to the point where Sears asked lenders to exchange loans for equity stakes in the company, which assumes that Sears has an actual future in retailing.

Our advice: DON’T DO IT!

Brand Keys has tracked Sears for nearly 40 years and can confidently say Sears‘ downfall has not been a triumph of e-commerce over bricks-and-mortar.

No, Sears suffers from a lack of meaning. The brand stands for nothing. There’s history. And the catalog, for those old enough to remember the catalog. And Craftsman tools, but shoppers are purchasing those on Amazon.

And although a validated process exists to measure, identify, and leverage meaning, the Sears brand continues to stand for nothing meaningful or emotional enough to engage customers. Or, at least, enough customers to be profitable.

What about your brand? Can you confidently say it incorporates meaningful, emotional values into its marketing and communications? Are they the right ones? Did you miss some? Are they the most leveragable values for creating profitable customer engagement?

For a complimentary Meaning Diagnostic of your brand, call or write, Leigh Benatar at 212-532-6028 or

Because in today’s complex, socially-networked branding environment, being known isn’t the real challenge.

Meaning something is.


Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.

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