PROFILE

Tom Dougherty

President and CEO, Stealing Share
Tom Dougherty is President and CEO of brand company Stealing Share. He has developed brands across all industries positioning them to grow and steal market share. Tom's unique perspective and opinions are often sought and quoted by The New York Times, FOX Business and CNN as well as many industry journals.
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  • Posted on: 10/15/2018

    Will anything change for Sears after Chapter 11?

    Sears is dead in the water. They will not successfully emerge from this bankruptcy filing. The brand has taken the easy road for more than a decade and now it would require too much to catch up. The brand is not worth the investment. Sears squandered one of the world’s great brands. Stubbornly holding onto old models and aging meanings. Retail is undergoing a revolution and I am afraid many will follow Sears to that grave. What did Sears mean? Its only meaning today is deeply buried in nostalgia. Its brand is not vital. Sadly we can live without it. All they have had for a decade is vague memories of the Sears catalog and hopeful Christmas dreams. Sears was the Internet of the 1960s. Now it is a beached whale. Kmart won’t be far behind. What’s changing? In a word -- access. Retail traffic is eroding, and many retailers face the double whammy of online competition and of a demographic change. Consumers rejecting dependence on malls. Retail and online are the same noun today.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2018

    Is Eddie Lampert looking to save Sears or suck it dry?

    There is no chance for Sears to survive. It saddens me that one of the iconic brands in retail allowed its brand to die in neglect. The Sears brand had value, once upon a time. But management never grasped what that value held. Instead, they tried to hold onto a model whose time had past. Reinvention is necessary in branding. As the context of the customer changes, brands need to adapt and, at times, change radically. But rather than being fluid Sears tried to resist fundamental market changes. As Napoleon once said -- “the logical end of defensive warfare is surrender.” I worry that many retail pillars will also fall. The changes that doomed Sears were slight tremors compared to the quake we are experiencing today. The temple is about to collapse on the worshippers and they think they are safe by pretending the foundation will continue to support them. I write these dire warnings and lead the pack of BrainTrust experts in DISLIKES. I want to see clothes on the Emperor. But I fear he is naked and thinks that his clothes will magically appear if he just stands still. Think again. The challenges facing retail are shattering old models. Hold onto them at your own peril.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2018

    People don’t like being lumped into marketing segments

    Marketing segmentation is the lazy-man’s guide to cliches. Differentiations are the product of anthropological examinations. Not trite segmenting. Another example of how the customer is always right.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2018

    Macy’s expands in-store pop-up concept with Facebook’s help

    Not at all. This is just window dressing, no pun intended, that signifies a desperate brand. My real question: Why don't retailers face the real problem? What does its brand mean that's different from the competition? How do they fulfill that brand promise? Instead, retailers like Macy's think the keys exist in tactics that do little to create preference. Think about this. To use these pop-ups, customers have to go into the store. But the problem is that few are going into the store. They think this will draw them in?
  • Posted on: 09/17/2018

    Walmart expands test of giant automated grocery kiosk

    I doubt it will make much of an impact. The problem is the 600-pound gorilla: Amazon. Specifically, Amazon Fresh which can get you grocery items right to your door. In this case, you still need to DRIVE to pick up your groceries. I'm not against this tactic. But I don't see it changing much shopping behavior.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2018

    Ellison won’t repeat Penney mistake, slams door on Orchard Supply Hardware

    I never understood the Orchard Supply acquisition to begin with. It did FIT logically with the Lowe's brand but there just didn't seem like a reason for it to exist. Especially because, frankly, Lowe's did nothing with it. Like they expected it to thrive by just being part of the Lowe's family, which consumers never really understood. Give it up. It's a lost cause. Focus on the Lowe's brand instead.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2018

    Maverick mattress e-tailer Tuft & Needle sells out to Serta Simmons

    It means more consolidation. Even with this purchase, it doesn't preclude Serta from buying Mattress Firm. And it won't matter much to consumers. They already see the mattress retailers as a blend of the same. Especially when there are several locations of them on the same street. The acquisition of Tuft & Needle just demonstrates consolidating is the next step, even if it doesn't create brand preference.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2018

    Sears faces Craftsman competition of its own making

    I just finished some market research that included Craftsman. It surprised me how powerful the brand still remained -- even with professional construction workers. Sears has NO brand. But, Craftsman still does. More bad news for Sears.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2018

    Is the time ripe for Google stores?

    If Google continues to create more devices then it might make a little sense. But not a lot of sense. However, the world is fast moving away from brick-and-mortar. Apple opened its stores in a different era. I'm not convinced that model would be nearly as successful if they were launching them now. The real challenge for Google is to find ways to make their brand more coveted without the expense of physical footprints. It's the future. If anyone can figure it out it will be Google. Opening retail stores sounds a bit like advice from traditional marketers. And much of the conventional wisdom is too conventional for today's shoppers. Another discussion on today's RetailWire is about the failure of loyalty programs with the latest generation of shoppers. I wonder if the same marketing gurus who think a retail store makes sense would also be suggesting a new Google loyalty program.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2018

    Will RadioShack find new life inside HobbyTown’s stores?

    RadioShack has needed a rebranding for a dozen years. The market has spoken and the management continues to turn a deaf ear. Ask what RadioShack means with an expanded customer base and you will hear the problem immediately. The brand as constituted is unimportant and irrelevant. The problem is not putting a store in a store, per se. They might as well open up stores within stores partnering with Stein Mart unless they address brand permissions.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2018

    Kroger’s 90-day terms have CPG suppliers seeing red

    This is a perfect example of the tail wagging the dog. The pipeline to the customer controls the entire game. CPG has done a poor job recently of differentiating their brands in meaningful ways. This means few consumers will change supermarkets if a desired product is not on the shelf. CPG: Invest in your brands. That is my advice. And investment goes way beyond features and benefits. It is always the emotional connection that ignites preference.
  • Posted on: 07/24/2018

    Chick-fil-A to pilot meal kit market test in ATL

    I actually think it is a smart move. Chick-fil-A has a very loyal following. This is simply an additional means to build the bond. Anything mobile (and kit foods are an extension of that concept) is the future.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2018

    McDonald’s offers free fries for mobile orders

    QSRs all need to push customers to mobile. Usage creates habits and it is important to get customers to download your app BEFORE they think they need it. Mobile is not the future. It's the present. Habit is spelled "mobile USAGE."
  • Posted on: 07/09/2018

    Amazon lowballs CVS and Walgreens on OTC med prices

    The online promise has two parts: economics and scope. Consumers expect both from Amazon. Prescription drugs are not excluded from these two values. So if I can get EVERYTHING I need in medicine (when I need it) and they save me money -- well, I'm in. This is what destination retail is facing. They need to be price-competitive in order to remain viable. But Amazon does not have the same overhead. They have an advantage and they are leveraging it. This is worrisome for traditional retailers because a trial in a new delivery system quickly becomes a habit.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2018

    Will California’s new privacy law set the standard for data protection?

    Consumers have developed a desire for greater control. They are demanding control over the data we collect. If we have learned anything in the past five years it is this — the dog is now wagging the tail (another way of saying the customer is always right). Winning in retail is about making adjustments to our models. No matter how wedded we are to them. The California law is just the beginning. It may have been rushed. It may have been poorly vetted. But it is the future. So my message to retailers is this: OWN it. Let the customer know you embrace their privacy. Give them choices. One of the choices they might just make will be loyalty to YOUR brand.

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