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: 05/30/2019

    How can retailers help employees improve? (Hint: Not by criticizing them)

    It is a fine balancing act between motivating employees to step up and managing less-than-expected behavioral issues. Being overly critical depresses morale. I remember, many years ago, a very senior mentor of mine said to pay more attention to whom I hire as opposed to focusing on changing the behavior of those I had hired. Sage advice.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2019

    What’s the secret to driving emotional connections with customers?

    All purchase decisions are emotional decisions. If it were not so, the best product or service would always win. They don't. The magic is in finding ways to quantitatively understand qualitative values. Values like emotions. These ideas are scalable understandings. At Stealing Share, we have always dealt with emotional triggers. We find it useful to model behaviors to understand the connections between what a person does and what drives that action. In marketing terms theses are called needs and wants. Everyone sees the connection between needs, wants and actions. But emotional triggers do not come from needs and wants. They are not revealed in focus groups because human beings are reluctant to share these triggers. You see, emotional values create our needs and wants. Not the reverse. We recognize that emotional charges are created by belief systems. So we model the behaviors to understand the target audiences' beliefs. Then we test these belief systems in quantitative research. This allows us to influence and predict behaviors. It's nice to see that Deloitte has recognized this reality too. We refer to rebranding as brand anthropology because at its root, it is the study of human behavior.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2019

    Can department stores shake themselves out of the doldrums?

    The Emperor has no clothes. The biggest hurdle for department stores is the department store itself. They want to pretend that solutions to their woes can be manufactured without investments in any significant change. This is not an advertising and marketing problem. This chain store problem has deep roots in operations. Marketing and advertising must serve those operations. Not the other way around. The market and consumer has changed. Department stores have not. I fear that anyone INSIDE talking about the changes necessary will be shouted down by those who are invested in the current model. History shows us that the voice of dissention is mistakenly viewed as the voice of disloyalty.
  • Posted on: 05/01/2019

    Are smartphones making sales associates obsolete?

    We are in an era of self-serve. Customers want less personal contact, not more. Think about the Facebook phenomenon as an example in point. It has replaced phone calls to friends. A false sense of intimacy is fostered which is a far from traditional friendship as it can get. That's the era in which we live. Retail must find other ways to build the customer-brand relationship. All pat answers are out the window.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2019

    McDonald’s teams with AARP on national campaign to recruit older workers

    Older workers generally represent a more stable employee base. But McDonald's has spent a mint positioning itself as America's best first job. This initiative does not jive with the brand's promise. It makes the whole "America's best first job" campaign smack of marketing. As a result, McDonald's looks insincere. They should have thought about this initiative earlier on. Like many QSR restaurants, McDonald's confuses a brand positioning with an advertising tag-line. Believability takes patience and clarity. Obviously McDonald's lacks both.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2019

    Where’s the (alt) beef?

    The strategy of Beyond Meat is right on the money. Instead of selling the vegetable based burgers and sausages in the vegetarian section, they are positioned in the meat section of the grocery store. Vegetarians will seek them out if they know they are sold at meat counters. But meat eaters may very well give them a try when they see them with their traditional ground beef and chicken patties. Folks know meat is not a great nutritional choice. Eating less meat is a wave, not a fad. And these products could actually fool you. Very smart branding.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2019

    Will Rite Aid and Walgreens gain health cred by restricting tobacco sales?

    Walgreens is a day late and a dollar short. First mover has the bragging rights and that was CVS. However CVS did not claim the HEALTH brandspace as well as they should have. It became just a mention in its transactional-based marketing. It was not used as a REASON WHY for everything they did. However, it is now a table stake. Walgreens/Rite Aid must do so because it is expected. Too bad that instead of transformative it has been relegated to catch-up.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2019

    Kohl’s goes all-in on Amazon returns

    It is nice to see a retailer thinking outside the retail box. I think it will go a long way with existing Kohl's customers. I'm not nearly as convinced that it will increase the store's acquisition of new customers. Kohl's is not Amazon. But I am reminded of something Will Rogers said when FDR was first elected, right in the throes of the Great Depression. Will said, "Well, if when he gets into the White House it catches fire and burns to the ground, we will say at least he got something started." The willingness of Kohl's to try anything with a gossamer wisp of possible success is the real story here. Kohl's might just be the one retailer to survive this retail climate change.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2019

    Why is Petco doubling down on same-day delivery with Shipt and Instacart?

    The future is NOT same-day delivery. Same-day delivery is the world we live in now. Embrace it, expand it, and refine it.That is my council to retailers. Petco is not forward-looking with the new Shipt partnership. They are simply in the present. Don't agree? Ask your customers if they prefer a product that is available for immediate delivery or one with a longer delivery time, even one- to two-day delivery. Consumers get it. Retail is often a day late and a penny short. That same-day delivery ship sailed long ago. That tells you how long consumer memory stretches. It's not what did you do for me yesterday. It's what will you do for me RIGHT NOW.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2019

    Will Amazon, CVS or Walgreens win the speedy Rx delivery race?

    Amazon wins. The reason is SIMPLICITY. They are fast, reliable and part of our current fabric. Keeping thing simple and exerting more control are the hallmarks of all future success. Amazon is already being used for just about everything else. Adding prescription drugs is only additional work for Amazon. Not for the consumer.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2019

    Will rebranding deliver the results that Staples needs?

    If I only knew what "a worklife fulfillment company" IS. A hallmark of great brands must be simplicity and common sense. This is anything but. Ask someone what NIKE or APPLE represents and they can parrot back to you -- almost verbatim -- the brand's strategy. Can you imagine ANYONE repeating that line of drivel? I get it. The rebranding was needed. Staples certainly needed to change and adapt. But this is in no way a further refinement of the message. This is a brand lost with no idea how to find their way home (or to consumers' homes).
  • Posted on: 04/03/2019

    McDonald’s reverses positions, won’t actively oppose minimum wage hikes

    It is important that McDonald's takes this stand. That is, if you believe customer interaction has anything to do with hamburger sales. It promises McDonald's better employees. More dedicated employees. In the cutthroat world of fast food this is important. Only Burger King still believes you can out-menu the competition without standing for anything. others see it more holistically. Bravo McDonald's. Turns out that this seemingly altruistic move is self-serving too.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2019

    Again, Amazon attempts to shed Whole Foods’ high price image

    I would hope Amazon can bring the value of scale to Whole Foods. However, chasing lower prices does come at a cost. I worry about something I call brand-drift. Will Whole Foods' desire to compete on price cause some organic and fresh foods to suffer dilution? Despite claims to the opposite, keep your eyes open. Amazon's skill is appealing to the masses. Whole Foods is not Amazon.
  • Posted on: 04/01/2019

    Harris Teeter tests self-checkout store

    It is about time. Harris Teeter is my local Supermarket. Anything that gets you through checkout quicker and with more personal control IS better customer service. Now I don't even have to hear meanness and pandering phrases like "have a good one" and "did you find everything you were looking for?" It's not for everyone. Just those with no time to spare and the ability to move their arms.
  • Posted on: 03/19/2019

    Anthropologie hopes to earn an A+ with new plus-size clothing options

    It is an interesting move. One that reflects current demographics. But the reality is that women may shop more happily when they ignore their body size. This comment might anger some. But all you need do is look how upscale retailers label sizes smaller than they truly are. Marketing needs to reflect internal reality and not politically correct notions. I will watch this with great interest.

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