• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

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Belk Department Stores Advertising

Belk Department Stores — Modern. Southern. Style.

Belk Department Stores LogoThis brand theme(s) is supposed to get you (are you listening shoppers?) to skip other retail stores and online shops and to spend your time and money at Belk department stores. Wait a second while I gag.

I guess the marketers at Belk believe that three mediocre ideas are better than a single great one. This is a perfect example of a ship with no rudder.

Belk Department Stores
The obligatory shot of women in gowns catching footballs

It really pisses me off that Belk went through a supposed rebranding a few years back.

Like most of the rebranding garbage out there, Belk ended up with a new logo and color palette and not much more (smells like politics to me).

Navel gazing has never helped anyone and it has not surly not helped Belk either.

Great branding has a clear and emotionaly important single idea. Obviously, Belk could not decide what that was so it settled for three ideas.

Here is what Belk Department Stores has to say about themselves:

Belk, Inc., a private department store company based in Charlotte, N.C., is the home of Modern. Southern. Style. with 293 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states and a growing digital presence.

Belk Department Stores are owned by Sycamore partnersBelk is a portfolio company of Sycamore Partners (So much for Southern Roots. Last I checked, Sycamore Partners are in NYC), a private equity firm based in New York. Belk and www.belk.com offer a wide assortment of national brands and private label fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family along with top name cosmetics, a wedding registry and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home.

Belk offers many ways to connect via digital and social media, including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google Plus, …”

Do I live in a imaginary world?

Belk Department Stores
Where fashion meets football. Good God. These writers actually got paid.

I live in the South (as I remember, North Carolina is south of the Mason-Dixon line).

The problem with Belk is not its origins or its Southern focus.

The problem is that it IS a department store.

Go back 30 years and that’s like being LIFE or LOOK Magazine.

Department Stores are generalist ships drowning in a sea of specialty boats.

The problem with Belk department stores is not that they are in the South or that their offerings are so yesterday or out of style (which the brand drivel passes off as a reason to choose).

The Belk department stores REAL problem

The problem is that all department stores are generalists (see Macys here). That means they do nothing exceptionally well but instead do everything just OKAY.

They need to remember that the enemy of great is not bad. The enemy of great is GOOD.

Belk Department StoresSo, what does a generalist do to save the sinking ship? I KNOW… advertise heavily on generalist media like TV!

This is nothing new, but it is so stupid that I have trouble even talking about it. But wait. It gets worse.

Belk actually advertises heavily on the ESPN SEC Network during football games. That’s because it is the main venue of all Southern women and the well heeled Southern guys.

Because, as guys, we all care and influence where our ladies shop. We all demand that our wives and girlfriends visit Belk because of the SEC connection.

Oh wait, I just remembered why I think it is such a stupid idea to me here in North Carolina.

We are an ACC state. Shit.

My Bad.

Oh, by the way… here is a REAL rebranding idea for department stores.

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