The Sears brand failure

A case study

What is the Sears brand?

No one knows

Sears represents a case study in branding failure.

Shoppers have changed but Sears has not

It has filed for bankruptcy twice in six years.

When taken for granted, success can cause a company to mistake current success as a given.

Sears once owned the automotive repair business. 

There was also a time when families waited in anticipation of the Sears catalog.

Sears also used to be a main source of tires sales. 

There was a time when the Sears brand owned household appliances.


Competition arrived in all those segments.

Goodyear, Firestone, Amazon, Jiffy Lube, Lowes, Home Depot and so many more ate at Sears' share.

Sears could have adapted. It was in position to to own a large part of the online shopping segment

Sears suffered from the LIFE magazine syndrome.

The fall of the generalist and the added value of the specialist. Sears became like a dead mall.

Sears ignored its brand for decades.

Last year, it unveiled a new logo.

Sears says it represents “both home and heart. This shape also conveys motion through an infinity loop, reminiscent of one getting their arms around both home and life.”

The whole theme sounds cliché, and means nothing. And it makes no sense. 

How does Sears fulfill that brand? Who cares? It’s marketing speak, which means it’s easy to ignore.

When you're competing in a market that’s shrinking by the minute, you need to shout loud and clear to be heard

And reflect the customer, not the company.

You’d think Sears would really push the envelope considering what’s at stake and how desperate the retail chain has become.