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July 27, 2007

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I think you're absolutely right. This sorry story reveals the distance that is all-too common between what we attribute to 'branding' -- the names, images, and the other creative conceits of marketers -- and the experiential reality in which most consumers live (and shop).

I'm sure that most Chicagoans over the age of 21 can certainly can ponder the Field's name and recollect memories, but those thoughts are far more dependent on their EXPERIENCES and the reality of the business than anything it has branded? This was Field's strength and problem, being 150+ years old and all...

You're right about the Macy's changeover looking like a giant debacle. Store experience failures, bad employee relations, even customers throwing themselves to their deaths over the atrim railing at the store.

They're not dumb, though. So I can only guess that they have a strategy other than that of making Field's a success: if they 'follow the book' on branding nonsense, perhaps they can make the case to a potential buyer of the business that they've done what they were 'supposed to do.' The July 19 buyout bid from KKR substantiates this theory.

I've written a bit more about the sad state of affairs on my blog, Dim Bulb, if you'd like to check it out, at: http://dimbulb.typepad.com.

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