In fact, my buddy Ted Rubin and I visited Sears not too long ago, in the Mall of America in the middle of a Monday, and here’s what we found:
The Ugly Side Rebranding: Sears
Sears has had a rough time. I hate to see that.
But when they keep making wrong steps that are meaningless attempts at rebranding, merely adding to the noise rather than rising above it, man, I have no sympathy.
The latest incarnation is bad. Very bad. It will not stand the test of time and it introduces a meaningless slogan that does nothing to clarify its role or who the store is to benefit: “Making moments matter.” Excuse me?
As covered above, Sears could have been the Amazon today if they were married to cultural changes instead of being wedded to (and blinded by) their own business model.
The Logo: Your Primary Brand Ambassador
But for now, let’s look at the history of this company’s primary “brand ambassador”: its logo.
The original logo lasted 37 years from 1886 and through 1923:
Then, it was shortened to “Sears” with this from 1923 through 1958:
From 1958 to 1966, they used this logo:
Then from 1966 to 1984, they used a similar serif font, using upper and lowercase and putting it in a box:
From 1984 to 2004, Sears used variations of this design:
In November 2004, after its Kmart merger (which was a business decision not based on adding value but somehow making “business sense), this morphed into an upper and lowercase treatment:
For the next nine years through 2019, Sears became this:
Now we come to the “post-bankruptcy” era (2019) of the Sears brand which only, in my opinion, gets worse, truly the ugly side or rebranding took to a whole new level:
I mean, WHAT IS THAT? I thought it was a molar for a dentist. It’s neither old nor new, nor defiant nor complacent. It’s… meh.
Then in 2020, Sears tweaked it since the response was poor and many said it looked like a bastard child of Airbnb.
Now it looks like a hut.
That will not result in a restoration of interest and relevance in an easily distracted world.
If Sears only used my 19 question checklist that thousands around the world have used, they could have arrived someplace meaningful.
The Lesson: Without a Strategy, Rebranding Is a Meaningless, Cosmetic Exercise
Branding is “the art of differentiation.”
Sears, unfortunately, made branding the art of infuriation. This is something no business can afford to mess with lightly.