Archive for the ‘jc penney’ tag
For brand owners who care about building an enduring and valuable brand, the recent JC Penney drama offers an excellent learning opportunity. Venerable retailer JC Penney opened its doors more than a century ago and generates annual revenues of nearly $13 billion from its 1,100 stores. JC Penney was a force to be reckoned with in mid-market department store retail for most of the 20th Century. And that’s exactly why the brand is stuck in its self-inflicted drama today. Like its competitor Sears, the department store format is becoming a relic–an idea that no longer serves shopper’s changing behaviors and preferences in our digital age.
Now JC Penney is a broken company and a broken brand.
And no matter how much the brand needs fixing, it won’t happen until the internal culture is fixed. JC Penney is a brand without a soul, with no higher purpose than profit taking. Customers no longer care about JC Penney– not the once loyal shoppers who valued their discount coupons, nor the potential up-market name brand shopper the “new JCP” tried to attract. Over the past two years, JC Penney same store sales have dramatically declined nearly 30%. The company’s stock is trading at roughly half of what the current hedge-fund owners paid for their original investment. Heads will roll and they did!
Let’s look at the lessons for marketers based on JC Penney’s recent attempts to transform its iconic brand:
What got you there, won’t keep you there.
Brands begin to decline long before the cash they generate does. JC Penney’s owners and executive management were heavily invested in keeping up the status quo–doing the urgent work of meeting the numbers and maximizing shareholder value, while the more important work of innovating new value for a new generation of shoppers seemed less of a priority. Sadly, once the decision was made to transform the JC Penney brand, the CEO in charge of creating the transformation of a 100 year-old brand was fired in less than 18 months. Seemingly too little, too late.
Lock onto true north before changing anything.
Penney’s ousted CEO Ron Johnson is a brilliant retail executive. He came to JC Penney from a culture that valued innovation and creativity, unfortunately once there, he and his Apple team attempted to cram it down the throat of a culture that was locked into “discount coupons” and low margins. The culture clash was a recipe for disaster.
As a result, the brand continues to drift with no higher purpose or true north that people care about. JC Penney is a lost brand – no longer knowing who it is or why it matters. Consequently, in the minds of shoppers, the brand offers no compelling idea of value whatsoever regardless of the merchandising mix or the price point.
True north is the sacred reason the brand exists in the first place. True north is not subject to the whims of the marketplace. To transform an iconic brand, the transformation begins from the inside out, not the other way around.
Iconic brands are typecast.
Just like an aging child actor, brands will always be who and what customers remember them to be. Iconic brands are typecast. By its current generation of shoppers, JC Penney is and always will be a discount department store brand. A Chevy, no matter how elegantly designed and engineered, will never be perceived at parity with a BMW. You can only stretch brand relevance so far. This is especially true for iconic brands. For JC Penney, moving up market in an Apple-esque manner has proved to be a steep ascent indeed.
Once JC Penney abruptly dropped its beloved coupons, legacy customers abandoned the brand in droves, while the up market customers didn’t easily buy into the idea of an up market JC Penney store – with devastating effects on the business. Perhaps a sub brand strategy would have been more effective means to leverage the larger up market transformation of the parent brand.
Be committed no matter what.
Revolutions are bloody and expensive. Change is painful and takes a long time. As previously mentioned, the ousted CEO was on the job for less than 18 months. That’s hardly any time at all considering the physical scale of the business. Big old boats take longer to turn around. The new store design and merchandising was only recently beginning to see the light of day in a few JC Penney stores. Whatever merchandising and product mix specifics were underway, the brand owners were not fully committed to the transformation of this iconic brand into something greater and more relevant to 21st century shoppers.
When the process of transformation eventually became too painful, brand owners became frightened – so much so, they brought back the former CEO who represented a safer option of the old JC Penney.
To have a chance at success (not a guarantee), brand owners must be all in over the long and uncertain road of transformation. This idea doesn’t sit well with owners whose primary concern is the preservation and rapid growth of their investment capital rather than the creation of highly valued brand.
Publisher’s Note: We sincerely invite the senior marketer of JC Penney to join us, Free of Charge at The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World. Value creation will be an underpinning theme and one that all brands must master to thrive. Contact Derrick Daye.
Sponsored by: The Brand Storytelling Workshop
Join us at The Un-Conference: 360° of Brand Strategy for a Changing World
Featuring John Sculley May 16-17, 2013 in San Diego, California
A unique, competitive-learning workshop limited to 100 participants
As in the marketplace — some will win, some will lose, All will learn
Nobody said it was easy.
As the years wane on and you gather perspectives and insights from your business, your industry and your peers, what you quickly realize is this: nothing is easy… nothing is simple. Even quick scores (like Instagram grabbing close to one billion dollars from Facebook) was not a cake walk. All companies (and the people that work for them) understand the difficulty that is business. There is a small part of me that wishes we could simply close our eyes, click our heels three times fast and make a wish that business should be as much fun and as easy to do as taking the kids to the park… but alas, money complicates things.
The news of JC Penney dismissing their CEO, Ron Johnson, after just 17 months broke my heart in many different ways. Primarily, I’m a big fan of retail and an enthusiast of the industry. As digital as my existence may be, I’m a complete urbanist and revel at the opportunity to walk through a big shopping mall. I love the smell of commerce in the morning (to quote the movie, Mallrats). I am fascinated with the changing landscape of retail and even more enthralled with the place of shopping malls in our culture (more on that here: Do Shopping Centers Have A Future?). When Johnson (who was previously heading up the retail division of Apple and was responsible for some of Target‘s success prior to that) was picked to help reinvent the beleaguered department store chain, I held high hopes that his actions might reinvigorate the entire department store model.
This is where things get selfish.
On a selfish level, I spend a few paragraphs of energy talking about Ron Johnson and JC Penney in my upcoming business book, CTRL ALT Delete (out on May 21st). As soon as the news broke, I got an email from Joseph Jaffe asking me if there was time for me to edit, update or change the part of my book that speaks to Johnson’s work. My gut reaction was to call my literary agent and editor to seek their guidance. I reviewed that, specific, part of the book and it reminded me of something very important. The story that is being told isn’t really about JC Penney or Ron Johnson or how successful they could be. The true story was about that fact that Johnson was trying to bring a lot of simplicity to a business that had become increasingly complex, bloated and somewhat uninteresting to today’s shopper. The story of JC Penney is just as applicable today as it was when I first wrote about it. Maybe even moreso now that Johnson has been shown the door. Trying to untangle a business and make the offering as simple and delightful as possible is very, very hard work. It gets much harder as you get bigger, and it gets much harder the longer the company has been in business. We’ve all heard the Einstein line about simplicity being the ultimate in complexity, and the news of Johnson’s departure simply reinforces that.
How simple are things?
If you polled employees at Apple (and if they were willing to tell you the truth in candid fashion), you would probably uncover that Apple is not a simple company at all. That with all of the secrecy, layers and more, every individual is not working in an open and collaborative environment, but rather a complex place where pieces and bits are being mastered and optimized without a full understanding of how the pieces and components shore up to a bigger product or service. Often, the excuse given is that this decreases the likelihood of something being leaked, but if you peel the layers of that onion away, what you find – at the core – is a very complex model that results is products that are simple for people to use. Still, the business is not simple.
Business is not simple.
The over-simplification of business may be a misnomer. Ultimately, all of us (whether we’re B2C or B2B businesses) are trying to create products and services that are simple and intuitive to use. That journey is one that requires many complex things to happen. When the news broke of Johnson’s departure, something fascinating happened. According to article in Time, JC Penney Ousts CEO Ron Johnson, Ullman Returns: "Penney’s stock price Monday evening showed investors’ frustration with Johnson and it’s uncertainty about Penney’s future. When news began to leak after the market closed that Penney was ousting Johnson, the stock, which had closed at $15.87 in the regular session, climbed nearly 13 percent to $17.88 in after-hours trading. But as pleased as investors were about getting rid of Johnson, they didn’t appear impressed with his replacement. After Penney announced Ullman would take over, the stock reversed course falling as far as 11 percent from its regular closing price, to $14.10. That’s 21 percent from its after-hours high."
Here’s the other thing…
Perhaps Johnson wasn’t the right fit. Perhaps his strategy was met with friction from the existing customer base, maybe his marketing strategy was off, but here’s the thing: JC Penney was in need of Johnson (or, at least, a reinvention). Ditching him doesn’t change that. It merely reinforces it. Where this will ultimately net out is anyone’s guess, but rest assured that whomever takes the reigns at JC Penney will be focused on creating an in-store experience that is in-line with the consumer of today. And, rest assured, the consumers that become the heavy users and brand evangelists are the ones who are getting products and services that are brilliantly simple. No, I’m not going to go back and change the contents of CTRL ALT Delete. In fact, I think the story glorifies this moment of purgatory that business finds itself in (and that’s the core message of the book). Could you turn around an organization of that magnitude in 17 months or less? It’s not an easy task, and it’s the new reality of the speed and transitions that we see in business today. I start the book out by saying that people need to look to their left and then to their right at the people around them, because the odds are that one of you won’t be around in the same vocation in the next five years. Maybe the real editing of the book should be around the timeframe. I hope 17 months doesn’t become the norm.
JC Penney still needs a reboot. My guess is that there are parts of your business or your own career that need one too.
Facebook has been taking a lot of heat lately. There was the highly anticipated, then botched, IPO. Its first earnings report, while solid, failed to impress investors. Plus many are wondering in unison: How will it/can it monetize its mobile offering?
The negativity started early this year when several big retailers — Gamestop, Nordstrom, and JC Penney — closed their Facebook stores. Mr. Zuckerberg wants more web commerce within the Facebook stream, so successful stores are an important part of his plan. But while Facebook’s traffic is impressive, the sales figures for these major brands was not.
If these big names with their big budgets can’t make a go of F-Commerce, who can? We decided to take a deeper look to see if the prognosis was as negative as it seemed. As Ecwid is the second largest store-building application on Facebook, we have an inside view of Facebook commerce in 174 countries.
We started pulling data from the over 40,000 Ecwid accounts globally that have active stores on both a website and on Facebook. For the second quarter of this year, we found that 22.1 percent of those orders came from the Facebook store. That’s up from 17.3 percent in Q1. These are impressive figures, especially when you consider they’ve grown from 15 percent in 2011 when we first started tracking this.
Clearly Facebook store commerce is working. But why has our universe of stores succeeded where some big brands have not? The answer may lie within the demographic profile of our stores: mainly small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Are they the real innovators in social commerce?
Our analysis points to the thesis that smaller businesses may indeed know how to be more “social” at selling. We’ve noticed the following attributes of a successful Facebook store:
- • Social conversations from a small or mom-and-pop company tend to strike the right tone, a far more personal tone than a big company’s.
- • SMBs more effectively integrate their stores into the flow of the conversation. Dropping a store into a social news stream has to be done carefully. The purpose of social networks is to connect people, so an ill-timed sales offer can be a turnoff.
- • Small companies can be more flexible with the latest store-building technologies, many of which are geared to social. We’ve found that providing the option of LIKEing or Tweeting a purchase in real-time is something consumers will respond to if it’s presented properly.
- • We’ve seen the most successful stores focus first on community building, not product hawking. This may sound like Social 101, but it bears repeating.
Social networks are not meant to be built or consumed like a typical website. It’s a different breed of communications platform. Just like with blogging, which started with individuals and SMBs before larger brands caught on, the best practices of social commerce may be discovered by the smaller players. Since the rules of this game are still being written, it’s important to pay attention to who’s figuring it out first. Right now, that’s the SMBs.
Ruslan Fazlyev is founder and CEO of Ecwid, which produces web, mobile and social media store-building applications.
[Top image credit: jarchie/Flickr]
There’s nothing like a good conference to create opportunities for new deals, and F.ounders last week in New York was just such an event. Indeed, on the panel I ran about the international tech scene, Dimitry Grishin, the co-founder and chief executive of Russian e-mail and social networking giant Mail.ru, sat next to Liam Casey, CEO of PCH International, a man described as “Mr China” for his ability to make, ship and deliver just about any piece of hardware, including some for a well known tech brand you’re probably using right now.
This was perhaps more than fortuitous. For Grishin had that day announced his plans to invest in a personal robotics fund. Grishin Robotics will have $25 million to play with, searching for personal robotics technology and startups catering to everyday people.
After that panel Grishin and Casey were seen in deep conversation for over an hour. And when I checked in with Casey he admitted they were looking at working together to… build robots.
“Dimitry wants to fund robotic startups. We could potentially build them,” he told me.
And one key to finding out what kinds of robots people would like wandering around their homes whould be crowd-funding.
Casey believes that crowd-funding will come to the big niche of hardware very soon. Indeed, he hinted that he may even build a ‘Kickstarter for hardware’ himself.
Many of us are gradually realising the impact crowd-funding is going to have on tech startups, but also business and culture generally. So far we’ve seen the Gtar at TechCrunch Disrupt take off like a rocket, and that’s not even to mention the the Pebble watch, and less well known projects such as recyclable sneakers or even albums from new bands.
“If Kickstarter is a big box retailer like JC Penney, then there is an opportunity for a boutique,” Casey told me.
“Jack Dorsey made a device, Square. Then every VC that met Jack asked him how he did it. VC’s are re-engaing with hardware. But now the money can be accessed via crowdfunding.”
He admitted 3D printing will accelerate, but that it remains some time away.
A crowd-funding platform for hardware is “the big one” he thinks. He says the platform would “have to act like a VC.” It would need to be curated, picking the right teams to promote.
Casey’s PCH company has already created a hardware accelerator and one of its startups Lark, launched at a recent TC Disrupt.
“If I sit with a Chinese entrepreneur they don’t want to make smartphone apps. They want to make the entire damn smartphone.”
Editor’s note: Leo Chen is a former product manager at Amazon and is currently the co-founder of Monogram, an iPad fashion discovery and shopping app funded by 500 Startups. You can find Leo on Twitter @leoalmighty.
Death of brick-and-mortar retail
Andrew Chen recently recommended a video to me, which inspired this post. It’s a keynote by Ron Johnson, the CEO of JC Penney and the man behind Apple’s retail revolution. In the video, Johnson spoke about the history of the department store and why JC Penney has fallen behind.
It wasn’t very long ago that stores like JC Penney, Nordstrom, and Gap were the pinnacles of fashion retail. These retailers provided better products at unbeatable prices. Retail buyers acted as personal curators for customers and the in-store experience was exceptional.
Then came e-commerce. Predictable products like books, CDs, and electronics drove the first wave of e-commerce for e-tailers like Amazon. But fashion lagged behind. Consumers want a tactile, in-person experience when it comes to garments. They need to touch and try it on. Even as e-tailers offered lower prices, consumers preferred to shop in stores.
That all began to change when Zappos came along with free shipping and returns; customers are encouraged to order multiple sizes and colors, try on the items in the comfort of our homes and return what we don’t want. For free. Coupled with better product visualizations (large images, multi-angle views – see Warby Parker and MyHabit), consumers are increasingly turning to the web for their fashion needs.
‘Apparel and accessories’ is projected to be the leading category in e-commerce in the US over the next 5 years.
But soon, online retailers will also become less relevant
The bar for e-commerce is rising every day: great visuals and free shipping are fast becoming commoditized. If product, price and service are the same, consumers will grow indifferent towards the seller.
Retailers still drive marketing, supply chain and distribution for designers and brands, but how long before brands figure this out themselves? Social curation and discovery tools like Pinterest and Fancy are leveling the playing field for retail marketing; Amazon is disrupting supply chain and fulfillment (more on this next).
So why are we still shopping at a handful of our so-called “favorite stores”? Because the internet has a noise and discovery problem. I believe that’s where the next wave of fashion tech innovation will take us.
Pinterest has found an optimal balance between aspirational browsing and shopping. Social shopping is more about discovery, conversations and relationship building, something that’s apparent in the way Pinterest users interact.
As Pinterest evolves, they will focus more on monetization and driving direct commerce. They have already experimented with affiliate links and the Rakuten investment is a strong hint at direct commerce. Here’s what I predict Pinterest might do next (purely speculative, of course):
- Branded pages for brands, stores and boutiques
- There’s already evidence that Pinterest users spend more money than Facebook users.
- Pinterest could compete directly with Facebook pages by offering brands a better way to showcase products with access to a higher quality audience.
- Integrated/Universal checkout
- If users are already discovering products through Pinterest but going off to merchant sites to transact, Pinterest should own that transaction and offer a consistent user experience.
- For smaller retailers and boutiques, Pinterest could integrate, acquire or build their own version of Shopify and let merchants sell directly on the Pinterest platform.
- For large retailers and brands, Pinterest will have to form partnerships and integrate with retailer payment systems: essentially selling products on Pinterest, and having the retailer drop ship inventory. Retailers may resist this initially because Pinterest will effectively render the merchant less relevant.
- Brands will be more inclined to work with Pinterest because they see it as an effective distribution channel. Brands can ultimately skip the retailer if they can get distribution through Pinterest. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) solves the logistics challenges — brands can simply ship inventory to an Amazon warehouse and have Amazon handle fulfillment. Consumers get the added benefit of Amazon Prime.
- Create an e-commerce channel
- To mitigate the risk of disrupting (and irritating) current user, Pinterest will likely create a separate shopping channel if they decide to focus on commerce (e.g.shop.pinterest.com).
- This shopping channel will be product and commerce focused. You won’t find the cute puppies and fortune cookie quotes here, but you can bet Pinterest will leverage all your data for targeting.
Challenges Pinterest will face
As Pinterest scales, the biggest challenge will be surfacing signal buried in noise. It’s the Facebook Newsfeed problem, but much more difficult because of its focus on fashion and other tastemaker products.
- Facebook is about people, so to make my newsfeed relevant it has to factor in the quality of my relationships. Who am I closer friends with, who is my family, which fan pages do I interact with most, etc. This is easy because we give Facebook that information every time we look at a friend’s photos, like a status update or comment on a post. Facebook doesn’t care what content we interacted with; it only needs to know who produced that content.
- Fashion and other tastemaker products (e.g. home decor) are highly subjective, which means that I don’t necessarily like the same clothes or sofas as my closest friends. If I like a picture of a cute puppy my friend pinned, doesn’t mean I share his taste in fashion. Aside from existing Pinterest categories, they will have to find ways to add deeper tags on the products pinned (e.g. brand, color, style, season, fabric, patterns, etc…) to accurately target.
What’s next in fashion tech?
To date, most fashion tech companies are more commerce than tech. If you look at Gilt and Fab, they’re primarily commerce companies built on fairly standard e-commerce backends with some slight twists. It’s hard to drive disruptive innovation when your KPI is revenue.
In order to fundamentally change the way people shop, we will need teams with fashion experts, product visionaries, deep technical horsepower and growth hackers. It’s a hard combination to find, especially when most hackers in the valley shlep around in jeans and t-shirts — they’re not their own target user.
What will online fashion shopping be like in the future? I believe today’s multi-browser-tab search and filter behavior will feel as ancient as printed maps and yellow pages are today.
When I have a specific purchase in mind:
- I picture myself telling Siri that I’m looking for some sneakers as I’m driving home from work.
- When I get home, sink into my couch with my iPad or turn on my Apple TV, I’m shown pages of sneakers specifically curated for me, in my size.
- I choose a few that I like, tap buy, and the shoes show up the next morning on my doorstep.
When I’m in the mood to browse:
- I’m shown the latest collections and recommendations from my favorite designers, fashion bloggers and influencers (without having to search and filter on multiple websites).
- Upcoming designers are recommended to me based on my style and preferences. Some of these recommendations are computer generated, some are handpicked by designers or personal stylists.
- I won’t just be browsing product photos as I do on nordstrom.com today, it will be an interactive experience with inspiring looks, runway videos and beautiful images. Like Tom Cruise’s command center in Minority Report, except I am surrounded by Prada, Varvatos & Converse.
- I can’t tell the difference between product and advertisement because everything can be purchased with a tap or a drag.
- If I order by 11am, products will be at my doorstep by 6pm same day (Amazon already does this in China).
Welcome to the future.
Move over JC Penney. Another brand is getting attention over buying links, this time Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation. Today’s news is less news and more a reminder of lessons that SEO companies, clients and publishers all need to keep in mind, to avoid trouble. Josh Davis drew…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
With a little over six months on the job as JC Penney’s chief executive, former Apple senior vice president of retail Ron Johnson is already seeing criticism of the major overhaul he designed for the ailing department store chain as a recent earnings call revealed substantial losses.
It was announced on Thursday that an Apple executive will follow former retail guru Ron Johnson to jcpenney as the department store looks to stimulate sales with a fresh look and new branding.
Posted by Dr. Pete
If you live outside of the ivory walls of the Fortune 500, it can sometimes seem like Google gives big brands all the breaks. This isn’t just sour grapes – some examples are very public. When JC Penney and Overstock got a slap on the wrist for widespread and intentional link manipulation, it was hard not to feel slighted.
There’s been a lot of debate about how Google, both manually and algorithmically, may favor big brands, but I think the debate misses something more fundamental. Since the beginning of the internet, the eventual advantage of big brands was only a matter of time. This post is about why I think that advantage was inevitable, why it’s not going away, and what you can do to compete.
The Wild West
In the early days of the public internet, building a website was like heading into the Wild West – all you needed to stake your claim was a wagon and a frontier spirit, as long as you survived the cholera, dysentery, starvation, and bear attacks (i.e. learning HTML)…
Sure, you didn’t get many visitors, but at least it was quiet and no one minded if you wallpapered your house with dancing hamsters. Then, along came the search engines. At first, it was great – the pioneers got all the visitors. With the allure of free land and free customers, though, the quiet didn’t last…
Much to the dismay of early adopters, it didn’t stop at a few neighbors. Pretty soon, people started to make real money online, and along came…
The Gold Rush
Big brands didn’t rush to the internet early on because they simply didn’t have any reason to. They let the pioneers do the hard work of drawing the maps and clearing the brush, until the first prospector discovered gold. When online-only brands started to draw sky-high IPOs and generate ad revenue, the big brands took notice, and the dot-com bubble started to inflate…
Before this becomes a history lesson, let me cut to the point. The risks in any uncharted territory are often taken by the people who have nothing to lose, and that’s not the big brands. As soon as there was gold to be had, the companies with money and power made their move to claim it. The early movers had an advantage, but it wasn’t destined to last forever.
Googling for Gold
So, what does all of this have to do with Google? While Google probably has made changes along the way that favor big brands (like 2009’s “Vince” update), I suspect that many of the changes in the search landscape really just reflect the broader evolution of the internet. In other words, as big brands followed the gold, so did Google.
Over time, signals that favor brand-building have naturally found their way into the algorithm. Let’s step back from any specific algorithm update and look at the progression of ranking signals since the early days of search engines…
Declaring the “first” search engine is an argument waiting to happen, but I’m going to pin the launch of mainstream search around the time of Excite in 1993. The early engines relied almost exclusively on on-page ranking signals, like keywords in page titles, content, and (at the time) META tags. This leveled the playing field for a lot of small businesses, as anyone could create content that was keyword-targeted. Big brands could exert their influence by spending more money, but the direct influence of their brands on on-page signals was fairly weak.
Of course, the downside of on-page signals is that they were also easy to game, and the early search engines suffered from a lot of spam and quality issues. Then, along came Larry and Sergey and their PageRank algorithm, which relied on links to rank websites. In 1998, Google officially launched to the public…
Link-based rankings gradually gave big brands more of an advantage – their offline presence naturally led to news articles and write-ups, and they began to collect strong link profiles. I call this influence “Medium” because it was mostly indirect. Link buying was (and is) strongly discouraged, so big brands had to work through one-off channels, such as viral marketing.
What’s important to note here is that Google didn’t create PageRank and the link-graph specifically to hand big brands an advantage. They created PageRank as a response to the declining quality of search results powered only by on-page signals.
In 2009, with the success of social media sites like Twitter, Google launched real-time search. Soon after, both Google and Bing would begin to integrate social signals into the algorithm…
While the impact of social signals on ranking is still evolving, these signals are directly influenced by the power of a brand. Offline advertising drives brand awareness and mentions and this directly leads to social media activity. As social mentions begin to affect ranking more and more, brands now have a direct channel for their influence to impact SEO.
Step 1 – Get Over It
So, what can you do about the advantage that big brands have in the evolving internet landscape? First, some tough love – you have to get over it. This was inevitable, and whether or not Google was complicit to some degree doesn’t matter. The internet was destined to reflect the offline world, and in the offline world big brands are rich and powerful. We had a nice run, but it was naïve to expect that to last forever.
Step 2 – Act Like a Brand
Ok, so Step 1 wasn’t very helpful. I see too many SEO situations where people obsess about the competition and what’s “fair” – it’s time to step back and learn from the big brands. If your entire focus is on a few on-page factors and manual link-building, you’ll live and die by the algorithm. Big brands are part of the public consciousness – they bombard us on multiple channels, and don’t put all of their eggs in the Google basket.
Obviously, you can’t spend billions of dollars simply trying to implant your brand in people’s brains, but you can tap into the brand awareness you already have. Somewhere, your product or service – if it’s at all decent – has fans and evangelists. Engage with them, reward them, and start thinking about your brand as more than just Top 10 rankings. Social media is a perfect place to start – stop just Tweeting links and begging for Likes and build relationships. In other words, stop focusing on the direct SEO impact so much and start looking at the health of your brand outside of search.
Step 3 – Be a Pioneer (Again)
Search is changing faster than ever. I’ve seen too many companies recently that rely on Google for their survival and have watched their rankings slip over the past year or two. Many of these are good businesses run by good people, but they’re also businesses who made good on SEO years ago and, at some point, started to coast. Meanwhile, the internet changed, the algorithm changed, and the competition changed. If you’re resting on your laurels from 2005, you’re in for a wake-up call. It may not be tomorrow, but it will happen, and it will happen quickly and without mercy.
The early movers had an advantage on the internet because they were willing to take risks that the big brands couldn’t. You can’t live forever in the glory days of being the first person to set up shop. It’s time to branch out again – get active on social channels, including new and unproven channels. Try out new tags and on-page approaches (like Schemas). They won’t all work, but when they do, you’ll be somewhere that the big brands aren’t yet. Your greatest power as a small to mid-sized business is agility. You can set up a social profile or add a few pages to your site without a committee meeting, budget approval, and 6 months of deliberation. That’s a 6-month head-start, but to get it you have to move now.
Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!
As competition intensifies, it becomes increasingly more difficult for retailers to thrive, with big retailers like Sears, JC Penney and Macy’s resorting to Every Day Value Pricing. To succeed, retailers must avoid missed opportunities. This article identifies three opportunities retailers can take…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.