Finding The Cheese

If you haven’t read “Who Moved My Cheese”, by Spencer Johnson, now would be a good time. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, ISBN 0-399-14446-3). The moral of the story is that situations are constantly changing, especially in business, and companies must adjust in order to succeed.

Recently there have been two stories in the news underscoring this principle. They are Alfred Angelo Bridal and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Not long ago Alfred Angelo Bridal had over 60 stores and 1,400 retail partnerships nationwide. But as of July14, 2017, the company closed its doors forever. What went wrong? Here are some excerpts from recent media articles:

·       “… interviews with the Sun-Sentinel paint a picture of a once-storied business that failed to change with the times.”

·       “Industry experts say brides want gowns more quickly than they did in years past …”

·       “The failure to adapt ultimately forced the respected chain of worldwide stores to file for liquidation under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.”

It seems that what worked in 1933 when Alfred Angelo Bridal began is no longer effective.

Think of Dunkin’ Donuts. What comes to mind? If you said “donuts”, their management would like to modify that a bit. A recent statement from the company said this:

“While we remain the No. 1 retailer of donuts in the country, as part of our efforts to reinforce that Dunkin’ Donuts is a beverage-led brand and coffee leader, we will be testing signage in a few locations that refer to the brand simply as Dunkin’.”

Do you notice what’s missing? Yeah, the word “Donuts”. In fact, a related article also mentioned a new slogan … “Dunkin. Coffee And More.” It seems that this company’s leaders realize a couple things: Americans are more health conscious now; and a lot of people prefer Dunkin’ Donuts’ (ummm Dunkin’s) coffee over that other place.

Will dropping a foundational part of an iconic brand’s very name work? Beats me. But it’s a gutsy move which will be interesting to watch.

The lessons are obvious, so I won’t belabor them. Instead, a summary: Two companies … one recognizing that the market has moved and making caffeine-fueled efforts accordingly … the other a failure by insisting on being married to its old ways.

Here’s to found cheese, wherever in the maze it winds up.

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