Sears is finally dead, and I’m sad.
Now, we can mourn the amazingness the company had been versus its sorry state at the end. Like how we reminisce about Blockbuster.
Unlike Blockbuster, Sears doesn’t feature prominently in my childhood memory. But, did you know it started as a watch company right here in Minnesota? Also, my mother-in-law lives in a Sears catalogue kit house. Plus, I worked for a short time in the Sears Tower, when it still was the Sears Tower. Most strangely, my local DMV has always been on the second floor of the Rice Street Sears in St. Paul. Now where will I go to renew my license? Also, how the hell did a DMV end up inside a Sears?
Sears has been a crappy store my whole life. Yet, I somehow it really touched my life. Do others feel this way?
Because it’s my job to help companies make meaningful connections with people, this got me thinking about the difficulty of making those connections when your offering is less tangible – like a remote services or SaaS. I mean, I love what Amazon drops on my porch, and I love how they’ve made everyone better at delivery, but I’m not convinced I’d care if they went away.
Then I say to myself, “Girl, making people feel connected to brands is your job!” Without the big tangible things – from products you touch, to brick and mortar stores to actual towers – it’s even more important to have powerful stories.
Many people think companies overestimate how cool their product or story is, but I’ve found the opposite is true, especially with companies selling advanced technology or services. I hear about something a client or a start-up is doing that stops me in my tracks because it’s so cool and impactful on the regular. Because it might only be a few lines of code or a capability buried in platform upgrade, nobody takes the time to tells its story.
Here in Twin Cities tech, this underestimating is exacerbated by our culture of humility. Last month, I asked a local CEO why more people don’t know about the awesome tech scene in Minnesota. He said, “In Minnesota, we exaggerate the depth of the snow, the size of the fish and nothing else.” I’m not saying we need to start telling whoppers, but it’s high time we make a bigger splash about all the cool stuff happening around here. That, or figure out if you can host the DMV to force people into your store and into your story.
The company, by then the largest retailer in the country for years, moved its headquarters to the Sears Tower. The Chicago landmark was the tallest building in the world for 25 years.