Case Study: Rebranding an Established Retail
A large retail chain was losing its market share. New store openings were not successful and the
company was experiencing declines in same store sales. The company wanted to find a way to
compete that wasn’t based primarily on price, and brought Dorrier Underwood in to assist them
with their reinvention efforts.
- Cynicism, blame, and victimization were common.
- Sales were flat and there was stiff price competition.
- The company's brand had no clearly defined niche.
- The autocratic culture had people waiting to be told what to do.
- Managers lacked ownership of the company’s future.
- Employees lacked enthusiasm for their roles in the company.
Given the company’s need to change its entire culture in order to become a new brand and
deliver a new experience for its associates and customers, Dorrier Underwood began with the
senior management team. This work eliminated historic barriers and created a new organization
at the top based on trust, respect, and commitment to shared goals.
Dorrier Underwood expanded its work to the Retail Operations leadership, including the Vice
President, Regional Directors, Field Specialists, and Store Managers of the company. We took this
group through several transformational leadership programs. Rather than training people
in what to do, we developed them to offer suggestions, make contributions, and think of
what to do on their own. We developed associates in supervisory roles to encourage and request
suggestions and contributions, to value the associates’ input, and to respond to them in an
appreciative manner, regardless of whether or not they agreed.
Store Managers and others shifted from seeing themselves as victims of the senior leaders to
being partners and collaborators with them. Store Managers saw themselves as owners who claimed
responsibility for their sales, profits, and employee morale. They quickly began
mentoring others in being responsible for their team’s breakthrough results as
well as their own.
Managers redefined their relationships with their employees, pledged to discontinue
conversations of blame and resignation, and created projects for reinventing themselves,
their stores, and their leadership inside the new brand. One manager created a project of
knowing the names of his more than 180 employees and what was important to them about their jobs.
Employees began to take pride in their work, and store managers acknowledged their own mentors,
sharing about the difference they’d made in their lives. As ownership of results increased,
executives used the training to groom managers for senior leadership.
To facilitate the reinvention of the entire company, Dorrier Underwood was asked to provide
additional services: executive consulting with other Directors and Vice Presidents, as well as
transformational coaching and courses in commitment-based communication throughout the
organization. Other departments that received coaching to enhance their leadership
- HR leaders and Personnel Specialists
- Financial services
- Management Information Systems
- Merchandising Vice Presidents and Directors
- Training, Development, and Recruiting Staff
- Distribution and Warehouse Staff
- The company’s culture was transformed to support new stores, new
merchandise, new relationships with employees and customers, and a new image.
- Store managers became effective at implementing the strategic vision.
- Participants in the Transformational Leadership Program were
promoted from within to the ranks of Director and Vice President.
- New stores were highly successful, and same store sales were some of the best
in the industry.
- Surveys and market research reported a significant improvement in customer loyalty.
- Internal surveys demonstrated a marked improvement in employee morale, commitment, and sense
- Warehouse employees voted to dissociate from the Union.
- Projected profits were surpassed, and the company sustained a steady increase in
sales and net income.
According to one of the executives, “For the first time, operations, merchandising, and
distribution were all working together rather than in their silos. You saw people being
collaborative, loving their customers, loving their relationships, and supporting each other.
In Merchandising and Operations we acted as a united team and partnered in creating new
approaches to drive sales and profitability."