By Kathy Gersch, firstname.lastname@example.org
The stagnant economy, shifting consumer preferences, and a rapidly transforming marketplace have inspired drastic measures in retail leadership, creating some surprising partnerships that are transforming the face of retail in America. High-end fashion retailer Neiman Marcus and low-price retailer Target teamed up to develop a limited collection for the holiday season. Upscale department store Nordstrom plans to feature the mid-priced trend-of-the-moment styles of Topshop in a number of its stores this fall. And J.C. Penney stores, known for their exceptional conventionality will soon house miniature trendy Joe Fresh shops.
While their prospects for success have been met with cynicism, the brands involved should be applauded for their innovative spirit and their inclination to lead change in the industry, rather than allow themselves to be overtaken by it.
Now, however, the tough work of selling these strategies to the general public and winning support from potentially skeptical employees begins. I’ll leave the first challenge to the companies’ marketing teams, but for those leaders looking to convince their employees to embrace a new way forward, here are three tips they can use in the weeks and months ahead:
1. Clarify your vision. Collaborations and new approaches like these are bound to generate some internal skepticism. Take the case of Neiman Marcus and Target, two companies with different consumer bases, different values, and different histories. To convince employees that such a partnership holds promise, leaders must put forth a compelling, unified vision that places the company at the forefront of a new retail paradigm, where variety, distribution, and brand recognition are paramount.
2. Win buy-in for the new strategy. Big changes require broad support. Reams of data outlining industry trends and stacks of spreadsheets on consumer purchasing habits can only go so far in convincing employees that dramatic strategy shifts — like, say, selling a potential competitor’s products in your own store — make real business sense for the company and its futu