Victoria’s Secret is struggling. I’m sure your average mall shopper would never realize it, but this was the headline of a recent article I read. Sales have been plummeting, the CEO is leaving and last year’s much ballyhooed TV Fashion show garnered lower ratings than Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer which was playing on another channel in the same time slot.. YIKES.
The article detailed some of the cost cutting measures coming, including no more catalogs in the mail. Funny enough, I saw no in depth discussion of the potential root cause of the problem..but here’s my take on it:
When Victoria’s Secret first arrived on the scene, it was an upscale, lingerie shop for women..grown women. Then their target demographic seemed to widen. Suddenly the models were uncomfortably young and underwear had sparkles splashed on the back end. I still went in every so often to grab 5 undies for $28, but less and less appealed to me in the store. Standing in long check-out lines surrounded by cheap perfumes, lip glosses, lotions and bins of glitterized junk made me feel like I was waiting to cash in my kids’ tickets at a bedazzled Chuck-e-Cheese prize counter.
I’m no business expert, but Victoria’s Secret seems to have fallen victim to the age old problem of trying to be all
thongs things to all people. We see this in politics and increasingly in churches as well. The desire to expand “the base,” increase followers, fill those seats and get more money suddenly becomes more important than the original mission, the entire raison d’etre. The sad result is a confusing mish-mash of contradictions; no authenticity, no clarity, and no core values.
The take-away for me (in business and in life) is simple and extraordinarily clear:
Stay true…Be you.