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Great brands maintain effectiveness by staying true

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

How do the great brands maintain their effectiveness? Robin Tooms visits with Janet Gurwitch, operating partner of Castanea Partners and former CEO of Laura Mercier Cosmetics & Skincare about what keeps the great brands on top.

Robin: Hello, and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I’m Robin Tooms, vice president of strategy at Savage, and I’m here today with Janet Gurwitch, founder and former CEO of Laura Mercier Cosmetics. So Janet, I am so glad that you’re here with us.

Janet: Thank you, Robin. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Robin: Well, Janet, I wanted to say I love your story. You’ve worked with some really interesting brands, such as Neiman Marcus, and I want to know what lessons should other brands take away from great retail brands such as that.

Janet: I feel Neiman Marcus, which is over 100 years old, is such a great brand, and how did it last so long. And they’ve always been so true to their core. If you asked Stanley Marcus when they founded Neiman Marcus, he wanted the best service, the best product, and innovation, and they’re just always true to their core. It always was interesting to me that Saks, which is another great brand, would deviate, would stretch in different economic times. Neiman Marcus, always true.

Robin: Always true. Perfect. Well, it’s interesting you got to work with Stanley Marcus during that timeframe. So what really good advice did he have for you?

Janet: Stanley Marcus was such an interesting man and has written some great books on how he built Neiman Marcus, and he was a great flirt even at the age of 90. But having said that, he told me he was always so proud of Neiman Marcus, how it had flourished and lasted when so many retail names had not, and he thought it was because the new owners had been so true to the brand, but he mainly was proud to tell me that at the age of 90, he was now on the board of Sewell Cadillac in Dallas and on the board of Harrods. He loved great brands.

Robin: Well that’s wonderful. Thank you for sharing that story with us today. I look forward to talking with you again about branding.

Janet: Thank you.

Robin: This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and marketing strategies.



Castanea Partners is a middle market private equity firm focused on investing in dynamic consumer brands, multi-channel retail and marketing services companies. The firm draws on the leadership, advisory and investing experience of its partners and professionals.

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