How Spiegel Recovered
But as Madonna points out, "when you're on the verge of liquidation [as Spiegel catalog was], everything that's fundamental to survival" must be reevaluated and taken from the ground up.
And to observers such as former longtime Newport News president/CEO George Ittner, who's now president of The Territory Ahead catalog, "it's all positive. Both catalogs look sharp; they're strong communications pieces to the consumer with excellent Web sites. From the standpoint of what the consumer's receiving, the value that's communicated and the level of fashion for the money, they've done an outstanding job."
Spiegel's Comeback Mantra
During Spiegel Brands' comeback, President/CEO Geralynn Madonna devised her own rules for direct mail:
Businesses don't succeed through metrics alone. "Ideas and people make a company and a brand successful. If all you know about your customer is her numbers, she'll soon be giving her number to somebody else," she says.
Intuition, innovation and sound business practices must all sit "at the grownups' table."
Creativity isn't an indulgence; it's a necessity.
Nobody ever tested his or her way to glory.
Act! "Don't study things to death. A lot of what you should do is pretty obvious. Do it!" she says.
An MBA is no substitute for common sense.
You can't just solve part of a problem; you have to solve the whole thing.
Nobody ever built a statue for a committee; there's no substitute for leadership.
Madonna's Laws of Leadership
In revamping the Spiegel and Newport News catalogs, President/CEO Geralynn Madonna has adhered to these definitions of leadership during the company's rocky times:
Be visible. Although you may want to retreat to the corner office, make a conscious effort to stay visible.
Be positive. Balance optimism with realism. Remember, a leader has to be a true, passionate believer in your vision and brand in order for an organization to embrace change and work together.