Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Martha Stewart under the Spotlight

How did Martha Stewart become the queen of domesticity?  Bloomberg's Stephanie Ruhle profiles the owner of the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia [MSO] empire from her humble beginnings as a working class girl from New Jersey to her carefully built status as America's household name.

Ralph Lauren and Macy's, along with Home Depot and Amazon, are among the companies Martha Stewart admires, which speak to her sense of style and her pulse on good, affordable products.  

Terry Lundgren is the CEO of Macy's, and the context of what Stephanie Ruhle raises is this:  Macy's is suing MSO for striking up a deal with JC Penney's, after Lundgren and Stewart apparently agreed on an exclusive relationship.  

Stewart is none too pleased, clearly, with bloggers.  I'm sure she is referring to particular ones, but in any case it is probably best that she doesn't indict bloggers in general.  En masse they can sway opinions, and consequently behavior, and are a veritable source of knowledge.  If she hasn't yet, she may choose to build a coalition, instead, with select ones who understand and appreciate her brand.  

I'll own up to this personal take of Stewart in this interview, but she struck me as wistful.  She had undergone quite a lot of legal issues, personal embarrassment, and brand assault in the last decade.  So if my sense is halfway accurate, then it is understandable that she'd long for the heyday of the 1990s.

In The Martha Stewart Courtroom Drama Is About More than the Legalities, Allen Adamson steers away from the legal details of Macy's versus MSO and JC Penney, but looks at the impact of this latest courtroom shenanigans on the MSO brand.
Let’s face it. Her Martha Stewart Show was cancelled last year due to low ratings. Her effort to star in an Apprentice-style spin-off of the “the Donald’s” show was not a star turn. And her media empire is fast failing, the result of its own lack of vision as well as the state of the media business, in general.
(image credit)
Wall Street clearly has declining confidence in MSO, as this 3-year stock performance from Market Watch shows.  It under girds what Adamson cites as a failing empire.

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