JUNCTION CEO PARTICIPATES ON ATLANTA BUSINESS RADIO X’S INAUGURAL “TUESDAYS WITH COREY” RADIO SHOW

Julie Cropp Gareleck, CEO and Managing Partner, Junction Creative, participated in Atlanta Business X’s Radio Show “Tuesdays with Corey.” Gareleck shared insights from her days as a waitress in Gettysburg, PA to her current position as the CEO of her Atlanta based firm.  Corey Rieck, President and Founder of The Long Term Care Planning Group, sponsors the show each month, highlighting women entrepreneurs, CEOs, and executives.

When asked about her experience growing up in a family business, Gareleck shared that her goal was to become a reporter like Barbara Walters.  Unbeknownst to her, the passion she held for people and helping people drove her to launch Junction Creative, a hybrid between a traditional consulting firm and an advertising agency, melding intellectual insights with creative execution.  To listen to her journey, forward to 30 minutes into the full interview.

“I greatly appreciate being included as a member of this panel alongside Barb Giamanco, Barbara LoRusso, Corey Rieck, and the team at Atlanta Business Radio X,” comments Gareleck.  “The collective knowledge sitting around the table made for a great conversation about some of the critical elements for success in business.”

Click here to listen to the entire show!

More information on each panelist is below:

Corey Rieck is the President and Founder of The Long Term Care Planning Group, a firm that specializes in delivering Long Term Care education and coverage to companies, high net worth individuals and large organizations. Since 2001, Corey has devoted his career to Long Term Care as a result of multiple personal experiences.  A neutral provider of Long Term Care Solutions since 2001, Corey brings a unique and comprehensive consultative perspective to this issue.  Since 2003, part of his commitment to the Long Term Care Industry includes his having trained over 3,500 advisors from San Francisco to Wall Street on how to properly position Long Term Care to clients through the CLTC organization.

Corey hosts a weekly show call “Tuesdays with Corey” on Atlanta Business Radio.

Barb Giamanco heads up Social Centered Selling. She’s the co-author of The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media and authored the Harvard Business Review article Tweet Me, Friend Me, Make Me Buy.

With a successful C-level background in Sales, Technology and Leadership Development, Barb capped her corporate career at Microsoft, where she led sales teams and coached executives. Through the years she has sold $1B in sales.

Barb is consistently recognized as a Top Sales and Business Blogger, a Top 25 Influential Leader in Sales, a Top 25 Sales Influencer on Twitter and one of Top Sales World’s Top 50 Sales and Marketing Influencers for the 3rd year in a row. And recently, Barb was named one of the Top 65 Business Influencers among other leaders such as Ariana Huffington, Melinda Gates and Sheryl Sandberg.

Connect with Barb on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Barbara LoRusso is the Director of Client Development for LoRusso Law Firm, an Atlanta-based civil litigation firm opened by her husband, Lance LoRusso, almost 10 years ago. Prior to this, Barbara was doing consulting and research work for a non-profit trade association here in Atlanta for almost 20 years. She has a Ph.D. in Applied Psychology from University of Georgia and went to Emory as an undergraduate.

Barbara has been an active volunteer with charitable organizations and currently serves on the board of SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center in Marietta.

Connect with Barbara on LinkedIn.

Julie Cropp Gareleck

Born into an entrepreneurial family, Julie Gareleck was convinced that business was not her passion and that becoming a reporter was more intriguing. At the age of 21, Julie punched her international card, in Paris, working for Angela de Bona, the top PR Agent, representing the top fashion photographers in the world. A venture to Philadelphia after Paris directed Julie to work for a leading entrepreneurship institute.

In a few short years, she was recruited to join a venture capital organization, focused on early stage companies in Technology, Biotechnology, among other industries, as its Executive Director. Julie earned her place in the Board Room at the age of 25.

A transition to Atlanta over 12 years ago enabled Julie to take her strategy experience and work as a senior strategist for interactive advertising agencies. It was here that Julie realized there was a gap between business-based strategy and what was defined as strategy at agencies. Junction Creative Solutions was born out of the need for strategies that intersect key business segments and the need for a firm that can manage the implementation. For over 8 years, Junction has worked with nearly 225 companies, helping do just that.

Julie has created an environment that empowers her team and her clients to be the very best they can be, and success follows naturally. She has earned the respect of her peers not just for her shining personality, but for her authenticity, integrity, and drive as a business leader. Her portfolio includes measurable integrated strategies for prominent brands across various industries, including Yahoo!, Mailboxes Etc., National City Corporation (PNC Bank), GE Energy, Mohawk Industries, Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc. (SWM), and Alcatel-Lucent. Early stage companies in the portfolio include AcuteCare Telemedicine, 85 Broads, Intelaplay, Competitive Sports Analysis, XIOSS, Infinite Resource Solutions, Guardian Watch, Pro Diligence, Cost Management Group, the National Tennis Foundation, Saffire Vapor, among others.

Julie established the JXN Executive Roundtable in 2012 as a resource for entrepreneurs, senior executives, and marketing leaders to share industry experiences and insights. She remains actively involved in industry organizations often participating as an expert panelist or guest speaker.

Follow Junction Creative on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

JCP: From Catalogues to Denim Bars!?!

The most experienced and effective marketing professionals will usually agree that keeping the client in the press and on the public’s mind is beneficial to promoting brand identity, especially in an institutional fashion.  Frequent articles and stories can help grow a brands identity across marketing segments and expose the brand to new potential customers who may be inspired by the information and may be motivated to test, what is to them, an unfamiliar brand.  In the case of good news, it can create excitement and motivation, after all we all love being part of a good success story.  But when it comes to polishing the brand, attracting new converts and growing a business; too much bad news can be really, really bad news for a struggling business!

News continues to trickle out of the troubled retailer, J.C. Penney.  It’s bad news for its business partners and investors, bad news for thousands of its associates, and particularly bad news for its loyal customers.

We all look to our business leaders, the CEO’s, the Presidents, the Board Directors and the COO’s for lessons and inspiration, unfortunately as is the case in life’s many best learned lessons,  we often learn the most profound lessons from our failures.  The leadership at J.C. Penny has contributed more than its fair share of lessons over the past two years.

The Board of Directors of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. [NYSE: JCP], recently announced that Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III has rejoined the Company as  Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.  He has also been elected to the Board of Directors.  Mr. Ullman is a highly accomplished retail industry executive, who served as CEO of J.C. Penney until late 2011.  He succeeds Ron Johnson, who is stepping down and leaving the Company.

This most recent departure of leadership makes J.C. Penny America’s most cautionary tale and follows a plot line of mass exodus of loyal customers and a 25% reduction in company revenues.  Penney lost almost a billion dollars, half a billion of it in the final quarter alone. The company’s stock price, which jumped twenty-four percent after Johnson announced his plans, has since fallen almost sixty percent and twenty-one thousand jobs have been lost.

Upon his departure, Johnson has become the target of unrelenting criticism. “There is nothing good to say about what he’s done,” Mark Cohen, a former C.E.O. of Sears Canada, who is now a professor at Columbia, “Penney had been run into a ditch when he took it over. But, rather than getting it back on the road, he’s essentially set it on fire.  Johnson, and his previous compatriots in failed leadership, seemed determined on implementing wide sweeping, revolutionary marketing strategies that appeared to be destined from the outset to miss the target when it came to the largest segment of its customer base.  The new revolutionary strategy’s only success was to frustrate and confuse the company’s loyal fans and left everyone to ponder three questions.   Where did their familiar retailer go?  Who were they trying to become?  And where were they going?

Turning a major company away from its past identity and moving it forward with a strategy that brings a sleepy and complacent giant into the new business market reality is difficult, really difficult.  But large brand remodeling and revolutionary, untested marketing strategies most often bring about decline and failure not success.  Michael Roberto, a management professor at Bryant University, put it this way. “Small wins help you build support both internally and externally, and they make it easier for people to buy in.”

Penney’s board no doubt believed that Johnson’s record with former employers, Target and Apple, all but guaranteed that he’d succeed at J.C. Penney.  But this perception probably reflects what psychologists call “the fundamental attribution error”, our tendency to ignore context and attribute an individual’s success or failure solely to inherent qualities.   Ron Johnson has become an example of what Warren Buffet believes, “When a manager with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for poor fundamental economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.” At the onset, Johnson brought an Apple-minded focus on reinventing business innovations whilst losing site of the core fundamentals of the business.  Perhaps the most profound lesson from Ron Johnson’s missteps can be attributed solely to J.C. Penny’s Board for its decision to select Johnson for the leadership role to begin with.

While Penney can’t erase the last 14-months, there is inherent value in the lessons learned.  Vision is not always a recipe for success.  As marketers, we keep our thumb on the pulse of what is trending in all social, local, and mobile.  Our ideas are fueled by advancements in technology.   However, success is a result of systematically assessing the wants, needs, motivations, and expectations of those we serve not those that lead.  Penney needs to get back to the fundamentals of its core business and the customers it serves.

A Strategy of Assured Destruction

How is it that the vast majority advances in technology, cutting edge products and innovative concepts and designs are born, not from the giants or current industry leaders, but rather from outsiders, the bystanders of the great industries, who have neither the resources nor the obvious capability to make great advancements in technology, product develop or revolutionary marketing advancements.

The once great industry leader Kodak was built on a culture of innovation and change.  It’s the type of culture that’s full of passionate innovators, already naturally in tune to the urgency surrounding changes in the market and technology, the kind of people that keep a company on the cutting edge of innovation and change, developing one new remarkable success after another and always keeping the door of opportunity tightly locked against the competitors entry.  If anyone was destined to become the master of digital imagery, it was Kodak, but of course it was not.

Some look to poor strategy for the failure of Kodak, but others to manager complacency, or the arrogance of entitlement.  The organizations leadership shifted the focus from creating new innovating opportunities to establishing an achievable financial benchmark as the desired organizational target, thus transferring the organizations objective from the innovations to calculations.

Geoffrey Moore, author of Escape Velocity: Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past, speaks of the phenomena in this way, “In large enterprises typically the annual planning process begins with the CFO circulating last year’s plan, circling the numbers in Q4, with the suggestion that managers multiply these by 4 to get a revenue target for next year, and then put together a plan to reach that number.  By so doing management teams confer an entitlement upon existing lines of business to get “first dibs” at all the scarce resources.  By the time the new business opportunities get to the table, the pickings are slim, and the critical resources for developing new markets are gone entirely.  This makes the enterprise captive to its past, and is at the core of established enterprises’ recurrent failures to achieve breakout growth, even when next-generation categories are booming all around them.

As new technologies threaten to disrupt a company’s traditional product and its market position, the strategy must shift form maintaining the status quo and preserving the time tested products to one of reinventing the company and embracing the new threatening technology.  According to Mr. Moore, there are three “pivot points” to the new strategy; Technology, where the company divests itself of the traditional product and wholly embraces the new technology; pivoting on the customer by maintaining their business and brand relationship while changing to the new product technology, or altering  their management expertise entirely and embark on a new course all together.

According to Geoffrey Moore, “What you cannot do is to stand pat”, the tendency of many iconic companies, resulting in a strategy of assured destruction.