Opinions about branding by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Martha Stewart stock due for a rise

As MarketWatch noted Sept. 27, Martha Stewart is back, and she’s better than ever. “‘Brand Martha,’ says the site, is not only untarnished but on a major roll.” How do we know? As MarketWatch notes:
  • Her magazines are “bursting with ad pages”
  • Her “partnerships with major retailers are expanding”—like Macy’s, which is debuting 2,000 products in the first season that her collection is at the stores
  • Former President Bill Clinton appeared as a guest on her daily TV show
  • She signed a deal with 1-800-Flowers.com
  • She opened her first co-branded residential community with KB Home
  • She has agreements with Fine Living TV and the DIY cable network
  • She will soon be selling a line of food at Costco
  • Clarkson Potter/Publishers has announced a new 10 book, five year deal with the company
  • She has also signed a deal with E&J Gallo Winery to sell “Martha Stewart Vintage” wine (Wikipedia)

The financials are fantastic, notes MarketWatch:

  • Revenue at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia was up 7% in the last quarter
  • Ad revenue at Martha Stewart Living was up more than 20% to $89.8 million January through June
  • Revenue for the Martha Stewart wedding publication was up 16% vs. an industry average of 6%

Yet the stock price is flat – shares are currently at about $13.20 (October 8) vs. a 52-week high of $23.21 last December.

Bear Stearns, says the site, issued a fairly positive report on Martha Stewart, noting that “business trends are solid” and “the balance sheet is strong” and that the Macy’s launch could boost the brand even further.

On top of that, the Today show recently held “A Martha Stewart Wedding,” choosing a couple to bestow a Martha-Stewart style wedding ceremony upon. Great publicity.

The only thing that bothers me, to be honest, is the product: I don’t love it. But enough people love the image and the ideas that I think her brand is solid and here to stay.