Thursday, May 10, 2012

Brands - Part 2: Which brands have fallen flat?

Brands represent products, services, business founders and presidents, and so much more. But what happens when they stop representing their founder, competitive advantage, or whatever makes their product or service stand out in the crowd? What happens when brands lose their magic?

Earlier this week, I shared my favorite brands as well as some of my fellow brand strategist Maren Finzer – connect with Maren on Twitter. Now, here are some brands that have lost value for me:

Blackberry: Despite recent news that Research in Motion (RIM) will discontinue its products for the consumer market and focus entirely on the enterprise market, this brand ignored its once-loyal customer base. Also, last year’s power outages with little-to-no attention to customer communications dramatically lost customers. Add these mistakes to the overwhelmingly more robust Apple and Android operating systems and the plethora of amazing competitive products, and Blackberry will soon be known as the technology equivalent of Ford’s Edsel.

The Gap: This brand is a perfect example of trying to live up to successes of other brands. The logo was redesigned to resemble Facebook’s logo, but the new logo failed miserably. Based on the immediate uproar in social media circles and the mass media, the company abandoned the new logo and returned to the original logo just two weeks later. And where is The Gap today?

Nike: This brand is a perfect example as to why a brand should not have celebrity endorsements. You can never predict a celebrity’s behavior or the affect it will have on your brand – just think about a particular golfer as an example.

And here are some brands that have fallen flat for Maren:

Ohana Casual Wear in Kona: We were drawn into the store by an eye-catching window display, but when we entered the store, the sales person was more engaged in her phone conversation than us. I tried to ask her about the swimsuit in the window, but she looked us right in the eyes as she continued to speak on the phone. No smile, no wave, no greeting, no acknowledgement – no brand engagement at all.

Kodak: Back in the 1980’s, Kodak was one of the world’s strongest brands. Do you remember the images and emotions from “The Kodak Moment” campaign and the “capturing the moments of our lives” campaign? I was once an adoring customer. But Kodak refused to see the writing on the wall and rejected the digital revolution. Kodak was too stubborn to change its business model, and the company fell from grace – an example that even big brands can, and do, fall.

I would like to thank my marketing colleague Maren Finzer for sharing her insights. Maren’s comments about her favorite brands as well as her not-so-favorite brands were eye-opening. Thanks again, Maren, for appearing on my blog!

So what about you? What are your favorite and not-so-favorite brands, and why?

1 comment:

  1. Brand watching is a fascinating pastime.

    The Gap was already on the wane in Europe before their re-brand and then reverse re-brand. I think the media attention over the consumer power that was displayed actually did the company some good over here. They could learn a lesson or two from Starbucks whose re-brand was a success.

    That golfer didn't have too much of an impact on Nike over here even though we are golf mad! They are still number one with their reputation fairly untarnished. Adidas has closed the gap somewhat over the last few years though.

    Blackberry is a great example which translates very well even to the European market. Their attitude has always been a problem even as a corporate user of their services back in the early 2000s.


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