Monday, July 19

Disappearing Brands

There's been a list or two circulating for months now of brands that are not likely to make it into 2011. A number of people have asked me to comment, so here goes. I love lists, so I am happy to weigh in.

It's interesting to see the brands that have been making these lists. I don't think there are really any surprises though. Truthfully these brands have either not kept up with our needs and wants, or have a competitor(s) that is just so much better. These brands lost sight of what business they were in, and they honestly lost sight of their consumer and how we all live our lives.

Blockbuster. They were in the video tape rental business and should have been thinking much broader all along. They should have known that this day would come and should have been thinking bigger about how to service our at-home entertainment needs.

Borders. Barnes & Noble KILLS them. No comparison. Everything that Borders does just looks like a knock-off. They should have tried to be more innovative instead of "me-too". With, there's just not enough space for two big brick and mortar book retailers without something more special.

Newsweek. We all get our news online now and they just didn't keep up with the "information right now, I want to comment" age. Way too old school.

Reader's Digest. Hate to say it, but their consumer base is dying off and no one is replacing them.

Motorola. The brand just got drowned out by all others who were innovating at the speed of light. Motorola is like a rotary phone in comparison (thanks to my friend Adam for that little comment).

Palm. Who? I've been to the one in Miami!

What are the lessons to be learned from this list? Three big ones in my mind:
- Define your business and your brand broadly so that you can evolve over time. If Blockbuster had defined their brand more broadly than just video tape rental, perhaps they would still be thriving.
- Get to know your consumers and how they live their lives, better than your competition. Even more importantly, follow them as their lives change and evolve, so that you can evolve along with them. Motorola got out shined in this area for sure.
- Constantly keep new consumers coming into your brand, don't just rely on the ones that you already have. By keeping fresh and innovative, you will continually attract new devotees. Newsweek and Reader's Digest failed in this arena.

What's your experience? Jim


  1. Of all of these Blockbuster is the most surprising weakness in my eyes. What kept them from not seeing the future???

  2. I know! Can't imagine that they would be so narrow in their scope! Jim