• Monday, April 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Brand Resurrection

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People constantly look to the past. And there are good reasons to do so – it’s a cultural necessity to fold back a bewildering future to let the past catch up. Just like it happens in other departments of life, when brands fail, they are put to pasture. Nevertheless, laying a brand to rest, as a result of different factors, may be the end of a show, it does not mean the end of the band. Infact, brands do make comebacks like boybands. Brands can harness memories of old products or assets, intentionally or unintentionally. Burger King revived a logo from 1969. Even the US army decided to revive an early-80s slogan, “Be all you can be.”

Read also: Five signs for brand growth in volatile environment Kantar BrandZ

What Is Brand Resurrection?

Some brands are so strong even death can’t kill them. Have you spared a thought to why some brands are celebrated even after closure and others left to oblivion? What are the common traits? A recent reactivation of the Blockbuster.com website had speculations racing across the internet.
There can be life after death for brands that strike the right chord with consumers. Kodak, Polaroid, ToysRus, Radio Shack, GameBoy, Zellers, and others are a few global brands that have been resurrected with a modern twist to capitalise on consumer love. Yet many other brands remain un-missed (anyone remembers 2Go? Woolworths? Pengo? Trium? Green Sand Shandy?)

Revivable vs Forgotten Brands

Here are the key traits of revivable vs forgotten brands

Revivable brands:

– Gave excellent customer experience

– Offered products or services that engaged our emotions; entertained, made me memories with us and tapped into multiple senses

– Connected to the community and society in a way that newer brands don’t easily replicate

The chief downfall of these brands was financial mismanagement, economic recession or leadership missteps but the products and branding were good. Without their operational issues, many might have survived indefinitely.

Forgotten brands:

– Focused on selling products more than customer experience. It’s hard to miss something that feels like a commodity.

– Failed to differentiate as new competitors emerged.

– Little connection to community/culture, thus easily replaced by newer brands offering more relevant products/services

These brands failed to innovate to stay in tune with evolving consumers, cultures, and technologies. We quickly found newer alternatives that we’re happy with.

In an article for the San Francisco Chronicle, entrepreneur John Cerasni noted, “We have to remember that a brand that went away in the past went away for a reason. It may have been because it was a fad, or maybe it was just an unsustainable business model.” But does this mean that a brand can’t reinvent itself for a bold return? Recent history suggests that several brands have successfully resurrected their names and reinvigorated their brands.

Read also: How local brands can thrive in global market

Ultimately, a brand seeking to shed its past mistakes and forge ahead needs to examine its brand story to decide what connective elements should be carried forward, and what should be left behind. One good model to follow might be that of Lacoste, which endured branding issues alongside its partner company, Izod in the 1980s that all but sank the business. Beginning in 2000, however, the brand slowly began to reclaim its image and its market share by telling the unique story of René Lacoste and the origin of the iconic crocodile logo.

This alludes to the fact that brands come and go but stick around in our minds and hearts forever. While the names may be gone, valuable equity remains. These brands’ new owners can capitalise on their established relationships with consumers by investing in marketing and re-engaging with the brand’s existing fan base. Is there a formula for revitalising a moribund brand?

One Caveat

The one caveat in reviving an old brand is that you can never go back again. You must reposition the old brand in a new way that is relevant today, but still respectful of its roots.

While the revamped Blockbuster is doing an excellent streaming service for old movies, I am not sure it will be so great as a fast good chain; ToysRus makes a great shop-in-shop; and Tower Records as a creative and entertainment space for live performances sounds promising. There can be a lot of life left in reviving a dead brand, but only with the right strategy.

Compared to a well-established name, a new one may seem less trustworthy because of its lack of history and track record, or even dangerous because of its perceived inexperience. It’s possible that an established brand has a solid reputation with its target audience but has remained inactive for strategic or practical reasons. Brand revitalization seems like a sensible strategy in this situation.

Brand resurrection is a concept that is not new in form but newer in execution. With 80s nostalgia from ‘Old Skool’ music in full swing, there are opportunities for the once-beloved but now-abandoned brands to make a comeback. As much of this article has proved, moving with the times doesn’t pay off every time.

Read also: Avoiding the landmines of brand over-exposure

Last line

It’s old news that nostalgia serves as a marketing tool. Evidence of this may be seen in people’s rekindled enthusiasm. We always look at anything that may be carried forward from the past. This is what makes retro cool again. This helped the Volkswagen Beetle (in its second avatar). Nostalgia is an emotion which can loosen purses, especially in the older generation who have been exposed to the brand before.