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Special Columns
Dr. Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Arindam Chaudhuri
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"It's easier to resurrect old brands than create new ones"
Liz goodgold, International Branding Coach, on how rechristening old brands while keeping their values intact will do the trick for brand resurrectors
Liz Goodgold is a branding and marketing guru with a reputation for delivering whip smart branding strategies to thousands of entrepreneurs and executives each year. Author of two bestsellers on branding and marketing, amongst her clients include brands like Quaker Oats, Univision, Abbott Labs, Alta Vista Credit Union, Hewlett-Packard, Pfizer, Sharp HealthCare, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and many more. She has delivered expert views on branding in over 500 media outlets including ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

They say “Great brand names never die.” How is it then that we’ve seen so many examples of big brands dying?

I agree that “Great brand names never die!” In today’s cluttered market place, gaining mind share and recall is so difficult that it’s often easier to resurrect old brand names than to give birth to a new one. Not surprising then, names such as NordicTrack, Sharper Image, Linens N’ Things, and The Bombay Company have been snapped up by companies eager to jumpstart the name recognition game. Today, you’ll find Sharper Image branded items sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond and even Macy’s, for example. In looking at old brand names, there is a difference, however, between brand names that have a positive association, but died prematurely and brands that have such a negative association that they should never be resuscitated. For example, ValuJet which crashed into the Everglades in Florida, USA, had such a negative association that its brand name needed euthanasia. It was therefore reborn as AirTrans Airways. The same is true of the old-style diet supplement called Ayds. After the real anti-immunity deficiency emerged, this brand also had to be laid to rest.

While talking about old brands being reborn, Old Spice is widely recalled. It invested in the Superbowl this year to tell the world that Old Spice is back. What do you think of the old Spice story of revival?

With the youth-obsessed culture, dormant brands have the opportunity for a new life if rechristened under the hip rubric of “nostalgia.” Old Spice is a great example of how an “old brand” became new again by recognising that it was a little corny. By buying the product, you were in on the joke of hint, hint, wink, wink. Its ads were completely tongue-in-cheek. It’s revival tale is as inspiring as it is fresh. Check out the name: “Old” Spice. The brand is also an example of how seriously brands are taking social feeds. Continuing the Old Spice example, check out its Twitter feed; it’s a non-stop parade of laughter and humor.

So savvy brands today do not ignore social media as an ad vehicle. Do you mean that?

Savvy brands today recognise that social media is the ability to talk to an audience, not at an audience. Moreover, it is a dialogue, more than a monologue with engagement and interaction. Older brands must act as if grandpa is entering the Twitterverse; a new, amazing experience and treat it with its due awe and respect.

Is BlackBerry another brand name that is on the brink of existence?

Yes. Blackberry. The brand name is “so 1999.” Whereas it used to stand for top-of-the-line email delivery, it now stands for failed promises. If a brand equals its promise, Blackberry, by virtue of its failed updates, missed new hardware releases, and security breaches has lost all connection to its core customers. It must die a quiet death and come back to life under a new moniker.


Steven Philip Warner           
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