Nothing is more disheartening than seeing the current state that brands nostalgic to you have been relegated to over the years. Think back to your adolescence and you can probably remember a handful of brands that were very prevalent at the time that are now low man on the consumer totem pole, if they even exist anymore. There are brands failing around us constantly, as we’ll see from a few examples below.
When I was a young gent living in inner city Akron, Ohio in the 90’s, it was a typical day for my friends and I to ride our Huffy 10-speeds to the local Blockbuster Video and rent video games to play on our Zenith floor model tube TVs. It also wasn’t unusual at that time to hear about kids being bullied for their Starter jackets and hats.
Now, it’s widely contested that Huffy produces one of the weakest mountain bikes on the market, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy and closed all of its stores, Zenith was purchased by LG and no longer produces its own products independently and Starter has become more of an ‘affordable’ brand rather than one of status.
But why? What happened that started the rapid decline of companies that many of us have such fond memories of? For me, the answer is quite simple. It’s what didn’t happen that caused the decline and eventual end for some of these brands. These brands failed to adapt and evolve. One way or the other, these brands stopped progressing and became complacent or were purchased by a company more hungry than they were.
What could have been done to prevent this?
The key here is to adapt to consumer needs. It’s inevitable. Things, time, people and taste will all change. It’s the manner in which a brand adapts and makes itself more accessible that will determine how it progresses and becomes one with the times. Creating lasting experiences for consumers across multiple channels will build trust and strengthen a brand, and the quality of the consumable will keep customers coming back for more, further retaining its relevancy in the market. Becoming complacent and continuing to do as you have done in the past only weakens your company and at some point you will need to evolve and embrace the change that is knocking at your door.