INsights: Brand, Branding, Elvis, and Walt
by Bill Simmel

April 30th, 2014   •   Comments Off on INsights: Brand, Branding, Elvis, and Walt
by Bill Simmel
INsights: Brand, Branding, Elvis, and Walt <BR>by Bill Simmel

RIP: Veni,Vidi, Vici. . . if only for a short time!

Entrepreneurs, business managers, and CEO’s eventually retire, are fired, are “bought out (fired with money),”  go broke, or simply die.  On the other business side, a strong brand can live on in the hearts and minds of consumers, consider Coca Cola, Levis, Wheaties, Hershey, and Budweiser. Yet, many and I mean MANY brands die namely because they become outdated, lose their luster , or are redefined by those CEO’s (before they are fired). What does this have to do with Elvis and Walt? Don’t worry I will get there.

“Brand Suicide”- In too many cases, the lack of innovation (by the companies and products they represented), causes a brand to die. They loose share of the customers’ mind. Big former brands Pontiac, Continental Airlines, Blockbuster Video, and Kodak are a few of the dearly departed. They were a few of the consumer hallmarks that once populated our lives. Yet, today they do not exist. Where did they go. .  .some “brand heaven”, some possibly “brand hell”?

Advertising Icon, David Ogilvy’s definition of a brand: “The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.”

To get a real feel for what is a brand, view this short and informative video.

 Here are some clear cut examples of brand life and death.

  • A lack of re-invention: it is what newspapers are trying to figure out.  People now get news on the internet and digital media. Newspapers are trying to hold serve but many of the big branded newspapers are dead or on life support. A fine example is USA Today, a winning race horse out of the gate, held position for many years but is currently out to pasture waiting for the big that “big race track” in the sky. Just ask the Huffington Post.
  • A lack of humility, feeling they will live forever and are invincible. Kodak was destroyed by Fuji Film  who was destroyed but digital media.  Kodak film, and for that matter Kodak the company. film died and the company is on life support waiting for the plug to be pulled. Just ask Shutterfly or Google Picassa, or Phone Cameras
  • Too many products/brands in your portfolio.  It is inevitable that you cannot give them all the love that they each deserve. Oldsmobile and Pontiac are the victims of this and GM may follow suit, they owned those brands. Just ask Honda, Nissan and Toyota – Acura, Infiniti and Lexus.
  • No clear positioning.   Starbucks lost its way when it forgot that it was “a place for conversation and a place to meet or simply “watch the world go by.” A place between work and home”.  It has since found its way again Just ask Starbucks!
  • Sometimes the brand dies with its creator! Somehow, Elvis and Walt Disney figured this one out and today they live as strong as ever. Unfortunately, you cannot ask Elvis or Walt but you can ask Graceland, Itunes and Disney World.
So what do I believe a brand is?

A brand is not your logo, packaging, taglines, and colors and it is not what you say about yourself. Your brand is your values and how you act on those values at every point of contact. Your brand is how, what and why your market, customers, employees, vendor and community perceive and “talk about” your values and value. Simply stated, your “brand” is what your total “audience” thinks and speaks each and every time they hear your brand name or company or see your logo.

It is everything the public and employees’ believes and perceives about your name brand (products and services) offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in this spill proof box), and emotional non-scientific(e.g. It’s easy, quick, friendly – romantic association). Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it.  It’s fixed.  But your brand truly only exists only in the perception and discussion of their minds. What you do and how you do it will create the value and perception (brand equity)  If you cannot create and express dual value and continually innovate, eventually (many times rapidly) your brand will die, unless of course, you are Elvis or Walt.

“You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place.”  – David Ogily

RIP –  Compaq Computer, Kodachrome, Hummer, Max Factor, Montgomery Ward,  Oldsmobile, Sears & Roebuck, the advertising graveyard is filled with so many icons. On their tombstones you can read. . . “we came, we saw, we conquered, if only for a short time”.

How many can you name?

– Bill Simmel

So how’s your brand doing? Need Ideans? Makeover?  Contact Bill Simmel Today

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