These life stages are development, launch, growth, maturity, and decadence.
Brands age just like people. Those, which wage war against decrepitude, are the ones that succeed in staying alive throughout the maturity phase. That’s why they are in active campaign against the decadence phase.
Ageing brands show the first signs of old age through distribution channels, company employees, users, and potential target audience.
Ageing has two meanings:
• In the first one, the brand erodes systematically and gradually. These brands have no new features to offer to the market and they are only as big as their core target audience. The most significant signal of expiration is that the gap between spontaneous awareness and aided awareness get bigger and bigger. The brand is on that fine line between repetition and prosiness.
• In its second sense, aging is about the image reflected by the consumer. It is a sign that the brand’s overall consumer audience is aging. The brand is running out of steam just like its users. For that reason, it is left way behind the times.
In order to bring the brand back to life, one must well analyze the difference between staying loyal to its roots and communicating that and reviving its past with new values. The loyalty that some brands have for their roots goes way beyond adapting to the spirit of the times. This leads to the erosion of the brand.
The revival of the brand means updating of its value offer while staying true to its identity. When modernising the brand, powerful research is needed in order to identify points like which values have disappeared in time or which features could pose as potential strengths in the growing market. In this phase, the brand house must be reorganized and the brand essence must be redefined.
Here are some strategies for reviving the brand:
1. Revival through new area of usage:
Some ageing brands must choose between giving up their main consumer audience and identifying a new target audience. Since brandy was starting to be perceived as heavier and older compared to spirits (Bacardi, Absolut, Seagram’s Gin, etc.) that were becoming more and more popular in the U.S.A., this category was no more the American after-dinner drink. The category then changed its direction towards African-Americans, who constituted 12% of the American population and 50% of brandy drinkers and entered occasions suitable to their life styles.
2. Revival through new distribution channels:
In channels, brands can be revived through pull marketing strategies instead of push by stepping down supermarket shelves. Even choosing to exist exclusively in certain restaurants and cafes could completely change the perceived value for the consumer.
3. Revival through novelties:
Mercedes demolished its perception as a brand for the middle-aged target audience, with A Class developed in response to VW Golf in Europe and with the 4x4 M-Class, CLK Roadster prototype in the U.S.A. New products often bring the best revival.
4. Revival through segmentation:
Burberry, aware of ageing, segmented its product line and overcame the problem by creating separate brands. While Burberry London brought a modern interpretation for classical customers, Burberry Prorsum offers designs that are of the latest fashion. Thomas Burberry, however, has shaped the perception of youth products. Cash inflow is provided by Burberry London and therefore, an opportunity area is created for risk-taking for the other two segments.
5. Revival through opinion leaders:
Aging brands sometimes live in their own golden ages and are indifferent to the opinion and trend leaders of the current times. As a matter of fact, the measure of establishing proximity for ageing brands, can be shaped through new opinion leaders who will have a botox effect on the brand.
Make sure to implement these three initiatives in order not to get old while aging:
• Perform an aesthetic surgery on the brand: Keep the brand’s corporate identity and communications up to date. However, to do this, it does not suffice to use young people in communication. The brand must also be young spirited in terms of the products, services, and new features it offers.
• Re-invent: Add new product features to the existing product prototype.
• Develop a completely new product or service for the growing and developing market.