Marketing, Motherhood, and Mayhem

Bringing back a Brand

September 10th, 2010 by Deb McLean

I had to laugh to myself recently when someone mentioned buying Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Really?  I didn’t know they were still around and I always thought of it as cheap swill we’d buy in college cause that’s the best we could afford! 

But did you happen to notice the astonishing sales growth in the past five years of Pabst Blue Ribbon?  PBR! And this was accomplished without a media budget. It was done by word of mouth.

Maturity of an iconic brand brings with it all sorts of positive characteristics, not least among them trust, experience and familiarity.  Brands undergo a predictable life cycle: introduction, growth, maturity, decline.

Think of Studebaker. Alberto VO5. Schlitz. Jiffy-Pop.

All were huge brands. Now they’re also-rans or extinct, victims of competition, innovation, and a host of other factors. Each of these brands possessed a priceless treasure at one time:

Brand equity.

During introduction, millions of dollars might be spent to create a “brand”.  So, when the brand for whatever reason loses its pizazz, does the equity built lose its value?  Not necessarily. A product can be brought back to life!

I never liked Good N Plenty, but I remember “Good N Plenty…Good N Plenty” and you’d shake the box along with the commercials.  I definitely remember Slip ‘n Slide. I did use that and I remember my Mom using Spic and Span. I wouldn’t mind owning any of those brands, because it would be easy to regain distribution and sales. Why? Because they all have brand equity. It requires a relatively small investment to unlock its past.

I’ve been told that to introduce a new candy is a $100 million exercise. To relaunch Good & Plenty would take pennies.  The ultimate iconic American brand — Harley-Davidson — was not only rejuvenated, but propelled (and brand extended) to astonishing heights.   As we move ever farther from mass-media messaging into  relationship marketing, the value of existing relationships can be a big plus!

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