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Dead Brands: A Road To The Future



Dead Brands: A Road To The Future

Perhaps there is never really a time when nothing is falling apart. Even so, the business world certainly seems to have a lot of it going on at present.

If you can't take the heat, the chef will throw you out

It's a hard-knocks life, being an older brand. Not everyone has the good fortune of Coca-Cola. Most people didn't have the genius to invent Santa Claus.

It can be tragic to watch once innovative corporations sink their identities into the mire. But one can only hope that the loss of investors' money will inspire better brands to come.

Remembering the Dearly Departed

Perhaps there never really is a time when nothing is falling apart. Even so, the business world certainly seems to have a lot of it going on at present.

  • OfficeMax
  • TDI by Volkswagen
  • US Airways
  • A&P
  • Famous for of Gap, American Apparel

And that's just to name a few. Although they are not out of business, their future is pretty dim.

Dinosaurs and the asteroid called Technology

Poor little OfficeMax never was the best in its field. The paper became obsolete, and no one needed to staple together a tablet.

After uniting with Office Depot, they're still not regaining strength. Talk has surfaced that the merged company might embrace Staples, creating one mega-company. But it will still be a big fish in a small pond.

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P) was old before any of you were born. It started out delivering tea through the mail. Up until about the late '50s, it dominated an era as the premier grocery chain of America.

It began dying decades ago and never stopped. The error? Failing to keep up with urban migration to the suburbs.

Burning up in the atmosphere

Ashley Madison's woes need no introduction. It's being hit rapidly by its less thoughtful assumption that web security would take care of itself. It was only, you know, the core of the business model.

Public reaction seems to suggest that, somehow, adultery has not secured much popularity.

Let's not forget Volkswagen, either. They are practically sure to survive their EPA accusations, true. But clean diesel may have coughed its last breath.

Like the smart car concept, diesel was supposed to revolutionize efficiency and beat the pants off hybrids. Compared to the embattled TDI brand, a Prius looks pretty terrible right about now.

There is still hope for diesel. The technology was never disproven. Cheating like a fourteen-year-old on your SAT, however, does not build credibility.

A wrong turn somewhere at Albuquerque

You've all seen them. Those companies that were forward-thinking ten or fifteen years ago, and still are. But with one catch: their new idea turned out to be the wrong vision.

The smart car was going to take over the world. Europeans always catch on first to the next big thing, right? What is an extra seating row compared to gas savings?

It made sense because the opposite view doesn't make all that much sense. Americans' love of unnecessarily large cars is an enigma. Even a four-seat sedan is quadruple what a single person needs.

After high fuel costs slammed the airlines, they then plunged. In doing so, they may have killed the smart car.

Ultra-compact vehicles are an extreme solution to what is now a moderate problem. Add to that the fleets of reasonably efficient, larger cars on the market. Plus, Europeans just tax gas way more than the New World does.

Out of fashion (No, actually, they ran out of it)

American Apparel intended to beat Gap at its own game. The company was going to be so chic that buyers would be magnetically pulled in. The Cars were going to be incredibly cool to an extent that one wouldn't need an air conditioner.

They were also so expensive that you might need a second mortgage. Stocking of the products was too slowly. And the source of their coolness, Dov Charney, decided he wasn't cool with being kicked out.

PacSun, or Pacific Sunwear of California to the less savvy, faces similar problems. Malls, their habitat of choice, aren't as popular anymore.

Without the high volume to compensate for it, the small number of stores is hurting both outfits.

No good deed goes unpunished

US Airways must go down as the strangest case of all. Their destruction has arrived despite their relative financial responsibility. They bear the burden of another air carrier's failures.

American Airlines, like many grudging employers, granted long-term pension benefits beyond their ability to pay up. The company accumulated debts, and the once-high price of oil put the nail in their coffin.

Since their bankruptcy filing, they've decided to merge with US Airways. Disregarding the more stable balance sheet the US brought to the table, the executives picked the AA designation. It was considered more recognizable.

All of which means, more or less, A reward was granted to that American Airlines was rewarded for overextending itself and thereby reaching the public consciousness. US Airways remained too localized by sticking to their strengths.

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