the rise and fall of brands

24605352_s-1Many companies strive to have their brand as a household name, not realizing what that means. Do you say, pass me a bandage or pass me a Band-Aid? Do you reach for a tissue or a Kleenex? Do you search for information on a restaurant or do you Google for the information? While at work, do you ask to copy or Xerox a document? All the latter names are brands. These brands have become common household names. Have you ever noticed that some brands are well-known while others die out before your family and friends have even heard of them? Let’s look at the life cycle of a brand.

Understanding the Life Cycle of a Brand

First, let’s get an understanding of the life cycle of a brand. A product is not just made, turned into a brand and either makes it or not. They must be introduced into society and hit a peak point of popularity or they never make that peak at all. Eventually, the law of physics intervenes and what goes up must come down. A brand will eventually decline. There are five stages of a brands life cycle: development, introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.

  1. Development – A product is developed and branded.
  2. Introduction – It is introduced into the public’s eye.
  3. Growth – Sales start to take off and the company embraces it by adding new features to keep increasing sales.
  4. Maturity – Competitors enter the market, separating quality and value. Technology could even affect the market at this point.
  5. Decline – The product sales start to decline. The company must find new ways to bring it back to life by introducing it to a new market or repurpose it.

How a Brand Becomes a Household Name

The growth stage is an exciting period. So many things can happen. If a brand is doing well on the market for three through five years, chances are, it will stay around for quite some time. What can lead a brand towards this stabilization is if the public knows about it and get excited. Advertising doesn’t always work. In fact, free publicity is the way to go for a brand to become a household name. Credible sources in homes are reliable talk show hosts. If it’s recommended by one of them, chances are consumers may give it a go. In corporate America, a credible paper such as The Wall Street Journal presents brand information and it’s as good as gold. Public relations build a brand. Another way for a brand to become a household name is by linking it to the community via a spokesperson. Respectable celebrity endorsers are great for this role. A brand should be sure they could live with this new face of the brand.

Becoming a Household Name Could Phase You Out

The caveat is that their products are now genericization; they are a generic name for a product. Not all products are able to make it though. Sometimes, it’s a good thing if a product does not become a household name. Their brand’s reputation could diminish. It’s good if a company dominates the market and no one else enters, but how can a company guarantee this continued success?

The Start of a Trend

Once a brand emerges into the market, a trend can develop. Trends must be nurtured; they just don’t come into existence. Society must be influenced to recognize and participate in trends. A brand becomes trendy if it connects emotionally to society, gains their trust, and is relevant to a culture. The start of a good trend will focus on a person’s sense of self. It gives impressions of the perfect lifestyle and fills an individual with hope. A brand should make consumers trust the company. The best way to do so is by having other consumers vouch for them. That’s why it’s important that when using a celebrity for the brands face and image, it is someone well-respected. And finally, the trend should have some type of relevance to a culture. If there is no purpose for its existence, there is no reason for a buzz to be started about it.

The Death of a Trend

Just as easy for a trend to develop, it can die quickly, sometimes before the trend catches on well. One such example is the once popular True Religion Jeans. These were well-known jeans, comparable to Prada shoes and Michael Kors handbags. However, their story is a great example of how all trends eventually must die out.

True Religion Jeans made their debut back in 2008. One could spot them anywhere due to the horseshoe logo on the back pockets. Celebrities everywhere wore the unique jeans that had their own personality. Denim companies were not easily distinguishable much more then. But the addition of this little logo was a big hit.

And there it sparked emotions in people. Many people felt a new identity, especially to be one of the first of their crew wearing the latest fashion trend, True Religion Jeans. All the top celebrities wore them, so surely if they did, so should everyone else – trust!

Unfortunately, soon enough, the emblem was easily replicated. You could then find their overpriced jeans anywhere for so much less. Soon, the next trend emerged and True Religion became a fad and faded away. Now, True Religion is seeing hope as the economy turns and people once again want high quality fashion at the high quality prices.

Remember, trends just like brands must continue to serve a purpose for us. Without a purpose, there is no cause for existence. Like True Religion Jeans, their purpose was to set individuals apart and be unique. Yet, they became easily attainable by competitors on the market. They gave the public what they wanted, something new, unique, and affordable.

randy bowdent | g+ | in | f


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