Highly recognizable brands can be invaluable, but they require constant attention. Their value can rise or fall because of management decisions, changes in the competitive environment, and the beliefs that a brand has aged beyond its useful lifetime. Often, though, the true causes of drops in brand value are folly and arrogance. 24/7 Wall St.’s review of nine brands that were badly damaged recently shows that even the most powerful brand cannot survive horrible decisions.
A brand derives its value from several factors. the most obvious being how much it can earn. This is not the least evident with Marlboro — the best-selling brand for its two owners, tobacco companies Philip Morris and Altria. The companies have fostered the cigarette brand through hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising and marketing support. The brand has evolved, adding other versions. Today there are also Marlboro Lights, Marlboro Reds, Marlboro 100s, and Marlboro Menthol. One version of the brand is not enough, in the wisdom of its owners. The evolution of the brand has kept its customer base over the years, and probably added to it.
The brands on this damaged brand list often rose based on lofty claims, and fell when those claims were not realized. The Chevy Volt was meticulously engineered by GM to be its flagship car of the future. Then it had engine fire problems. The Nokia Lumia 900 was built to compete with the Apple iPhone. Just as it was introduced in the U.S. market, it was discovered to have a software flaw that could prevent data downloads. The Airbus A380 “super jumbo” was made to be the most advanced passenger jet in the world, until its wings began to crack.
For our purposes, a brand doesn’t have to be a product or service. People can be brands. Famous sports figures count on their images for large endorsements. Tiger Woods proved how swiftly a sports brand can be destroyed. A country can be a brand. Street violence in Jamaica in 2010 triggered a warning about travel to the island from the U.S. State Department. All of these brands are among the most widely recognized and consumed brands by America.
These are America’s Nine Most Damaged Brands.