Ten Brands Americans No Longer Love

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Americans do not merely love their favorite and most cherished brands, they love them. Consumers love Apple. They love the Mustang. They love Starbucks, and they once loved The Dallas Cowboys.

Brand loyalty involves emotions as much as it does the logical reasons people become loyal to products. These are the primary forces that allow the best brands endure. Times change and so do brand features. The best brands evolve and change with the people to whom they are important. It is as much an art as a science to consistently find the right mixture or price, design, and features.

24/7 Wall St. looked at a number of famous brands which have been among the most important in America.  We chose from this list ten brands which were highly regarded and to which millions of people had strong attachments. We then identified those which had fallen from the status of most loved brands to that of also-rans, if they were even still existing brands at all.

Here is the list of brands Americans no longer love:

1. Chrysler

Chrysler has been one of the preeminent auto brands in the US since it was founded in 1925. The No. 3 American car company went into Chapter 11 in 2008.  The firm had flirted with bankruptcy in 1979.  The turnaround of the company by Lee Iacocca was one of the great business stories of the last several decades. The company lost some of its identity in 1998 when it merged with Daimler and the German firm took de facto control of management. That year Chrysler had about 17% of the US car market and sold 2.6 million cars and light trucks. Chrysler will be fortunate if it can sell one million cars in America this year. Chrysler is once again being managed by a foreign company, Fiat, which gained operational control as part of the bankruptcy.

2. Dell
Dell did as much as any American company to popularize the PC. Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) was founded in 1984 by one of the group of young tech entrepreneurs which included Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Jerry Yang of Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO),  Sergey Brin of Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Scott McNealy of Sun. In 1998, Dell had a market cap of $80 billion and Michael Dell was the youngest CEO ever to run a company in the Fortune 500. Dell helped revolutionize the PC industry in 1996 when it began selling computers online. Dell’s business fell apart from 2006 to 2007 largely because it did not create more innovative products beyond fairly standard PC development and the creation of a global retail network of stores. Hewlett Packard took Dell’s lead in PC market share. Dell’s reputation with the public was severely damaged by several federal investigations into its business practices and allegations that the company sold faulty computers even though some of its employees knew about the flaws.

3. Kmart
Kmart was the Wal-Mart of America before Wal-Mart existed. Its predecessor Kresge was founded in 1897. By the mid-20th century the chain began a period when it was one of the most successful retailers in the US by sales and the number of stores it operated. Kmart also grew through diversification and the acquisition of several major brands during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.  These included The Sports Authority, Borders, Office Max, Payless Drugs, and Waldenbooks.  Kmart failed to make investments in the modernization of its stores which in many cases appeared run down. Kmart declared bankruptcy in 2002 and soon merged with Sears. The original American discount powerhouse had been damaged almost beyond comparison by poor management, too much diversification, and competition with Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) which had taken Kmart’s place.

4. Firestone
Firestone, founded in 1900, was one of the first tire companies in the world.  Firestone became the exclusive provider of tires for the Ford Motor Company NYSE: F).  The first winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911 used Firestone tires.  Every auto that won the race from 1920 to 1966 ran on Firestone.  The company was a large provider of munitions to the US government in WWII.  “Where ever wheels are rolling, the name that’s known is Firestone” is one of the most famous slogans in American advertising history.  By the middle of the last century Firestone had established its place as the number two tire producer, just behind Goodyear.  A series of accidents caused by defects in the company’s products led to lawsuits and penalties.  These events triggered financial difficulties forcing the sale of Firestone to Japanese tire giant, Bridgestone.  Since then, the American division of Bridgestone has been known as Bridgestone Firestone.  However, the original American brand has been de-emphasized over the last decade.

5. Time Magazine

Time Magazine, founded in 1923 by two Yale graduates, became the largest news magazine in the world.  Time had editions in almost every country in the world.  Its circulation was 4.2 million in the late 1990s. Time’s Person of the Year Award was one of the most anticipated news events annually. Time also had one of the largest international editorial bureau systems in the history of the magazine industry. Now Time’s paid circulation has decreased to 3.25 million.  News magazines in general suffered from periodicity in the world of instant news. Former rival US News no longer publishes regularly. Newsweek was sold to a new owner for $1 last year. Time’s brand was harmed by competition from 24 hour cable television news channels and then internet news websites that are accessible at no cost.