A great deal needs to happen for an established brand to die. Brands can have immense power and the fortunes of a brand do not necessarily reflect the company’s fortunes. For example, car manufacturers have many brands — some successful and some less. Brand management is an integral part of a company’s marketing strategy.
Each year, 24/7 Wall St. identifies 10 American brands that we predict will disappear in the coming year — either due to bankruptcies, mergers, discontinuation, or rebranding. The majority of these cases represent some failure, either in company or brand, and often in both. Some of the brands on this list are already certain to disappear, with just the last remnants left to dissolve next year. Others are on a trajectory to vanish, but their final fates will depend on what happens next year.
The best brands have staying power and can weather major changes in the company that owns it. People will continue to follow a sports team through generations, even if the players, management, and even home city change. When companies merge, the new parent company will often opt to keep the strongest and most successful brands intact.
When a company opts to abandon a major, long-standing brand, it is usually a sign of long-term decline or failure bad enough to necessitate starting over or pulling the plug. That was certainly the case for Time Warner Cable, which, after the completion of a merger with Charter Communications, joined Charter in rebranding as Spectrum. Although Time Warner Cable was one of the biggest brand names in America, the company was notorious for its poor customer service. The new corporation was likely trying to distance itself as much as possible from that reputation.
Bankruptcy is the most common reason for brands to vanish, and many of the companies on this list will disappear next year for this reason. Retailer Sports Authority declared bankruptcy this year and liquidated its assets. Another retailer, The Limited, has been driven to the brink by the growth of e-commerce and declining shopping mall traffic, and appears likely to go bankrupt in the next year as well.
Outright failure of brand or company is not always the reason for a major name to vanish. For example, in the cases of Scottrade, which was purchased by TD Ameritrade, and Virgin America, bought by Alaska Airlines, the acquiring companies may have the better brand name. While a decision has not yet been reached in either case, Scottrade and Virgin America may dissolve into the brands that acquired them.