Brands in the News: Nissan and Silly Bandz ~ Brand Mix

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brands in the News: Nissan and Silly Bandz

Two brands--one dead in the water hoping to catch a wave, the other on the crest of a wave, heading for an inevitable wipe-out.

1) Nissan Gets a Marketing Makeover With Leaf: AdvertisingAge

Nissan LEAF by cliff1066 on Flickr
Nissan is a brand that has lost energy and momentum and hasn't found a way to get it back. It has some good cars in its portfolio, it has pretty good quality ratings but it's stuck. It's become a generic Japanese brand, undifferentiated and unloved. "At our core," said Carlos Tavares, Nissan's leader for the Americas, "we didn't know what we stood for." The brand needs a makeover, some emergency defribillation to bring it back to life. Fittingly, the company has decided to put most of its eggs in the all-electric, zero-emission Leaf EV basket. For brands like Nissan, stuck in neutral, it's a huge challenge to turn around brand perceptions--great products and service may not be enough. Nissan is hoping is that the Leaf will provide enough spark to get things moving again

2) Silly Bandz

Silly Bandz by HarmonicMama on Flickr
If you have a kid in elementary school like I do, you know all about Silly Bandz, bracelets that come in dozens of different shapes from dolphins to Captain America. They're worn, they're traded, they're everywhere. They've become so popular that some schools have started to ban them. Robert Croak started  it all after getting the idea after seeing a cute, shaped rubber band at a product show in China. Now his company is cranking out millions of these bandz and finding it difficult to keep up with demand.

These are the kind of fads that hit from time to time. No one sees them coming, they are only easy to understand after the fact. They spark lots of imitators but no-one can ever replicate the initial success. The dilemma for people like Mr. Croak is what to do next. Whether killed off by school administrators or dying from lost interest, these bandz will not be around for very long. (We may already have seen the beginning of the end as the company has just released a Justin Bieber pack.) Can there be an encore? Can all energy be harnessed in any useful way or is it just like lightening--a huge explosion of energy and then nothing? Crocs never found the answer. Will Croak do any better?

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