In my many years in this business, I have seen and been a part of shifts in brand values.
Two of the bigger failures were Ernst Home & Nursery and Sea Galley.
Both companies, against my advice and the bread crumbs from research, tried to change into something they weren’t.
Ernst wanted to be seen as the place for home decor focusing on lighting, paint, fabrics, rugs and even furniture and appliances. Ernst was a home improvement brand. A place guys went to get power tools.
In less than a year they were gone.
Sea Galley, famous for crab legs and plates heaped with deep fried seafood, wanted to get healthy and more sophisticated. They lost their core customers and in less than a year, they joined Ernst in the brand bone yard.
My belief is that if you adjust a brand based on your core competencies, and the consumers’ understanding of those competencies you have a shot at success.
When you spend millions of dollars over several decades telling people you’re a duck, you simply can’t flip the light switch and throw money at trying to convince folks you’re now an eagle.
It doesn’t work.
Look at Sears and J.C. Penney and their failed attempts at trying to shift their brand perception.
How much money did J.C. Penney throw at Ellen DeGeneres a year ago? How did that every-day-low-price strategy work? Ask the ex-president who was just fired last week.
Remember when Jack in the Box blew up the clown and turned into the sit down restaurant called Monterey Jack’s? Oops.
KFC just this week rolled out a new strategy for boneless chicken aimed at Millennials, with the confusing campaign signature of “I ate the bones.”
They’ve been convinced it’s the new “Where’s the beef?” for those of us old enough to get the analogy.
Personally, I think the Colonel has lost his marbles.
KFC is a place to feed a family of six for $10. It’s definitely a duck.
What do you think?