From a public relations perspective, brands can be dead long before they ever really end. Like the Walkers in the famous Walking Dead TV show, and comic books, some businesses continue to move forward, without any discernible direction, long after all life has left their brand.
But, unlike those doomed Walkers, Walking Dead brands can be brought back to life, much like Frankenstein’s monster, with a combination of skilled planning, smart investment, and most of all, a huge zap of PR lightning.
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR has put together a list of the formerly top brands that could use some of that life giving public relations electricity.
Sovereign Bank recently rebranded as Santander Bank, but it’s unclear whether or not this move will bring life back into this lagging brand. After all, $77 billion in assets was not stopping the brand from losing both market share, and value. With online complaints stacking up, and customers looking for other banking options, Sovereign was in increasingly dire straits. Fortunately, for them, someone was ready with a plan to escape the zombie apocalypse that has swallowed many of its regional competitors. Rebranding might be seen as a Band-Aid solution, but marketed properly, the name change could give the bank enough breathing room to fix it’s internal problems, and get the blood flowing again.
Did GAP expand too fast, split into too many “baby” brands, or is it just another victim of the lagging mall culture. The trend today is moving away from preppy clothes, and the entire mall culture, and atmosphere. But, is that the only reason that GAP brand is dropping in value? Nope. Even in today’s growing anti-mall cultural environment, many typical “mall” stores are still flourishing. What are they doing that GAP is not? Responding to the culture, for one thing. If one quality of your typical zombie is stubborn refusal to respond to stimulus, you could say GAP is suffering from a reluctance to respond to cultural stimulators. The world is changing, and GAP must find a way to bring its image up to speed.
The salad days of the 1980s burger wars are long gone. Today’s major players seem to be McDonalds, Wendy’s and Chik-fil-A. Does Burger King enter into the conversation? This is a brand in need of a brand infusion.
Blackberry (Even though I still LOVE my blackberry)
Not that long ago, the smartphone market was absolutely dominated by the denizens of the “crackberry.” Now Apple, and Samsung fight for market share while companies such as Blackberry, and Nokia fight for the scraps of the smartphone market. Currently, Blackberry is synonymous with “old smart phone.” They need to change that quick, before the PR infection becomes permanent.
The Walking Dead
It’s tough to make this list without including this TV brand on it. Sure, the show maintains a fairly good-sized number of fans just as rabid about the show as Walkers are about living flesh. But, the first season was clearly the high water mark. Even the most ardent fans are quickly compiling a long list of complaints about the program. With the growing negative vibe, and the vastly increasing popularity of other programs such as Sons of Anarchy, Justified, and Game of Thrones – not to mention the binge watching possibilities of Dexter, and Breaking Bad – The Walking Dead better find some creative brains soon … before life starts imitating art.