A brand is a perception in consumer’s minds, whether intentional or unintentional, it is one of the critical aspects of the success of a company. The brand image develops in the minds of consumers over some time. In the beginning, a company has an idea of their brand, that they want others to perceive. Sometimes it goes as planned, and many times due to half-baked strategy, it doesn’t translate as intended to the consumers.
Tiffany– As an aspirational brand Tiffany has always enticed women across the US. It has always positioned itself as a luxury brand.
In 1990, Tiffany launched its charm bracelet as a fashion accessory to teenagers. At $110, it was affordable and very lucrative to teenagers who have only seen Tiffany’s blue boxes for special occasions. The product was a hit, but it gave the Senior Management something to think. Their luxury brand status is now in jeopardy as it would alienate older, more affluent consumers. In their attempt to serve the upper-middle class and to make them come back to their stores, they stopped producing the line of cheap silver jewelry, and in 2002, they reinvigorated their brand with store renovations, hiking prices, etc.
Though we see the vast majority of consumers in different personas than our brands and we would like to cater to everyone, but in this case, it wasn’t worthwhile as it alienated the loyal customer base.
Harley Davidson- Some brands lose their branding as time passes due to a loyal customer base that scares new customers. Harley is one of the iconic brands in past decades. It still has loyalty from those who have cherished it in their golden ages. Now the brand is seen as old as its demographic has turned old. The hip generation of millennials do not want to be associated with the company, and so the sales are declining. One other reason is that the bikes are heavy and considered as a lifestyle choice rather than a means of transport. The younger generation is leaning towards lightweight motorbikes to move around. The shift in demographics is necessary here for Harley to survive a market full of choices. Also, they can offer lightweight models in hippier colors to young millennials. Although the chances are, it might dilute their brand image but make them more desirable, and revenues may also increase. They have recently launched an electric model that can lure environment-friendly consumers.
In the case of brands like Levis, product launch makes their brand value perceived as less than before. When Levis launched a more affordable category Levi’s Strauss Signature and Denizen for the Asian market, it diluted their brand value as consumers perceived it to be of lesser quality. In India, they removed Levi’s Strauss Signature brand as they thought it was cannibalizing the Levis brand as consumers saw both as same and went for the lower-priced brand. Now, all the standalone stores are called Denizen and not Levis Strauss signature.
In the end, I would like to say that we have to define what our brand persona should be, as it aligns with the target base. If it is not profitable, then reinventing is the only option. Businesses have to answer to their stakeholders, and balance sheets are the ultimate test.