R.I.P.

Douglas McIntyre, at 24/7 Wall Street has made a prediction that the brands listed below will disappear, presumably this year, 2009.  They provide a summary rationale for their predictions, and they all seem pretty plausible to me.

Some will lament that it is the economy that is driving these brands into oblivion.  I would suggest that the economy may have contributed, but another view would be that the more robust economy of the early years of this decade merely concealed the intrinsic weaknesses of these brands and the companies behind them.  

But more often than not, my hunch is that there was a failure on the part of management, that missed something significant in the course of leading their companies that resulted in this unfortunate time of tough decision making.  There may have been a failure to invest in technology, or perhaps a denial that their own technological features were being surpassed by someone else’s innovation.  Problems may have resulted from a failure to address a competitor’s strengths, or in overlooking a competitor’s weaknesses that could be exploited.  In other cases, it may simply be a matter of a market that has reached its twilight and a failure on the part of its members to diversify or reconstitute through organic means, or by acquisition(s).

If I were to guess, I would suspect we are on the verge of many more such examples of brands and companies that will expire, as technology upends traditional markets and industries.  For example, I don’t own a Kindle, but my daughter does.  It does not take too vivid an imagination to recognize that as wireless reading device technology expands and improves, then becomes more affordable, and is more broadly adopted, that book publishing houses, printers and binderies will be affected.  So will book distributors and retailers.  Even libraries.  Using this technology as but one small example, managers of such companies can take lessons from the brands in the list below and decide if they take the threat of wireless reading seriously and respond, or simply deny or defer and then read about themselves as a brand that will someday be resting in peace.

Budget Rental Cars
Borders Book Stores
Crocs
Saturn
Esquire Magazine
Old Navy
Architectural Digest Magazine
Chrysler brand
Eddie Bauer
PALM
AIG
United Airlines

Read the 24/7 Wall Street article HERE.

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