Why “Boomer Brands” Need to Evolve

In the past few years we’ve seen Kodak, Saab and one or two other global brands disappear. Blockbuster has a few bricks and mortar locations remaining, but may be heading the same way and even iconic North American brands like Twinkies are falling by the wayside as losses mount.

In this day and age, are any brands insulated from the constant change taking place in today’s economy?

I look at brands like Nordstrom and Holt Renfrew, phenomenal brands built on high-quality merchandise and exceptional customer service, and cannot help but wonder if they are among Boomer Brands that will be gone 40 years from now, as Gen X and Gen Y become the dominant spenders. I love both companies, but when you look at their businesses, the vast majority of their customers are in the 40-80 age range and they both drive the majority of their business from store-front locations as opposed to the Web; and neither has evolved its model significantly in the last 40 years.

The key here is the need to constantly evolve your brand and positioning to remain relevant to the market. Legacy airlines like Singapore Airlines and United Airlines are doing it well – using technology and new aircraft like the A380 and Boeing Dreamliner to help re-define themselves in a more social, green economy where customer needs have evolved.

The concept of Boomer Brands losing their appeal may even extend to the world of politics where the Republican Party – built on appealing to affluent, older Caucasian males in middle America cannot compete at this time, with a Democratic Party that has broad appeal to a wider cross-section of the population – a younger demographic and across races. They can of course seek to re-cast themselves and have four years to do so, but the task will not be an easy one.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Boomer Brands… who you see as vulnerable, and what you feel brands need to do in order to evolve.

– David Sly, President

1 reply
  1. Michael Cunningham
    Michael Cunningham says:

    This is an interesting blog post. My belief is that many companies too narrowly define themselves. Instead of defining your company based on a product or product line companies would benefit by determining what service they offer or what need they fulfill. By looking at yourself as a service provider it forces you to continuously ask what product offering trends are going to meet your consumers needs now and tomorrow. Blockbuster was too hung up on renting movies instead of looking at how do we most effectively offer the service of in home movies/entertainment. The US post office viewed itself as a mail carrier institution. Instead it should have been defining itself as a provider of communication and delivery services. This may have helped them better identify the impact of digital communication (email) and a more suitable infrastructure for delivery services. Companies that view themselves as service providers seem to be better at redefining product lines and staying relevant in the midst of an ever changing economic landscape.

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