Many companies are deciding to abandon the industry which established their brand in an attempt to better position themselves for the future and concentrate on the sectors of their business that are growing. IBM, Intel and Kodak have all started to, or have completely moved away from their previous market niche of distinction. In another shift, General Electric’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt is focusing on the company’s energy and health-care business and planning on phasing out of the appliance industry which only accounts for 10% of revenues. While these super companies are headed for greener pastures, their are smaller players who would like to capitalize on the well established brands these companies are leaving behind. The value of a household name is still tangible even if brands are increasingly divorced from a products actual manufacture. It is still uncertain if GE will allow its name to be used on products it has nothing to do with or if the brand name will die abruptly. If the case of IBM’s sale of its ThinkPad to Lenovo is any model, then we will probably see the GE name disappear even if its sticks around under the wing of another company until consumers make the desired associations. In a climate of accelerating change, a name isn’t everything, and maybe it’s nothing at all. At the very least, we can note an increasing number of corporate navigators are deciding to risk the brand of yesterday for the possibility of the brand of tomorrow.

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