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March 2007


Bhushan Parulekar

Few more causes a brand’s demise

1:There is no Innovation
2:There is too much innovation
3:The Brand becomes the Generic Brand
4:The Brand Fails to Give Justice to its USP or Core Competency
5:The Change In The Consumer Behavior
6:The Entry of the Giant Competitor in the market

Steve Woodruff

I think it's well worth opening up a dialogue on convergence vs divergence - is the marketplace actually going to force more large companies to consider spinning off divisions, or working with multiple brands/names? In the pharma marketplace, for instance, I think the convergence M&A strategy has proven to be pretty lame as far as tangible results...

Amanda Heismann

I agree with the AT&T, however, I disagree with Kodak. I think Kodak is one of the few brands that has moved forward, at least in the department of personal photography.

Laura Ries

Thanks for all the comments. I was on the phone today with BellSouth also soon to be AT&T and even they are confused and agree the new name makes no sense!

I also read about the new diet sodas fortified with vitamins. Diet Coke Plus is a crazy name. What are they now going to have all the varieties in regular and plus? I'll have a decaf diet coke with Lime plus vitamins please.

Tava at least is a new name. But the category is undefined. I don't think just soda with vitamins is going to fly.

On the other hand, the new Coke product (joint with Nestle) Engiva has some potential. I don't like the name because it is difficult to say, spell and remember. But at least it is a new name and a new category. Sparkling Green Tea with negative calories! Perfect for PR, of course they will over advertise it killing the PR potential.


Man, is this right on. Further, AT&T has meant so many things since divestiture in 1983, I don't know what kind of company it is or what thye're about anymore. Cable? PCs? Credit cards?


Great article Laura.

The truth is that no one really cares what the name of their phone provider is.

It reminds me of the cable tv world, I've lost track of how many times my cable company has changed in the last 5-10 years. No one could care in the least..they care about the bill and they care about what's on.

I think these mergers and name changes only further confuse the average consumer and the phone category is already extremely confusing, with so many plans and options.

At&T is looking more and more like the GM brand...bland, standing for nothing.


This is off-topic, and I think I already know the answer, but I'd love to hear what you have to say regarding this story:


Coca-cola and Pepsi-Co both to introduce "healthy" drinks. One company names theirs "Diet Coke Plus" and the other names theirs "Tava."

I wonder which "brand" has the better chance of winning?

Damir Duraki

Hey Laura,

I really enjoy your and your father's books and articles, and I have learnt a lot from you. Just wanted to say hi from Serbia (hey, that's another brand in trouble)!

Damir Duraki
Professor of Ries-ology in Serbia

Daves Davoli

Brilliant as always.
In a clear way, it always makes the defense, very intelligent, of the concept category and positioning, to get success!


Agreed on the strengths of the Cingular name, logo, color, identity ... brand.

Also involved in this highly questionable move: awkward, expensive messaging like "Cingular is now part of the new AT&T."

The first time my wife and I saw one of those spots (on a national broadcast network), we gave a collective "huh!?"

Necessary messaging in some ways, but always awkward.

Bill Gammell


I could not agree more. I am not sure what AT&T is thinking. I blogged about what I think is a telling statement from their press release: "AT&T, the standard bearer of communications excellence for more than a century, is getting younger on Monday, when the company folds the six year-old Cingular wireless name into the iconic AT&T brand."

There is a lot that can be said about the press release statement, but I think it would have been better to say "AT&T will crush the Cingular brand in the many folds of this over-weight, line-extending, stand-for-nothing AT&T brand."

Mack Collier

Exactly Laura, this bit of branding suicide was purely ego on AT&T's part. Cingular is young and hip to mobile customers, AT&T represents landlines and the Reagan administration.

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