Faltering Brands: BlackBerry, Goldman Sachs, Nokia, Moet et Chandon, and Yahoo
Some brands seem bulletproof, like Coca-Cola and Apple. Some, this past year especially, seem snakebit. From CNBC:
Once again, Coca-Cola was ranked the most valuable brand in the world, according to Interbrand, one of the nation’s top global brands experts. Apple, to the surprise of no one, was very close behind. When one considers the consumer electronics company’s growth, it will easily eclipse the longtime No. 1 brand by next year.
While some of the biggest brands — including Amazon.com, Samsung and Oracle have grown their value by more than 20 percent since last year’s report, others have fallen precipitously. Goldman Sachs, still one of the world’s most valuable financial brands, lost 16 percent of its brand’s worth. Blackberry lost nearly 40 percent of its brand’s value. Based on the Interbrand report, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Goldman, BlackBerry and eight other brands that lost the most value compared to last year.
I'm a huge Amazon fan -- I love that the Amazon brand is surging, and I honestly think that Jeff Bezos is the next rockstar Steve Jobs-ian CEO: from customer service to bold moves in the marketplace, Amazon is one of my favorite companies.
At least three of the losers this year -- Nokia, BlackBerry, and Yahoo -- aren't surprises. Nokia and BlackBerry never quite met the competition head-on, and Yahoo has been a rudderless zombie for years.
Moet et Chandon is sort of understandable, I guess, given the world economy:
Interbrand’s Josh Feldmeth told 24/7 Wall St. that, “It’s not that the Moët & Chandon brand is any weaker, it’s that rituals are changing” as economic growth comes from parts of the world that do not yet associate champagne with celebration. The brand also remained the best-selling champagne in the United States last year, with sales volume rising 1.3 percent to reach 410,000 cases according to Shanken News Daily, a wine, spirits and beer industry news service.
The surprise to me is Goldman. Sure, they're rapacious and unscrupulous investment bankers. But for decades they were unscrupulous and rapacious investment bankers beneath the radar. Now, they're a brand. Like Coke or FedEx. But unlike those two, they're despised:
Sachs' brand has taken a major hit since the financial crisis because of its involvement in the sale of complex collateralized debt obligations and in the Greek debt crisis. The company’s practices returned to the spotlight this March when an executive director in the firm’s London office resigned in a scathing op-ed piece published in The New York Times. Greg Smith wrote, “The interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money,” and he noted that managing directors would often refer to clients over email as “muppets.” Revenue in the first half of 2012 was at its lowest level since 2005 due primarily to weak trading volume. The company responded by cutting pay by 14 percent during the first six months compared to the previous year and reducing its head count.
When super rich folks like Goldman bankers realize how loathed they are, they take action. And when the super rich "take action," it almost always involves spending money. So look for a stately increase in the number of Goldman-sponsored cultural doo-dads, Goldman-sponsored educational thing-a-ma-jigs, and Goldman sponsored kids-playing-outside initiatives. You won't have to look hard, probably -- Goldman will make sure to buy enough ad space so that you won't have to.
Looking at that list, though, it almost makes me wish I was in corporate PR. There's gold in those hills, for sure.