The Republicans, Airbus and Wal-Mart--How Big Brands Blow It.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on November 8, 2006

It’s startling to see how powerful, established brands can make such enormous mistakes that loyal customers begin to doubt and leave them. Usually, they forget to stay in touch with their customers and/or fail to execute on what these customers expect of them.

Wal-Mart is a trusted brand that sells good stuff at low prices to solid middle Americans. When it marched into fancy, high fashion clothes, staged paid PR stunts by supposedly authentic people and appeared to treat its workers poorly, Wal-Mart’s brand became tarnished. Just what does Wal-Mart stand for today? I don’t know.

Airbus built its reputation as a high-tech European alternative to Boeing’s near-monopy on commercial jets. Airbus built planes on time that passengers found very comfortable at a competitive price. Now Airbus can’t finish its giant new double-decker jetliner, the A380, on time because it can’t get the wiring right. Seems like the Germans and French use different software systems. Yikes. A two year delay in the delivery of the 380 led Fedex to cancel its order and other freight and passenger airlines may follow. This is a body blow to the Airbus brand.

The GOP brand once stood for small government, fiscal integrity, business-like execution and a strong foreign policy that projected US influence around the world. In recent years the size of the federal government has ballooned, a budget surplus has turned into a chronic deficit (to be sure, not nearly as big as many predicted), and the performance in New Orleans post-Katrina and Iraq post-victory has been poor beyond belief. The reputation of the US has plummeted overseas. Cronyism, corruption and personal scandals plague the party. So what does the brand now stand for?

Of course, the Democrats have a brand problem as well. Being the “non-Republican” may have got them the House and perhaps the Senate. But there is vast uncertainty as to what the Democrats really stand for these days. Unless Democrats rebrand themselves strongly before 08, a backlash against the current bashlash may result in the return of the political status quo.

Reader Comments

gus figueroa, entrepeneur

December 16, 2006 12:50 AM

Dear Mr. Nussbaum:
I read your article on Annual Design Awards 2006 and I saw that designer DECATHLON, FRANCE received the gold award for their 2 seconds Quechua idea/desing.
I have a tent that is over 10 years old that does exactly the same with the exection that is light blue and old, It opens in the air before hitiing the ground and it folds exactly the same way, same steps as the 2seconds quechua.
I contacted DECATHLON in FRANCE and his comment was that it was an old idea with a new desing. I am confused, was this a new innovation or a redesigned old product?

Post a comment

 

About

Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!