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Sometimes, it is just time to cash in your chips and go home.
Law #21 in The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al and Laura Ries is “The Law of Mortality”. No brand lives forever. Sometimes euthanasia is the best option. Sometimes a brand that has been dead for a while actually has a chance to rise again, once the negatives associated with it have disappeared and only positive nostalgia remains.
It happens all of the time in the music industry. Bands break up. Often they break up long before their brand equity dictates that they should. Early break-ups leave us wanting more. The Beatles and Led Zeppelin are examples of bands that left us wondering what could have been.
In some cases, bands don’t break up soon enough. They end up touring the world, playing undersized venues to fading (and aging) crowds. The band’s brand value slowly diminishes as they beat themselves into a faint shade of what they once were because of over-exposure and negative exposure. Bands like The Guess Who and Creedence Clearwater Revisited are two examples. The Guess Who continues to play without Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman, since they don’t own the name. Bachman and Cummings tour together under their own names instead. CCR continues to play despite John Fogerty’s absence, and only the original rhythm section intact. Each night they play, the brand value of The Guess Who and CCR fades a little more.
Are you brave enough to kill your own brand?
If you are brave enough, are you aware enough of your brand’s equity to know when the time is right?
What brands do you wish still existed… brands that left us wanting more? I have a Pan-Am t-shirt to remember that classic brand.
What brands over-stayed their welcome? Saturn left us long after they lost the magic of their brand.
While you consider that, enjoy Springsteen and Roger McGuinn of The Byrds with this version of “Turn Turn Turn”.