Here’s a quick look at brands that will be growing, shrinking, or maybe just disappearing in the coming year.
Comcast. The Big Boys of Cable have got to be feeling more and more like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. They lived the good life when they could pretty much rob their customers at will while pretending to be nice about it. But now they are surrounded by the Bolivian army in the form of streaming brands like Netflix, Apple TV+, and Amazon Prime. The real irony is that many of these streaming products are being delivered by Comcast’s own internet service. Comcast is rapidly losing relevance and the ability to charge for channels their customers don’t want.
Telsa/Elon Musk. What I love about the Tesla/Musk brand (and let’s face it they are inseparable) is the ongoing entertainment value that’s out of this world, sometimes literally. If you had bought their stock in June of 2019, you’d have doubled your money by now, but that’s partly because the brand looked to be in deep trouble with production delays and possible malfunctions of its “Autopilot” software. In six months, their revenues have recovered, they are introducing new models, including a futuristic truck that looks like a stealth bomber, and Elon has managed to behave more appropriately for a CEO. Tesla/Musk just may have become the king of “what’s next,” beating out another pretty big brand, Apple, for the title, at least for now.
Juul. “And the winner of the 2020 Brand Most Likely to Disappear is…” Reminds me of the old joke about heading in the wrong direction but making really good time. This vaping brand is going fall just as fast as it grew. Did they not see the potential for the trouble they’re in now? A product that introduces chemicals into the sensitive lungs of people of all ages? What could go wrong? Turns out, pretty much everything can. Between lawsuits and a growing number of bans on vaping products, this brand has nowhere to go but up in smoke. (Yeah, I went there.)
Boeing. The question for 2020, is will Boeing go “boing” or go bust? The 737 Max debacle has driven up their debt and has moved beyond damaging a particular product brand name to affecting the perception of the entire company. Their CEO just got his walking papers and when the Max is reintroduced later this year as planned, passengers around the world will be asking about what plane they are flying in like never before. Safety is the foundation of any air travel brand. Boeing has a big crack in it right now. Only a perfect track record can save them going forward.
Apple. I have to laugh at critics of Apple, who claim they lack sufficient innovation to sustain their growth as a company and a brand. Their revenues and stock price continue to increase, and they create some of the most powerful advertising in the world. That’s because Apple understands that their brand experience is less about their products and more about what people can do to be creative with them. All you want is to make cheap phone calls? Buy a prepaid burner. But if you want to make movies with your friends on the spur of the moment, buy an iPhone. And load it with songs from iTunes. And watch Apple TV on it instead of paying for cable. Right, Comcast?