Over the last few years, we’ve all seen several companies and brands pass quickly from market leader to irrelevancy, especially with technology moving so fast now we’re already thinking Apple is taking too long for its next announcement.
Top among them at the moment is Blockbuster, which announced today it is filing for bankruptcy as iTunes, Netflix and the Internet have scorched it to the ground.
Looking ahead, there are other companies that could falter in a similar way, even in terms of everyday lingo.
Take Precision Tune. Its category of oil change is a highly competitive but scattered one, with many players. There are the direct competitors, like Jiffy Lube, tire retailers, auto parts stores with garages next to them (like many Merchants attached to some Advance Auto Parts) and the biggest fish in the pan, the dealers.
It’s an industry that keeps adding players yet remaining stagnant, which means the leaders are losing market share.
The industry is rope for change and innovation. What makes that so potentially damaging to Precision Tune is it has an additional problem: Its name. The name of Precision Tune has two things going against it. One, the name is aligned with its technology, which is both meaningless on an emotional level and becomes passé as soon as the technology advances.
The other problem is an even simpler: Who says they are going to their car tuned up anymore? That’s like something out of the 80s. Instead, consumers say they are getting the oil changed and, even if there is more likely a higher emotional intensity existing in the market, at least direct competitor Jiffy Lube suggests something other than the technology (fast service). It’s worth noting however, that “lube” has a similar problem as “tune,” although it’s closer to reality than “tune.”
To redefine your brand – whether you change your name or not – means you must understand the currents running in the market, which we have examined in this industry ourselves.
Companies like Precision Tune, which are associated with old technology, need to ask themselves the hard questions so they remain viable in the market. Either that, or they may be making the same announcement soon that Blockbuster made today.