Rotten Leftovers or Hidden Gems: Can Liquidators Reuse A Failed Brand?

By Mark Skoultchi

April 15, 2009

As I read Amy Zipkin’s article in yesterday’s New York Times about the litany of formerly defunct brand names that have been re-introduced to the market, I kept noodling on the same question: is it easier to launch a new brand name or to reconfigure an old one?

The naming consultant in me would like to think that it is easier to introduce a new brand name. That is, after all, how I make my living. But building brand recognition is expensive, and folks like Sharper Image and Circuit City have spent oodles on their brands over the years. Just because their business models didn’t work doesn’t mean their brands can’t still pull in big bucks. I bet most folks don’t even know that these companies have gone under. I do know these companies are belly up, and yet, if I saw a Sharper Image product on the shelf tomorrow, I’d still give it all the positive associations I had with that brand before they went under. That’s gotta be worth something.

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