Brands Will Last Forever… Right?

I was reading this article, 5 Industries On Life Support via Yahoo! that really got me thinking about whether brands can last forever? You see, one of the core tenets of branding – in my humble opinion – is that it needs to stand for or mean something. Beyond the fact that the logo looks attractive and memorable, there must be some rational and emotional meaning attached for a brand to truly resonate with the customer. The trick, of course, is finding that delicate balance between having a brand mean something that is neither too generic (happiness, success, etc.) nor too niche (“the friendliest turtle shell scrubbing brush in this city”, etc.).

This, in turn, led me to think further about whether brands can last forever – since a brand is supposed to stand for something, what if the times change? How can you successfully transform or reinvigorate the brand accordingly? (Well, I suppose I just gave you all the answer as to why branding and rebranding experts will continue to be around for a long, long time! Read here on how to choose a brand consultant).

This line of thought then reminded me of the following clip from the movie, Other People’s Money, starring Danny Devito. I especially liked how Devito’s character, named “Larry the Liquidator”, talked about obsolescence with the example of “the last company around […] that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw”. Enjoy the clip:

What do you think? Will brands last forever? What must they do to keep relevant and be built to last?