“The apparel world is littered with companies who ruined their businesses trying to change their image and reach a different customer.”
– Gerald Barnes, the president of Neiman Marcus Direct
quoted in NY Times October 11, 2009 speaking about designer Eileen Fisher and her attempt to reach out to a younger, hipper audience.
Staying relevant is a big challenge for all brands at some point in time. Like people, they can’t be everything to everyone.
This is because brands, again, like people, that come across as insincere or inauthentic are not able to connect with audiences because people can see right through them. It’s similar to how we find “fake” people not trustworthy or credible, and how we’re turned off by people who we feel are trying too hard to be someone they’re not.
I say the best remedy is to “always be yourself” – but make sure that who you are stands for something more timeless and ageless – like Coke standing for Happiness – who doesn’t want to be happy? And Nike standing for empowerment – who doesn’t want to “just do it”?! Being yourself doesn’t mean you don’t evolve – we all evolve, just don’t change overnight and expect people to embrace the new you!
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