Product Managers: Can An Old Brand Help Your New Brand?

Product Managers brought the Mini Cooper back from the dead
Product Managers brought the Mini Cooper back from the dead
Image Credit

Just imagine the problem that a product manager who has a brand new product is facing as he or she creates their product development definition: nobody knows anything about their product. They’ve never even heard of it. If only there was some way to “jump start” the product’s marketing program. Oh wait, there is – bring a dead brand back to life!

How To Get An Old Brand

In order to determine if the old brand / new brand tactic will work for you, you first have to find out if there is an old brand that used to exist in your market segment that your potential customers have a strong positive association with. If there was such a brand, your next step is going to be to do the legwork that is going to be required in order to determine just exactly who now owns the rights to the brand name.

One very important thing that you are going to have to keep in mind is that the old brand may have some baggage associated with it. By this I mean that you need to realize that the old brand, for whatever reason, went out of business. What this may mean for you is one of two things.

The first is that there may be outstanding debt associated with the old brand that still needs to be paid off. Also, as the old brand went out of business, quality may have started to slip and this could mean that the brand’s reputation has some problems that will need to be fixed. Ignore this and you’re just going to end up damaging your product manager resume by bringing the old brand back to life.

New Things To Do With Old Brands

All too often product managers fall into the trap of thinking that if they can revive an old brand, they’ll be able to win over that brand’s former customers. It turns out that all too often things don’t work out this way.

Instead, it turns out that product managers have the additional task of making old brand relevant to today’s customers. Nostalgia will only get you so far. What you are going to find is that you are going to have to spend both time and effort in making changes to the old brand’s identity in order to boost its popularity. With a little luck you’ll be able to do this because you won’t be tied to the brand’s history.

As a product manager who wants to revive an old brand in order to associate it with your new product, you are going to have to strike a delicate balance between what is old and what is new. You’ll have to retain some connection with the past even as you update the brand to relate it to your new product.

What All Of This Means For You

Product managers who want to jump start their product might want to look into the possibility of buying an old brand and bringing it back to life. Even though this may not have been a part of your product manager job description , you need to look into it. This will require some research on your part – is there an old brand in your product’s market segment that would be recognized by your potential customers?

It’s important for product managers to realize that the customer base that the newly revived old brand will appeal to may be different than the base that the original brand appealed to. Finding ways to keeping a connection to the old brand’s history while building new customers is what a product manager is going to have to spend time doing.

Finding an old brand to bring back to life can be hard work. However, it may provide you with a way to leapfrog your competition. Take the time to research your market segment’s history and see if your customers have any fond memories of past products that no longer exist. If they do, then you may have just found your product’s ticket to success!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: If an old brand had a bad reputation, do you think that it’s worth bringing it back to life?

Click here to get automatic updates when
The Accidental Product Manager Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Product Manager Newsletter are now available. It’s your product – it’s your career. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Pricing really should not be all that hard to do, right? Pricing is just another part of your product development definition. Find out what your customer is willing to pay, design a product to be sold at that price that will give you a 25% profit margin, and poof you should be all good to go. However, somehow life never seems to be that easy when it comes to creating the right price for your product and that’s why you need to know the following 5 product manager pricing secrets…