Monday, September 12, 2005

Is your brand evolving?

Watching the U.S. Open tennis final — even though watching tennis is something I rarely do anymore — was interesting for one reason. It was another opportunity to see Andre Agassi in his role as the grand old man of tennis. (I was probably more appreciative of Agassi after seeing him around the pool at a resort during a summer trip. More than once over a few days, I saw him and Steffi Graf struggling to travel from poolside to their suite with two kids, toys, towels, diaper bags, etc — sans entourage. Nothing like seeing someone famous being human to make them seem more, well, human. I even saw them at the valet stand getting out of their rented minivan. At that point, I actually started to wonder if I wasn't a player in some marketing ruse, but they did seem quite happy with that Toyota Previa.)

Remember the youthful Andre Agassi? The frosted mane, the pink shorts, the behavior that included spitting at an umpire — so easily despised. And oh so 80's. Today, Andre Agassi is proof that everything can change and improve. Now he's the aging underdog with the creaky back, getting by on guts and guile. Even in a finals defeat, he won.

It might seem shallow to equate personal development with brand evolution. But what would have happened to Andre Agassi if he had failed to move beyond his earlier self? My guess is that he'd be resigned to appearances in those reality shows that feature C-level celebrities. Maybe that truly awful one on VH1 — I think — where the the barely famous try to lose weight.

When brands struggle, it's usually because they fail to adapt. Consider McDonald's just a couple of years ago or Coca-Cola at this very moment. Even if your brand is hitting the right notes right now, you need to be working diligently to alter it. To find ways to improve it. And, since it's a brand and not a person, even consider removing it and replacing it with an entirely new brand.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:43 AM  
Blogger sammo said...

Agassi as brand, person and perception is always interesting to watch.

Solid insights as usual.

5:50 AM  

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