Reviving old brands sometimes makes more sense than creating new ones
“CASH IN THE ATTIC” is one of the jewels in the BBC's crown: “The show that turns hidden treasures into cash and viewers' dreams into reality”. The format is as addictive as it is straightforward. A camera crew turns up at an ordinary-looking house and searches the attic and other nooks and crannies for things that might have hidden value. The choicest items are sold at auction. Joy is unconfined when a ragged doll turns out to be worth a small fortune. The business world has its own version of this game: entrepreneurs rummaging in corporate attics for neglected but valuable old brands. It is thanks to such treasure-hunting that you can ride an MV Agusta motorbike, wear a Shinola watch, stuff yourself with Twinkies, wash them down with Orangina and play a Gibson guitar.
“阁楼里的宝藏”是BBC最热门节目之一，“把束之高阁的宝贝换成钱，把观众的梦想变成现实”。节目形式不仅简单，甚至容易上瘾。一个拍摄团队来到一座普通的房子里，到阁楼和其他边边角角搜寻可能存在价值的东西。最珍贵的那部分会被拍卖。当一个破旧的布娃娃卖出了一小笔钱时，总能带来抑制不住的喜悦。商界也存在这样的游戏：企业家们会从公司的阁楼里翻找被忽略的、却仍有价值的老品牌。也正是因为这些寻宝活动，我们才能骑上奥古斯塔摩托车，戴 Shinola手表，吃Twinkies 奶油蛋糕吃到撑，再喝上一大罐 Orangina，玩一会儿吉布森吉他。
There are two reasons why such rummaging is so popular. The first is that companies often discard brands that contain plenty of what marketers call “equity”. In plain English, ones that people still remember fondly. Healthy brands can be sacrificed on the altars of corporate takeovers and restructurings: Brim Coffee bit the dust when a succession of mergers and acquisitions left it sharing a stable with Maxwell House; Procter & Gamble abandoned White Cloud toilet paper to focus on its Charmin brand. Or they can become orphans when their parent companies die: former household names that are currently looking for a new guardian include Hidden Magic hairspray, Climax ginger ale and Puss'n Boots cat food.
这种翻箱倒柜之所以如此盛行，原因有二。首先，公司经常会丢弃一些充满了营销专家所说的“资产”的品牌。简单来说，就是那些仍然存在于人们美好记忆中的品牌。好品牌有时会成为公司收购重组时的牺牲品。在一系列收购兼并之后， Brim咖啡不得不和麦斯威尔咖啡同处一室，最后一败涂地；宝洁为了集中发展 Charmin，抛弃白云卫生纸。有时，当母公司破产，旗下品牌便成了孤儿： Hidden Magic喷发定型剂,Climax 姜汁汽水和 Puss'sn Boots猫食都曾是家喻户晓的名字，如今全在寻找下一位东家。
The second reason is that reviving an old brand often beats spending months and millions on creating a new one, with a lower risk of failure. If something has worked before there is a good chance that it will work again. Old brands come with ready-made logos, slogans, jingles and memories. Brim Coffee's previous owners had spent 35 years and hundreds of millions of dollars drumming the phrase “Fill it to the rim—with Brim” into American brains. Besides equity, another folkloric quality brands are said to need is “authenticity”: whereas Wally Olins, a veteran branding expert, warns creators of new brands that the worst thing they can do is to try to fake this (see article), old brands are more likely to possess it.
第二大原因，重启老品牌经常好过花数月时间、砸数百万美元来创造新品牌，而且失败的可能性还更低。一样东西如果曾经成功过，就极可能再一次成功。老品牌有现成的标志，口号，广告语和回忆。 Brim咖啡曾经的老东家们花了 35年时间、投入数亿美元让“倒满杯缘为止”这句话深深烙在美国人脑海中。除了资产，另一个传说中的品牌必要特质是“正宗”。资深品牌专家威利·奥林斯警告新品牌创造者们，他们能做的最糟糕的事情就是装得很“正宗”；而老品牌则更可能拥有这一特质。
The simplest version of this strategy is for a company to revive one of its own brands. The textbook case is Volkswagen's revival of the Beetle in the 1990s. VW played on nostalgia for the 1960s, when the Beetle became the semi-official vehicle of the hippie movement, while reassuring purchasers that it was thoroughly modern: “less flower, more power”. A second version is for a healthy firm to take over an ailing rival's brands and breathe new life into them. BMW acquired Mini when it bought Rover in 1994, retooled the car to German standards, and made it a huge success.
实施这种策略，最简单的方式莫过于重启公司过去已有的品牌。一个被写进教科书中的案例是上世纪九十年代大众甲壳虫的重生。大众打的是六十年代的复古牌，当时它可是嬉皮运动人士的半官方座驾，但同时它让买家坚信这款车从内到外都是现代的：“更少点缀，更多动力。“第二种方式，是让一家健康的企业收购正在衰落的对手的品牌，并让其重现生机。 1994年，宝马收购路虎之后获得 Mini品牌。重整为德国标准汽车之后， Mini大获成功。
There are now companies that, like the BBC's antique-hunters, specialise in rooting out undervalued gems. The Himmel Group, based in Florida, buys old health and beauty brands and relaunches them with a blitz of advertising. Its successes include Ovaltine, a hot drink, Topol tooth polish and Lavoris, a mouthwash. Private-equity groups have also become enthusiastic recyclers. In 2006 the Blackstone Group and Lion Capital joined forces to buy the rights outside America to Orangina, a soft-drink brand discarded by Cadbury, and sold it three years later to Suntory of Japan, realising a 30% annual return on equity. In 2013 Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co acquired Hostess Brands for 410m, and relaunched Twinkies and Ho Hos in what it billed as “the sweetest comeback in the history of ever”. Supermarkets are also savvy purchasers, buying old brands and keeping their distinctive appearance, to justify charging a bit more than for their own-label products. Walmart did this with White Cloud nappies andtissues, for example.
和BBC的寻宝活动一样，如今有一些公司专门挖掘那些价值被低估的宝藏。福罗里达的 Himmel集团买下老的保健和美容品牌，通过广告轰炸再次将它们推向市场。成功案例包括热饮料 Ovaltine，美白牙膏Topol 和漱口水 Lavoris。同样热衷于回收再利用的还有私募集团。 2006年，黑石集团和利安资本合力买下 Orangina的海外所有权。Orangina是吉百利公司丢弃的软饮料品牌。三年后，两家投资公司将其卖给日本的三得利，获得 30%的年股本回报率。2013年，阿波罗全球管理和梅特珀罗斯公司以 4.1亿美元买下美国著名面包生产商 Hostess Brands，并重启 Twinkies和Ho Hos 两大品牌，被其称作“史上最甜蜜回归”。超市也是精明的买家，买下老品牌，保留其独特的外观，以便收取比自有品牌稍高一些的价格，如沃尔玛对白云尿布和餐巾纸的处理方式。
Some striking examples of brand revival are the work of individual entrepreneurs. Shinola was once such a successful producer of shoe polish that Americans reprimanded each other with the phrase, “You can't tell shit from Shinola.” Tom Kartsotis, a college drop-out turned businessman, revived the name for a new company that produces luxury watches in Detroit and sells them for up to 975 each. The East India Company once controlled half the world's trade, commanded its own army and issued its own currency, but went out of business in 1873. Sanjiv Mehta, an Indian diamond trader, bought the brand in 2005 and applied it to a new, upmarket retail chain.
一些品牌的惊天大逆转是由企业家们个人完成的。 Shinola曾是极成功的鞋油品牌，美国人在埋怨对方的时候甚至会说：“你啥也不知道，连 Shinola都不知道！”大学辍学改做生意的 Tom Kartsotis在一家新公司重塑了Shinola品牌，这是一家底特律的奢侈表公司，手表每块能卖到 975美元。东印度公司曾经控制世界一半的贸易，有自己的军队和货币，却在 1873年破产。2005 年，印度珠宝交易商 Sanjiv Mehta买下这一品牌，以此命名一家新开的高端零售连锁店。
Whole lotta lolly
There is no guarantee that your dead brand in the attic will turn into cash: Daimler tried to revive its Maybach luxury marque as a competitor to Rolls-Royce and Bentley, but sales were dire, and it gave up in 2013. You need to choose your brand well—there is a big difference between Shinola and, say, Enron—and manage its revival carefully. Many of the most successful exercises in reviving brands are also exercises in repositioning them. Henry Juszkiewicz revitalised Gibson Guitars because he focused on selling to ageing lawyers and doctors, who were willing to pay 20,000 to own the same type of guitar as Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, rather than struggling young musicians. He has since added brands such as Slingerland drums and Wurlitzer jukeboxes to his portfolio. Claudio Castiglioni revived his family's MV Agusta brand by repositioning a classic racing bike as a mid-market roadster.
没人能保证，在阁楼里躺着的品牌一定能赚钱：为与劳斯莱斯和宾利抗衡，戴姆勒下力气复兴奢侈品牌梅巴赫，但业绩暗淡，最终在 2013年放弃。你必须选择一个好品牌： Shinola和，比方说安然，差别是巨大的；同时你还必须小心处理。品牌复兴最成功的案例当中，有很多对品牌进行了重新定位。 Henry Juszkiewicz之所以能让吉布森吉他死而复生，是因为他专注于年长的律师和医生，而不是生存都成问题的年轻音乐人，理由是前者愿意掏两万美元，买下和艾瑞克·克莱普顿、吉米·佩吉同一品牌的吉他。之后他又加上了 Slingerland鼓和Wurlitzer 自动唱机。克劳迪奥·卡斯蒂格利奥尼复兴家族品牌 MV奥古斯塔，就是通过将经典竞赛自行车重新定位为中端敞篷跑车。
Such quibbles aside, rediscovering and restoring a neglected brand, tapping into consumers' fond memories of times gone by, is surely a cost-effective way of competing in a marketing landscape where start-up costs are prohibitive and the chances of failure are high. If capitalism is a system of creative destruction, in Joseph Schumpeter's famous phrase, it is a system of creative reconstruction as well.
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Fragile things, such as big banks or debt-laden consumers, tend to break under stress.
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