Lessons we Learn From the Failures of Big Brands

Case Study]: Lessons we should Learn From the Failures of Big Brands-Kingfisher, Kodak and Nokia

Well, a planned marketing strategy is the most effective way to increase the brand awareness. However, when the marketing strategies go wrong they can turn into a marketing failure and be the major reason fall a brand.

Maintaining the brand value and strategy is a challenging drive, even when you reach great heights. A brand needs to re-assess its strategies keeping in mind the environment its operating in! A single marketing blunder can destroy your brand completely.

In this era of rapidly changing technology either you have to adapt the change with time or you risk failing and become redundant and irrelevant to the industry one day. In this case study we will try too analysis on the marketing mistakes of these big brands (that had made quite an impact on our lives ) lead to their devastation.

1) The Rise, the Power and the Fall of Kingfisher

About Kingfisher

In 2003, Kingfisher Airlines Limited was founded by Vijay Malllya as a premium and world-class airline group. The airline, based in Bangalore India had more than 400 flights per day (Domestic & International). It used to be the most admired name in Asia-Pacific region.

The Rise of Kingfisher Airlines

At height of its success, it was the 2nd largest airline, in terms of carrying the number of passengers. The quality and comfortable service attracted many passengers in the initial years. And, then the Kingfisher acquired Air Deccan in 2007.

In just 3 years after touching the skies, the first international Bengaluru-London flight in 2008 was launched.

Marketing Strategy

The brand was promoted through all media channels like Radio, Television, Print, Multiplexes, Malls and in their In-flight magazines too.

  • · In just 2 years, the airlines achieved the aviation market share of 10%.
  • · During 2007, they had the most aggressive expansion plans of all Indian carriers.
  • · In June 2007, their influence in the market was increased with the acquisition of 26% shareholding of Air Deccan Airlines.
  • · During February 2009, more than 900,000 passengers flew with Kingfisher giving it the highest marketing share in India.

When did it turn into Non-Performing Asset

· By the end of the March 2008, company was under the debt of INR 934 cr and net losses continued to widen in the following financial year.

· Acquisition of Air Deccan marked the end of Kingfisher Airlines. By the year 2009-10, airlines accumulated the debt of over INR 7,000 cr as the losses continued to pile up. 2010 was the year when it turned into a non-performing asset for banks.

· In 2012, the airlines operations were shut down as the DGCA suspended its flying license.

So, What Went Wrong with a brand with such potential?

  • Lack of Delegation.
  • Low-cost airline aviation airline, Air Deccan was treated as a step-child.

· Unnecessary Burning of Fuel.

· The primary reason that the brand was grounded was that it wasn’t just into one business and trying hands on more than one business. The founder was taking care of different businesses personally without appointing a CEOs to spearhead the business and couldn’t succeed in doing so.

2) Kodak a successful brand, couldn’t evolve with time and failed

Kodak held a dominant position in photographic film in its time. Its tagline “Kodak Moments” was so famous that it was used for promoting events. The American technology company, Kodak, was built on the culture of innovation and change in 1888. The company was invented and marketed by George Eastmen who was a former bank clerk from New York. At that time, it used to be a simple box camera, loaded with 100-exposure roll of film.

Marketing Strategy of Kodak

The real genius of founder Eastman was the out-of –box marketing strategy of the time. He launched an advertising campaign which featured children and women operating the camera with a slogan, “You press the button, we do the rest.”

· In 1935, it produced the first mass-market color film in 16 and 8mm.

· Kodak owned the film market with 90% market share in 1970s.

· Created the first digital camera in 1975.

What led to kodak’s Failure?

A little know fact is that the first digital camera was designed by a Kodak engineer, Steve Sasson in 1975!

But since It was a filmless photography at that time – they didn’t want to threaten their film business… so the marketing of the Digital camera was not done as should have been.

Whereas, other digital companies like Sony, Nikon, Fujifilm took the full advantage of the situation. Sadly, Kodak missed the opportunities in the technology, they themselves had invented!

· Kodak couldn’t get on the nerve of the modern technology and remained in denial for long about digital photography while all the other brands adapted the change by introducing electronic cameras.

· Even before the digital photography they were failing to keep up as its rivalry Fujifilm started doing a better job than them.

1. In January 2012, the big name went bankrupt because of not making the smart move into the digital world fast enough.

2. On February 9, 2012, Kodak announced that it will exit the digital image capture business.

What DO we learn from the History of this BRAND?

The Kodak failed due its deliberateness in transition. The world moved ahead with digital cameras, SD cards and USB cables but the company lingered with films. They didn’t know how to respond in time and technology eventually killed the Kodak films.

3) Nokia marked the beginning of the mobile era… Nokia got acquired by Microsoft

Nokia Corporation was founded in 1865 in Finland. The company was formally known as Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT). The company name was changed to Nokia in 1871. They built the first international mobile phone in 1981 and this marked the beginning of the mobile era.

The Rise of Nokia, Connecting People

· Nokia phone was used in 1991 for making the first GSM call.

· In 1992, they launched Nokia 1101, the first GSM handset which became an instant hit.

· In 1988, Nokia became the world leader in mobile phones.

Marketing Strategy

· Nokia’s Marketing share grew to 74% in March 2006 from 61.5%in October 2005.

· In the color phone category, market share jumped to 59.3% from 40.9%.

The downslide of Nokia

Nokia used to own a large portion of market of smartphone before the iPhone came out in market in 2007. However, their refusal to change and adapt new things led to loss their survival and this ultimately leaded to their demise.

It used to be the leader in its market whereas Samsung was nowhere to be seen. But, Samsung made the move at the right time and gained the success to their market share..

So What led to its failure?

The pioneer brand failed to respond to the completely changed smartphones with full touchscreen and application based operating system. The years passed and they didn’t keep up with the expectation of people and the consumers shifted.

They remained their focus on the Symbian series. Until 2011, company didn’t make the leap of faith onto the Windows phone and due to their slow response they suffered such demise.

Nokia got acquired by Microsoft in 2013.

Stephen Elop, Nokia’s CEO in his speech when Nokia got acquired by Microsoft said that “we didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”. And, as far as the parameters on which success is measured, he was right somewhere that they didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just that they were unable to adapt the change at the right time and so, lost.

The unwillingness to embrace the needed marketing change when required was probably the main cause that turned these brands down. One needs to think and act holistically for growing the brand with time otherwise, if you don’t change, you will definitely get removed from the competition


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