Once upon a time there was brand that defined a generation of professional women. However, after only 34 years, is this brand ready for retirement? It is a question examined in the Wall Street Journal story, “After Targeting Younger Consumers, Liz Claiborne Hits Snag” (read full article at online.wsj.com). It is a fascinating look at a once iconic brand and its failure to age gracefully.
The article details a series of factors that have contributed to the brand’s now shaky position in the market, It is a cautionary tale for up and coming and established brands. When I first read the article, I was struck by how much I had forgotten about Liz Claiborne. Before reading this today, if asked to name clothing lines, this one would never have come to mind.
Liz Claiborne fell out of favor with their market but also with their biggest customer, Macy’s. Couple this with questionable management decisions and you have a brand marching to the graveyard of “used to be big.” The latest move will make it difficult if impossible for the brand to return to its glory days. JC Penney who has aggressively tried to revitalize their brand in recent years may not attract the same audience that once loved Liz.
We can all learn from the Liz story, don’t allow your customers to become bored with your brand. Listen to your market even as you expand to to add new customers and keep it fresh in the marketplace. And if the person leading your company has 11 straight quarters of losses, it may be time to keep the brand but retire the leader.