Seems the strongest brands can stay alive after death. What comes to mind when you hear massage chairs and ionic air purifiers? Ah, Sharper Image. Many a bored Saturdays were spent meandering around those stores and testing gadgets. But alas, the chain went bankrupt.
But wait…don’t count them out. According to the WSJ, Two of the country’s largest retail liquidators (Hilco and Gordon Brothers) are resurrecting the brand to live on in the virtual sense. Other retailers who want to bask in the glow of Sharper Image’s hard-earned brand equity can rent it to make their own gadgets more appealing.
This is the power of brand. Such a strong mental association for people that just borrowing the name after the body has gone cold is worth money. I bet when the CFO’s of those liquidators cash those licensing checks, no one is saying that “branding is just fluffy marketing stuff”, now are they? Hmm?
Here’s the part I love. The fact that they still want to maintain such an upscale, quality brand association that they dictated rules around the look of the Store Closing signs at the retail locations’ close-out sales: “No bright orange signs. You can’t be too schlocky” they said. Now that’s really understanding how to maintain branding.