The New Year brings significant challenges for many brands. Here are several brands that are worth keeping an eye on as 2013 unfolds.
J.C. Penney is implementing a major turn-around plan under the leadership of CEO Ron Johnson. Results to date have been fairly grim; sales and profits have slumped and the stock with it. Will J.C Penney stick with the plan? Or will the company be forced to reverse course and compete more on price?
Best Buy is also struggling but for a different reason; the company is trying to compete with growing on-line retailers, especially Amazon. Will Best Buy manage to stabilize the business? Or will the retailer collapse under the competitive pressure?
One of the great business turn-around stories continues to unfold at McDonald’s; to the surprise of many business analysts McDonald’s is still building sales and profits. Will McDonald’s continue to grow? Or will the brand begin to flatten out in 2013, forcing the company to consider adding a second brand to its portfolio?
PepsiCo will receive a lot of attention this year. I suspect by the end of 2013 CEO Indra Nooyi will either be receiving acclaim for getting the beverage business back on track or pursuing other opportunities.
The U.S. auto makers are all companies to watch. Chrysler’s efforts to build the Chrysler brand seem to be working, sparked by some inspired Super Bowl advertising. The challenge is to continue the momentum. The Fiat brand is heading into a critical year in the U.S. market, needing to build on some success coming out of 2012. Revitalizing the Lincoln brand won’t be easy for Ford. Look for early results on that effort mid-year. And people will be watching GM: Will the company manage to revitalize its pared down portfolio of brands?
In the technology world, HP and Microsoft are both facing interesting years. HP, having fallen about as far as a brand can possibly fall, is looking for some sign of hope. Figuring out a positioning would be a good first step. What really is HP, anyway? Microsoft has some promising new products and the money to invest but it is not yet clear if that combination will turn into meaningful growth.
Perhaps the biggest question of all: will Apple continue to grow? Will the company manage to launch a significant new platform and build on its recent success?
For all marketers, a priority this year will be figuring out how to best use social media and mobile. All while driving growth and defending the brand.
Best wishes for 2013.