Each year I highlight a few brands to watch, sometimes brands that I think are poised for great success and sometimes brands that seem to be in trouble. With the end of 2018 coming right up, it is time to look back and see how I did this year on my predictions.
I predicted that 2018 would be the end of Sears, the year that the company would shut down and liquidate. I didn’t get this one completely correct; as the year ends Sears is still in business. However, I think I can claim partial credit. Sears filed for bankruptcy in 2018, closed many stores and, as the year ends, is hanging on by a thread.
My big question for Apple heading into 2018: could the firm maintain its momentum? At some point, wouldn’t the iPhone reach saturation?
I anticipated that yes, Apple would have another big year, driven by higher pricing. That has proven to be the case; Apple continues to push prices up on iPhones, and many people continue to buy them. This year, Apple became the first U.S. company to reach a valuation of $1 trillion. While Apple’s stock is falling as the year ends, 2018 goes down as a remarkable year.
The most astonishing brand in the world remains Donald Trump. His comments and actions baffle Americans, allies and foes alike. My question for 2018: would Donald Trump mellow? As the year started, his brand was exceptionally polarizing. Simply dialing things back a bit would broaden his appeal without losing his base.
I anticipated Trump would not take this approach and that has certainly been the case. As 2018 ends, Trump continues to make comments and take actions that only heighten the polarizing nature of his brand.
It is hard to think of a brand that has stumbled more than Yoplait. The brand, slow to respond to Chobani and other new yogurts, has lost share, revenue and profit over the past several years. My question for 2018: Would the brand successfully fight back?
I anticipated that Yoplait would continue to struggle in yogurt and this has proven to be the case. Despite launching new products, Mills is still having trouble dealing with competitive pressure. If you miss your window to defend your brand, it is hard to recover.
The NFL, one of the world’s strongest sports leagues, started 2018 in a difficult place, dogged by stories of domestic abuse and head injuries. The question for 2018: would viewers and advertisers back away? In particular, would the Super Bowl lose some of its remarkable power as a marketing venue?
I correctly anticipated that the Super Bowl would remain strong, attracting powerful brands willing to invest millions of dollars.
I didn’t anticipate that the NFL would rebound in quite such a fashion; viewership is up this year, a dramatic rebound, and all the more remarkable given the overall decline in television viewing. It was a great year for the NFL.
I will post my 2019 brands to watch in the next few days.
Happy New Year!