The online magazine Brandchannel.com has a useful paper on dead brands by By Sunil Thomas, Ph.D. and Chiranjeev Kohli, both Ph.D. marketing professors. It is called "Reviving Weak and Dead Brands: Insights from Theory and Practice" and addresses cases that include Oldsmobile, PanAm, and Woolworth.
We won't spoil the whole thing, but the smart thing about the paper is that their first recommendation is to increase the quality of the brand. Their conclusion is also good:
Numerous brands including Harley-Davidson, Ovaltine, Puma, and Cadillac have demonstrated that brand death can be prevented. Managers need to constantly watch for signs of brand decline, in the form of problems with brand knowledge, brand differentiation, and customer response. Using a brand equity framework, we suggest that most brands with high levels of awareness or positive brand image are candidates for revival ...Ideas? Comments? Contact the BrandlandUSA editor. We love to hear about old brands being revived, dead brands resuscitated or great brands in jeopardy. We will help spread the word. Click Here To Send E-mail