Three Iconic Brands That No Longer Exist

by T+B Blog Team on June 2, 2014

Just over a decade ago, the Sony Ericsson brand was dominating the global mobile market and Compaq was one of the most popular PC brands. Nowadays, these two brands and several others have plunged into extinction, some because of the financial crisis, others due to inadequate management or failure to innovate. Once increasingly popular with households, these brands will likely remain unknown to the next generation of consumers.

Bidness Etc takes a look at several iconic brands that were once very popular and explores the reasons why they vanished. Among them is Sony Ericsson, which quickly built momentum soon after its creation as a joint venture between Japanese telecom giant Sony Corp., and Swedish telecom company Ericsson. The company won the hearts of consumers with its mobile phones and was ranked the 36th best global brand on Interbrand’s Top 100 list the year it debuted. But the advent of smartphones, with Apple and Samsung revolutionizing the industry with their iPhone and Android products. was the turning point for Sony Ericsson’s fate. The company was no longer capable of maintaining its leading position, failed to innovate its portfolio, and lost touch with its customers as a result.

A popular brand that fell victim of its own management’s mistake was Compaq. Once responsible for nearly 20% of PC sales in the United States, its management decided to sell the company to Hewlett-Packard in 2001 to prop up its own sales and compete with industry giant IBM. However, management issues coupled with the increasing popularity of smartphones led to a drop in sales for both brands. HP eventually decided to phase Compaq out of its product line-up, and its products can currently be found in only a few Wal-Mart stores.

Mismanagement and a failure to respond to consumers’ changing needs were among the major reasons why another iconic brand, department store Woolworth, disappeared from the market. Set up in 1879, Woolworth was the largest department store in the world in the 1970s, but its robust expansion eventually led to its collapse. The retailer shifted away from five-and-dime discount stores—the model it first introduced—to specialty stores, failing to resist pressure from the likes of Wal-Mart, and eventually closing its stores in the 1990s as a result.

Can you think of other popular brands that have disappeared?

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