The One Constant—Do We Really Have to Say It? Change.
The fact is that a brand audience can change. Like the people they are comprised of, they age, their tastes evolve, and their needs change with them. In short, they grow up, sometimes old. Does your brand move with them—or can it meet the next generation in a similar space as the previous audience? Can it keep both?
One thing for sure is that audiences have the ability to move and adapt much, much faster than ever before. However long your previous audience cycle was, you can almost assuredly expect the next one to last half as long.
It’s Not About the Years
“A brand can be very aged, but still be young and modern in its consumers’ mind.” Jean-Marc Lehu, Communication and Media PhD Management, Université de Paris
Time and age don’t define a legacy or mature brand. The brand audience does. Many of the world’s most beloved brands are seemingly ageless. Even if they are decades or sometimes centuries old, and by any measure mature, they are not in decline. When consumers begin to neglect a brand is when the drop begins. This is when the audience begins to shrink and the trouble to start.
Your audience still loves your brand. That’s the good news. The bad news? They don’t think about you anymore.
Research shows that most of these declining brands are still appreciated by their audience. The audience still likes them, but they don’t purchase or engage with them anymore. It is not necessarily a reflection of the brand’s quality. It could be because the brand seems too familiar to an audience looking for something new, or just appears dated compared to competitors. When that happens, market share drops, sales slip, and eventually those brands disappear from the audiences’ memory.