We’re only halfway through 2016 and it’s been quite a year so far. On a global scale, there are the ramifications of #Brexit, our country is in the midst of what looks to be a particularly entertaining Presidential race, and one hero man finally delivered on his promise to bring an NBA title to the city of Cleveland. All that being said, the world has continued to turn (and will do so for the foreseeable future).
The Big Name Brand Game
This year, a few of the most recognizable brands and companies in the world have been scattered throughout our timelines. There’s been no shortage of twists & turns, scandals, and everything in between. These are a few brands that are demonstrating how to make an impact on their respective industry landscape, and how they’ll carry influence throughout 2016 and beyond.
Nintendo: Nostalgia Machine
To put it bluntly, Nintendo hasn’t had the best success in the video game console wars. Their most recent console, the WiiU, has underperformed compared to initial expectations, but that hasn’t stopped the juggernaut from pumping out hits on their handheld platforms like the 3DS. However, to the surprise of many fanboys and gamers such as myself, Nintendo have forced themselves back into the conversation with the announcement, demonstration, and subsequent hype surrounding their upcoming blockbuster The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
The reason that Nintendo can essentially go dark for years at a time and then immediately become relevant is because they have a weapon none of the other consoles or brands do: nostalgia. In one of the earliest episodes of AMC’s Mad Men, Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) captures this when pitching to a client:
“Well, technology is a glittering lure. But there’s the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash, if they have a sentimental bond with the product. “
Like so many people, Nintendo was a staple of our home growing up—whether it’s Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64, Pokemon on the Gameboy, or accidentally throwing a Wii Remote into the TV during an intense game of Wii Tennis.
The brand name itself invokes a different memory for everyone, which is why it continues to be part of the public consciousness. I have no doubt that one day I’ll witness my own children’s first experience with whatever the future of Nintendo holds.
Volkswagen: Pushing a Rock Up a Hill
In a word, ‘yikes’. Like Nintendo, Volkswagen has had a rough go of it recently, and the light at the end of the tunnel might be further away than people realize. After getting caught up in a massive emissions scandal over the last few years, the company is facing a $15 billion (with a B) lawsuit in just the United States. On top of dealing with global legal ramifications, our very own Captain Planet, Leonardo DiCaprio, is lined up to produce what is sure to be an Oscar-bait movie about the scandal, bringing even more shade to the brand.
Prior to this, Volkswagen had great cache in the public eye, mostly thanks to memorable advertisements like ‘The Force’:
The situation with Volkswagen is still playing out, but it’s going to be very interesting to see how their actual sales are impacted. This is one of the largest stories involving an automotive industry leader in years. Their success or failure is going to be a great case study in the world of brand management, but we still have a while before the results are in. Other key players in the industry are certainly playing close attention and getting their war chests ready in case they need to deal with a similar issue in the future.
Microsoft: The Forgotten Behemoth
Hey guys, in case you were wondering, Microsoft is doing just fine. The original tech giant, Microsoft has quietly been rolling out new software, dabbling in both virtual and augmented reality, and not so quietly buying Linkedin for $26 billion. While they may not be in the spotlight similar to Apple, Microsoft is constantly evolving their brand in ways that keep them familiar. They’ve powered through a number not so great releases, including Windows Vista, which is widely regarded as one of their least successful ventures.
Despite those hiccups, Microsoft kept trucking along. It’s an incredible story of resilience adaptability. I don’t see a future where Microsoft isn’t influencing the technology landscape, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they introduce a game changing platform or software to remind the world of their capabilities.
Learn From The Past, Brand The Future
Nintendo, Volkswagen, and Microsoft are some of the most recognizable brands in the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re impervious to dealing with challenges. Keep an eye on their progress over the next years, since it’s going to be very interesting to see the campaigns they develop, and how their respective industries follow suit.
About the Author
Alex Barczak is a Content Specialist at OMNI Online Solutions. He produces distinct and engaging content written for each client’s unique persona while incorporating the latest SEO practices.