10 Reasons Why Kodak, Blackberry, Yahoo & Other Major Brands Fail

The announcement of Kodak going bankrupt was a shocker.  Not a shocker because you couldn’t see it coming, but a shocker because yet another once iconic, innovative brand is on life support.  This has been a work in progress for quite some time, as there were front-page newspaper articles in the late 1990’s showing that Kodak had to lay off 10,000 employees. (Writing on the wall)

There are definite reasons why these companies are dying and those same reasons contributed to the failure of other predeceased brands.  American Airlines – Bankrupt, Yahoo – Up for Sale, RIM Blackberry – Stick A Fork In Em’ and Sears is closing stores around the country.  The list of these major brands that will soon be a part of the history books continues to increase.

How can these brands find themselves in the grips of extinction?  The same way that you, your organization, church, non-profit or name your favorite brand can end up in the same place.  You should see a developing theme as most are in the same vein.

10 Reasons Why Kodak, Blackberry, Yahoo & Other Major Brands Fail

  • 1. Inability to Innovate – Unable to produce new, noteworthy and fruit producing ideas.
  • 2. Inability to Stay Ahead of The Times – Only look at the here and now, no forward thinking.
  • 3. No Adjustments – Not adjusting to the market place or technology of competitors.
  • 4. Uncle Rico Syndrome – Just like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite was living off of his 1983 successes, many brands are living off of yesterday’s wins.
  • 5. The Top Stays The Same – Unwillingness to change the key leadership players (especially in upper management).
  • 6. Inbred Syndrome – Only hire from within and unwilling to bring outside folks with fresh eyes and fresh perspectives into the fold.
  • 7. Reluctance to Take Risks – Playing it safe for a prolonged a period of time can be detrimental.  Most brand success stories have many instances of taking risks.
  • 8. Refuse to Surround Themselves With and Retain The Best – Letting key players leave without creating opportunities for them to stay.  Some of the best innovations from high profile brands come from key players that were acquired from another brand.
  • 9. Unwillingness To Change – They simply want things to be the way that they used to be.
  • Inser Your Reason Of Choice 
This could have been the #1 Reason Why Brands Fail – Unwilling to change, adapt and stay ahead of the curve.  As my buddy @v_deas from grpfly.com says “Fly Or Die.”
Share your thoughts on why brands fail.  Add to the list.
  • Tssivyer

    Great post I like it. For me I would think you were only talking about RIMMas they are in my backyard and know many people that work there. But I also see how those same things apply to ministry.

    • ScottWilliams

      Absolutely, it’s unfortunate for blackberry.  There are Blackberry churches around the country that don’t even realize it.

      • AmberAE

        12. Because their customer service sucks. 

        I worked customer service for six years and have been SO grateful how it has helped me manage my business. But these people apparently either don’t care or don’t listen. Sometimes when a customer makes a comment, you have to weed through the words to hear the real problem. These companies don’t do that, and instead throw it to the way side. Part of me regrets seeing companies go down, but the other part of me says it’s about time!

  • I’m just stoked that you included a Napoleon Dynamite reference. Heck yes!

    • ScottWilliams

      Such a classic…  I think I saw that a regular weekly cartoon version of it was coming out

  • Sbelliott

    Great post!  It hit me this morning that God doesn’t have cruise control….He is Autobahn only…full steam ahead!

    • ScottWilliams

      thx for the comment and the visual

  • 11. Refuse to listen to customers. We’ve all seen what happens when businesses do unpopular things (BofA, GoDaddy) Those two companies will stay in business because they listened to their customers.

    • ScottWilliams

      Customer service and knowing your existing customers and potentially new customers voice is critical.

  • Anonymous

    I was a die hard Blackberry fan.  However, they definitely fell under your #1.  Unwilling To Change or I would say “stay fresh” because people are always looking for the newest and most innovative toy.  I have learned from Apple that sometimes staying a little behind the curve but DESIGNING well makes for success i.e. MMS, Multi-Tasking, Etc…  Go Win!

    • ScottWilliams

      Why do you speak the truth that us Apple folks don’t like to hear. 🙂  Let me put a spin on it, sometimes behind the curve is ahead of the curve.  behind is the new ahead

  • David Pylyp

    Is PayPal the ONLY viable player?  Apparently not.   Blackberry also has other products.   While we are consumed with everything Apple in North America; In Europe Nokia and Samsung are sluggish it out.  PC and iMac are not done duking it out.

    Innovation and application go hand in hand.   We need to demonstrate value to stay relevant.  

    David Pylyp
    Living in Toronto

    • ScottWilliams

      Well said, and it is always a different story in other parts of the world…  I love that innovation and application statement… Thanks for the comment

  • Uncle Rico syndrome, wow, love it and so true.
    #9 Is another huge one, gotta have the best
    People in the game to give you a chance to win.
    Past performance doesn’t guarantee future success.

    • ScottWilliams

      I agree is you want to win you have to put the best players on the field.  As charles barkley says, “It’s not about X’s and O’s, it’s about Jim’s and Joe’s” 🙂

  • All are great points. Take away these fat salaries and incentivize everyone by the revenue and marketshare they create – EVERYONE is a salesperson, everyone is in customer service. Being comfortable is a death sentence, it’s vanilla and no one goes out of their way for a vanilla company or experience.

    • ScottWilliams

      Being comfortable is a death sentence…  They just had a story on the local news about how superintendents of school districts that were on the “Needs improvement” list for student performance were getting huge bonuses and made really nice salaries.

      • Not surprising. don’t even get me started on local, state or federal government. The incompetence in this country is amazing.

  • In relating this to churches I see a lot closing their doors because of #1, #2, #5, and #10. Some churches get “stuck” with leadership that is failing because that is the way it has been…. and its almost like those pastors are tenured.

    The Gospel should never shut down.

  • Nice post, but I only see nine reasons. What happened to #6?

  • Rayj146

    I predict that facebook will be added to that list soon

  • There are a number of other reasons, but it all starts with the Leadership. Your #8 point is underappreciated. I disagree with #5. I fully believe if you have a group of great Level 4 & 5 leaders, you will always be innovative and near or at the top because they’ll know when to change and when to stay the course.

  • Guest

    Sad reading this. I was at Kodak for 16 years while all of the above was happening.

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