Wednesday 17 September 2014

The End of Few Indian Brands

Recently, another iconic brand of India decided to wrap up and shut shop. This is the third such case in just last one year - with two common aspects to all three: a) none of these brands could keep up with changing times and b) managed to get heaps of nostalgic stories from people. I am almost inclined to add another commonality to these three: none of the people who so sweetly remembered the 'now-dead-brands' for their nostalgic reasons - had no real connection with these brands in recent times.

The third common point, actually, sums up the entire problem and the reason for these brands to shut shop!

HMT Watches is the recent most to bite the dust...a few months ago, HM's Ambassador (fondly referred as Amby) saw its end and sometime last year, Maruti 800 had been withdrawn. Both, HMT & Amby, had a life span of more than five decades, while M800 was around for three!

My question is: Is it really, truly, sad (or even shocking) for people in today's setting to see the end of these three particular brands? Well, I certainly don't think so...

With brands in the field of watch-making & automobiles (I am restricting this post to these product lines, because of the three Indian brands in question) - have lasted centuries, is it only fair to say that there is something that went wrong with all three - HMT Watches, Amby & M800. It could simply be a matter of falling out of fashion or a bigger issue of becoming dinosaurs in today's consumer's mind.

The point I am trying to make here is: why do we feel sad on the demise of a brand, when it really had started to mean nothing to us in today's scenario? Why, all of a sudden, we get nostalgic for what that brand used to mean decades ago?

I admit, I have never been an HMT watch owner. My father and his father must have owned one, but I have not grown up with any false sense of pride related to HMT as a watch brand. Although, the same I can't say for Amby...I definitely liked the car for what it was, admired it for just that little touch of royalty it used to bring...but, again - could never get myself to own one! M800 - is not quite a point in case because I was no longer their target audience. Maybe, because of no connection with these brands - I feel nothing for them today...however, I doubt I would feel anything just because I used to own a brand many years ago but hadn't used it at all in recent past.

Allow me to explain this with another set of examples: I have been wearing Levi's jeans since 1997 and continue to do so. If this brand decides to shut shop - it will bring out some emotions of sadness, because this brand means something to me today.

The other side of spectrum, for me, would be Power sports shoes (available in Bata outlets). I wore Power sports shoes all my school years, but haven't owned a pair in nearly two decades now. If they decide to shut shop - it wouldn't matter to me at all! Why should I suddenly care for something, just because it has died?

In my view, most of the people writing messages & obits about these 'now-dead-brands' - are doing what they think is the most socially correct thing to do. They don't realise the farce of their words and more so of their actions (to seem sad on the demise of the brand). They just don't want to come across as people who actually, truly don't care anymore!

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