Top Brands That May Disappear in 2011

There are many brands that people recognize, but they won’t all be around forever. While that’s unfortunate, it’s part of the way products work. They have a life cycle, just like everything else. Brands usually don’t disappear when they’re highly popular, but they occasionally are taken off of the market before they lose all of their appeal, just to keep them from slowly fading out into nothingness. Here are five of the top brands that you probably won’t see when 2011 is over.

1. Readers Digest

While it was once the top-read magazine in the world, it went into (and came out of) Chapter 11 bankruptcy so it could decrease debt. It also cut down the number of issues it produces, and now only handles 10 issues a year instead of 12. In the past, advertisers were guaranteed a circulation of eight million. Now, the company only guarantees five-and-a-half million readers. While that might seem like a lot, it’s a far cry from eight million. Advertisers care about things like that.

2. Blockbuster Video

For almost 20 years, Blockbuster led the video rental business. Now it’s facing bankruptcy while losing millions of dollars each quarter. Companies like Netflix and Redbox are getting a lot of the profit that Blockbuster used to get. They’re much more convenient and they’re the wave of the future where watching movies is concerned. Getting DVDs by mail and getting movies on demand through satellite and cable are also big reasons for Blockbuster’s demise.

3. Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group

The car rental company has a couple of potential buyers like Hertz and Avis, but even if they buy the company, they probably won’t keep the brand. Dollar Thrifty only made $27 million in a quarter and has more than $1.5 billion in debts and “other obligations.”

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4. T-Mobile

While it’s a popular company with some people and it generally provides good service, it’s just not the top dog in a market that can only support a couple of wireless carriers. At #4 in the rankings, and with revenues steadily declining, it looks like T-Mobile may be on its way out.

5. BP (British Petroleum)

With the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, it’s possible that BP will withdraw from the limelight, separate into different parts, and rename them so that it can get a bit of a fresh start. It’s having some financial problems, too, but not to the extent that it would have to shut down. The brand may disappear, but the company itself will likely just continue under some other name that people don’t readily recognize.

Managing  a brand is tough. From the fierce competition, to the negative press, and everything in between – a brand’s reputation and success is always in jeopardy. While it’s possible that these brands will still be active, and maybe even still popular as 2011 draws to a close, it’s really not that likely. They don’t have the staying power to last that long; they may be replaced by something that people like better or fall apart in the face of financial challenges.