End of the line?

Only for laggards?

Only for laggards?

Does nearing the end of the product life cycle justify throwing in the towel? Not always. Some clever companies still make money out of markets that have matured beyond ripening (or even gone into gradual but inevitable long-term decline).

In the 21st century, dominated by computing and breakneck pace developments, would you still produce and market typewriters? There’s not much demand for them any more. But some companies do – like Brother. If you do, you have to stick to the same game rules as companies that sweated out the earlier parts of the bumpy ride throughout the product life cycle:

  • keep overheads to the bare minimum
  • reduce direct product costs
  • accept you may not be able to charge a high price, or do the opposite and go premium
  • hedge your bets (due to low volumes) in other markets
  • minimise advertising spends – focus on quick-win promotions or PR
  • ride on a brand known for other high-profile achievements

Which is where I start to wonder about Brother. Is their brand strong enough in other areas to bear brands coming to the end of their sentence?

Alex Woodruff

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