Over 88% of the brands part of fortune 500 firms in 1955 had disappeared by 2014. American Enterprise Institute believes that its safe to assume that most of the names part of the today’s list will disappear in next 59 years. It doesn’t take much time for a brand to lose brand relevance and become irrelevant. The churn in many ways is a sign of dynamism and innovation that’s part of the consumer-oriented market economy.

Disrupt to Build Relevance

Yahoo as a brand for the last decade was under existential crisis with users and industry experts believing that the brand has become increasingly irrelevant. The team at Yahoo did everything possible to find new meaning to their existence right from changing their home page design to acquiring new brands like Tumblr, BrightRoll to name a few but nothing made the brand relevant to their audience anymore. For example, this is what the team at Quartz wrote when Yahoo redesigned its home page or this what the CEO of AutoDesk had to say about Yahoo.

Reaching the point of irrelevance means that no matter what you do or say people don’t take you seriously or they don’t listen to you altogether. Irrelevance is like quicksand for brands once you get trapped in it there is no coming out.

David Aaker author of Brand Relevance says building brand relevance involves presenting customers with a choice compared to which competitors’ offerings seem irrelevant. It’s a route that break-through brands have taken to growth & profitability. When Apple launched iPod, it created a new category and made its competitors irrelevant. Similarly, every industry has its stories of innovators who created a league of their own and bought themselves years and sometimes decades with no real competitor.

Brand Relevance: Disruptive Technology or Disruptive Innovation

Brands which embrace disruptive technology or disruptive innovation make competitors irrelevant. Uber with its unique business model has disrupted private taxi market across the world. Harvard Business Review suggests that compelling innovation-driven growth can be achieved using disruptive innovation.