The best (and worst) of 2014: Part 1

This is the first of two seasonal posts that look back at the best (and worst) of branding in 2014.

1. The Blackberry award for belated rejuvenation

Back in January was the first of several posts on the attempts of new CEO John Chen to rescure Blackberry from going bust. His strategy was to re-focus on business customers in search of security and reliability and forget trying to compete in iPhone lookalikes, going back instead to the Blackberry witk keyboard in trackball. Later in the year saw the launch of the distinctive, if slightly strange, Passport phone.

Over the year, the share price has increased +65%, although this is from a low base, an the company is close to breakeven. However, sales continue to shrink at an alarming rate. In 2015 we will see if Chen's renovation saves the company or if his turnaround was too late.

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 16.59.30

2. The Hibu award for name-change nonsense

Back in June I posted here on online directory Hibu's decision to re-change its name back to Yell, only two years after ditching the Yell name. The u-turn back to Yell was prompted by a recognition that "The Yell brand has a strong history, awareness and loyalty amongst our customers.” The killer question is, of course, why it took an expensive and time-consuming re-naming for management to figure this out.

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3. The Uber award for digital innovation

The Uber app for booking taxis impressed me by showing how to truly harness the power of digital technology to deliver real consumer benefits, as covered in this post. Its slick, smart, easy to use and even looks cool. Short term issues with saftey in India and some other countries are clouds on the horizon. But the company is currently valued at a mind-boggling $40billion.


4. The Tesco award for bravery

I first posted on Tesco forgetting what made it famous back in 2012. After after mulitple quarters of falling sales, I posted in July on CEO Philip Clarke finally being sacked. He was replaced with Dave Lewis, from Unilever, who is possibly the bravest businessman in the UK, given the job he has on his hands. In his first few months in the role he uncovered an accounting scandal that had over-stated profits and announced a proft warning, announcing that trading profits for "will not exceed £1.4bn", far below the £1.8bn to £2.2bn range expected by markets.


Part 2 of the 2014 awards will follow in the next post.