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Can Firestone get back on the road?
Bridgestone could spend heavily to rehabilitate the brand –- as it’s doing now. Or it could drop the Firestone name in favor of Bridgestone. Or it can create a new name altogether.
Brianna Corrigan, Marketing Specialist - January 31, 2001
The immediacy of the Internet and 24-hour news means that hard-earned brand equity can irreparably destroy a brand. I’m not certain they’ll survive this without a name change.
Robert Croslin, Brand Manager - January 31, 2001
One word: Pinto. When a brand becomes synonymous with death and destruction, there's no point in trying to cover it up or resurrect the name. Better to keep Bridgestone and discontinue Firestone altogether.
Susan Applegate, Account Executive - February 7, 2001
I'm just fed up with all this talk about firestone... I think firestone is doing all it can to make sure their tires are safe. I still trust firestone AND ford.
Judy McGee, mother - February 8, 2001
I guess Firestone is at the stage where it should survey its dealers. Are they confident they could make their customers proud again if Firestone took what actions for the future? If not, changing the name may be part of establishing a new identity but by no means the whole. One extra wobbly is US lawyers whose claims may be so large that Firestone has to withdraw from the US...
Chris Macrae, Brand Charterer, Marketing Electronic Learning NET - February 8, 2001
We had this discussion a couple of weeks ago on the European platform for brands; the round-up was that we all think (approx. 25 reactions) that the Firestone brand can survive this incident; they have enough heritage, but they will need to be more careful in the future, they will be watched, believe me. I personally agree that one way or another they have lost some equity, e.g., in belief. It will now depend on the people who manage the brand. Good luck BRAND FIRESTONE.
Erik Saelens, Brand Knowledge Worker, www.brandhome.com - February 12, 2001
I wonder how much of the current 'lack of confidence' in Firestone is a real consumer issue and how much is just media spin. I don't think most ordinary people really care that much.
Chris Watson, Freelance Consultant - February 13, 2001
Consumers nowadays are too cynical and unforgiving. I don't think a name change will be enough - everyone will know that it's still the same company. I think things look pretty bad for them.
Brenda Chapman, Account Director - February 13, 2001
Consumers are also quick to forget. Tylenol's a good example of that.
Frederik Gustafson, Student - February 13, 2001
I hate to sound wishy-washy but I am not sure. J&J bounced back with Tylenol but also better handled PR matters. And, Tylenol was able to make tangible changes to the product (safety seal, foil caps, etc.) that immediately bolstered consumer confidence. It will take some smart thinking to do the same kind of thing with a tire. I do know that a very normal and smart friend of mine changed the tires on her brand new Explorer just because they were Firestone. When people start avoiding your brand "just because," it is pretty tough to rebound.
Jonathan Schneider, Square One Research - February 19, 2001
The focus should be on creating value for shareholders - brands are a means to an end and should be managed as such. I can't believe that anyone would want to waste money re-developing Firestone. It's a spent brand which has been hung out to dry by both Ford and Bridgestone. I think they should just give up and move on.
Raymond Perrier, Managing Director, Interbrand NY - February 20, 2001
Chris Watson & Frederik Gustafson: You made the point. Just because consumers do get the news faster through internet doesn't make their brains have smaller meshes --- they 'll be forgiving & forgetting like they forgave the phoenix tyres coming off the steel belt 20 years ago, like they forgot that a steak used to be a cow and needs to be slaughtered prior to joining a lettuce leave on a hamburger and as they tend to forget that a flat roadrunner usually was run over by a car. Just give them something new to rage at like the funny idea that a London double decker bus should perform good in an offroad test (in analogy to the test series with the a-series) and they will be happy to drop Firestone out of their active memory.
Ulli Dorn, housewife - February 26, 2001
I think this is really a US issue that has bypassed the rest of the world. I'm not sure that anyone in the UK, for example, really cares.
Susan Milligan, Journalist - February 27, 2001
Firestone stonewalled far too long. They should have applied the lessons learned from Tylenol: Act very quickly and do everything possible to appear forthcoming. The Firestone brand's main attributes now are poor quality, corporate arrogance and danger. The brand is dead.
Eric Whittington, Communications Editor - February 27, 2001
All the behaviour surrounding Firestone suggests a company with poor 'Brand Manner's'. They'll need to dig very deep to rediscover their brand, and make it holistic again. Given the unforgiving, quasi commodity nature of the tyre and its dependence on the OE market, I doubt they will succeed.
Hamish Pringle, Director, Brand Beliefs Limited - March 5, 2001
I'll always remember Firestone's 721 radial ... "7 wrapped around 2 wrapped by 1" ... it's bigger because it's metric ... maybe that's where they went wrong ??? I can't figure out how they've survived this long ...
Anonymous - March 5, 2001
back to debate
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