Do you love it, or do you hate it? WITH AMANDA VIGAR, BUSINESS BATTLEAXE.
HAVE you seen that Wayne Rooney's back as Captain of England?" exclaimed the Chief Elf, almost beside himself. "Why are you rolling your eyes?" "Well we've seen it so many times in business," sighed the BattleAxe. "Old names come back like a flash in the pan.
"How many times has Viyella tried to resurrect itself and very quickly faced demise because it just hasn't moved with the times? At least Rooney has said he'll only play for one game and isn't trying to make a proper England comeback."
"What does it take to make a comeback then?" Chief Elf asked quizzically, his eyes alighting on the label of his cherished personal lunchtime treat.
"Well, dear Elf, you're looking at a really good example of how old brands can survive whilst not selling out their core values or traditions. Marmite," she said trying not to wince at the mere thought of it, "isn't the most dynamic or exciting of products yet it's been with use for decades and has cult status pretty much everywhere in the world - well, outside Australia.
"The Love/Hate campaign brought back childhood memories for millions and some of us even tried it again, just in case we decided we might have grown to 'Love' it.
"Yes, it was a gimmick but it tapped into the hearts of Brits all over the world because only a British company could be so self-deprecating and maintain that quietly assured Britishness. "While the product, fundamentally, hasn't changed since 1902 it has managed to hold the public's interest with some clever special editions.
"I mean," she shuddered, "What's the real difference between normal brewer's yeast and the one used in Guinness or Champagne? Well they convinced us that it would make the Marmite taste different!
"Of course being a national treasure isn't about being a stick in the mud. How could you get through Wimbledon without Robinson's Barley Water? "How about Robinsons fruit cordials? The difference being a glass bottle and a few botanicals (but, sadly, no gin!) and a name that makes it acceptable to serve at a dinner party!
"Being trend aware isn't the same as selling your traditional products down the river.
"The key is knowing what you're good at and finessing it to attract a new market segment.
"Even Asda has been at it - trying to get back to attracting timestretched families into their stores by handing over space in their foyers to fast food concessions.
"Something that the German incomers have capitalised on for a while as they chose locations where the family can buy all their needs and still grab a burger on the run.
"After years in the doldrums, ASDA has seen sales grow by 2% in the quarter to September and are now biting so hard at the heels of Sainsbury's market share that the two have talked of merging to leap further up the hit parade - which probably means that ASDA will end up with the old stalwart Argos in their stores too!"