Let’s put the whole eyewear thing aside for a minute and just talk about brands and branding. I promise not to stray too far outside the box. So what do we mean when we say “Brand Anew” on our cover with those impressive ties and two pairs of perfectly “suitable” and yet classically stunning frames.

No, it’s not about brands reinventing themselves to adapt to changing times. THAT is actually the kiss of death when it comes to successful branding. A brand gets one consistent shot. It is born, it grows, it evolves and it stays true to its course. It weathers tough times by recalling its growing heritage. It flourishes based on the very real needs and knowledge of consumers. Huh? Here are two examples:

Pontiac was the GM muscle brand. It built its rep on powerful turnpike cruisers such as the Bonneville, the scorching GTO and the screaming eagle-hooded Firebird. And then it decided to plow the arena of family excursions with a series of soccer mom vans and Aztec motor hovels, basically reinventing itself right out of existence.

Or try Electrolux. Nobody made a better dirt sucker. Premier industrial designers of the 20th century created a vacuum worth dragging to the ends of the earth. And then the brand decided to spend big bucks creating the largest door-to-door sales team in the world... at the cost of product development. The brand now lives again after near death only because it remembered its initial root as a super-efficient product at the peak of the dirt heap. That TECH was in fact its best sales person.

So truly a “brand anew” is a brand remembering its essence every second and never lapsing from that determined march forward, growing the qualities inherent to the brand.

The first suit my dad bought after his WWII Air Corp stint was a Hart Shaffner & Marx suit. He wore it for years and I then wore it for a few more years. It spoke to a degree of style, quality and presence still earmarked by a brand knowing what it is and “wear” it wants to be... and in 20/20’s case it wants to be right in front of a smart guy’s eyes.

James J. Spina