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By Ramnik Chhabra 13-Jan-2010 | 12:55

Classical branding taught us about power brands that stand the test of time.Across market conditions , geographies and time.Have a good product, invest in your brand over time; and it will continue to be iconic.

But in the recent past in an increasingly `instant` world; not too many technology brands seem to stand the test of time and tend to lose their aura pretty quickly.

Let`s look at cars. From the 1920`s to 1950s the power brands(pun unintended) in automobiles were from the Ford and General Motors stable- Pontiac, Chevy, Dodge, etc. Soon these were upstaged by European superbrands - Mercedez Benz , Porsche and Audi (rememebr the Quattro?). In the 80s; the hitherto quirky Japanese brands started gaining traction. Companies like Toyota (based on their reliability and quality values) and Honda(refinement) became the brands of desire- Lexus,Accord and recently; the Prius.So much so that in emerging markets; the American/European brands didn`t stand a chance in the desirability stakes. But today;on the back of a recession; its the Korean brands that seem to have taken centerstage.

Even in PCs; brands like IBM gave way to `hip` brands like Apple.Which today are fighting for their `hipness/tech` status with upstarts like Acer.In software - Microsoft upstaged IBMs OS but then became the `big bad wolf` to Google .And today; the Google brand is fighting online upstarts in the `cooltech` stakes.

Take mobilephones - Motorola (remember the cool flipphone and Startac?)gave way to Nokia. Today Nokia may be the world`s largest selling brand but is it hip/iconic? That space belongs to IPhone/Blackberry in the top end, Samsung in the middle market and a host of Chinese brands in the bottom end.

Even in consumer electronics iconic TV brands moved from RCA to Philips to Sony to Samsung to "I don`t know what`s hip today!" pretty quickly.

Evidence suggests that increasingly, technology brands seem to lose their sheen soon after they become big. In the technology space `trust` doesn`t seem such a big deal after all;when compared to sexiness/performance/newness.

Its almost that technology customers are rooting for the underdog!

So how does a technology brand stay iconic ?

By assuming that brand decay is inevitable; despite your best efforts.

So does one you invest in the brand? Or reinvent it to keep it continuously fresh? Or just create a new brand using the resources and credibility of the cash cow mother brand?

I`m still to figure that one out but currently I am tending to the latter.

But what about financial brands?

Evidence suggests for financial brands it`s the complete opposite! Trust is the biggest deal and newness be damned! The older the brand, the bigger it gets(like compounded returns!).

But then that`s the topic for a different post!