October 24, 2011

When A Brand Turns Sour

It wasn't the boarded up premises that surprised me; it was the signage that had been left in place since the restaurant closed down some two and a half years ago.

Gary Rhodes has worked long and hard to build his reputation as a leading British chef. A quick visit to his website suggests that this is a business-owner who knows the value of a strong brand. Chef, restaurateur, celebrity and author, he owns a range of restaurants and has published almost thirty books.

Yet he continues to allow his name to sit sadly above a failed enterprise, the Rhodes D7 restaurant which briefly threatened to make the Capel Street area a fashionable destination back in 2006. Rhodes slipped out of town without a word in 2009, but the abandoned signage speaks volumes of a brand that's suffering real neglect.

Rhodes is not alone. Brand-owners around town continue to leave their signs to grow shabby and rusted, labelling their own brands as left out in the cold. Is there anything as forlorn as a neglected sign on a run-down premises?

Whilst there is nothing to be ashamed of in a hard-fought failure, it doesn't make any sense at all to continue to attach your label to a forsaken shell.

I wondered whether Rhodes' apparent neglect was simply a legacy of his Dublin landlord? It seems not. A visit to his website reveals content that hasn't been updated since 2009, whilst his online biography continues to make reference to his Dublin restaurant. 

There's a lesson in here for all of us brand-owners. A brand that isn't regularly refreshed quickly turns sour.