An old trademark associated with a failed business’s old products, such as tape cassettes, seems like a hard sell. However, Japanese brand “aiwa” is reincarnating under a venture to use the Japanese trademark, purchased from Sony by one of Sony’s old suppliers Towada Audio Corporation. Towada Audio established a new “Aiwa” corporation that would re-enter the market with new and redeveloped audio electronics.
Aiwa originally failed to modernize enough for the market and was bought up by Sony in 2002, and subsequently fell by the wayside in 2008, but Towada Audio bought the trademark that was to expire. The trademark has not only the nostalgic pull and brand confidence among older consumers, an increased popularity of “analog” audio technologies like cassette tapes as “retro” items feeds aiwa’s hopes to sell record and cassette players that combine that old technology with Bluetooth and other digital features. Interestingly, a separate Aiwa Corporation in the United States has already resurrected, using the same trademark since its relinquishment there by Sony.
Japanese have been concerned by drastic decline in domestic electronics companies like SHARP, which came under the management of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. of Taiwan. In view of this, Mitsui views the old Aiwa brand as something to be treasured and worth reviving domestically (although, incidentally, new Aiwa products are to be produced in China). While Aiwa formerly was bought by Sony and failed to survive the digitalization of its product areas, this new attempt at using the same formerly popular brand represents the confidence in the loyalty of Japanese consumers to a brand that once was highly valued.
Of course, although some former Aiwa employees are involved in the new company, there is plenty of discontinuity between the old company and brand, and the products to be offered under the common trademark rights. Will the new Aiwa products’ quality answer the trust placed in them? As always, a trademark is only as good as the long-term good its products and services give to others.
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