Marconi, a name synonymous with radio and wireless communications, has been silent for too long. Now it is set to be reborn, on a brand of digital radios, courtesy of a small but fast-growing UK company, the Bullitt Group.
For those who followed the tragic demise of the UK’s electronics industry in the late 1990s, Marconi—once the biggest electronics group and brand in the country—is perhaps still more synonymous with the biggest corporate and financial implosion.
Reading, England-based Bullitt Group has in fact licensed the brand name from Ericsson, which acquired some the remnants of the bankrupt GEC/ Marconi 10 years ago, including the rights to use the trading name of the founder of modern wireless communications.
Indeed, Bullitt is making a habit of trying to revive once-giant brands. At last year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the company announced it would be selling a range of Android-based smartphones, tablets and a ‘connected camera' all under the Kodak banner.
The company clearly knows how best to operate in this end of the branding business, already selling consumer electronics gear such as toughened mobiles and speakers for corporations such as Caterpillar, JCB, Ted Baker, Ministry of Sound, as well as the Kodak camera phones.
Bullitt Group says Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and DAB+radios—used mostly in certain European and Asian Pacific countries—a will be the start of a much wider range of consumer electronic devices featuring the iconic brand. Dave Floyd, one of the co-founders of the company, said Bullitt “plans to rattle the cages of the more established, but increasingly complacent consumer radio brands.”
The first DAB radios should be on sale early next year, bearing the Marconi company’s historic spiral logo. It will, according to Floyd, represent a ‘differentiated’ product range delivering on the promise of authenticity and heritage.”
Heritage is something the revived brand will not lack. But will the Bullitt Group’s fairly low-key partner network provide the scale and global reach necessary to make a real impact in a hugely competitive consumer electronics market.
And if it believes the name—and, in truth a rather old fashioned logo—still resonates, why did it wait so long?
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