Strong brand but weak business: Gibson

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World famous guitar brand “Gibson” has been going through difficult times in the past few years. According to the course of its development, “Gibson” decided to become a “music lifestyle company” and enter the home entertainment and audio equipment market. As history has shown, this was the wrong decision.

Using loans, the manufacturer bought an audio division from “Philips” and “TEAC”, as well as a consumer electronics line from Japan’s “Onkyo”. But coupled with the release of several unsuccessful models, this only led to an increase in debt and a drop in profits.

Debt amounted to $ 500 million, revenue from 2013 to 2016 fell from $ 2.1 billion to $ 1.7 billion. In May 2018, the company filed for bankruptcy.

The situation in the company changed with the new CEO. It was James Curley from “Levi’s”. Comparing “Gibson” to “Levi’s”, Curley said before taking office that “both brands took their leadership for granted and lost touch with their customers”.

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What’s going on with Gibson now? In Spring 2020, “Gibson” announced that it will build its 750 square meters headquarters in the historic “Cummins Station” building in Nashville. The company will spend $3 million on the new office. The building is planned to be opened for visitors: it will have a shop for individual orders, a center for relations with artists, a stage for performances etc. 

In January 2021, for the first time since bankruptcy, “Gibson” acquired a new brand of amplifiers, “Mesa / Boogie”, for an undisclosed amount.

“Gibson” CMO James Curley said that at the end of 2020, the team sees a strong growth in demand for their guitars. 

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