Kalashnikov: What's in a Name? (A)

7 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Lynn Isabella

Lynn Isabella

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Marian Chapman Moore

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Hatem Hatem

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Chris Borunda

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

What can you do with a brand name? How can you extend it? What if the brand name is associated with a weapon? The AK-47 had been part of every major revolution over the last 50 years and a mainstay in the armies of more than 50 countries. This weapon was known in many parts of the world as simply a “Kalashnikov,” named for the man who invented it. Mikhail Kalashnikov's grandson, Igor Krasnovski, wanted to expand the brand globally with new products. But where to start? The A case describes Krasnovski's mission to work on a strategy for a new line of everyday products that would become a global brand and bear his grandfather's name. The material describes a brand that already exists and challenges students to think about brand identity, the essence of the brand, and product associations, and to consider products or services for the Kalashnikov name. This case series provides a compelling backdrop for discussion on brand building, especially for an international market.

Excerpt

UVA-M-0697

Rev. Sept. 24, 2014

KALASHNIKOV: WHAT'S IN A NAME? (A)

Igor Krasnovski was on a mission, and the stakes were high. He had arrived at the General Management Program (GMP) at the IEDC-Bled School of Management in Bled, Slovenia, to learn more about business. Although his first set of lessons in accounting and leadership had been interesting, he was now ready for the material that was really on his mind: marketing.

Krasnovski carried a small pewter case that was vital to his future success. His German partners in Marken Marketing, Inc. (MMI), had created the case—which clearly resembled a miniature gun case—as part of a presentation strategy for a new line of everyday products that would bear his grandfather's name. Krasnovski's grandfather, Mikhail Kalashnikov, was the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle. This weapon, known in many parts of the world simply by the name Kalashnikov, had been part of every major revolution over the last 50 years and a mainstay in the armies of more than 50 countries. As Kalashnikov said: “The gun never let anyone down in the worst conditions. I still get lots of letters that say, ‘You saved my life with your gun.' That makes me feel good. My whole intention was to make life easier and simpler for the common soldier.”

Krasnovski had been raised by his grandfather, a man he held in high esteem. He was proud of the Kalashnikov name, his grandfather's accomplishments, and the Kalashnikov heritage. And he was equally aware that time was short: “If my grandfather, who is in his late 80s, passed away, the opportunity to protect and preserve his name and intellectual property would be lost forever. I don't want to see that happen.”

. . .

Keywords: brand management marketing branding

Suggested Citation

Isabella, Lynn and Moore, Marian Chapman and Hatem, Hatem and Borunda, Chris and Yemen, Gerry, Kalashnikov: What's in a Name? (A). Darden Case No. UVA-M-0697. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2974667

Lynn Isabella (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4818 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/isabella.htm

Marian Chapman Moore

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Hatem Hatem

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Chris Borunda

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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