Power of brands

Who is more powerful in today’s digital world, the brand or those who establish it?

Arianna Huffington is leaving the eponymous website she founded. Denis Balibouse / Reuters
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M After a decade at the helm, Arianna Huffington is leaving the eponymous website she founded. The Huffington Post revolutionised the media landscape but also shifted the focus of online journalism towards individuals. The question is now what will happen to the site after Huffington moves on.

This is not unprecedented. Some big brands have survived and thrived after their founders left. Microsoft, for example, continued its success even after Bill Gates stepped down in 2000. But others, such as Apple, faced difficulties after the departure of Steve Jobs. Experts say that the website will probably face challenges to maintain its reputation, especially as it faces falling viewership and decelerating revenue growth.

If brands are so closely identified with individuals, what does it mean for a website like the Huffington Post? Will the millions of readers follow Huffington to her new venture or has she done her job and created a brand that is bigger than one person?