6 Brands That Successfully Hit the 'Reset' Button On Branding

11/08/2017 08:10 pm ET

One of the most difficult parts of starting a company is branding. What’s even harder than this, though, is when your brand is no longer popular. How do you react when the brand you’ve worked so hard to create no longer brings in business?

When this happened to FUBU, Starbucks, Old Spice, Nintendo, Polaroid and Delta, they didn’t panic. These companies changed their branding strategies so they could answer contemporary consumer needs and address their competitors.

1) FUBU

The world-renowned entrepreneur Daymond John founded FUBU in 1992. Short for “For Us By US,” FUBU revolutionized the streetwear fashion of the ‘90s and 00’s. The pieces they created spoke authentically to an underserved community that loved hip-hop. In some ways, FUBU had a “members only” feel that consumers loved.

Then, something happened—streetwear became a trend. The individuality it once provided declined, and so did its popularity. So, FUBU was faced with a decision: did they let their brand go down, or did they try to bring it back?

In a wise financial decision, the creative director of FUBU, Willie Escobar, staged one of the greatest clothing brand comeback of all time. Thanks to his hard work – along with Daymond’s branding passion and expertise – the company is thriving again in big-name stores—like Urban Outfitters and Puma.

This experience, amongst others, has inspired Daymond John to start new companies including Daymond John’s Success Formula. The Success Formula platform provides aspiring entrepreneurs with insight and knowledge from the world’s foremost business leaders. Equipped with insider know-how, these individuals can launch successful enterprises of their own.

2) Old Spice

By the early 2000s, Old Spice had made a pretty good name for itself. They were one of the top men’s hygiene products—until Axe came into the picture. Axe was an aesthetically clean and modern brand that quickly grew in popularity.

Old Spice looked outdated compared to their new competitor, so they rebranded. Mainly, they changed the name of their “Glacial Falls” deodorant to “Swagger” to draw in a new, younger crowd. They also kicked off a huge marketing campaign with NFL player Isaiah Mustafa, which won over new and old consumers alike with undeniable charm and humor.

3) Starbucks

Did you know Starbucks created their own recording company in 2003? They also launched a movie in 2006. Their branding strategy was to be the “third place” for consumers. They believed that people could live life in three spaces—their home, office and Starbucks.

In an attempt to become the “third place,” Starbucks lost focus on what really made them popular—coffee. As their focus shifted, so did the admiration of their customers. Luckily, in 2009, they sorted everything out. They came back to their core competency—a great cup of coffee—and they let the rest go.

Since then, their annual revenue has increased steadily. In 2016 alone, the company reported approximately 21.32 billion U.S. dollars in revenue.

4) Nintendo

For Nintendo, it seems that two revivals are better than one. The gaming system’s first setback happened when PlayStation hit the market. After years of market domination, Nintendo’s gaming systems started failing against this rival. In response, they released the Wii, which became an overwhelming success.

Currently, Nintendo is hoping to have a second comeback with the Switch. So far, they’ve sold 2.74 million units worldwide. They expect to sell 10 million in 2017 alone.

5) Polaroid

When digital cameras came out, film was rendered obsolete by many Americans. Today, in the age of smartphone cameras and selfies, digital camera sales are struggling. In this era, there seems to be no room for old film cameras, but against all odds, they are making a comeback …

Polaroid is making their brand relevant again by taking advantage of consumer nostalgia. They’re creating cameras that are simple to use and reminiscent of past popular models.

6) Delta

In 2005, Delta declared bankruptcy. In 2016, their adjusted pre-tax income was $6.1 billion. Between these two dates, Delta made a few strategic moves and stepped up their marketing efforts. In regard to marketing, the airline revamped their campaigns and promised consumers that they were “raising the bar on flying.” Albeit simple, their promise worked.

In addition to improving the flight experience, they also changed their internal branding. They wanted to become a company that really cared and provided for its employees. To date, Delta had provided its employees with $1 billion in profit sharing payments. They’ve received recognition from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for being one of the best workplaces for LGBT equality, and they made Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work list in 2016 and 2017.

Once you’ve had success, it’s hard to change. It’s uncomfortable to admit that your brand is no longer relevant. Going back to the drawing board and starting fresh isn’t comfortable. However, as the six brands above show, it can be done.

Keep your eye on these companies moving forward, if they’re not on their second comeback already, it’s probably in the works.

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