Can a brand come back to life? Marketers and customers have often wondered this. Well-known and successful brands like Marvel, Apple, Lego, and Volkswagen have been on the verge of dying out before turning things around. There's even a company that has been purchasing and reviving dead brands like Brim, Nuprin, Salon Selectives, Eagle Snacks and Underalls. So how can brands achieve such a feat?
I've helped companies devise the following strategies that didn't just revive their brand, but helped them grow and find success.
Pay Attention to Warning Signs
Brands can start by being vigilant, and acknowledge any problems they encounter. This way, they have a chance to pivot quickly before it's too late. That's where a company like Blockbuster went wrong, and where Netflix saved the day: instead of noticing that customers preferred to have movies sent to them, the chain kept building new stores rather than changing its existing model. Netflix could have followed the same direction, but the company paid attention to trends and provided the streaming subscription service that customers wanted.
If you want to prevent your brand from dying, pay close attention to shrinking customer base and revenue. If your brand is stagnant and hasn't evolved or adapted to the changing market, competitors will appear more enticing and innovative. Be mindful of this and you can prevent your brand from ceasing to exist in the first place.
Tap Into Nostalgia
Research has shown that nostalgia can "counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety," make us more tolerant and generous and create a feeling of "social connectedness." This tactic was recently used by brands like Keds, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Polaroid when they joined in on the Twitter hashtag, #InThe90sIThought.
By tapping into the memories of your customers, you too can create a sentiment that reminds them how much they used to love your product or service. While I recommend keeping your logo, tagline, and catchy jingle, you can make other tweaks to trigger nostalgia, like vintage packaging, throwback prices, or T-shirts with an old-school logo.
Reboot Your Brand
Sometimes, the state of your brand requires a complete overhaul, especially if it recently underwent a negative experience that tarnished it in the minds of your customers. According to Fast Company, when rebooting your brand, the new design needs to signify real change and reflect the brand's strategy and experience. I recommend staying away from anything trendy, and instead focusing on something simple that illustrates your long-term goals for the brand.
Bring Back Loyal Customers
While you need loyal customers to keep your business healthy, your brand's near-death experience may have meant you lost business to the competition. That doesn't mean, however, you can't win them back as you breathe new life into your brand. There are several ways to win back your dedicated fan base:
- Gather feedback on why they left in the first place.
- Offer customers incentives to come back by sending a push notification to their mobile device.
- Reach out to customers as soon as possible, since it's easier and more affordable to get in touch with them.
- Send targeted, personalized emails to remind customers of their past experiences with your brand.
- Create a sense of urgency by offering coupons, discounts or promotions for a limited time.
On top of listening and rewarding your previous customers, don't forget to provide top-notch customer service as they make their way back to you. Amazing customer service is one of the best ways to make customers fall in love with your brand again.
Appeal to New Customers
While previous customers are your brand's lifeblood, you may have to engage a new audience while your brand stages a comeback. I recommend using a strategy similar to when you first started your business. Be sure to interact with your audience both online and offline, whether it be sharing killer content on social media, blogging, attending networking events, offering sales promotions or free samples, or partnering up with other successful brands.
Use Multiple Channels
In today's world, brands can't afford to put all of their eggs in one marketing basket. Omnichannel marketing is a successful strategy I've implemented in order to reach customers and prospects on multiple devices, including mobile.
Google recommends that you begin by knowing who your customers are using information like their gender, demographic, location, website browsing habits, search habits, and where they shop.
Restore Brand Health
While everything I have suggested here is essential for bringing your brand back to life, it won't just bounce back from there. Instead, there will be a recovery period where you'll have to monitor it closely and continue implementing the above strategy. From there, you can give your brand more space to shine, but meanwhile watch out for those early warning signs so you don't have to give your brand CPR again. It's possible to bring your brand back from the dead, but it requires the use significant resources you'll want to make sure to take full advantage of in the future.
Peter Daisyme is a special adviser to Invoice, an invoicing and payments company helping small business owners transact money online. He's been a CPA for the past 18 years. He recently sold his previous company Hostt.