Rebranding - Brands that came back from the dead.

February 7, 2013



Brands that came back from the dead.

There’s a hall of fame decked with brands that everyone thought were relegated to the waste bin of history but which, thanks to some prudent rebranding and marketing, managed to crawl their way out of the ashes and get a second lucky chance at life on the shelves.

In some instances, the turnaround came about thanks to a complete repositioning. In others, market trends opened opportunities to enjoy the retail limelight once again. No matter how a brand manages to score a return ticket, there are lessons to learn.

With this in mind, here are my top tips for dusting off a brand and giving it a much appreciated second chance.

  1. The complete rebrand. New logo, new positioning, new underwear. Your previous consumer base fell out with you, so it’s time for the ole’ switcheroo. Prime example: In 1992 UK jewellery chain Ratners suffered a staggering £500 million stock value loss thanks to disparaging comments about its products from then-CEO Gerald Ratner. A swift name change and rebrand to Signet and whaddaya know? The company – owner of H Samuel in the UK and Kay Jewellers in the US amongst others – is now the world’s largest specialty jewellery retailer.You might hear: “It’s the exact same product those other people said wasn’t cool? What the what now?”
  2. Play the nostalgia card. Re-connect your customers with their inner 14-year-old. This kind of brand reappearance works particularly well during a recession when people clamber to be reminded of happier times. Doubly effective if your product helps them save a dollar. Home-made drinks machine Sodastream has done a great job of making frugality cool again.You might hear: “I stopped connecting with this brand because it was cheap – now I want to reconnect, strangely, for exactly the same reason.’
  3. Revamp your entire product line so that it bears no resemblance to the stuff everyone stopped buying. Works best with a change of management – see one of the greatest feats of phoenix rising: Apple. Rescued from the brink of extinction by its once-ousted founder to become, for a moment at least, the highest valued company in the world. You might hear: “Newton? Duo? Clone!? Sure they were lame for a while but now they’re awesome so, well, shut up.”
  4. Create a ludicrously crazy online campaign featuring a half-naked man, a horse and a handful of diamonds. What I mean is, like Old Spice with their genre-defining viral ads, do something so outrageously different it gets everyone talking. Even if it isn’t a perfect fit with your product, it just might work. You might hear: “I forwarded this cool clip to all my cool friends, buying the product will also make me cool. I’m on a horse.”
  5. Do nothing and act like you never went away. Easier when you have a diverse product base to support flagging players. Masters of the ‘Who, me? I was here all the time,’ approach to second chances include Nintendo and Dunlop Volleys. Always in the footwear background, Volley’s have come and gone several times in the popularity stakes. But suddenly they’re hip again, thanks in no small part to their new positioning as the lo-fi choice of the discerning.You might hear: “What do you mean, Nintendo almost went bust? You crazy – I been playing Donkey Kong like, this whole time.”