Large companies and brands that have been with us all of our lives are very much like our children, in that we never realize how much they have changed over the years. But if we take a closer look we can see that many companies have had tragic faux pas or have been on the verge of bankruptcy at certain points throughout their existence. However, the effective campaigns launched to rebrand these companies have not only saved them from dire situations, but also lead them to be leading brands in their respective markets. To better understand just how well these brands have redeemed themselves iNexxus has put together a case-by-case list of the top 10 which we’ll be debuting in two parts.
1. Apple was almost bankrupt, now it’s dominating the world
Looking at the legendary Apple logo, not many people remember that in the late 1990s the company was quickly headed towards bankruptcy. However almost 15 years since then, stock prices for Apple have increased from $6 to $350 and needless to say the company has more muscle now than ever. What caused such a miraculous turnaround?
By relying on their strengths in being able to produce gracefully designed products such as iMacs, iPods, iPads and later iPhones, Apple began to stand out among its competitors in technology. Yet Apple also instilled something in its entire operation that, unlike their marvelous products, can’t be bought: articulation of the brand itself beginning with its products and ending with the store experience.
Moral of the Story: Unique, creative, well-made products with elegant packaging will always win out in the end. A positive store experience is also crucial to driving foot traffic and increasing customer base.
2. McDonald’s made the US unhealthy; today its interior looks like that of a cool coffee shop and it serves salads and wraps!
Anyone who took a health class in middle or high school will remember the horrifying documentary “Super Size Me”. As time went on McDonald’s became known as low-caliber and unhealthy place to eat. Since then, the fast-food chain has gone to significant lengths to rebrand and reshape the face of the chain restaurant.
McDonald's has since introduced a greater variety of salads and other healthy meal options, in addition to offering lower-priced menu items. Under the slogans "I'm lovin it," which featured an original tune by Justin Timberlake, and the newer "what we're made of," families and young couples are seen enjoying their meals at McDonald's. The company is also going after the coffee crowd with its fancier and more expensive premium coffee. Tres chic!
Despite the number of people shouting “we see what you’re trying to pull”, McDonald's makeover seems to be working. McDonald's Corp. reported a 5.3 percent rise in January sales at locations open more than a year, and topped the average forecast from analysts of 4 percent, according to FactSet Research.
Moral of the Story: Pay attention to what the public says about you and respond with products and services that counteract those accusations. (In today’s world of viral and instant media the worst thing any company can do is delete a comment one of their customers made online in an attempt not to provide an adequate answer.)
3. Target was just another average-joe discount store; now it's the number-one choice of the yuppie class
In the late 90s, Target was seen as just another discount retailer, indistinguishable from Wal-Mart or K-Mart. To rebrand the company began offering pared down versions of designer apparel and merchandise through exclusive deals with high-profile designers such as Issac Mizrahi, Mossimo Giannulli, and Michael Graves.
Today Target is the second largest discount retailer in the United States, after Wal-Mart. Its stores are in nearly every state and the company has even expanded into Canada since 2013.
Moral of the Story: Distinguish yourself and stand out from your competitors with high-quality brand merchandise at lower prices.
4. Walmart was considered cheap; now it's the first option for many Americans
In an effort to reformat its image, Wal-Mart threw out its “Always Low Prices,” tagline in 2007 and replaced it with “Save Money. Live Better.” Doing so put a peppier spin on the company's reputation for offering merchandise at rock bottom prices and suggested that buying items at low prices will help improve customers' lifestyles.
In describing the campaign, Wal-Mart released a statement that the new slogan was demonstrated in "all aspects of the in-store experience -- from designing new interiors and signage to merchandising display concepts." Although few other changes appeared to occur, the rebranding campaign seems successful. In 2010 Wal-Mart was the world's largest public corporation by revenue, according to the Forbes Global 2000 for that year.
Moral of the Story: Customers want a better lifestyle and will respond to companies that they believe will help them achieve their goal.
5. There was nothing special about Old Spice; now it's a viral sensation
Thanks to former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa who told women to "Look at your man, now back at me," Old Spice is suddenly a new Old Spice. Since the first commercial launched a year ago, the 70-year-old brand's ad campaign generated tens of millions of online views and a new catch-phrase: "I'm on a horse."
Old Spice followed up with 186 related videos in which Mustafa directly responded to digital queries from bloggers and celebrities including Perez Hilton, Ellen DeGeneres, and Alyssa Milano.
The company's efforts worked when sales of Old Spice Body Wash—the line touted in the Wieden + Kennedy-created campaign—rose 11 percent over the past 12 months in 2010, and sales continued to gain momentum, reported BrandWeek.
Mustafa returned in the first of three new commercials promoting Old Spice's latest collection of sprays, body washes and deodorants as a "scent vacation" in exotic locales (including a grass skirt).
Moral of the Story: A clever ad + smart use of social media can produce a fresh identity, even for a brand that many associate with their grandfather's deodorant. "Old Spice didn't change its logo, it changed the experience," said Marc Shillum, principal at Method, Inc. a consulting agency for brand designs.