Tag: digital marketing

3 Brands That Made Incredible Comebacks
Digital Branding

3 Brands That Made Incredible Comebacks

Every popular brand takes its fair share of bumps and bruises. Sometimes, a big financial loss or a scandal can ruin a brand beyond repair. It can be hard to believe that even some of the most popular brands that exist today were close to going extinct. In times of turmoil, the brands that come out on top are the ones that know how to adapt, take calculated risks, and reinvent themselves. Here are three brands that made incredible comebacks.

Marvel

Marvel

Marvel has a long history of being a leader in the comic-book industry but in the 90’s the market for comic-book market tanked and Marvel’s future seemed uncertain. In 1993, writer Neil Gaiman gave a speech to 3,000 retailers and told them that the comic book market was a bubble. Gaiman stated that the comic book market rose only because collectors were furiously buying comics in hopes that they would become valuable. Gaiman likened this to tulip mania in the 17th century when the value of tulip bulbs quickly skyrocketed and collapsed.

In 1996, after undergoing turmoil in the boardroom a year before, the company went broke. Marvel then decided to start focusing on the movie industry. Marvel struggled for years trying to convince Hollywood execs to put their superheros on the big screen. They saw a small success with Blade and then Spider-Man and X-Men went on to become massive successes but Marvel was only seeing a small percentage of the earnings.

In 2003, Marvel decided to start producing its own movies. Marvel struck a deal with Merrill Lynch that featured intellectual property such as Captain America and Thor as collateral. Merrill Lynch lent Marvel $525 million over a period of seven years. The company used that capital to spend on 10 movies and began having great success with movies like Iron Man (gross: $585 million), Iron Man 3 ($1 billion), and even the offbeat film Guardians of the Galaxy ($750 million). In 2009, Disney bought Marvel for $4.3 billion.

Delta

Delta

Delta is one of the country’s largest airlines but the Atlanta, GA-based company ran into trouble in 2005 when it filed for bankruptcy. Delta stated that the rise in prices of jet fuel and steep competition from budget airlines like Southwest and JetBlue were the cause. However, less than four years later Delta bounced back.

To get back on track, Delta started working from the inside out by making changes within its management and employee ranks. Director Gerald Grinstein, who stepped in as CEO in 2004 renegotiated union contracts and made an agreement with the pilots to take a pay cut (while cutting his own pay 25%). Grinstein was also able to cut a deal with several creditors which prevented a takeover by US Airways. These efforts helped, but Delta wasn’t done. Delta flew in employees for team-building events to boost morale and convinced its creditors to turn over 15% of the company to its employees. Delta succeeded in getting their creditors to see how important it was to have employee support.

Delta then recruited Glen W. Hauenstein from Italian airline Alitalia to bring Delta to underserved regions such as Tel Aviv, Kiev, and Nice, France. To save money on buying long haul jets, Hauenstein instead retrofitted existing aircraft to save fuel and reduce drag which provided them with more range. Then, in 2008 Delta merged with Northwest Airlines which helped cut costs and gave Delta access to Northwest’s Asian network while Northwest gained access to Delta’s strength in Latin America and Europe.

Converse

Converse

In 1917, Converse’s shoe “The All-Star” became the first mass-produced sneaker for basketball. In 1932, Converse signed hoops star Charles “Chuck” Taylor to sell the shoe. After the NBA began in 1946, The All-Star became the most popular shoes in the league.

However, in the 1980s competition from Reebok, Puma, Adidas, and Nike became to heat up. Converse’s market share fell to 2.3% in 1998 and Nike bought the company in 2003. It seemed to many like the converse brand was a thing of the past.

However, Nike creatively embraced the ‘old-school” feel that Converse had and began marketing their shoes to new demographics. Special editions of the Chuck Taylors featuring the Ramones and Kurt Cobain were born. Converse also went high-end by having designer John Varvatos create a premium line of Chuck Taylors. New life was given to the brand by transitioning away from basketball, focusing on fashion, and creating a lifestyle around the iconic shoe.

Conclusion

Bringing a brand off of life support is no easy task. In our fast-moving economy, it’s fairly easy for consumers to love you one day and quickly forget about you after a few bad business moves. Every brand on this list was facing the reality of shutting its doors but by adapting to their environment, thinking outside of the box, and making strategic moves they were able to come out ahead and return to the top of their game.

What CrossFit Can Teach Us About Creating a Successful Brand
Digital Branding

What CrossFit Can Teach Us About Creating a Successful Brand

You can’t get far in any large city without running into a CrossFit box (gym). This fitness phenomenon has created a cult following all over the U.S. This movement started from one small gym in California and has multiplied into 10,000 independently-owned CrossFit boxes. CrossFit even has it’s own annual international competition known as the CrossFit Games which features 200,000+ participants. CrossFit members pay $150 to $200 per month to climb ropes, flip tires, and do pull ups in old warehouses and manufacturing plants. You won’t find any frills such as a sauna, pool, or tennis court here (like a traditional gym). If you know anyone who’s a member you surely know that they absolutely love talking about CrossFit, and want you to join.

So, how has CrossFit become so successful?

If you’re looking to create a brand for your own business, you can learn a lot from CrossFit (sans the tire flipping). Below you’ll see how CrossFit has become so popular and learn how you can use the same principles in your own business.

Make Something Awesome

Make Something Awesome

People don’t join CrossFit just for the T-Shirts. In a study conducted by the Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory at Laval University, participants in one group exercised for 45 minutes on a stationary bike at moderate-intensity and another group exercised in 20-minute intervals at high intensity. The high-intensity group lost burned the same number of calories as the moderate-intensity group but lost nine times more fat. Your body responds to high-intensity exercises by releasing human growth hormone (HGH) into your blood. These hormones cause your body to build muscle and burn fat. Walking, a light jog or a moderate pace on the elliptical doesn’t trigger this fat-burning phenomenon.

CrossFit’s high-intensity workouts use this science to give its members awesome results. From this, we learn that step one to having an outstanding brand is having a product or service that just plain works. All the marketing and branding in the world can’t save your business if you’re selling a dud to your customers.

Tap Into Your Customer’s “Lizard Brain”

Tap Into Your Customer’s “Lizard Brain”

Athletic rituals have been around since the beginning of time. Once man was no longer required to hunt for all of his meals, athletic contests became a substitute. From the Ancient Greek Olympic Games to modern times, success through physical competition has always been seen as a symbol of superiority and has been encouraged throughout our culture. Great marketing always does a great job of tapping into our most basic and primal human instincts. CrossFit is no different. CrossFit’s daily rituals of intense exercise flip a primal switch in our brains. Instead of promising vain results such as washboard abs and a nice butt, CrossFit promotes mastering exercises for practical, functional results such as a strong core.

To truly make your brand irresistible you must tap into the “lizard brain” of your customer by offering a product that stirs emotion and guides him or her toward instinct-based decision making. Google’s “Dear Sophie” ad created media buzz because it profoundly evoked emotion through storytelling. The ad successfully made consumers feel a certain way. Your marketing must have an emotional context to make your brand more engaging.

Build a Community

Build-a-Community

In a study completed by Norwich Medical School, researchers discovered that participants who engaged in group exercise performed better and at a faster pace than they would have on their own. They also had a more positive attitude towards exercise and reported feeling less alone and isolated during their daily lives. CrossFit workouts revolve around a group exercise format. Each CrossFit Workout of the Day (WOD) session is completed by anywhere from 5 to 20 people. Completing physically grueling exercise within a group bonds those people together and allows them to perform at a level they may have not achieved on their own (think: the military).

CrossFit has a rabid fan base due in large part to the community that they have created through their group workouts. If you want your customers to be loyal followers and disciples of your brand, you must create a community within your business. Reaching individual customers has never been easier throughout the history of the world than it is now. For example, Starbucks’ My Starbucks Idea platform is basically a new-school version of the tried-and-true suggestion box. This outlet has given a voice to Starbucks’ customers and partners and has led to over 300 innovations including digital tipping and free Wi-Fi. You may not have the same reach as Starbucks but you can still use tools like social media to listen to your customers and create a fun, interactive experience for your brand.

Conclusion

CrossFit has been so successful because it reaches its customers on an emotional level, creates a strong community, and sells an outstanding product. Creating a loyal following of customers is no easy task but implementing the marketing lessons above will put you on the right track.