Brands come and go, rising and falling with the tides of market trends and changing consumer preferences. However, there are instances when once-beloved and seemingly forgotten brands make a triumphant return to the spotlight. Through strategic planning, innovative marketing, and a deep understanding of their target audience, these once-dormant brands have managed to resurrect themselves and reclaim their position in the market. Today on Branding Strategy Insider, we explore some notable examples of brands that successfully relaunched, capturing the attention and loyalty of consumers once again.
Remember the days of instant photography and shaking Polaroid pictures to watch them develop before your eyes? After facing bankruptcy and the rise of digital cameras, Polaroid found itself overshadowed in a rapidly changing industry. However, the company made a comeback by capitalizing on the nostalgia and retro trend. Releasing new instant cameras and reinventing their classic film, Polaroid regained its appeal by blending the charm of analog photography with modern aesthetics, attracting long-time fans and a new generation of enthusiasts.
2. Old Spice
Once considered a traditional brand associated with older generations, Old Spice underwent a transformative relaunch that rejuvenated its image and captured the attention of a younger audience. Through clever and humorous advertising campaigns featuring the “Old Spice Guy” and viral commercials, the brand rebranded itself as edgy, witty, and relevant. This successful repositioning helped Old Spice regain popularity, with its range of grooming products becoming a staple among millennials and Gen Z.
Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Ho Hos—iconic treats from Hostess—were nearly lost forever when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2012. However, the brand was given a lifeline when it was acquired and relaunched. Hostess capitalized on the cult-like following its products had garnered over the years and successfully reintroduced them to the market. By emphasizing nostalgia and leveraging their devoted fan base, Hostess revived its brand, becoming a symbol of indulgence and comfort once again.
Once the dominant player in the mobile phone industry, Nokia experienced a significant decline with the advent of smartphones. However, under new leadership, the Finnish company made a remarkable comeback by embracing its strengths and capitalizing on its reputation for durability and quality. With a renewed focus on user experience, Nokia relaunched with Android-powered smartphones, delivering reliable devices and incorporating nostalgic elements like the reintroduction of the classic “brick” design. This strategy allowed Nokia to reclaim a portion of the market and rebuild its reputation as a trustworthy mobile phone brand.
LEGO, the beloved Danish toy company, encountered financial troubles in the early 2000s due to increased competition and changing play patterns. To reverse their fortunes, LEGO underwent a remarkable transformation by recommitting to its core values of creativity, imagination, and interactivity. By listening to its brand advocates and embracing digital technologies, LEGO successfully tapped into popular franchises like Star Wars and Marvel, collaborating on licensed sets that appealed to both children and adults. Today, LEGO is once again a thriving brand, fostering imagination and playfulness across generations.
In the late 1990s, Burberry, the British luxury fashion house, faced an image crisis as its iconic check pattern became associated with counterfeit products and chav culture. Recognizing the need for change, Burberry undertook a strategic rebranding effort. They enlisted new creative talent, revitalized their product lines, and embraced digital marketing channels. By effectively merging tradition with modernity, Burberry transformed its image into one of sophistication and timeless elegance, attracting a new generation of luxury consumers.
7. Mini Cooper
The Mini Cooper, known for its iconic design and heritage, faced a period of dormancy until its relaunch in the early 2000s. With a blend of nostalgia, modern engineering, and clever marketing, Mini Cooper revived its brand and captivated consumers with its stylish and compact cars. By staying true to its roots while embracing technological advancements, Mini Cooper successfully reinvented itself and became a symbol of individuality and urban chic.
Gucci, the esteemed Italian luxury fashion brand, experienced a decline during the 1980s and 1990s, with a loss of brand exclusivity and a decline in quality. However, a strategic revitalization effort led by creative director Tom Ford turned the brand’s fortunes around. Gucci reclaimed its status as a trendsetting and luxurious brand by embracing bold designs, iconic logos, and provocative advertising campaigns. This repositioning not only attracted a new generation of consumers but also rekindled the loyalty of existing Gucci enthusiasts. Today, Gucci stands as one of the most coveted and influential luxury brands worldwide.
Montblanc, renowned for its luxury writing instruments and accessories, faced a challenging period due to evolving consumer preferences and the rise of digital communication. However, the brand successfully reestablished its global presence through strategic diversification and brand extension. Montblanc expanded its product offerings to include fine watches, leather goods, and fragrances, embracing the desires of discerning consumers seeking luxury experiences beyond writing instruments. By staying true to its commitment to craftsmanship and sophistication, Montblanc rekindled the admiration of global consumers, elevating its status as a luxury brand.
Atari, the pioneer of video games, experienced a decline after the video game crash of 1983. However, the brand resurfaced through a strategic repositioning and licensing approach. Atari leveraged its legacy and brand recognition by licensing its name and classic game titles to other companies. This allowed the brand to reenter the gaming market and capture the attention of both nostalgic gamers and a new generation of enthusiasts, cementing its status as a global gaming brand once again.
The resurgence of once dormant brands demonstrate the power of strategic rebranding, innovation, and adaptability. By leveraging nostalgia, capitalizing on brand equity, and understanding changing consumer preferences, these brands successfully navigated the challenging task of reentering the market. Their relaunches not only revitalized their businesses but also left a lasting impact on consumers who were eager to reconnect with brands that had once held a special place in their lives, reminding us that in the ever-evolving world of business, nothing nostalgic is truly lost forever.
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education