Learning why and how it’s done, from the biggest brands in the world.
Life is like going the wrong way on a moving sidewalk. Walk and you stay put. Stand still and you go backwards. To get ahead you have to hustle.”
All successful businesses know that to stand still is to stay put! If you look at the journey of any great brand it is easy to see how it has constantly moved forward, constantly being repositioned within a fast-moving world. I will look at some of the most significant rebrands to see what lessons can be learned by smaller brands.
In this two part blog we look at some of the biggest rebrands in history — and the lessons that smaller brands can learn.
Spread your wings
In 1971 Blue Ribbon Sports – which had been a distributor of Japanese Tiger running shoes since 1964 – decided to launch its own brand of footwear. Originally selling shoes from the backs of cars, the company had already grown to have their own outlet in California together with another branch on the East Coast. The desire was to become a global brand and from this point all products designed and distributed by this company was to display a logo which would become instantly recognizable – the swoosh of the Nike brand!
Their founder, Phil Knight, said:
“Ultimately, we wanted Nike to be the world’s best sports and fitness company. Once you say that, you have a focus. You don’t end up making wing tips or sponsoring the next Rolling Stones world tour.”
In America, the blue ribbon is awarded to first prize in athletics and in county fairs, to children and dogs. In Ancient Greek mythology, Nike is the Goddess of Victory — the very personification of victory. The core message remains the same — being the best, number one — but the image becomes universally recognisable. The name Nike and the image of the swoosh are not constricted by borders or language barriers. They represent the origins and the core message of the company, but now they also represent the goals and ambitions of the company to “become the world’s best.”
Whilst it is true that everyone’s ambitions are not quite as grand, the basic idea is the same – maintaining a forward momentum. After understanding the essence of your brand and the things you do not want to change, it is possible to make decisions on the directions you wish to take. Identify your ambitions and goal; create a space into which you want to move and grow into that space.
Next time we look at Apple, Starbucks and Old Spice — and how they overcame common rebranding obstacles.