Firm News

What to Consider When Reviving a Brand

March 1, 2018

New brands are created every day, but brand revivals are making a comeback.

New brands are created every day. Established businesses and new entrepreneurs are constantly launching brands designed to provide products and services or improve upon existing ones.

However, there is something to say for those that revive brands from the past. Whether failed or customer favorites, limited edition or designed to be a category leader, there is always a desire for revival.

Here are a few items to consider if you are planning to revive a past brand:

  • Confirm the Cause of the Brand’s Departure is No Longer an Issue – If you are reviving a brand that crashed in a ball of flames due to customer service or function issues, attack that right out of the gate and repeatedly, but simply, explain how the problem has been addressed. Customers will likely only give you one chance to right what previously wronged them at their expense, or someone else they know of, some time ago.
  • However, with a great deal of time passed, this could be where a first impression (yes, second impression technically) may be even more important. If you deliver what customers need, they are even more likely to tell friends, family and co-workers how the revival is for their benefit as well.
  • Build a Bridge for Old Customers to Re-engage through Emotion – Play to the feeling of nostalgia for customers, especially if it is a product or service, perhaps a restaurant, theater or beverage that invokes a good feeling from a past family or community experience.
  • This has been a key marketing strategy for what was once a New Orleans staple, Dixie Beer,since New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle purchased a majority stake in the nostalgic brand last year.Dixie Beer was, according to their tagline, born in 1907 and reborn in 2017. After Hurricane Katrina, the beer was brewed in Wisconsin and had lost much of its identity, and frankly the taste, that so many New Orleanians remembered.
  • Currently brewed in Tennessee, with plans to fully re-establish operations in New Orleans and utilize the original 1907 recipe, Dixie Beer’s brand revitalization now has a new generation of craft beer drinkers to sell to, but is built on a cornerstone of nostalgia, evoking emotions of potential new customers through their past customers, those parents and grandparents recollections of good times spent downing a cold Dixie beer.
  • Clearly Explain the Link Between the Revived Brand and its Old Target Without Alienating the New Target – Clarifying the connection is important for both old customers that may want to revisit, as well as new customers who may have never heard of the past brand, but could find out about old missteps through and article or word of mouth. They have started fresh and are more willing to overlook what they may have only read or heard about in the past. You can make sure to reach each of these audiences through various channels, perhaps Snapchat, Instagram or experiential marketing tactics work for the new customer, while print or targeted digital advertising may be better for the original customer.
  • A good example to look at is govWorks, the late 90s/early 00s dot com era startup that emerged as the solution to fix tedious government processes. The concept sounded great, it was meant to be convenient and it raised approximately $60 million dollars, enough to really take off and become a household name that would make it easier for citizens to complete transactions with local and state governments (think records searches, parking ticket payments, etc.) – then it failed.
  • The dot com era ended in disaster for many and govWorks was not spared, becoming notorious for its high-profile crash and forever looked at as one of the biggest startup failures in history based on its potential. The problem was that govWorks was so far ahead of time and those entities and processes it set out to fix could not keep up.
  • Almost two decades later, govWorks relaunched in January 2018. This rendition is similar in name-only, but tech-enables the process of securely expediting travel documents and puts the customer in charge. This revival makes the connection to a promising idea to those who remember the initial iteration, but also connects with a new audience that is at the forefront of new tech applications, as well as the everyday traveler, both who are looking for the most tech-forward solutions in their everyday lives.
  • Through, and, this iteration of the brand name emerges in a time when those original government partners, plus new ones across the globe, are now digitally savvy and also realize how their burden can also be reduced through private sector partners such as govWorks.

Ryan Evans is a Managing Supervisor at Bond Moroch.