How To Revive A Declining Brand

Can a declining brand come back to life? Marketers often consider this exact question. The answer is yes. Here's a proven strategy that works.

Can a declining brand come back to life? Marketers often consider this exact question. The answer is yes. Well-known and successful brands like Marvel, Apple, Lego, and Volkswagen have been on the verge of dying out before turning things around.

There’s even a company that has been purchasing and reviving dead brands like Brim, Nuprin, Salon Selectives, Eagle Snacks and Underalls. So how can brands achieve such a feat?

I’ve helped companies devise the following brand revival strategies: plans that not only revived their brand, but helped them grow and find success.


1. Pay attention to warning signs

Be vigilant and acknowledge any problems you encounter. This way your brand has a chance to pivot quickly before it’s too late.

That’s where a company like Blockbuster went wrong, and where Netflix saved the day: instead of noticing that customers preferred to have movies sent to them, the chain kept building new stores rather than changing its existing model. Netflix could have followed the same direction, but the company paid attention to trends and provided the streaming subscription service that customers wanted.

If you want to prevent your brand from flopping, pay close attention to shrinking customer base and revenue. If your brand is stagnant and hasn’t evolved or adapted to the changing market, competitors will appear more enticing and innovative.


2. Tap into nostalgia

Research has shown that nostalgia can “counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety.” This can make us more tolerant, generous and create a feeling of “social connectedness.” This tactic was recently used by brands like Keds, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Polaroid when they joined in on the Twitter hashtag, #InThe90sIThought.

By tapping into the memories of your customers, you can create a sentiment that reminds them how much they used to love your product or service. While I recommend keeping your logo, tagline, and catchy jingle, you can make other tweaks to trigger nostalgia (e.g. vintage packaging, throwback prices, or T-shirts with an old-school logo).


3. Reboot your brand

Sometimes, the state of your brand requires a complete overhaul. This rings true, especially if it recently underwent a negative experience that tarnished it in the minds of your customers.


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According to Fast Company, a brand reboot requires a new design that clearly signals a real change; one that reflects the brand strategy and experience. Stay away from fads and trends. Instead, focus on something simple that illustrates your long-term brand goals.


4. Bring back loyal customers

While you need loyal customers to keep your business healthy, your brand’s near-death experience may mean you’ve lost business to the competition. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t win them back. As you breathe new life into your brand here’s how you can win back your dedicated fan base:


  • Gather feedback on why they left in the first place

  • Offer customers incentives with mobile push notifications

  • Reach out to customers as soon as possible, since it’s easier and more affordable to get in touch with them

  • Send targeted, personalized emails to remind customers of their past experiences with your brand

  • Create a sense of urgency by offering coupons, discounts or promotions for a limited time


On top of listening to and rewarding your previous customers, don’t forget to provide top-notch customer service as they make their way back to you. Amazing customer service is one of the best ways to make customers fall in love with your brand again.


5. Appeal to new customers

While previous customers are your brand’s lifeblood, you may have to engage a new audience while your brand stages a comeback. Use a strategy similar to when you first started your business. Interact with your audience both online and offline. Share killer content on social media and blogs. Attend networking events, offering sales promotions or free samples, and partner with other successful brands.


6. Use multiple channels

Brands can’t afford to put all of their eggs in one marketing basket. Omnichannel marketing is a successful strategy that is used to reach customers and prospects on multiple devices, including mobile.


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To get started Google recommends that brands know their customers intimately. Use demographic information like gender, location, website browsing habits, search habits, and where they shop.


Restore your brand health

While everything I have suggested here is essential if you want to bring your brand back to life, it won’t just bounce back instantaneously from there. There is a recovery period where you’ll have to monitor it closely.

Continue to implement strategies mentioned above. From there, you can give your brand more space to shine. Meanwhile watch out for early warning signs so you don’t have to give your brand CPR again.

It’s possible to bring your brand back from the dead, but it requires the use significant resources.


This article has been edited.

Peter Daisyme is a special adviser to Due, an invoicing company helping small business owners transact money online.


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