Published: 27/04/2018

5 big brands that reinvented themselves

Business Growth

You have probably heard all the stories about businesses that became huge success stories. Companies that disrupted their market place and turned themselves into genuine standard bearers for their industries. You’ll probably find that it is quite easy to name a few of examples.

But what about businesses who reinvented themselves: the ones who fell on difficult times but came back better than they were before. It is very possible to rebrand and rejuvenate a business, and these examples will show you exactly how:


It’s hard to imagine a time when everything Apple touched didn’t turn into gold. But back in the early 90's, the company was struggling. Apple Computers, might have been a household name, but the perception of the company was that they were anything but the cool innovators they are today.

Enter the prodigal son - Steve Jobs. The former co-founder was brought back into the company at the turn of the 21st century and immediately instigated a massive rebrand which would turn the company’s fortunes around. The new Mac computers were sleek in design and incredibly user friendly. In addition to this, the subsequent launch of the iPod was a total game changer. Even the worlds biggest companies can have complicated beginnings.


A company that truly personifies the word adaptable. During the 1990's, Nintendo launched its first three dimensional console called the N64 to a great deal of fanfare. Unfortunately, Nintendo was up against the the more adult geared console, Sony's PlayStation. And whilst sales were good, Nintendo was up against a competitor that simply had larger and more powerful games which were more innovative. The same was the case for the next set of consoles, which Nintendo struggled to match. Nintendo looked like they had lost the console wars - that is until the Nintendo Wii came along.

This piece of gaming mastery allowed players to use a stick that detected body movements in three dimensions. This created a much more socially active experience which was geared towards a much broader audience of families. The Wii obliterated the competition, outselling PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. Nintendo were clever and created something that was truly different. This goes to show the value a USP can bring to a company in a highly competitive market.

Old Spice

An iconic brand which had an unfortunate reputation of catering for people on the older age of the spectrum. This changed in 2010, when an ad campaign they ran went viral. This involved NFL star Isaiah Mustafa sitting on a horse backwards telling women that Old Spice was something their men should wear. This hilarious advert proved to be a massive hit, particularly with millennials in their 20's and 30's. This was reflected in sales - which rose by 11% in the following 12 months. This case study demonstrates that it is possible to change brand perceptions with excellent marketing and a little bit of humour.


Yes, even the great fast food giant had to seriously think about its image and public perception. Questions of health, with regards to McDonalds food, had always been a consistent theme surrounding the company. But this took a turn for the worse in the early 00's with the infamous Super Size Me documentary. This experiment, where documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonalds meals for a month (he had to have his meals supersized if asked).

This was a PR disaster for the franchise giant. The company had to seriously change the way that it approached nutrition and displayed its food contents to the public. They now offer a wider array of healthy choices on their menu and spent millions on making their restaurants cleaner. So whilst McDonalds are probably still not the healthiest choice when it comes to eating a meal out, they are no longer the perceived enablers of obesity they once were.


Anyone remember Burberry in the early 00's? The traditional British brand became an ironic symbol of hooliganism and thuggery for so called ‘chavs’. Unfortunately, this association damaged Burberry in terms of its brand and resulted in dwindling sales. The company had to go back to the luxury status that it used to have.

When Burberry appointed Angela Ahrendts in 2006, this really did change the direction of the company (think of what Jobs did for Apple). She made a series of tough decisions and gave the company an incredibly strong digital presence. They focused on what made them so aspirational in the first place: namely, their British heritage. This lead to brand ambassadors such as Emma Watson and Eddie Redmayne being used to promote their product line. All of this changed the brand’s image and put them more in line with what they were originally.

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David Goulden Copywriter
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