A Must-Read for Every Growing Company

Thinking about successful companies, you might wonder: What did they do, and how did they do it?

Rebranding can be risky, but at some point, you just have to look at the facts. Maybe your branding has fallen flat—not getting the attention it once had? So now what do you do?

The five companies listed below refused to lay by the wayside and did something that not too many others could—they rebranded.

Harley Davidson

Only one word for this brand: Iconic. And that’s for all the right and wrong reasons. The brand has had its ups and downs since its emergence in 1903. Founder William S. Harley along with brothers, Arthur and Walter Davidson, his co-founders, introduced V-twin, air-cooled motorcycle engines as a result of their experiments with bicycles as childhood friends.

Yes, it all began with a fascination for bicycles and how to improve them. Not many people know, or remember, this part of the company’s history because of the unfavorable reputation and mixed signals sent by the organization over the years.

The four friends formed the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, working out of a shed in the Davidson brothers’ backyard. By the year 1909, they owned their own factory, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Regardless of their tarnished reputation, the motor company remains a staple icon in the motorcycle industry despite having almost gone bankrupt twice. In the end, it wasn’t their reputation pulling them down, it was the product.

What started out as high-end became nothing more than a dollar-store company. Harley-Davidson wasn’t producing a quality product, so they began the rebuilding process. They beat the odds and are now at the top of the game, boasting a worth of over $1 billion. Their standing logo of the bar and shield forever remains an American symbol since its inception in 1910.

The next struggle in Harley-Davidson’s future is a possible rebranding to attract a broader customer base, which now stands at white males of over 50. If history tells us anything, they will find a solution to explode industry standards and bring modern, younger customers to the table.

Target

When the concept for the company was conceived, the goal was to appeal to the higher end of the market and cater to the sophisticated shopper, like Neiman Marcus or Macy’s, but within a reasonable budget. However, as the brand evolved, it actually turned into a bargain-hunter type of shopping experience that they were initially trying to avoid.

The company’s mission statement was a contradiction regarding what it was attempting to achieve. However, what could have been a disaster that would then lead to failure was, in fact, a ‘happy accident.’ Target is a statement to entrepreneurial evolution like nothing before. They became successful despite falling short on their initial goal. For them, rebranding was a necessity, not a choice. Yet, it led to Target being one of the most successful retailers in the world.

Massey Bros.

Established in Dublin in the 1930s, Massey Bros. are the top funeral directors in the country, in terms of offering solutions none of their competition does. In an industry with high emotional attachment, the company has overcome stigma and obstacles over the years. One of their struggles was to outplay competition with six companies operating under the same name as them, Massey, which is, undoubtedly, not an easy task.

Massey Bros. aspired to be a five-star funeral service, catering to the elite in times of need and sorrow. However, the brand had trouble standing apart and lacked tone or a clear voice. Thus, an important rebranding strategy was set into motion and this was to do a brand overhaul which aims to create a higher profile distinction and increase market shares.

They accomplished the goal, not only setting higher industry standards but were also able to establish the brand reputation with staff custodians, earning accolades above the rest of the marketplace.

Hybrid Technology Partners (formerly: HybridIT)

This organization is a perfect example of rookie mistakes and a flawed startup strategy. However, their story has a happy ending because the founders were able to catch up on issues quickly. The main issue is having the IT in the brand name. Hybrid was lost to the target audience the company was trying to reach—it came across as just another IT service.

From its inception, the company was strangling itself. Their tone of voice and brand mission were never clearly defined enough to help it grow. The good news is; it was turned around by reinventing themselves. What could have been disaster, since it was caught early on, became a success story. This should be a lesson for every entrepreneur venturing a startup.

Narragansett Beer

As a brand with a 125-year history, Narragansett Beer went through countless growing pains. At one point, the company plunged low after Falstaff Brewing Corp bought it in 1965. What led to its fall from the market is when Mark Hellendrung acquired it about a decade ago totally losing its flavor. Hellendrung then thought about re-establishing the company’s New England roots and reconstructing their brand strategy.

Millennials became the target of Narragansett’s successful rebranding. They know the potential driving force of this age group and relaunch their product to appeal to a greater customer base. Their key to a successful rebrand was the changes they made in packaging and brand representation.

Takeaways

Re-launching your brand might be a scary venture. But when you’re facing the fact that you might have to call it quits for good, is there really any other option? When you’re not seeing the projected returns you anticipated, it’s time to go back to the branding drawing board.

When approached from the right angle, rebranding shouldn’t be a painful experience. With the right people doing the right efforts, you can rebuild your brand on a path to success. Your customers will appreciate you for it and respect the fact that you were willing to take action and relaunch a better business.