Brand Revitalization – More easy said than done

Once a popular brand Harley Davidson was losing its sheen in the American market due to the introduction of new Japanese bikes that were petite and fast. They too tried running the same race and failed miserably. They tried again and this time with a brilliant idea to invest in the quality and style rather than the quantity. Not only did the brand turn things around for itself in the American market but is today one of the most recognised brand globally.

A lot of factors come to play when we talk about brand revival and one of them is – Does the same brand still have the recall value among the customers after it has been pushed from its high perch? Does the brand still retain its uniqueness from its competitors or has it been replaced by a new brand which now runs the market.

Similar to Harley Davidson’s revival, we look at a few brands which are trying to or have successfully been brought back from the dead and have ruled the market in the process.


One of the biggest brands that is on the brink of resurgence is Nokia. A name so big once upon a time that people knew mobile phones only by the name of Nokia. Known for its sturdy and innovative phones, its only crime was that it did not catch the Android trend early. Nokia instead partnered with Microsoft’s Windows OS and rest they say is history (literally).


Fast forward to February this year, at the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, we saw revival of the brand Nokia under the licensing of HMD global. Three new smartphones were launched for everyone to stand up and notice. Apart from three Android phones, the company sprang a surprise with a feature phone. The iconic 3310 came back from the grave in a new avatar, a clear marketing brilliance for the press to take notice of Nokia.

Right now available only in limited markets, Nokia handsets are sure to build on the long legacy of sturdy devices that provide value for money to their customers. Backed with the pop culture internet support and nostalgia surrounding the brand, the brand is surely hot favourite on the revival path.


Talking about phones, how could we not talk about the most loved corporate phone brand that will ever be, Blackberry. The company commanded a brand loyalty which its users used to swear by. How can one forget the catchy jingle ‘We are the Blackberry Boys’, Not only did the people in suits flaunt their Blackberrys at board meetings but even youngsters found the phone interesting because of its cult BBM Messenger and the physical keyboard.


But once the Androids and the iPhones started chugging in full speed, the Blackberry barrier was broken by its most trusted customers and since then the brand is struggling to make a special place in the market again. The brand loyalty has now been shifted to Apple’s iPhone and its fan boys are very vocal about the brand and its products, be it on online forums or in person.

Blackberry since then has undergone a sea of a changes and has tried to revive itself many a times. Removing the physical keyboard, re-introducing the physical keyboard and other such antiques to lure the customers back. Latest trick up their sleeve is that they have joined the Android bandwagon and hoping that its security system and the brand name will pull in the numbers to keep the company running.

Old Spice

Old Spice is a brand reminiscent of times of our grandfathers and fathers. But the brand has not only broke its image of selling just to the elder men but managed to attract the youth and make them the target audience with its tagline – A Manly Man. The brand was facing a sort of generation gap issue with the youth having access to brands like Axe, Gillette, Hugo Boss and other such brands which were targeted towards the youth or class which were among the big spenders when it came to products related to men grooming. In 2006, Old Spice moved its account to Wieden+Kennedy to turn things around.

Old Spice1

With the insight that more than 50 per cent of women were responsible for men’s body wash purchases, the company came up with the campaign, ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ to speak to both men and women simultaneously—a first.

Old Spice ad premiered at the Super Bowl 2010 which not only grabbed the correct attention for the brand but also started the conversation for Old Spice online with its witty writing and poking fun at the stereotypical ads of deodorants and body washes playing at that time.

This was followed by a mammoth social media campaign where the Old Spice Man played by Isaiah Mustafa answered more than 180 video shoutouts, which included social media influencers and celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Demi Moore, Christina Applegate, Alysa Milano, gossip blogger Perez Hilton, founder Kevin Rose and tech gadget blog Gizmodo.

Old Spice’s Twitter followers increased more than 1,000 percent. Nearly 600,000 people on Facebook gave its ads a thumbs-up “like it” vote. And, according to Advertising Age, the Old Spice commercials received more than 7 million online views this week alone. One of the best brand revival stories.

Royal Enfield

A brand which dates back to 1893 and with more than a 100 years of history under its belt, Royal Enfield has seen it all, the rise, the fall and the soaring rise again. One of the oldest motorcycle companies, Enfield had a loyal fan base in India with its stable and aspirational value backed motorcycles serving the Indian Army. But the early 2000s saw brand’s fall with Enfield closing its Jaipur plant due to lack of orders coming their way. However one man was determined to turn things around at Eicher Motors and it was then their Siddhartha Lal. He analysed the strengths and weaknesses of Royal Enfield to come up with a strategy to put the brand on its path to revival.

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The biggest problem that the brand faced was that the loyalist did not want Enfield to change its bikes and loved the way they were even with their flaws. But the company was not able to bring in new customers and needed to put a fresh breath into the dying brand. So in order to stay true to the Enfield loyalist, the company maintained the older body but improved on its flaws of its oil leakage, constantly breaking of its brake systems and its ever so tough kick start. With a little scepticism the company changed the aforementioned things in the new bike but the question still loomed, would the new improved Enfield be accepted by the old and new equally?

Yes, the riders opened their hearts to the new Royal Enfields and how. The new bikes maintained the old world charm but also gave them much needed reliability and solid biking experience without having to compromise on the bike’s legacy. Add to that Royal Enfield started the culture of leisure rides across the country and displayed its reliability and how it could withstand difficult roads. This worked wonders for the company. Back in 2000, company was only producing 2000 units due to lack of orders but come 2017, 60,000 units of Royal Enfield bikes were sold in the month of March alone. The company not only has done well in India but has expanded its operation in 50 nations and has even surpassed the legendary Harley Davidson in global sales in 2015. Inspired enough!


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