You know that guy who’s forever stuck in high school? The one who still lives in the same town, hangs out with the same guys, and retells the same stories?
Every once in awhile you run into him and it’s painfully obvious that high school was the best time of his life, and he’s trying to relive it everyday of adulthood. You feel bad, because he hasn’t been able to experience all of the great things that come with moving on, growing up, meeting new people, and changing into a different person.
Have you ever met a brand like that?
Like people, brands can get stuck. Years ago they found something that worked, made money, and had loyal fans. But as we know, brands need to evolve in order to grow.
Consider Nintendo and Converse.
Despite being synonymous with videogame culture in the late 1980s, Nintendo spent the latter part of the following decade in a struggle to release a videogame console to rival those from industry newcomers Sony and Microsoft.
Converse All Stars were introduced in 1917 and grew from a basketball sneaker to an American style classic in the ‘50s and ‘60s. In the late ‘70s rival athletic shoes companies like Puma, Adidas, and Nike led Converse to file for bankruptcy protection in 2001.
If brands don’t evolve, if they’re unwilling to innovate, they’ll fail. To succeed, brands have to constantly have their finger on the pulse of the community and be willing to innovate and change when necessary. Just because something worked in the past, doesn’t mean it will work in the future.
In 2006 Nintendo released the Wii, which combined state-of-the-art motion controls with games that had mass appeal. It was a success. The Wii sold 67.45 million units worldwide by February 2010, almost doubling the worldwide totals of competing consoles from Microsoft and Sony. Instead of trying to keep up with their competition, Nintendo innovated past them. They brought something new to the table.
And in case you haven’t noticed, almost everyone these days owns a pair of Chuck Taylors. After Converse filed for bankruptcy, Footwear Acquisitions purchased the brand lead a turnaround for the company. In 2 ½ years, Converse went from the 16th largest footwear company to the 7th. They were purchased by Nike in 2003 for over $300 million and continue to grow as a lifestyle brand.
For brands, popularity can be fleeting. Fans will love you as long as you’re continually able to meet their growing expectations. Once you get stuck in the past, your fans will move on, grow up, meet new people, and find new products. Don’t get left behind.