Every so often, you reinvent yourself. Think about the clothes you wear now versus the clothes you wore last year, 5 years ago, 10 years ago, in high school, in grade school, and so on. They’ve changed, haven’t they? In fact, it’s probably easy to say that you’ve changed and found better ways to dress and express yourself (the specific trends of decades aside). As you grow up and learn new things, associate with new people, find new passions, and travel the world, it’s common and natural to evolve as a person, and oftentimes, that form of self-realization comes across in the ways you choose to adorn yourself. At the core, you may feel like the same person, but through new experiences, advancing technology, and evolving tastes, it’s pretty certain that you are and will continue to be a reinvention of your former self.
Why should your business be any different?
The truth is, reinvention is necessary for survival in the business world. Whether you’re coming up with new ideas to stay ahead of your competitors or you’re making adjustments to products to remain aligned with a new generation of consumer’s wants and needs, it’s imperative to never let your business or your brand become stagnant. If you do, you’re doomed. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but it will happen. If you remain satisfied with the status quo, eventually someone will come along and do the same thing you’re doing, but it will be better and cheaper; it will offer greater perks or rewards, or it will benefit the consumer in a totally different, yet meaningful (for them) way. If you’re passionate about your business and what you have to offer, you must find a way to reinvent yourself, revive your greatest ideas, and go forward in a way that makes you unbeatable.
“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, and to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”
– Henri Bergson
5 Businesses/Industries That Reinvented Themselves
1. The Food-Service Industry
Over the last decade or so, the food-service industry has had to transform itself from a fried, butter-soaked, trans-fatty, comfort-food universe to something much more health conscious and flavorful. While the former world isn’t completely gone (as there is still a demand for it), consumers can now find a larger variety of healthy foods that are paired with interesting ingredients, spices, and more. But, the transformation doesn’t stop with this focus on “new” ingredients — it also involves the ways in which people and restaurants have come to talk about food in a seductive, almost poetic fashion — or as Hahn says, “culinary hyperbole.” What’s also interesting is that these colorful adjectives, used to describe foods, have found their way into other arenas — like politics, music, cars, movies, and insurance — thus, making the newly founded showmanship of the food-service industry a great example of universal reinvention.
2. Old Spice
In 2006, Old Spice (established in 1938) reinvented itself by ditching its iconic, yet dated, sailor imagery for something more in-line with what current generations wanted — expressive scents. This thought made way for a zany, yet highly successful, advertising campaign featuring Bruce Campbell. Throughout the years, Old Spice continued to add more “outrageous personalities” to its lineup of spokesmen, who were featured in ad campaigns like “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” and “Smellmitment.” In 2015, Old Spice became the largest brand in its category, thanks to an overwhelmingly loyal fan base, and its social media presence is booming — 500 million YouTube subscribers and videos with over 31 million views.
3. Kelley Blue Book
With the hopes of being a trusted resource for generations to come, Kelley Blue Book (established in 1926) knew that it needed to reinvent itself in a way that proved it was still valuable. To do that, the brand launched an online ad campaign, showing how it could help consumers who were in the market for a new or used car. The campaign drove just under 5.2 million visits and 26.8 million page views to the website, and research data showed an 18% increase in consumer intent to visit Kelley Blue Book when looking for truck recommendations.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) (established in 1930) noticed that younger consumers preferred eating chicken in a different way than earlier generations. KFC decided that if it was going to sell to young people, it would need to evolve and change its menu over time. In an effort to remain authentic, attract younger consumers, and stay true to its loyal core of customers, KFC not only revamped its menu but created fun ads, inspired by its classic Colonel Sanders, that turn “every occasion into a chicken-selling holiday.” Campaign results have been small, but successful.
5. Yellow Pages
Most of today’s consumers (especially millennials) search the internet — specifically on their cell phones — for businesses and phone numbers. The Yellow Pages (established in 1886) had been doing that for decades — in print. To stay competitive, the Yellow Pages decided it was time to make some changes. With the goal of maintaining the company’s roots but embracing the now, the Yellow Pages changed its name to YP (in 2013), started a grassroots campaign to spread the word that it could help businesses find customers both on and offline, and created digital videos where spokespeople talked about their favorite local businesses…all to help show businesses that “the consumer buying journey today is complex” and how YP could help them create an on and offline strategy. Results have been great, including 14 million views on YouTube (27% more views than the industry average) and a 22% increase in awareness for YP.com.
In “Brainstorm: Unleashing Your Creative Self,” Hahn states that the process of change can be painful, but “it’s a constant part of the human journey.” And, while change can happen in a forceful manner (i.e. through the loss of a loved one, job, or something else), he also notes that many do it willingly and with intelligence. This “intelligence,” as French philosopher Henri Bergson puts it, is more of an intuitive, sensory, creative, and free process, as opposed to anything that can be learned in books. Bergson also believed that “the nature of life is deeply inspired by our immediate experience and our intuition.” So, if the nature of life is to change, and voluntary change is inspired by experiences and intuition (a kind of personal intelligence), then it’s easy to state that when armed with enough inspiration, intuition, and experiences, the change or reinvention of an individual or business should be as easy as breathing.
Easier said than done, but with that in mind, now’s a great time to reevaluate what’s working and what’s not working for your business. It’s time to scour the competition. It’s time to figure out what makes your heart giddy for your products or services. It’s time to ensure that your brand is successful for years to come by figuring out how your business needs to reinvent itself.
Want to read more of the #YourCreativeSelf series? You can find more posts on the Smarter Searches blog, right here!