What do Old Spice, McDonald’s and Nintendo have in common?

Working ‘in’ your business should never be confused with working ‘on’ your business. You need to shift with the tides if you are to survive. 

Is your business looking a bit tired – dare we say it ‘a bit dated’? Do you need more brand ‘energy’? 

How many TV shows do we see about the ‘re-branding’ of tardy small retailers, stuffy hotels, jaded old restaurants? 

Gordon Ramsey stalked America with his Kitchen Nightmares and in Ireland, we had Fergal Quinn giving retailers advice on revamps and rebrands. 

There are many examples (in every town in Ireland) of small businesses that went out of business simply because they stopped working ‘on’ their business. 

Large companies and brands are not immune to the dreaded ‘irrelevance’ tag either. 

Below are four ‘older’ firms that invested, fought hard and reinvented their brands for a new generation of consumers. 

USEFUL GUIDE: How to develop a great strategy to survive and grow.

pokemon in dublin


Almost overnight, Pokémon gripped the world once again. It had been 21 years since Nintendo released the first video game featuring Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Charizard. 

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality (AR) game developed by San Francisco’s Niantic Labs and published by the Pokémon Company in a joint venture with Nintendo. 

The rebranding of the game in the smartphone age (using AR) drove the Nintendo brand back into the global spotlight. Within two days the app had over 15 million users. 

While Nintendo only has a 32 percent stake in Pokémon Go, the company saw a significant rise in its share price.

The game showed that the once irrelevant Nintendo could reinvent itself in the age of digital data and augmented reality. 

READ MORE: Some old tricks and some new tricks. How to market your business.

old spice

Old Spice

For years Old Spice was linked with older men, but the scent is now making a come back with a massive, global digital campaign. The brand set out to reinvent itself from being the ‘old man scent’ and launched a series of viral ad campaigns in 2010 to turn the product from fusty to feisty.

The ad featured former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa who told women to “Look at your man, now back to me,” while sitting on a horse or taking a shower. It instantly appealed to the younger male consumer and generated tens of millions of online views. 

A hugely successful social media campaign followed. As a result, sales of the Old Spice Body Wash rose 11pc in the twelve months after the rebrand.

With an ambitious YouTube media campaign and a robust Twitter and Facebook presence, this is not the same Old Spice your granddad once used.

NEED A PLAN? The world’s most successful companies are brand-led. You need a marketing plan.

netflix in ireland


Netflix is one of the most successful digital companies to emerge from the dust bowl of the TV age. Its original business model was subscription based. People could rent as many DVDs as they wanted, keep them as long as they wanted and trade them in for new ones after mailing them back. However, with the surge of digital downloads and the decline of DVD rentals, Netflix had to re-imagine itself or be wiped out.

Netflix began streaming movies and TV shows that became hugely popular. In recent months Netflix has held onto its subscribers by creating Netflix original series such as ‘House of Cards’, ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Orange is the New Black.’ 

Netflix reinvented itself to give the online customer what they wanted and is thriving as a result.

DOWNLOAD: Go back to square one. Ask yourself, what’s your value proposition? Use these tools to re-build your brand and your space in the market.

mcdonalds fries


Even the world’s largest fast food chain McDonald’s needed to reinvent itself.

The burger chain, famous for serving high fat meals with toys and super-sized mouthfuls of ‘meat’, began to reinvent itself with a ‘healthy’ menu option. The company also set out to establish its brand as a “leader in sustainable, local and organic food production”.

With new additions to the menu such as fruit and veg packets, salads and wraps as well as large viral campaigns featuring local food producers, McDonald’s re-branded itself, despite the rise in healthy eating and the hipster-led movement of local, natural and wholesome.

You should lead your sector

Remember – it’s important to stay relevant, keep up with the times and most importantly; listen to your customers. Your customers change all the time. Because of this, you must follow, or better still – lead.

As Peter Thiel advised Mark Zuckerberg when he was starting Facebook, “In a world that’s changing so quickly, the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risk.”

INVEST: You will need money to rebrand. Help is at hand. Now is the time to invest in your business.

Article by Catherine Devine.

Images: Andrey Armyagov / Shutterstock.com; Matthew Corley / Shutterstock.com; dennizn / Shutterstock.com; Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com; and MaraZe / Shutterstock.com.