Legacy brand

When & Why to Refresh Your Legacy Brand

Change is inevitable. From clothing, to cars, to gadgets, every brand one day faces the big question, “Are we still relevant?”

Having the ability to call yourself a legacy brand highlights your successes over decades of business. But as Bob Dylan sings The Times They Are a-Changin’, he’s speaking the truth. Many factors can cause legacy brands to reevaluate their positioning in the marketplace. A rise in competitive threats, a shift in your once nailed-down target audience, a change in company leadership, or global expansion can lead into a brand repositioning effort.


The biggest challenge with brand repositioning is maintaining your core fans by and also expanding to reach new fans. But where do brands begin this process? It requires a sound strategy with well-defined goals. Mid-size companies often seek a “new look,” a “new website,” an update logo. That’s the cart before the horse. Discover the main challenge facing your business today and reposition yourselves to tackle that challenge.


Yes, repositioning can be expensive and often takes time to be accepted by the market but when it’s done well the payback can be significant.


For example, Old Spice, a leader in men’s hygiene, was not always a top-of- mind choice for consumers. In 2008, the company’s “Glacial Falls” scent was performing horribly and was at risk of becoming discontinued. Axe had entered the hygiene market during this period and began stealing shares. To retain their shelf space and keep up with what consumers related to, they began a rebranding initiative.


Retaining the “Glacial Falls” scent, Old Spice renamed the product and repositioned it. Old Spice “Swagger” was born and with it cultural currency and attitude. This repositioning of the brand and “Swagger” exuded confidence and the target audience reacted by quadrupling sales. Old Spice invested in new print ads, television spots, viral YouTube content, and online campaigns to support their effort. Since “Swagger”, Old Spice has continued to lead in the arenas of digital and social campaigning proving yes, the benefits of repositioning pays for itself in the long run.


Change is intimidating, but with a well-evaluated rollout plan, change can bring opportunities to brands.

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Dan Stokes
Dan Stokes

Dan is a principal and Executive Vice President of JStokes Agency, focused on brand strategy and account leadership. He also an obsessed tennis player and classical guitar enthusiast. Motto - "you can always get better."

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