Case Study: Business Strategies That Actually Work In the Real World

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When a brand begins to get lost in the shuffle or falls victim to a crippling crisis, the company may choose to rebrand. Some changes have been wildly successful – like BP changing its logo from red, white, and blue to green to seem more environmentally friendly – while others have been complete flops. GAP’s logo rebranding was such a disaster that it lasted less than a week, and there have been scientific studies on how bad it was.

Let’s look at one successful rebranding and the business strategies used by that company.

The Brand: Old Spice

Old Spice was losing sales to competitors like Axe who had cornered the young, male market by appealing to its natural attraction to women. To get ahead, Old Spice took a humorous route with the help of NFL player Isaiah Mustafa.

In nothing short of a viral blitz, Old Spice created 187 videos – including the iconic “I’m on a horse” video with Mustafa selling Old Spice and offering advice to the ladies on how they could get their men to smell like Old Spice. Old Spice might have spoken to the ladies, but the men did the buying: sales were up 107 percent a month after the launch, and have only continued to grow since.

Strategy One: Appeal Through Video Content

A whopping 82 percent of Internet users watch online videos at least five hours a week. Despite its vast popularity, many brands shy away from video because they think it’s expensive or hard to create. Old Spice embraced video, especially easy-to-create short clips on YouTube. The average viewer didn’t see all 187 videos, he or she probably only saw four to five, but that’s all Old Spice needed them to see.

The Lesson:

Video content doesn’t require a funny viral ad. Creating tutorials or introduction videos for your “About Us” or Product pages will drive traffic and appeal to potential customers who don’t want to read.

Strategy Two: Social Media Isn’t Optional

At the very least, fans who viewed the Old Spice ads turned to YouTube to find and share the commercials with their friends. Old Spice took Mustafa’s character deeper than that though, and gave him a Twitter account and had him answer questions on Facebook. If Snapchat existed in 2010, you could guarantee he would have been snapping photos to the ladies – with a bottle of Old Spice in his hand.

The Lesson:

Social media isn’t just a fad; the networks we use may change (like MySpace) but the principles are there. In fact, many executive MBA programs have started incorporating social media into their classes.

Strategy Three: Real Time Is the Best Time

Most of Mustafa’s 187 videos were quips answering tweets from fans and celebrities. The quick response rate was something few brands had been able to do before. The term “real-time marketing” has only flourished recently, usually partnered with the phrase “Oreo moment,” referencing the iconic tweet by Oreo during the XLVII Super Bowl. The only brand or person that has come close to that kind of virality was Ellen’s Oscar Selfie.

The Lesson:

While social media doesn’t have to be a 24/7 job, stay on your toes if your company is doing a major sponsorship or event. Also, responding to fans quickly wins them over and turns them into brand advocates.

For now, Old Spice’s rebranding campaign is king of all viral marketing plans. By following its strategies, marketers can only hope to dethrone it someday with their own clients and content.