Remember Circuit City? Bet you think the electronics chain went out of business in early 2009. But actually, they're back. Another company bought the brand name just a few months later and relaunched Circuit City as a leaner, meaner, no-doubt-more-profitable ecommerce site.
They're not the only old-time brand making a comeback, either. If these stone-dead companies can find a way to revive their brand and get customers buying again, small businesses can do it, too.
Besides, Circuit City, brands that are on the comeback trail include:
Chock Full O Nuts -- Sing it with me now: "Chock Full O Nuts is that heavenly coffee...better coffee a millionaire's money can't buy." Despite the well-known jingle, this 80-year-old brand had faded to obscurity, and the coffee-shop chain closed in the 1980s. But earlier this month, the company's first new coffee shop in decades opened in New York City. When the New York Daily News wrote about it, nearly 400 people liked the story on Facebook. Clearly, just the mention of this old brand had many riding a wave of pleasant nostalgia.
Commodore -- Wow, what a yesterday brand in computing, huh? For those too young to remember, Commodore's C64 was a popular early personal computer, but the company failed to keep up with the pace of change in PCs and went bust waaaay back in 1994. But it's coming back -- Florida entrepreneur Barry Altman is relaunching the brand with a $30 million marketing effort.
MC Hammer -- Remember harem pants? Can't touch this? In case you don't recall, rapper MC Hammer's career vaporized this century, he became kind of a joke, and went broke. But he's reinvented himself and is marketing his style to a whole new generation with his new clothing company, Alchemist Clothing, which caters to the mixed-martial-arts crowd. (What a perfect name for someone who needed a brand transformation!)
Did you love reading about these comeback stories? The fact is, people have long memories for brands. Those memories often powerfully connect them to happier days and evoke positive feelings. Personally, I'd like to see Quaker bring back the Quisp and Quake cereals they made in my childhood...what a kick that would be!
Brand rebirth can work for small businesses, too. If there is a product you used to make or a service you used to do but discontinued a while back, maybe it's time to give it another look.
Among the advantages -- brand revival means bringing back something you already know how to make or do. It was successful once, so maybe conditions are right now for it to be a hit again.
You've also got an automatic marketing angle -- "Our customers missed (your product here) so much, we're bringing it back by popular request!"
Have you revived your brand? Leave a comment and tell us about your brand-rebirth strategy.