BrainTrust Query: How to Revitalize an Aging Brand
By Tom Rapsas
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Hanifin Loyalty blog.
I’ve been a fan of the Australian rock band the Hoodoo Gurus since the 1980s, when they were college radio favorites with hits like “Bittersweet,” “Come Anytime” and “What’s My Scene.” The band has been under the radar in the U.S. for a decade or more – but a few weeks ago, the Gurus put out their first new music release in several years.
The good vibes got me thinking: How do you revitalize and market an aging brand? In this case, how would you bring to life an aging rock band that has been out of sight and out of mind for years? Should the brand image be repackaged for a younger market? Can it be done without putting a lot of money behind the effort?
Here’s my quick take on what the Hoodoo Gurus, or any mature brand, can do to make a go of it in today’s market.
- Capitalize on name recognition – Is a rebranding needed? Not here, as the Gurus name has enough cache to bring back happy memories to fans of a certain age. In rock and roll, nostalgia still rules, as evidenced by the fact geezer bands from Rush to Crosby Stills & Nash are still successfully touring. By comparison, the Gurus, now in their late 40s, are relatively young.
- Revitalize the product – The group could have rested on past laurels with a “greatest hits” release, but instead has opted for a brand refresh – a new CD that puts a fresh new spin on their sound. This increases the chance of winning new fans as well as rekindling the interest of older ones.
- Connect with thought leaders – While the new release has received good reviews from mostly obscure music blogs (save a glowing review in allmusic.com), they need to connect with the leaders in the space. This includes Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, and of course the leading rock radio outlets including XM and Sirius. Push, push, push, to get the new CD reviewed – and played – wherever possible.
- Use social media to get the word out – Social media represents the best way to reconnect with a now scattered fan base. While the band has set up Facebook and MySpace pages, it looks like there could be more interaction from band members, especially regarding fan posts that reference old videos and shows. Make the conversation a dialogue, not just a monologue.
- Take the show on the road – There’s nothing like a live product demonstration, especially when it comes to rock-and-roll. So I recommend the Gurus dust off their passports and hit the road for a tour. If they’re anywhere near Philly or NYC, you’ll find me not far from the stage.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of the recommendations offered in this article to revitalize and market aging brands? What steps would you add to those presented here?