This week Crayola branched out in a new direction by launching its own line of colorful beauty products. In the same week, Blackberry continued their own quest to maintain relevance and resurrect their fading brand by announcing the KEY2 (a new phone featuring a full keyboard) and Kodak showed off the first photos taken on its relaunched Ektachrome 100 film. Each are legacy brands facing challenges on every level, from understanding shifting consumer needs to industry disruption from competitors and technology alike.
So how can you keep a brand fresh over time? For Blackberry and Kodak, the strategy seems to be looking into the past to resurrecting iconic products (film) or features (keyboards) that people loved in the past. Both are niche market strategies. There will only be a limited number of people who want to have a full keypad or to use real film once more. But those people who do will LOVE it and reward both companies with their loyalty.
For Crayola, the path seems to involve a daring move into the new and unfamiliar beauty industry and perhaps a declaration that the brand will continue to innovate beyond its traditional sector. It might work for them, just as returning to legacy products might work for Kodak and Blackberry. When it comes to disruption and brand reinvention, the point is that one model doesn’t really work for everyone. But as these three stories seem to prove, it’s better than doing nothing and letting your brand fade into obscurity for everyone.