Marketing is a powerful thing. It has made the most successful brands a household name, and the center of every day discussion. When used poorly, it can also break a brand.
Some of the most admirable marketing efforts—paired with stellar reputation management and clever thinking—have resulted into company successes far beyond expectations.
Explore three brands who have become huge successes over time through creative marketing.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch was once a major sporting goods store that turned into a popular teen clothing store as a final desperate measure. Started in 1892 by David T. Abercrombie, it was originally called Abercrombie Co. on the waterfront of Manhattan. Ezra Fitch, a high-profile attorney, was a regular customer and ended up buying a large share of the company. Together, in 1904, Abercrombie and Fitch gave the company its new name.
The pair parted ways in 1907, but business kept booming all the way until the 1960s when sales began to slide. Abercrombie & Fitch went bankrupt in 1975. In 1977 it reopened, but continued to struggle selling sportswear. The biggest change came in 1988, when the company was rebranded as a teen clothing store.
Though Abercrombie & Fitch has seen its share of controversy, the successes it enjoyed throughout the ’90s and early 2000s cemented it as one of the top brand reformations in marketing history.
Go out to your car and check who made your tires. If you’re living in the U.S., chances are they’re from Bridgestone Tires. The name Bridgestone resonates with many Americans as synonymous with ingenuity and the entrepreneurial spirit, however the company was actually started in Japan.
At the age of 18, the company’s founder Shojiro Ishibashi started out selling rubberized shoes for Japanese workers, in place of the straw sandals that they had traditionally worn up until then. In 1930, he started locally developing tires in Japan, and named the company Bridgestone after himself, since Ishibashi literally means “stone bridge” in Japanese.
Fast forward to 1988. Bridgestone acquired Firestone Tire & Rubber Company and became the largest company in tire manufacturing industry. Bridgestone Americas now operates 55 production facilities on the Western Hemisphere, and many more globally. From rubberized shoes to a global corporation, Bridgestone is a brand that evolved into something much larger from its humble beginnings.
was a traveling salesman after his family lost their hardware business in 1871 during the Great Chicago Fire. After being encouraged by his boss to develop disposable products, he ended up starting the American Safety Razor Company in 1901. Sales boomed in a time when men were primarily still using straight razors that required sharpening.
The odd part of Gillette’s story is that although his company is a great example of capitalism in action, he was actually a socialist. In fact, he had dreams of a large socialist utopia powered by Niagara Falls that never came to fruition. Still, Gillette’s business continued to grow into what it is today.
If you want to pivot your brand and transition your products into something much bigger than you initially imagined, these three brands are proof that it can be done!