In life—and in business—nothing is permanent.
One day you’re up, the next you’re down.
No matter how good something gets, you can’t expect everything in your company to stay the same.
What’s important is how you weather through the storm.
Here is how these four popular companies persevered through some very tough times to become one of the most successful comeback brands, and some valuable takeaways for your business.
Netflix: From Price Hikes to Streaming Subscribers
Media streaming company Netflix was not always the hit movie go-to provider that it’s known for today.
If you were among their early subscribers way back in 2011, then you probably remember their unexpected price hike that coincided with their announcement of separating their streaming from their DVD line of business. The statement caused a mass exodus of even their most loyal customers. Stocks began to plummet: from more than $300 down to an all-time low of $53.80.
When it couldn’t seem to get any worse, Netflix did two incredible things that became their salvation. First: they retracted their earlier decision to split the streaming from their DVD division. Second: they focused on their remaining loyal customers. What excited them? What do they want to see?
The answer came in the form of Netflix’s first original series “House of Cards”. To make sure Netflix audiences were able to catch up on missed episodes, the company released back-to-back episodes over the weekend. They did the same when they revived “Arrested Development” and it became a hit. Today, Netflix has more than 27 million subscribers and counting.
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What really saved Netflix was their attention to their faithful customers. Even though they lost a lot, they valued those who stayed and started from there. Understand your target market and let them know you value their loyalty. After all, it costs more to find new customers than retain old ones.
Marvel: From Bankruptcy To Blockbuster
The industry of comic books and superheroes is about as sure as growing a flower in the desert.
The delicate relationship between fictional characters and their fans need constant nourishment if it wants to withstand economical storms. Sadly, even with preparation, things could still go terribly wrong.
When Marvel was hit financially due to falling comic book sales and poor investment decisions in the 90’s, they had to file for bankruptcy to save whatever they had going for them. But just when people thought it was over for their favorite characters, Marvel rose like the heroes they stood for. It took several years but eventually, the brand found its feet – mostly by producing their own action-packed movies – and continues to stand strong.
Aside from hits like The Avengers and Spider-Man, their popular lineup includes the X-Men, the household name of Iron Man, plus the all-time favorite Captain America. Marvel even hired die-hard fans to breathe new life into their superheroes without losing sight of their original values. The brand has proven that victories are not only won by men with capes – they can also be achieved by businesses under distress.
Perhaps one of the best ways to save your company is to take a huge risk (like filing for bankruptcy or changing managements). Be prepared to do something radical: be it to shift gears, add new offers, or do a complete overhaul, be brave enough to face challenges head on.
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Target: From Tumultuous Times to Giant Turnaround
The retail industry wouldn’t be where it is now without its fair share of financial setbacks, controversies, and eccentric partnerships. If the long hours and stressful customer relations is not enough to make you think twice before entering this line of business, then perhaps its history of ups and downs will. Just ask American retailer Target.
Aside from their fiscal issues between 2008 and 2009, the company once again faced a huge dilemma with their security data breach by the end of 2013. The incident was said to have cost $162 million in expenses. Despite this setback, however, the company was able to turn things around thanks to two key decisions:
- changing their leadership
- focusing efforts on digital marketing
Their new CEO, Brian Cornell, has made some big decisions to save Target’s profits. His efforts seem to be paying off - with the retailer’s e-commerce sales going up by 30 percent, according to Fortune. In fact, experts say their success could even rival Walmart’s popularity in terms of being the preferred retailer.
Target’s admission of their mistake was what saved their company. Although the security breach compromised data from about 70 million customers, they were willing to forgive and move on after the retailer’s public apology. This just shows how much humility and honesty are as important – if not more – when it comes to business.
Apple: The Biggest Business Comeback in the Last Decade
No corporate comeback list would be complete without mentioning Apple’s story.
It would be good to recall that “one of the greatest salesmen on earth” was fired by the board of the company he made great in 1985. While most people would continue to sulk in bed after such an ordeal, Steve Jobs entered one of the most creative periods in his life. He founded NeXT (a computer platform development firm) and helped with the funding for Pixar’s first great project, Toy Story.
After his return in 1997, Apple started to produce their most iconic products such as the iMac, iTunes, the iPod, and the iPhone. People could hardly remember a time when the business almost went bankrupt. The comeback story of Apple is so closely tied to Jobs’ personal turnaround that it’s difficult to tell one tale apart from the other.
Today, the company is worth more than $700 billion and is considered to be among one of the most valuable brands of 2015.
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It may sound cliché, but no matter how bad things get, as long as you don’t give up, you could always turn things around. A business may take a break, go bankrupt, or be bought – but as long as someone believes in its potential, it is never truly dead.
Who would have thought that these businesses would not only create employment for thousands of creative people – they would also change the way we see the world forever. Great as they are, these companies were not spared from economic turmoil, media controversy, and the changing times. But what separates great businesses is the willingness to rise above failure.
If your venture is facing trouble right now, don’t despair. Just take a look at these company comebacks and dream of a better future. Then wake up and make those dreams a reality.
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