Step 1 // Buy a flexible brand
"The longer a brand is dead, the more flexibility you have to relaunch it in a new way. Brim had been off-market for 15 years before we acquired the rights from Kraft. In 2008, our research found 80% of people recalled its slogan, 'Fill it to the rim with Brim.' That's worth millions in marketing—but it means I can't use Brim to sell a product too far from coffee. Most consumers didn't remember that Brim was originally decaf-only, though, so that gave me some freedom."
Step 2 // Redefine its market
"Brand awareness is a rocket booster—immediate credibility and authenticity. Still, I know the world doesn't need another coffee brand. Brim must be innovative, either through technology or positioning, to be relevant again. Maybe it's turning Brim into a private label for a retailer. Maybe there's a niche market. That's the key: Marry awareness with innovation. Use something old to create something new. Otherwise, I'm not adding incremental value to the category, and I'll lose."
Step 3 // Nod to its past
"I partnered with an early-stage company that developed a technology to add flavors and/or nutraceuticals to coffee beans—almost like Vitaminwater for coffee. Now we're developing Brim as a line of coffees with health benefits, like antioxidants and energy. The tagline writes itself: 'Fill it to the rim with the new, healthier Brim!' It's not a guaranteed success, but many other beverage categories—juice, tea, water—do well with fortified health benefits. Why not coffee?"
Next in Reboot Nation: Are These New Logos An Upgrade Or A Downgrade?
A version of this article appeared in the October 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.