The past two decades have seen a dramatic shakeup in business, as the digital revolution created new opportunities — and new challenges — for brands of all kinds. Longstanding stalwarts like Blockbuster Video, Woolworth's, and Nokia faded away as new disruptor brands like Tesla, Netflix, Dollar Shave Club, and Airbnb rewrote the rulebooks.
While some established brands were too slow to adapt, a select group of companies — including some of the oldest, most iconic brands in America — have not only survived the dawn of digital, but have come out stronger than ever. From Ford and ADT to Oreo and IBM, these brands have managed to use the vast array of channels available to remain relevant and contemporary, even as the world around them has changed.
"Staying relevant is a continual battle, because in most industries you have challengers jumping in and questioning the status quo," says Dipanjan Chatterjee, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research. "A traditional brand cannot afford to rest on its laurels. In fact, they may be perceived to be somewhat slow-moving and lethargic, as people tend to ascribe creative momentum and greater novelty to new challenger brands. It is critically important to continually evaluate the customer experience that you're providing and make sure that you don't open up the opportunity for challengers to come in and question your business model."