Organizations may decide to reboot dormant brands for a number of reasons. Perhaps there is renewed demand, a unique opportunity or a need to keep up with the competition. Regardless, it can be a major undertaking. Much is at stake, and it can be hard to know where to begin.
When launching a brand reboot, it can be helpful to look at other successful campaigns to get ideas and inspiration. One recent reboot, in particular, has been very successful. On July 19th, Walt Disney Pictures released a remake of the 90s hit, The Lion King. Just five days into its domestic run, the remake made $243.2 million in the U.S. and $595.1 million worldwide.
Critics and fans of the original film were skeptical of the remake. Why change a classic? According to an article from Vox, Disney wanted to remake the film to resonate with the new generation, and to cash in on nostalgia. Wildly successful, the film gives brands looking to reboot an example of what is possible. By presenting familiar faces, producing high quality content and rearticulating the brand story, a successful reboot is completely feasible.
1. Use Familiar Faces
Being that it was such a huge franchise, The Lion King had long standing fans; fans that were protective over the original film. Bringing in familiar, big name celebrities like Beyoncé and Donald Glover to voice the main characters was a way for director Jon Favreau to ensure fans that he was serious about the film. He explained that it was important that he “find just the right balance between talent who felt very contemporary and who evoked the spirit of the original.” Recognizing the success these celebrities have had, audiences could feel confident in their ability to do the film justice.
Just like The Lion King, when going through a reboot, bring a friendly face forward to lead the campaign that your audience is familiar with. Someone that has been with the brand for some time, or has shown strength and resilience in the face of hardship. When someone that the audience knows and trusts is spearheading the reboot, the audience will be more receptive.
2. Create High Quality Content
Take a look at one of the trailers for this new film and you’ll see the cinematography is just beautiful. The photo-realistic version of The Lion King was animated entirely with computer graphics and VR. In fact, some critics say the way this film was made could completely change the future of the way movies are made. The high-quality film work showed audiences that the director was serious about making it the best it could be.
Brands looking to do a reboot can take this lesson away from the film; make sure your campaign is absolutely the best is can be. There is no room for mediocrity. You don’t want to release new ideas or content that could have been better produced. This will show your audiences that you’re not taking the reboot seriously.
3. Rearticulate the Brand Story
In an interview with Vanity Fair, director Jon Favreau broke down the importance in aligning with the original film, “It was a bit daunting because so many people have a connection to the original film and I knew that there were certain areas that we had to stick very closely to what was there already. If you show them the shots and the moments that they remember, it kind of checks the boxes in their mind.” Favreau wanted to create new content to incorporate into the film, but still keep that classic lines and songs that made the film so famous.
It’s crucial that your reboot expresses the vision and purpose of your organization. Show your loyal audience that while you want to update your brand image, you will never forgo the core values that your brand represents. Remain authentic in the things that make your brand stand out. Embrace the newness, but validate your new direction.
After evaluating that it is time to reboot a brand, you may not know exactly where to begin. Following a successful campaign and looking at their accomplishments may give you guidance and peace of mind that a successful reboot is in fact possible.
Taking a look at The Lion King remake can be helpful in targeting what ideas are crucial to keep in mind. Helpful tips to remember in a reboot include utilizing familiar faces, spending time to ensure the quality of the reboot is top notch and rearticulating the classic content that attracted audiences in the first place. Overall, make it clear that the whole reason for the reboot is to heighten user experience; they are your number one priority. Good luck!
Molly Dooling is a Public Relations Associate at Flackable, a national, full-service public relations agency headquartered in Philadelphia.