Dedicated to the care & feeding of growing brands.
It's a marketers dream to have the chance to remake a classic. I've often romantically pondered resuscitating fallen brand powerhouses, re-igniting dormant consumer equity to create new found financial gains. There's just something about looking at a fallen great brand and thinking that you could do better. I'm guessing I'm not the only marketer to do that!
The lure of the challenge is certainly the case with the Twinkies and Wonder Bread brands. Growing up in the 70's and 80's, they were staples of Americana. All kids loved Twinkies and Wonder Bread was up there with Apple Pie and Chevrolet! It's sad now to hear of their parent's woes. Hostess's bankruptcy provides a good enough excuse to think about what I'd do to bring the brands back. For the sake of brevity, I'll just look at Twinkies. Being completely ignorant of the depth of Hostess's financial problems, but acknowledging that there is some money to try to revive the business, here's what I'd do:
1) Innovate - I don't know anything about the product development process at Hostess but I can't imagine that putting a twist on the Twinkie can be too hard. How about a chocolate Twinkie? How about raspberry filling? How about making a rainbow Twinkie with jelly filling? How about making a Twinkie with a Pop Rocks filling? I don't know, but you get the gist. The brand needs some serious energy injected into it. Kids actually love classic brands/things, but only if it can be made relevant. Do something wacky to attract attention, but make sure it tastes great (sweet), and the kids will be there.
2) Block & Tackle - With limited (i.e. not enough) resources it shouldn't be any surprise that I'd be very tactical with my marketing budget. I'd probably try to identify some existing marketing programs/promotions that I might be able to tap into that also could be leveraged at retail. Maybe I'd connect with a popular action figure or cartoon character. Maybe I'd create one. Either way, it probably makes sense to keep most of the marketing investment targeted toward the point of purchase - to buy displays and create presence (and over-all energy) in both grocery and C stores.
3) Licensing - With an iconic brand like Twinkies, over time, I could see licensing being a meaningful tool to both supplement income but also to extend the presence of the brand. I could see kids wearing Twinkies t-shirts and caps, and generally "consuming" Twinkies in ways other than with their mouths (notebooks, stickers, pencils - you get the picture). Get the t-shirt on the right celebrity and it could be big. Again, the classic nature of the brand, as well as it kind of kitschy persona could make it commercial. Rebirth of the brand both in traditional and non-traditional ways could fuel over-all growth.
Definitely not brand/brain surgery here. I'm sure others have thoughts as well. What would you do with Twinkies? :-)