A good friend of mine is a very successful financial advisor and I often find myself engaged in spirited debates with him over the state of the economy and our national debt. He usually runs circles around me with his extensive knowledge of the financial system. Despite my inability to hang with him on the minutia of our country’s fiscal policies, he usually gives me credit for my typical comeback – well, we didn’t get here overnight (profound, I know).

For some of you, your small business may also be suffering through economic issues – revenue is down, foot traffic is waning and inventory is hanging around way too long. If you’ve found this to be true, my sage insight will come to the fore – you didn’t get here overnight. If you’ve found yourself in this tough spot and things aren’t changing, it may be that your brand has been in the decline for a while and it’s time to seriously consider rebooting your brand – a complete reinvention of your company’s persona.

The Old Spice product line is a classic example of a successful brand reboot. The brilliant minds behind this comeback story took an outdated, uninspiring brand and made it into fresh, new and engaging. They challenged the status quo with nonlinear, out-of-the-box thinking. Despite the inherent risk, they managed to pull off a successful reboot.

If you think you’re due for a reboot, consider the following as you seek to rise from the ashes:

Are You Listening, Really?
Criticism is tough to take, especially if it’s about your baby (your small business). Be bold enough to read reviews about your company online or hear directly from customers and employees. Don’t dismiss them merely because they are incredibly harsh and/or anonymous. Don’t assume that all negative feedback can be chalked up to those who only have an axe to grind. Pay attention to these stinging remarks; look for a common theme. They very well may be pointing you to a better path.

Wipe The Slate
Nothing says brand reboot like a new name, revamped packaging, a remodel, redesigned logo and slogan. Sure, these things are “surfacy”; however, I’m a firm believer in shaping reality via perception.

Reassess Your Line
How compatible is your service/product with the times? Be sure that your offering is in lockstep with what consumers want. Don’t be the guy that runs the 8-Track & Cassette Tape Outlet and are clueless as to why customers are not beating down your door.

Defy Norms
When it gets foggy, most small businesses simply follow the taillights of the vehicle located just one step ahead. What happens when the company you’re eyeing rides into a ditch? You’re most likely to meet the same fate.  Have the vision to blaze your own path.  If you must, defy the norms of your industry to get things done.

As the Old Spice story has demonstrated, a reboot may be the best way to survive and thrive.

Walter Dailey is the lead consultant and producer at Dailey Sound Vector – a creative services firm that specializes in jingles, radio ads, ad campaigns and marketing advice for small to midsized businesses. Ask Walter your questions at walter@dsvmedia.com