How do you breathe new life into an old brand? Writing for Inc., April Joyner looks at a handful of companies that have managed that transition, chief among them Narragansett Brewing. One lesson: while you might be tempted to win back the brand's original (read: older) customers, that might be a fool's errand. If a brand tanked, the original customers might never really trust it again. Instead, go after a younger crowd that may feel nostalgic for something they never got to try. (If that sounds sort of crazy, just think about bellbottoms or legwarmers. No one who tried them the first time went back for seconds when the trend returned).
But relaunching a retro brand is a careful balance between retooling it to make it more relevant, and keeping it authentic. Narrangansett overcame that challenge by going back to the original recipe — easy enough, since the switch to cheaper materials had predicated the company's fall. But for brands where the path forward is less obvious, it may be necessary to bring in new leadership. Says Rohit Deshpande at Harvard Business School, they'll be less likely to be "prisoners of history."
NO ONE WANTS TO BE LAST
In a series of experiments, professors from Columbia, Harvard, and Stanford found that, in lab simulations, people with a very small amount of money are more likely to take risks to move up the economic ladder (e.g., by gambling) and, when directed by researchers to give money away, less likely to donate funds to those even poorer. Instead, they gave cash to people with more money — since making a donation to those with less would have let those in that lowest income bracket leapfrog them. This parallels real-world studies that show that the workers most likely to oppose minimum-wage increases are those that make slightly more than minimum wage. The researchers' theory? No one likes to be on the bottom of the pile.
THIS MIGHT HURT
Bloomberg View's Matthew Klein offers a brief history of a very interesting idea that's been backed over the decades by some brilliant economists (among them seeming ideological opposites Milton Friedman and James Tobin). It's that deposit taking and lending really have no business being combined in the same institution. A safer system, Klein writes, would "back the deposits one-for-one with reserves at the central bank. Then fund loans not with deposits or other money-like liabilities but by tapping investors who understand they've put their savings at risk." —Justin Fox
How to Create a Culture of Organizational Wellbeing (Gallup)
Leadership Lessons from Game of Thrones (Fortune)
The Rise of Executive Feminism (HBR.org)