Developing Resilience For Both You And The Brand


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Mastering The Art Of Becoming A Strong Brand

In the ever-evolving landscape of brand marketing, understanding the interplay between popular culture, consumer engagement, and strategic innovation is key to success. Brands today face the challenge of capturing attention and sustaining it in a market constantly inundating with new content and ideas. From the high-stakes world of celebrity collaborations to the nostalgic power of retro branding, the approach to creating a lasting impact has become more dynamic than ever.

Adaptability, resilience, and a deep understanding of market trends have become indispensable tools in the marketer's arsenal. In this article, Hollywood Branded discusses brand resilience and mastering longevity despite all odds.

Blog Developing Resilience For Both  You And The Brand

Adapting Strategies in High-Profile Brand Collaborations

Reflecting on last week's newsletter, it's clear that the story of BlackBerry is more than a tale of a tech brand; it's a narrative deeply interwoven with Hollywood Branded's own journey. BlackBerry wasn't just our client; it was a part of our agency's core identity for over a decade. Its decline, rooted in a failure to adapt and innovate beyond its business-user base, serves as a stark reminder of the critical need for brands to listen to consumer demands and stay ahead of technological and market trends.

Our partnership with BlackBerry was a cornerstone in Hollywood Branded's history. Our first significant win marked a turning point that allowed us to expand and grow as an agency. However, the sudden termination of our partnership with BlackBerry was a tough lesson in the importance of not putting all your eggs in one basket. It was a painful, yet invaluable learning experience about the necessity of diversification and strategic resilience in business.

I’m going to dive more into the concept of brand resilience.  We'll explore real-world examples of brands that have demonstrated remarkable adaptability, successfully navigating the challenges and changes of the market. We'll also examine those that have struggled to do so and shed light on crucial elements that enable a brand to not just survive but thrive amid the dynamic shifts in consumer preferences and market landscapes.

Ready to uncover the secrets to building a resilient brand, capable of weathering storms and emerging stronger? Then let’s get going… 

Understanding Resilience in Brand Marketing

If there's one thing I've learned in the rollercoaster world of brand partnerships in Hollywood, it's that resilience isn't just a buzzword – it's a survival strategy.

So, what exactly is brand resilience? A brand that can adapt, bounce back, and thrive amid changes and challenges. It's about being nimble - constantly ready to pivot and land on your feet, regardless of the flips or turns that caused you to fall or stumble in the first place. In marketing, this means not just weathering storms but celebrating them and dancing in the rain. It's about foreseeing changes, embracing innovation, and staying relevant to your customer base, no matter what the world throws at you. Resilience is the key to not just surviving, but flourishing.

Let’s take a look at examples of brands that truly are resilient - and those that have folded due to their lack of being so.

Historical Examples

Take a look at brands like Lego and Netflix. They've written the playbook on resilience. Lego, once on the brink of bankruptcy, turned its fortunes around by diversifying into digital games, movies, and even theme parks, showing us that sometimes, you need to build new paths brick by brick. 

On the other hand, Netflix evolved from a DVD rental service to a streaming behemoth and then to a content creator, constantly staying ahead of the curve. They didn’t just adapt to the streaming revolution; they led it, proving that sometimes, the best defense is a groundbreaking offense. In a nutshell, brand resilience is about having the foresight of a fortune teller, the adaptability of a chameleon, and the courage of a lion. It's what separates brands that become legends from those that turn into footnotes in marketing history books. 

But it's not just about the success stories. Remember Blockbuster? They had the chance to buy Netflix but stuck to their late fees and DVD aisles until it was too late. Once a giant in video rentals, Blockbuster failed to adapt to the digital revolution. They missed opportunities to move into streaming and online rentals, which led to their downfall, especially with the rise of Netflix and other streaming services. They're a cautionary tale that in brand marketing, refusing to evolve is like signing your farewell note. 

So many other brands beyond BlackBerry have lacked resilience and ultimately faded away. Their stories are cautionary tales about the importance of adaptation, innovation, and responsiveness to market changes.

Gone Baby Gone... Your Brand Is Gone

Let's take a look at some of those brands of the yesteryears that were shockers when they went under.

Kodak: Kodak is often cited as a classic example of a company that failed to adapt to technological changes. Despite inventing the digital camera, they were slow to transition from film to digital photography, losing ground to competitors who embraced the digital revolution more quickly.

Borders: A major book retailer, Borders needed to adapt to the changing landscape of book sales, particularly the rise of e-commerce and e-readers. Unlike its competitor Barnes & Noble, which developed its own e-reader, Borders needed to invest in digital strategies earlier. That's not to say Barnes & Noble isn't still struggling. They are. 

Circuit City: Once a leading electronics retailer, Circuit City struggled to compete with the rise of online shopping and more agile competitors like Best Buy. Their failure to innovate in retail strategies and customer service led to their decline.

Toys "R" Us: This iconic toy store chain struggled to adapt to the evolving retail landscape. Saddled with debt and unable to keep up with online competitors like Amazon and big-box retailers like Walmart and Target, Toys "R" Us eventually filed for bankruptcy. To note… the new ownership of Toys “R” Us are doing a phenomenal job in bringing the brand back through their partnership with Macy’s. 

Polaroid: Similar to Kodak, Polaroid failed to transition to the digital age effectively. Despite their strong brand associated with instant photography, they needed to innovate more quickly to stay relevant as digital cameras and smartphones became ubiquitous.

RadioShack: Once a go-to store for electronics and hobbyists, RadioShack couldn't keep pace with the changing technology landscape and consumer preferences. They needed help to redefine their brand and product offerings in an increasingly digital world.

These brands underscore the critical need to stay flexible, innovate, and adapt to changing market conditions and consumer preferences. They serve as reminders that even well-established brands are not immune to the consequences of ignoring market trends and technological advancements.

The same goes for any business of any type - including agencies.


Key Strategies for Building Resilient Brands

In the high-stakes world of branding, playing it safe is the riskiest move you can make. Let's dive into the key strategies that can transform your brand from a one-hit wonder to a timeless classic.

Adaptation and Innovation

In the world of brand marketing, standing still is the equivalent of moving backwards. Adaptation and innovation aren't just fancy terms; they're the lifeblood of a resilient brand. We're talking about staying attuned to market trends and consumer behaviors, constantly evolving like a chameleon in a kaleidoscope.  These are the three things to keep in mind: 

  • Research and Development: It's like having your own crystal ball. Investing in R&D isn’t just about creating new products; it’s about foreseeing future trends and being ready to meet them head-on.
  • Technological Advances: In an age where tech evolves faster than a viral TikTok dance, staying ahead means being tech-savvy. Embrace new technologies, not just as tools, but as integral parts of your strategy.
  • Openness to Change: Remember, flexibility is a superpower in the marketing world. Being open to change means listening to your audience, learning from your competitors, and sometimes, having the guts to rewrite your own playbook.


Putting all your eggs in one basket? That's old school – and not in a cool, vintage way. Diversification is about spreading your risks and opportunities. 

  • Product and Service Diversification: Think of your brand as a Swiss Army Knife, versatile and multifunctional. Expanding your product or service range can open new markets and buffer you against downturns in any one area.
  • Customer Base Diversification: It's like having a guest list for an A-list party. Don’t just cater to one type of buyer. A diverse customer base means if one industry hits a snag, you've got others to keep the lights on.

Customer Engagement and Loyalty
Your customers are your brand's best friends, and in the world of marketing, loyalty is everything.

  • Building Relationships: This isn’t about transactions; it’s about connections. Engage with your customers as you would in a lasting friendship – with honesty, respect, and a bit of fun.
  • Social Media and Community Building: Use social media not just to speak but to listen. It's your direct line to what your customers love, hate, and wish for.
  • Outstanding Customer Service: This is your front line. Exceptional customer service can turn a complaint into loyalty, and a happy customer into a brand ambassador. 

Risk Management and Planning

In the unpredictable saga of brand marketing, foresight is your shield, and planning, your sword.

  • Anticipating Challenges: It's like being a marketing meteorologist. Keep an eye on the horizon for potential storms – be it market shifts, economic downturns, or new competitors.
  • Contingency Plans: These are your emergency exits. When things don't go as planned, having a Plan B (and even a Plan C) can mean the difference between a minor setback and a full-blown crisis.
  • Scenario Planning and Risk Assessment: This is your strategic war room. Regularly assess potential risks and develop scenarios to navigate through them. It's not just about having a map; it's about knowing multiple paths to your destination.

Cultivating a Resilient Mindset in Your Team

This isn't so easy, and I am continuously working on it at Hollywood Branded to instill a sense of true accountability (one of our agency's core values) and be able to move in a different direction quickly. It's amazing how many people... give up. They focus on one action leading to one result, and they don't out-think all of the switchbacks that may happen along the way.  They don't outthink the challenge. They fold. They cave. They crumple. 

All things that aren't positive for a company of any type.  Typically, that's because the goal is missed.  The focus ends up on the fact that a fail happened. Not on the fact that there was a lesson to recover and grow from - and better thrive.

With each challenge, an individual becomes stronger. I promise you, it's true. I'm like titanium-coated platinum at this stage of my career. I  might get scratched and dented - but I still manage to keep it together and the 'whatever' on the right path moving forward.

In the fast-paced world of brand marketing, your team is more than just a group of colleagues; they're your front-line warriors. Building a resilient team is like crafting a superhero squad – each member brings their unique powers to the table and the ability to see a situation from a different angle while coming up with other options.

  • Empowerment and Trust: This is key. Empower your team with trust and autonomy. It’s like giving them the keys to the Batmobile – they’ll feel responsible, valued, and ready to take on Gotham City.
  • Collaboration and Communication: Encourage open communication and collaboration. It’s like hosting a brainstorming party where every idea gets a VIP pass, no matter how out-of-the-box.
  • Leadership by Example: As a leader, you're the ship's captain. Show resilience in your actions and decisions, and your team will follow suit. It’s about being the lighthouse in a stormy sea, guiding the way confidently and calmly.

Learning from Failures

In the brand marketing game, not every campaign is a slam dunk, and that's okay. Failures are not the end; they’re just plot twists in your brand’s story.

Encourage a Growth Mindset: View each setback as a learning opportunity. It’s like turning your 'oops' moments into 'aha!' moments. 

  • Debrief and Analyze: After a misstep, get the team together for a post-mortem. What went wrong? How can we do better? It’s like being a detective in your own crime drama, unraveling the mystery to prevent future incidents. 
  • Celebrate Efforts, Not Just Wins: This is crucial. Celebrate the hard work and risk-taking, irrespective of the outcome. It’s about appreciating the journey, not just the destination.  I admit, I fail at this typically.  I am very hard on myself and it's hard to focus on the fact that I tried and put my best efforts in - and still failed. But it happens often and those efforts typically when examined will reveal certain things that could be strengthened and approached from a different angle moving forward. 

Embracing Change

In a world where the only constant is change, being adaptable isn’t just a skill; it’s a superpower. 

  • Foster Flexibility: Encourage your team to be as flexible as Olympic gymnasts. It’s about bending without breaking, adapting to new challenges with grace and agility.
  •  Innovative Mindset: Cultivate an environment where innovation is the daily bread. Let your team know it’s okay to think outside the box – or throw the box out. 
  • Stay Curious and Open-Minded: Keep the doors of curiosity wide open. A team that’s curious is a team that’s ready to explore new territories and embrace new ideas.

Hollywood Branded's Resilience

Reflecting on our journey with BlackBerry, there were triumphs, challenges, and invaluable lessons. This experience turned into more than a business venture; it was a masterclass in resilience.

  • Adaptability and Innovation: When the BlackBerry tide turned, we didn't just anchor down; we set sail to new horizons. It taught us to be agile, to innovate, and to pivot our strategies with finesse. 
  • Diversification and Risk Management: The hard lesson of not putting all our eggs in one basket led us to diversify. Now, our client portfolio is as varied as a Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Results and Outcomes

These strategies have been our North Star, guiding us through industry upheavals and market shifts.

  • Sustained Growth and Stability: By diversifying our client base and services, we’ve achieved stability that can withstand market shocks, six-month actor and writer strike shutdowns, Covid, and... ugh. Whatever else is around the corner waiting.
  • Increased Innovation and Creativity: The resilience mindset has infused our team with creative zeal, pushing us to break boundaries and set new benchmarks in brand marketing.  We've expanded our services, ensured we have a team dialed in to do those services, and found more partners to work with.
  • Stronger Team Cohesion and Morale: Embracing resilience has strengthened our strategies and our team bond. We’re not just colleagues; we’re comrades in arms, ready to take on the world of brand marketing with grit and grace.

Embracing the Resilient Brand Journey

As we wrap up this deep dive into brand resilience, let’s remember that this journey is less about reaching a destination and more about how we adapt and grow along the way. Opportunities pop up due to challenges and open up entirely new possibilities.  BlackBerry's advances, in large part, were driven by competitor's successes and technical advancements. They had to keep up in those early days, and in doing so, they broke out into an all-star mobile phone performer.  Brand resilience isn't a checkbox; it's a continuous process of evolution, learning, and reinvention.

I've shared the essentials, from the need for constant adaptation and innovation to the wisdom of diversification, the power of customer engagement, and the art of risk management. These aren't just strategies; they're lifelines that keep your brand afloat and thriving in the ever-changing tides of the market.

It's crucial to remember that resilience is not just about surviving challenges; it’s about emerging stronger and more focused. It's about viewing every setback as a setup for a comeback. Whether it’s adapting to new technologies, diversifying your portfolio, deepening customer relationships, or planning for the unforeseen, each step builds a stronger, more resilient brand.

In the process, you will become a more resilient marketer, too. 

Take a moment to reflect on your brand's journey. Are you embracing change and innovation? Are you diversified enough to weather market storms? How strong are your bonds with your customers? And, most importantly, are you - and your team - prepared for the unexpected?

 product placement and promotion 101

Have A Story To Share?

I’d love to hear from you! Share your stories of resilience, the challenges you’ve faced, and the triumphs you’ve celebrated. What strategies have worked for you, and what lessons have you learned?

In branding, resilience is not just a strategy; it's a mindset. 

Here are some other articles our team has written that I think you may like:

Here's a brief overview to a handful of articles from Hollywood Branded that offer unique insights into brand marketing, adaptability, and the intersection of popular culture and branding. 

  1. Celebrity Collabs: Behind the Scenes of a Star-Studded Campaign: This blog highlights the challenges and strategies of managing high-profile advertising campaigns with A-list celebrities. It emphasizes adaptability, collaboration, and the importance of building mutually beneficial partnerships in entertainment marketing​.
    Read the article

  2. A Product Placement Christmas Story: This article explores the enduring impact of product placement in holiday films, particularly in "A Christmas Story." It discusses how brands can achieve years of positive exposure through strategic placement in movies, a concept relevant to adapting marketing strategies for long-term success​.
    Read the article

  3. Holiday Marketing Magic: How Pop Culture Transforms Holiday Marketing: This blog delves into the role of pop culture in transforming holiday marketing strategies. It covers various approaches like themed merchandise, character cross-promotions, and immersive experiences, highlighting the importance of innovation and adaptation in marketing.
    Read the article

  4. From Neon to Netflix: How '80s Pop Culture Shapes Today's Trends: This article focuses on the influence of '80s pop culture on current trends, emphasizing the importance of nostalgia in branding and marketing. It explores various areas where the '80s influence is evident, such as fashion, technology, movies, and music​.
    Read the article

  5. BlackBerry and Hollywood: A Tale of Brand Identity and Resilience: This blog reflects on the partnership between Hollywood Branded and BlackBerry, discussing the importance of brand adaptability and resilience. It provides a firsthand account of the challenges and successes in managing a tech brand's identity in the fast-paced world of entertainment marketing​.
    Read the article

Want to stay in the know with all things pop culture? Look no further than our Hot in Hollywood newsletter! Each week, we compile a list of the most talked-about moments in the entertainment industry, all for you to enjoy!

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