5 Monumental Strategic Pivots


Strong leaders (and marketers) understand when the tide is shifting, and know when to make bold changes to their brand. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, let’s explore 5 strategic pivots that resulted in success.

Strategic brand pivots.

1. The iPod

Apple didn’t create the portable MP3 player segment, but it revolutionized it. This was the first step towards truly user-friendly mobile products—which have snowballed into the iPhone, iPad and more.

2. Paypal

Paypal started as “Confinity,” a secure platform for exchanging money over Palm Pilots. The company was unsuccessful, but it identified a market for enabling secure online credit card payments. As Paypal, they have achieved tremendous success.

3. Pandora

Initially, Pandora was going to be a music recommendation service. Once immersed in the market, the brand shifted its focus towards becoming an Internet radio provider—applying inspiration from its recommendation engine towards a more lucrative service.

4. Starbucks

Initially an espresso machine and coffee bean retail store, it was only after CEO Howard Schultz’s trip to Italy when he realized the possible market for European inspired cafés in North America. Starbucks began to brew and sell its own coffee—and things have gone pretty well since then.

5. Pepsi

Pepsi-Cola began as “Brad’s Drink,” named for its creator, Caleb Bradham. Five years in, the brand changed its name to Pepsi-Cola, which has a broader, grander appeal to a larger group of consumers. And the cola wars began…

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