Fundera created this great infographic, and the original infographic is located here.
Some companies have provided the same products or services to consumers for more than a century. Then there are the brands that have changed with the times, evolving what they offer based on what the market demands.
Here are some examples of brands that have made large shifts in their product or service offerings.
When William Colgate founded his company in 1806, the goal was to sell candles, soaps, and starch. About 100 years later, the company would be one of the first to offer toothpaste in a tube.
Fredrik Idestam founded Nokia as a paper mill in 1865. He decided to name his company after a nearby river. In the 1960s, the company would create the M-61 gas mask. In 1962, a pulse analyzer for nuclear power plants was invented, making it the first electronic device from this brand. It wouldn’t be until 1987 that they would release a cell phone.
David McConnel founded his company as a way of being able to sell books as a door-to-door salesman. In 1886, he switched to selling perfume since it seemed more lucrative. By 1892, he was doing so well that he called his brand the California Perfume Company. When the company began to sell cosmetics in 1932, it became the brand that we know today.
Fusajiro Yamauchi created the Nintendo brand in 1889. It has always been a gaming company, focused on producing playing cards until 1963. In the 1980s, their release of an innovative gaming console, along with characters like Mario, would change the video game industry.
When William Wrigley Jr. founded his company in 1891, the goal was to sell baking powder and soap. As a way to boost sales, they started handing out chewing gum for free. The gum became so popular that it only took the company 1 year to shift to selling gum instead. By 1893, the Juicy Fruit and Spearmint gum brands were dominating the market.
6) Abercrombie and Fitch
David Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch opened their first store to sell sporting goods products, like shotguns. They shifted to a mail-order sporting goods company in 1978. A decade later, when the company was sold to The Limited, it became an apparel company instead.
By being willing to evolve a brand, companies can continue to grow while still serving their customer base. These examples prove that what you start selling doesn’t have to be what you keep selling.