No person on this planet can guarantee you success. What works today may not work tomorrow. No matter how calculatingly and brilliantly you make decisions, you will surely experience failure. And that’s when the real challenge begins. Whether you give up or come back with a bang.
A renowned businessman W. Cement Stone once said, “Like success, failure is many things to many people. With positive mental attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.” These words by him make absolute sense.
Many big names and by that we mean giants like Netflix, Apple, Walt Disney, Starbucks and more, have been through really tough times but they managed to bounce back.
Walt Disney Company
We all admire The Walt Disney Company as the most iconic entertainment company and often thank the company for gifting us animated characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Today, the company owns Marvel Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, and many other brands.
In the early twenties, Disney was fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.” In 1921, he founded his first animation studio, Laugh-O-Gram Studio but unfortunately, it went bankrupt within two years of operation. After this failure, he decided to move west to pursue his dreams in Hollywood. And Disney never looked back. In October 1923, he and his brother Roy found the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio which later became Walt Disney Studio in 1923.
Apple had experienced success in its early years but things went wrong when he was forced out of the company. Apple was just months away from bankruptcy when Jobs returned to the company in 1997. With his perseverance and determination, by 2011, he turned Apple into one of the biggest multinational technology companies. By introducing iMac, iPod, and iPhone to the market, Jobs bought a revolution in the computer, music and smartphone industries.
If he would have given up, think how different the tech world would have been. When Jobs was fired he even considered running away from Silicon Valley, ashamed by the fact that he was outed from his very own company. But he also admitted later that, that period made him enter one of the most creative periods of his life. In his speech, he once said, “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”
Every non-vegetarian lover once in their life must have gone to KFC to have their favourite meal. But do you know a 62 years old Colonel Harland David Sanders had to face rejection 1000 times to sell his secret chicken recipe? It wasn’t until the 1010th time that he was able to sell his recipe.
Sanders could have taken it as his failure when he faced rejection 10th, 100th or even 1000th time but he didn’t give up because he knew that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
When Starbucks was in its expansion phase, it was expanding not only its product offerings but also venturing into a new music venture. With time, Starbucks had its own recording system and an entertainment office too but the company faced a huge financial crisis in 2008 when its stock prices dropped drastically. Starbucks had to fire 18,000 people and shut down 977 stores.
Starbucks decided to make a comeback in 2009 by focusing on what they are best at- coffee. The company launched its largest marketing campaign ever- ‘Coffee Value & Values’ by teaming up with an advertising agency BBDO. A shift in branding strategies also helped a lot. That’s how Starbucks saved itself from failing.
Adidas was incepted by Adolf Adi Dassler in 1949. When his son, Horst Dassler passed away in 1987, the loss of the founding family left Adidas deeply shaken. Leadership turnover and messed up business strategy led to huge losses and unfortunately a bankruptcy-like situation in 1992.
CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus emerged as a saviour in 1993. He shifted the focus of the company from sales to marketing as it was the need of the hour. Between 1992 and 1996, Adidas doubled its gross profits and that’s how emerged victorious.
Remember when Maggi was accused of having lead and monosodium glutamate above permissible limits? All its variants were banned for about 6 months but Maggi made a comeback in November 2015 and is loved by all today.
Despite facing such a big tornado, it never stopped communicating with its audience. By making tribute videos, and using the hashtags #WeMissYouToo, the company kept interacting with its customers. From connecting with boys and girls living in hostels to Indian moms who love making Maggi for their kids, Maggi reconnected with its audience and came back with more force.
Marvel was never this giant creative powerhouse. It went through a series of ups and downs. Thor, the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spiderman and many other comics kept the company growing but in 1993 the comics market began to shrink.
The company’s leadership couldn’t decide what to do next until a brilliant idea came into their mind i.e. films. While some movies didn’t work out, some turned out pretty well. Marvel Studios produced a new line of films including the popular Spiderman and Daredevil. Thereafter, Disney bought Marvel Studios for $4.3 billion. Marvel’s The Avengers became a huge blockbuster, followed by many other big hits.
A successful player in the video game industry had its bad times after the late 90s due to the launch of PS2 (sold 156 million units) and XBOX (sold 26 million units). GameCube by Nintendo sold only 22 million units in the world. In 2006, Nintendo made a comeback with the launch of Wii. And woohoo! 100 million units were sold worldwide! When the updated version called Wii U was launched, it didn’t work well.
Nintendo had never learnt to quit. The launch of Pokemon Go attracted everyone’s eyeballs. The game has been downloaded over 500 million times, adding billions of dollars to Nintendo’s market value.