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Some of the most striking business success stories of the last few years aren’t about a new product or idea so much as they are about revamping something well-loved (or at least, well-used) and making it feel exciting again. Pokemon Go might be the most obvious example, but there are many others worth noting.


How do the best brands take nostalgia and familiarity and fuse them with modern technology to create a winning product or service? To find out, I asked 10 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) what one brand they think has successfully turned something old into something new again, and why it worked so well. Their best answers are below. 

1. Nest

Nest successfully revolutionized a stagnant thermostat industry because they took something we all use and asked, “How can we make this (much) better?” They listened to people’s complaints (ex: energy use, comfort levels) and went about applying answers to these problems. When you’re in tune with public demands and you can create the appropriate solutions, you’ll be successful.  — Nicolas 

2. Nintendo

Pokemon Go is a world-class example of how Nintendo became relevant again by simply reinventing itself through a modern game that activated gamers of all ages and genders. Pokemon Go incorporates virtual reality elements, gamification, and commerce at scale in a way that has never been done with such precision. I believe the reason for the success was well-executed timing.  — Kristopher 

3. Snapchat

Snapchat brought photo sharing forward into the modern age and brought back a real interest in photos and communicating through photos. They were successful because they incorporated the social element and added ways to edit the pictures and add things to them that made it even more fun for their audience. They also brought the photo-sharing concept into the digital online age and made it interactive.  — John RamptonDue 

4. Slack

Chat rooms on the internet have always been around, and in the old days, asking someone for their age/sex/location was just what you did on them. Slack brought chat rooms back and made them more productive by highlighting their usefulness for teams. Today you would be hard-pressed to find a company not using Slack, or at least someone from the company not active in a Slack community.  — Robert De Los SantosSky High Party Rentals 

5. Polaroid

Polaroid cameras used to be these ugly, old looking things that resembled View-Masters, and with everything going digital, Polaroid’s future didn’t seem very promising. But, they’ve found a way to make their cameras kitschy, cool and popular through unique branding and an engaging aesthetic. I doubt they’ll ever be seen as dated again.  — Kelsey MeyerInfluence & Co. 

6. Unwelcome Greetings

The team behind Unwelcome Greetings knew that traditional Hallmark cards were boring. At least, among Millennials, they felt that there was a better way to congratulate a friend or share a funny meme. And so far their outrageous greeting cards have been a hit among consumers who prefer to communicate in memes, emojis and pranks.  — Firas KittanehAmerisleep 

7. Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club made it easier and cheaper to buy razors, and they did it with style. They were successful, in part, because of their innovative approach to advertising. But the real key was taking on an established industry that had been overcharging for generations, and making the product cheaper and more convenient. Companies like Casper are doing the same for mattresses.  — Vik PatelFuture Hosting 

8. GoPro

GoPro effectively took an old product that everyone has, re-purposed it, and made a fortune. GoPro is nothing but a good-quality camera. However, they managed to make it attractive, target a large niche of passionate customers and create a new category for themselves. The beauty behind this brand is targeting a group of people who are tight-knit and large enough to build a sizable business.  — Diego OrjuelaCables & Sensors, LLC 

9. Netflix

As one of the cornerstones of the home entertainment industry, brick-and-mortar DVD rental stores seemed like they’d be around forever. Then along came Netflix. Not only did the brand reinvent the delivery of DVDs, they transformed movie rental altogether with streaming service. The brand’s success has come from not just embracing change, but seeing it as an opportunity for innovation.  — Brian LischerIgnyte 

10. Adidas

Adidas benefited from people’s increased interest in sports gear that became athleisure wear. Rapper Kanye West, NHL Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, and NFL Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers helped put Adidas back on top. As Adidas says, “Americans like winners. We needed to not just have athletes but the best athletes.”  — Daisy Jing, Beauty Social