Many slices of stale bread.

Reason #4 on my list of Ten Ways You Can Lose . . . Even if You Are the Best is:  Your message is stale.

Maybe you are the leading authority in your market space. Over time, it’s possible that your message to market has become wordy or pompous or old-fashioned. You run the risk that an inferior upstart will capture a new tagline or a new promise and appeal to your market.

A message gets wordy when you try to capture all the history of your product/service.  It gets pompous when you use a lot of big words to prove you’re the best.  And it gets old-fashioned when the market needs or interests or even buzz-words have changed and you’re not keeping up with the dialog.

The recent Old Spice campaign is a great example of rebranding a stale message.  This is a product that’s been around since about 1934, purchased by Proctor and Gamble in 1990.  It’s a totally fresh approach, linking “how you look” to “how you smell” and particularly appealing to women to buy the product for the man in their life.  The products are now called “man fresheners”  rather than “deodorants” or “after shave.”

With well-known sexy (and funny) spokesmen they introduced a campaign to interact directly with customers on the air in 2010.  Their August 2011 YouTube video has had almost 2 million views in less than 60 days and the Old Spice YouTube channel records more than 28 million with 289,000 subscribers. They’ve kept the connection with seafaring but the captains are much younger and sexier than in the past.  One of the products is now named “Old Spice Swagger.”  The campaign “I’m on a Horse” was one of the most viral campaigns in ad agency history.

It’s not only the message that was stale; so was the advertising approach.  The social media approach to the new Old Spice appeals to a much broader and younger audience and is an integral part of the new message.

So if they can take a stodgy old brand like Old Spice and remake it for today’s buyers, what could you do with your stale message?