In last week’s column we explored the corporate psychological journey that happens to accept the fact that a once-leading brand needs to be transformed and relaunched.

This column will walk you through how to do it.

Allow me to be clear. I am not discussing refreshing a logo or crafting a new tag line, but rather

a Reboot means a radical and transformational change to the business model and every facet of the business itself.

Choose a multi-disciplinary team. When they first gather, encourage them to think fresh. Go through a warm up exercise wherein the brand has been newly acquired and they are there to rebirth it.

Now, go through an Orthodoxy exercise to make all inherent bias explicit. Then, run a Business Model Canvas exercise on the existing model.

Examine the orthodoxies and structures of the current business model. Doing this work liberates the team to not see their current practices as reality itself, but instead as just one mental model that can be changed for a greater return.

Then, arm the team with stories of other companies who have made a similar leap. Have team members research and report at least one company who have rebooted themselves for hyper growth and also at least one company that disrupted an industry. You’ll notice how these stories will be quoted for inspiration throughout the project cycle.

At this juncture, create some guardrails, criteria for a new model. Here are some possible points: must be new in the market, must 5x the business in two years, must disrupt the current category, etc.

Now you are ready to generate five to ten new business models for the brand that are radically different from one another. Then, run a pro and con exercise for each model.

Have the team choose the two or three models that best meet the criteria.

Create a Strategy Brief and Opportunity Brief for each of them. Armed with these briefs, sketch out the new concepts in low-fidelity hand-drawn sketches that convey the concept, the value proposition, the core benefits, and unique features.

Hold several consumer feedback sessions where you listen deeply to members of your target audience. Learn from them and include their insights in the next version of your concept sketches.

Take the one or two concepts that tested well and draft a formal business case for making this epic brand pivot.

Now comes the easy part. Present the concepts to the executive team. After you pass this hurdle, pilot the concept in one market as a learning phase. If viable, scale accordingly.

Remember it takes more courage than foreknowledge to reboot a brand. But, you’ll learn as you go.

Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of going Electric. Visit to learn more.

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Michael speaks and publishes frequently on topics of innovation, corporate culture, and sustainable business growth. In addition to being a weekly columnist for INC. Magazine and Innovation Excellence, he is a published author and a co-founder of the Memphis Innovation Bootcamp. After years of advising over 100 companies from mid-size to Fortune 500, Michael has a wealth of learning to offer.

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