Time and time again we see businesses fail who have failed to adapt to a changing market in time. With the onset of the digital age, more pressure was piled on traditional forms of business than ever. Here are 3 companies that digitally reinvented themselves.

But how do iconic brands adapt to this new way of business? How do they ensure that they’re not left in the dust by new entrants into the market?

The 3 companies highlighted in this article all faced the same challenge – dwindling sales in the face of a digital shift. What sets them apart is their rapid response and the ability to not only match what others are doing in the market but to blaze their own paths that other companies are struggling to keep up with.




Lego is the biggest toy company in the world and has been a favorite amongst children for decades. However, just over ten years ago this almost came to a crashing end – children had begun to stop playing with the toy.

They realized that it wasn’t their product that necessarily the problem, but the wants of children were shifting dramatically. Lego began to look at a digital transformation to make their product popular again.

To accomplish this they set about personalizing the lego and creating sets relating to specific areas. They created TV shows and identities, allowing children to form an emotional connection. Recently they even made the first Lego movie, which performed surprisingly well at the box office.

This effort to really understand their market turned Lego, who very nearly lost it all, into the biggest toy brand today.

National Geographic

How do you transform an iconic print media brand to make sure it doesn’t turn obsolete in the digital age? This was the question National Geographic was faced with when subscriptions began to plummet in the latter part of the 00’s – from $284 million in 1999 to $211 million in 2009.

Instead of sitting back as subscriptions started to dwindle, National Geographic was quick to move when considering what their options were digital. Under the leadership of John Fahey, CEO, the iconic brand began to focus on its online presence, TV & Films. With their own TV channel, National Geographic was not only able to re-establish themselves in the market but re-invent their image by producing fast-paced TV shows that attracted a younger audience.


Netflix started as a DVD-by-mail company that focussed on a more convenient way for customers to rent films. Initially, they had a huge impact on the market, inflicting massive losses on companies like Blockbuster, who were unable to adapt in time to this new business model.

However, with the ever increasing popularity of online streaming, Netflix found itself in the same situation as Blockbuster and would need to act quickly in order to respond. Netflix began to shift its focus to providing great content via a streaming service, on a monthly subscription model.

Caught in a bit of a catch-22, initially, they found it difficult to license the great content that their viewers wanted to stream. In another masterstroke, Netflix shifted focus again onto its own studios, creating fantastic content that is coming more frequently and rated highly by viewers across the world.

Spurred on by this success, more businesses were allowing Netflix to license their content – but Netflix didn’t stop creating their own. With massive successes such as Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards, there has even been a shift in the idea that films beget higher quality than TV. Viewers are also firm favorites of being able to stream a whole season in one day, rather than waiting for an episode a week provided by traditional TV channels.

Netflix not only reinvented their business model to keep up with consumer wants, they are now inventing new ways in which we consume content and transforming the focus of the entertainment industry.



HBR – Reinventing the National Geographic Society.

Fast Company – How Lego Survived Against All the Odds

Forbes – How Netflix Reinvented Itself