Some of the world's most-successful and enduring brands have achieved their long track record by constantly reinventing themselves.
"The lesson for me is clear: being sustainably successful involves evolving and changing."
Tareq Muhmood, Managing Director, Global Diversified Industries, Global Banking
Many of us are familiar with the story of Apple and its constant reinventions, not least its move away from computers towards hand-held devices. It's a decision that has created phenomenal brand equity – and sales – the world over.
Similarly epic was the rise and fall of Kodak, the brand that popularised photography. With the advent of the digital age, the company was slow to innovate and continued to be synonymous with film. It eventually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012.
Then, after emerging from 20 months of bankruptcy, it reinvented itself. No longer a consumer company, it has transformed itself into a technology company focussed on imaging for businesses and is slowly getting back on its feet - it learned from its lesson of not reinventing.
The National Geographic Society is another great example. First published in 1888, the iconic yellow-bound National Geographic magazine became a coffee-table staple for generations of families around the world.
Facing an aging readership, National Geographic CEO John Fahey didn't wait around for the magazine's demise. Instead, he spearheaded the brand's reinvention across all media platforms, most notably on the popular National Geographic Channel, launched in 2001. National Geographic saw well around the bend and reinvented before they needed to.
In my part of the world, the story of Singapore is one of constant reinvention – from third-world economy to entrepot, then from manufacturing hub and technology centre to today's global financial capital. Now with the passing of founding father Lee Kuan Yew, even though he had relinquished a formal role, Singapore again stands on the edge of another major reinvention. It will be fascinating to watch.
These are business cases. But what really caught my imagination was when my thoughts turned to Madonna and then my mother. Madonna released her first album 32 years ago. But she has evolved her music over the years and in March 2015 released her latest album, Rebel Heart. Her ability, passion and discipline in generating successful hit after hit has not been replicated by many other musicians over such a period of time.