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Shifting Gears: YouTube…Your Favorite Dating App? How About Some Wrigley…Soap?

Life and Brands often evolve. Sometimes just to survive.

It may be the second most popular search engine in Surfville, with users consuming more than 3 billion hours of video content every month. However, YouTube’s purpose started on a remote island compared to the video sharing behemoth that it is today.

Actually, YouTube started out as a dating site…a video dating site of course. The goal was to revive the ole video dating scene brought to life in the 80’s. That was a no-go, but when the owners noted all of the other types of videos being shared as part of the fun, they shifted gears. Purchased later by Google, YouTube is now a primary source of content sharing with everything from funny pet vids and sports highlights to shows about the paranormal and make-up tips.

Ever bite into a piece of Wrigley’s Soap? That’s right. You read that right–Soap. Wrigley’s didn’t start out making their famous gum. Actually, William Wrigley was a renowned soap salesman in the late 19th century. He eventually pivoted from soap sales to baking soda. Things weren’t going too badly when he decided on a promotion–give away chewing gum. Eventually, Wrigley realized that his customers were more interested in the gum than the baking soda and a pivot was born. Now, Wrigley’s gum is a subsidiary of Mars and still the largest gum manufacturer in the world.

Those examples of brand evolution provide distinct examples of how businesses which stand for one thing in the consumers mind, can successfully move into another area once it’s identified a penchant for profitability.

The challenges in such evolution are possibly many. Those greatly depend…first and foremost…on how engrained into the minds of the consumer a company’s former position is. In other words, was Wrigley synonymous with Soap before it shifted to Baking Soda in the minds of the consumer? Was it synonymous with Baking Soda before it shifted to Gum? If so, that makes for a tough transition. In fact, it would have been better to start with a clean slate. Chances are, however, at that time in history, they were not…making the transition far easier.

Same with YouTube. The company never gained traction much less recognition for video dating. That made for an easier pivot into video sharing.

Such a pivot begins with identifying a growth sector that might put your brand on a more positive and profitable path. Those types of transitions are tricky. Need to discuss such an evolution? Let us know. Email us today at or set an appointment here.

By Scott Trueblood, of BrandVision Marketing. BrandVision Marketing is a full-service marketing agency based in Knoxville, TN.

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