Tale of 2 Brands: What happened to Polaroid and Nokia?

Tale of 2 Brands: What happened to Polaroid and Nokia?

Telling your brand’s story is not a design or marketing choice; it is a leadership decision. Your company’s brand is its reputation. With a strong brand strategy and clear messaging, you’ll confidently lead your team through these trying times, establishing a legacy of survival, clear purpose, and continued success.

In 2020 we learned firsthand that the future is unpredictable. With that lesson, our mantra for 2021 is: “We can’t predict the future, but we must commit to thinking about it.” With that mantra firmly in place, read on for a history lesson on how one company thrived while the other died because they didn’t prepare for the future.

The Story of 2 Brands

Let me tell you a quick story of two brands, one successful and one extinct; Nokia and Polaroid.

Nokia is a technology and telecommunications company. Most people remember Nokia as a maker of camera phones; in fact, my first cell phones were all Nokia. Founded in the 1800s, Nokia started as a mining technology firm. As technology changed, Nokia had the leadership and confidence to consistently pivot its multi-billion-dollar businesses, staying relevant, and continuing its century and a half history of success. Today, Nokia is primarily a telecom company pioneering technology such as 5G.

Polaroid was a consumer electronics company. Most people know Polaroid for their instant cameras. Founded in the 1930s, Polaroid saw a peak revenue of $3 billion in 1991. By 2001, ten years later, the company filed for bankruptcy and sold off all its assets. During those ten years, new technologies changed the world of photography, and Polaroid failed to innovate and pivot the brand away from film.

One brand continues perpetually successful because they understand that innovation and technology are core tenets of their brand.
The other company saw a product as their brand; when that product became obsolete, so did their company.

The key takeaway is that your products, features, and service are not your brand. Your brand is your voice in the world. It is your reputation. And branding is knowing what you stand for and how you communicate the values, character, purpose, and culture of your product or service. Now, as we navigate these uncertain and quite frankly terrifying times, are you confident in your brand’s purpose, values, and messaging? Are you leveraging the confidence and clarity from a reliable brand foundation to think differently, innovate, and come out of this more robust and better?

Propr is a full-service branding agency. We are passionate about helping brands find their soul. Our mission and value can be summed up in one word: confidence. How can we help you and your brand find your soul, and confidently unleash its potential?

We offer brand development workshops and bootcamps to help our clients confidently lead their company to the next level.


Are you looking to grow your business with a stronger brand?

Bobby Gillespie


With 24 years of creative experience in leadership, planning, and executing performance-based branding and web design strategies, Propr and I help small and medium-sized companies and organizations grow revenue, attract new customers, manage and scale their brands, and improve marketing performance.

I’m also the author of Build Your Brand Like You Give a Shit.
Connect and follow me on LinkedIn.

Schedule a call to learn how we can help you transform your brand for consistent and better performance.

About Propr

Propr Branding and Web Design Best of Maryland Awards

Propr is a boutique brand strategy and creative agency. We help companies and organizations grow through high-performing brand strategy, graphic & identity design, messaging & custom WordPress website design & development. Performance and results drive our passion for service. Let’s do great things for your brand together.

Ready to transform your brand for consistent and better performance? Contact us today!

By: Bobby G


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