In retrospect, the move that set Apple on a steep decline was an obvious one, firing Steve Jobs back in 1985. The company then went on a bad-product-making rampage, producing a stream of products that simply didn't work, and were quickly discontinued or recalled. When Steve Jobs was finally rehired in 1997, he got right to work streamlining the company, cutting down the product line, running catchy, innovative ad campaigns, and locking in all rights to products.
Lego is another company that made a major turnaround. A leading toy manufacturer for over 70 years, in the late 1990's, Lego decided to expand from just being a toy brand to a myriad of other markets, including video games, theme parks, watches and apparel. But spreading itself so thin sent profits into a major decline, and by 2003 the company had a billion dollars in debts and was facing bankruptcy. Similar to Job's methods, streamlining the company, and focusing just on toy sets similar to those that had fueled its initial success was what made the difference, propelling Lego to become the most profitable and fastest growing toy company today.
For Ford, it was thinking ahead that saved the company. In 2006, Ford mortgaged the company assets, a move that made it the only American auto company to survive the recession without filing for bankruptcy or receiving government assistance.
Old Spice, a company with powerful brand loyalty, faced an interesting problem. Their customers were loyal... and had been for 73 years! Their market was literally dying out, and it took a fresh and modern advertising campaign to transform it from a company dying of natural causes to the #1 body wash brand for men today.