Brand Heritage Doesn’t Matter

We’ve moved through the now economy into the experience economy. Consumer demands and expectations are higher than ever and the value of where you came from doesn’t matter as much as where you’re going.

Here’s the thing friends,

the good old days are gone. Sure, it’s nice to revisit and reminisce in the nostalgia of yester-year but that was a time when big brands only had to worry about other big brands.

Today, every new entrant has a dog in the fight and in many cases, access to the same (if not more) tools that the big brands do. This is a very real and important consideration knowing there are new companies launching every minute of the day. The influx of technology has really tested the boundaries of traditional companies as we know them. Average tenures of companies on the S&P 500 was 34 years, which has fallen to 24 years and there are some pretty dreadful forecasts ahead.

Company lifespans are dwindling. What will you do about it?

“Customers love our beloved, long, rich, classical, [insert descriptor here] history.”

Blah, blah, blah. No, they don’t.

They might appreciate it. They might even memorize a fun fact to sound smart at the next social gathering.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m going to buy this because of its extensive history in X.”?

Probably not. Listen, we’re living in a time of consumers who’ve lived through a lot of change — quickly. Rightfully so, demands and expectations have changed. Everyone wants what they want: easy, thoughtful, meaningful, fast and now.

It’s nice to know that your brand may have a long history, but people are more concerned with what can you do for them.

Just think of all the young brands out there such as Uber, Grubhub, Rent the Runway, and AllBirds to name a few. There’s little to no attachment of their heritage because there’s largely not much of one. But they deliver on the areas that do matter to people — experiences.

Did you really think you could operate the same as you did years ago?

It’s time to move past resting on your laurels and get going into what your brand means today to the people you want to have consume it today. I’m not saying it’s bad if you’re lucky enough to be a brand that’s been around for a long time, but realize there’s a good chance you may be older than the consumers you currently serve. What worked then, doesn’t apply now.

Burberry is an example of a brand that is consistently looking to refine the way in which they interact with the consumer. Many other brands can and do look to them for inspiration as they’ve been progressive in redefining the retail experience. You should too. Sure, Burberry has received a large amount of polar-opposite feedback on their recent logo update. But I for one, applaud the work. (I always applaud effort towards change).

Burberry a modern marketer.

Obviously, brand image is just one facet. What else do you need to consider? I suggest at least these: Trust, Service, Experiences.

Trust:

The world has never seen a time where there’s been so much distrust. And it’s not just about transparency, 88% of consumers want brands to be more purposeful. Consumers are more tech savvy but also conflicted — they all want more personalization, but don’t want to give up their data. What are you doing to ensure they have reason to trust you? Have you defined your value? Are you fulfilling them? Are you safe & secure, or will you be like Lord & Taylor?

Service:

There’s a big difference between selling and servicing. Which are you offering up? Are you only selling to them or providing something that will help? Are you actively looking for ways to save them time or trying to add to their already hectic lives?

Experiences:

Ultimately, this comes back to actions. As the adage goes, actions over words. But these aren’t about getting your consumers to do things. They’re doing enough. It’s about a carefully crafted plan that delivers on an emotional story arc that delivers on commercial goals. It’s through this that a brand can sound good, feel good, and even smell good.

Live Long and Prosper.

There are so many once-loved brands that dominated the world. Blockbuster, Napster, MSN Messenger, and the list goes on. Legends in their own right. But that’s where legends lie. In the past, remembered but eventually forgotten. On the other hand, market leaders evolve, adapt and grow with the times. And you know them all by name: Coca-Cola, Facebook, Google, and Levi’s Strauss.

What about you? Is your brand strong enough for tomorrow?

Your brand equity is essential to your value on the market. It has to grow as we all do. Trying to force the impression of who you were instead of where you’re going will cost you more than you think.

Final thought:

Choose to be relevant and revered, not forced and forgotten.

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