Creating new brand energy by going back to your roots

To keep a brand (and customers) energized, your got to continue to surprise and delight. In this case, it’s about a brand going back to its roots to tell its authentic story.

Campbell Soup introduced into Target stores special-edition cans of its condensed tomato soup bearing labels reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s paintings. The promotion is in honor of the 50 year anniversary of his iconic painting “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans” and comes as Campbell looks to turn around its struggling soup business.

The timing is good (at least Campbell’s hopes so), as many of us in the midst of dizzying change also find ourselves desiring to learn more about our past in the hope that this will somehow provide greater understanding and meaning of our own identities. Also, with so many things in our lives nowadays seemingly so fleeting, there is something very reassuring and relatable about a brand with a rich history and substance.

A back to the future strategy offers other advantages:

• A storytelling approach about the brand’s past (e.g. Chrysler’s campaign with Eminem) can strike a powerful emotional chord and ignite a deeper sense of connection.
• It can grow a new generation of fans into the future (e.g. Converse).
• Conveying a sense of longevity and authenticity can provoke the highly sought after attribute of trust, as the brand has shown it has stood the test of time (e.g. Ivory).

In the related fields of healthcare, wellness and beauty, a dip into the past must be handled with care. Consumers want to associate these industries with the most up-to-date methods, research and technology, so any nod to the past integrated into a campaign must also communicate the modernity of the brand.

Any brand, especially one that is struggling, can benefit from going back to its roots and identifying what made it special and successful in the first place. And in a crowded market, a dip into the past can help provide much-needed differentiation from competitors.

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a brand and marketing firm specializing in creating momentum for businesses across the health + wellness continuum. The common threads are consumers who want to get well, stay well and play well, and brands that fulfill these aspirations and goals.

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