Creating new brand energy by going back to your roots
This is a post I initially wrote a few years back. But it’s still relevant today and worthy of revisiting. It’s about reigniting brand energy through brand heritage.
Building Brand Energy
To continue to build brand energy and sustain your business, you’ve got to surprise, delight and create ways to engage your customers in new experiences. 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 was in honor of the 50 year anniversary of his iconic painting “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans” and came as Campbell looked to turn around its struggling soup business.
The timing is good (at least Campbell’s hopes so). 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.
For brands, heritage can play an important role, as it can strengthen emotional connection to your audience by re-establishing a connection to the past.
A strategy built on brand heritage offers these advantages:
- It creates nostalgia for those who recall those special moments in their lives in which the brand was likely intertwined. In turn this provides a connection to something that has meaning and a comfort in the familiar.
- It creates a strong storytelling approach about the brand’s past (e.g. Chrysler’s campaign with Eminem) that can create a deeper sense of connection.
- It can grow a new generation of fans into the future (e.g. Converse), creating a reason to believe and a reason to buy, grounded in quality and authenticity
- 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).
Brand Heritage Across Health, Wellness and Beauty
In the related fields of health, wellness and beauty, a nod to the past needs to be handled with care. Consumers want to associate these industries with the most up-to-date practices, research, functional properties and ingredients, so any reliance on heritage integrated into a campaign must also communicate the modernity of the brand.
A Differentiating Strategy For Established Brands
It’s a tough time for established brands whose customer bases are being loured away by new indie brands with propositions that are borne of innovation, social-consciousness, transparency and a clear purpose beyond profit.
For an established brand that is struggling to maintain relevance, going back to its roots and identifying what made it special and successful in the first place makes for an authentic and viable strategy. And in a crowded market, a dip into the past can help provide much-needed differentiation from newer competitors.
Telling And Demonstrating Your Brand Heritage Story
There are three potential pillars that you can lean on to authentically deliver a brand heritage story.
- Leaning on persona. Whether your founder is a visionary (Steve Jobs), champion of a cause (Paul Newman) or character (Dave Thomas from Wendy’s), there’s credibility and authenticity that comes from staying true to who these characters were historically. Key is staying true and not straying from reality.
- Leaning on purpose. This can be done through the timeliness of products (L.L. Bean), brands whose products changed the world (Nike), or brands built on missions of goodwill (like Patagonia). Key is to build this purpose into every touchpoint and every experience and to be true to it.
- Leaning on place (and date) of origin. This can be a location (like Old El Paso), setting (like Hidden Valley Ranch) or product origin story (like Gap 1969). Once again, don’t overstate the truth.
Brand Energy/Brand Heritage Takeaway
Authentic heritage stories make brands more distinct. Brands that know who they are and where they came from.
Especially for established brands trying to retain their relevancy, heritage can be powerful when it’s done right. When it connects us to the past and makes us believe in the brand and the value that have endured over the years.
Since 1999, our hybrid brand consultancy / marketing agency has worked with clients across the health and wellness continuum – helping brands rise above the noise to grow better business. Reach out for a no-obligation consultation.