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To Be Timeless Or Timely... That is the Question

David Cameron

Managing Partner

July 9, 2024

What makes Heritage Brands tick? TIME. But not for the reason you think.

 

Heritage brands are not defined purely by age.

 

Among our client list, one brand is 223 years old, and another is 23. What makes them heritage brands is that they've chosen to make a part of their brand heritage (provenance, purpose, founder/genesis story, sensory signatures, etc.) a central part of their core value proposition.

 

There are two factors at the heart of a successful and enduring brand:

 

—TIMELESS foundation: an unwavering (and sometimes endearingly stubborn) adherence to core principles and a way of doing things (recipe, craft, etc.).

 

—TIMELY expressions: a steady and repeated ability to test, play, innovate, and upend certain aspects of how the brand comes to life today.

 

Heritage brands possess other assets that can work in their favor — like nostalgia and mythology — but these need to be leveraged with care, as they can do more to root a brand in its past than generate new relevance.

 

The most reliable formula for sustaining a heritage brand’s energy over time is to perfect the dance between timeless and timely. And for heritage brands that infuse newfound energy and traction (think: Burberry, LEGO, Converse, Old Spice), they had to find their rhythm and refocus their sight on the dance – making a vow to never abandon one or the other.

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