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What makes a brand timeless?
By SmartBranding Team access_time 4 min read

Every generation has a group of brands they swear on. They are known as intimate brands, because they have learned how to connect with their audiences on an emotional level, generating loyalty, trust, and a strong sense of identification and fulfillment. 

But change is constant, it is a fact of life. Nothing stays the same forever, if you don’t evolve, you risk being forgotten, obliterated from people’s minds. This statement is as true for human beings as it is for brands. A brand that is unwilling to accept changes, understand its customers, or new market trends, is extinct.

Other brands stand the pass of time, transcend generations, become stronger with time, appeal to diverse audiences, and have a voice that resonates with customers no matter the situation or the context. They are timeless, iconic, beyond fads. But not many brands can reach this stature. What can you do to become a timeless brand?

Have a strong brand story, and stick to it.

The most iconic brands in the world have a well-built story that defines them. It is the essence that englobes the reason for their existence. The quality that makes them unique and transcendent. The purpose of a brand should englobe its past, present, and future. A good brand story needs to be complemented by a classic design with signature elements that will surpass time. Think about Coca-Cola, Chanel, Hershey’s, or Cadbury.

A staple in the confectionery industry with a history that goes back 200 years, Cadbury started as a company that created its cocoa recipe in 1831 and sold it to customers looking for a healthy beverage. From that one recipe were born new versions, hundreds of products, and innovations that took the brand on a journey of expansion, worldwide recognition, and growth, comprising more than 57 sub-brands nowadays. Although its visual identity has evolved over the years, and elements like the logo and purple color have remained consistent, Cadbury has found the perfect balance using its solid brand story to adapt to the times and maintain their connection with its consumers.

Have enduring values.

A brand most likely will undergo some visual changes as time goes by, but its values, the qualities it stands for, should remain unaltered. Values are the foundation upon which a brand grows and develops an identity or voice that speaks to its customers. Smart brands will keep those values consistent, never compromising them over fads that will dwindle.

The journey of Ben & Jerry’s started in the seventies when two men took a course in ice cream making and decided to open a shop in Vermont. Their idea was to make the world a better place with their delicious creations while taking care of their partners, clients, and stakeholders, supporting the causes they believe in, and developing sustainable ways of food production. These values are still at the core of their business and are part of the reason why millions of customers are faithful to the beloved brand.

Keep It simple and memorable.

The best brands in the world are memorable and distinct. Your brand should build a simple visual identity that allows room to have fun and play with other elements that are not intrusive or disruptive. Simplicity is the pathway to achieve timelessness.

IBM, Coca-Cola, and Nike are some examples of brands that have undergone changes but have essentially maintained their identity recognizable and intact with their customers.

Embrace change and innovation with consistency.

Timelessness is not opposed to change. On the contrary, the best brands have acknowledged that to stay relevant, they need to evolve, grow alongside their customers, adapt to new times, social changes, and new habits. That flexibility does not imply changing or disconnecting from your personality. It is not a bad idea to infuse an element of freshness into a product, as long as you do not forget your unique value.

In 1977, Apple disrupted the personal computing market with the launching of the Apple II computer. In subsequent years, the brand continued to evolve and revolutionize the consumer electronics industry, becoming a synonym of innovation. They introduced groundbreaking products like the iPod, which changed the music industry, and revolutionized the telecom industry with the iPhone while retaining their core values. The lesson here is never to fear innovation, as long as you remember to stay true to what your brand represents.

Timelessness is not an easy feat to achieve for any brand, but we’ve tried to put together some strategies that can set you on the right path. What makes your brand relevant and timeless? If you have any questions, need any help, or just want to chat with someone, book a free consultation at MarkUpgrade, we are always happy to hear from you.