The Power Of Legacy In A World Of Instant Gratification

Uncovering the principles that heritage brands should live by in order to deliver relevance and meaning to modern consumers

  • Opinion
  • Alex

The Power Of Legacy In A World Of Instant Gratification

We live in a world of insta-fame, 140 character campaigns, and brand love built on you-tube reviews. It goes without saying that the 2010’s are the era of short-termism, the fickle consumer and brand building based on a faster, cheaper, quicker mentality. And It would seem that this age of whim has led to brand loyalty and engagement being at an all-time low with consumers saying that if ¾ of brands disappeared they wouldn’t care (according to Havas Media).

For some this mentality can seem at odds with the idea of legacy and a 100 year brand embedded with heritage, built slowly over time, meanderingly passed down from generation to generation. In our age of fast these brands seem innately slow. And heritage seems at odds with the voguish agility that a contemporary brand must adopt to deliver relevance in a world of constantly evolving consumer fads and trends.

At BrandOpus we believe that heritage and legacy shouldn’t be at odds with a brands ability to deliver relevance to modern consumers. In fact, if a brand has survived for 100 years there is no reason it shouldn’t thrive for 100 more. For us a brands heritage should be seen as a treasure trove, brimming with untapped resources full of distinctive stories, values and assets. And rather than weighing the brand down, these jewels from their past can actually lift the brand up by providing a character that few contemporary brands can compete with.

Philosopher Robert Rowland Smith would argue that modern consumers are fatigued by their always on lifestyle and increasingly ‘looking for something that lodges for a while longer, that takes a little longer to digest’. We believe that a heritage brands character or eachness (as we sometimes call it at BrandOpus) enables them to achieve this.

The level of credibility and meaning their heritage (and therefore their eachness) evokes when delivered using contemporary design codes and an evocative narrative means that these brands can, and do, resonate with modern consumers. In-fact it embeds these brands with a timelessness that positively contrasts with the emptiness that modern brands and modern life can sometimes entail.

With this in mind we’ve spoken to three creative studios leads to uncover three principles that heritage brands should live by to deliver relevance and meaning to modern consumers.

Principle One: Reinvigorate Heritage Stories

Crosse & Blackwell

Through our work with Crosse & Blackwell we were tasked with redesigning and reinvigoration a brand that needed to compete against big brand players and drive differentiation in a tinned soup aisle that younger consumers considered to be outdated.

Kate Jones, Design Director at BrandOpus, says: “Delving into Crosse & Blackwell’s heritage has unearthed the inspiration for a narrative and identity that will establish relevance and differentiation in a category ripe for reappraisal”. She continues “We dived into the brand’s past and brought to life a story which had always been part of its heritage, but had gradually been diluted: the story of a partnership between a Farmer and a Chef. We instantly recognised the impact that this story had on modern foodie consumers, and brought it forward in our redesign – heroing it through the symbol of an intertwined spoon and spade”.

Principle Two: Retain & Modernise Iconic Assets

Molson Canadian & Carling

Back in Canada, Molson Canadian is one of the most long-established beers: with an incredible 233-years old heritage, the brand is not only recognised by all, but also loved by everyone. However, Molson was aware their heritage had to be future-proofed to ensure lasting brand relevance.

They asked BrandOpus to help them identify the key equities the brand needed to carry into its future. These equities were then adapted to a modern world, using contemporary cues to reignite Molson Canada’s magic for today’s consumers. Speaking about the project, Paul Taylor, our Chief Creative Officer says, “With inspiration from the brands extensive visual archive, we have created an identity for Molson that reimagines its expertise and heritage for the next generation. We eagerly anticipate the launch and are proud to have played our part in contributing to its legacy.”

can history including new can CARLING

For Carling the challenge was slightly different, the brand was entering a fight to own the mainstream lager category. However, over the years in a bid to compete with more premium competitors the brand had taken on design codes that felt at odds with what Carling stood for. In order to give the brand back its heart and strength we reintroduced the brand’s iconic black label, part of the original origins of the brand

Paul Taylor Our Chief Creative Officer says “We brought back the black label memory structure which had been lost and elevated it into a brand icon. But in order to add intrigue and mystery we added a small change under the form of a red corner hinting at the label unpeeling. This red corner starts to communicate the idea of the promise of things yet to come and the sentiment that when you hang out with mates new stories are always possible”.

Principle Three: Bring To Life Localist Origin Stories

Hall & Woodhouse - Badger Ales

With 240 years of brewing history, Badger Ales can proudly call themselves a heritage brand. But this long-standing history was hindering the brand, who wanted to extend to a wider audience who weren’t connecting with its current design.

BrandOpus, identified that the brands eachness was based on ‘Being Uniquely Characterful’ due to the brands Dorset roots. This positioning helped us emphasised Badger’s voice as a countryside ale. To do this we used the symbol of a badger – a countryside British animal – and expressed it through bespoke typography and unique illustration. “Badger Ales have always been rich in character and craftsmanship and we have redefined the brand to reflect these roots of authenticity,” says Paul Taylor.

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