When it comes to brands, age matters

With brands, age can be a virtue

You might think Interbrand’s most recent ranking of the world’s top 100 brands – with Apple and Google at the top – underlines how everything is changing. Think again.

Apple turns 40 this year. It was a 1980s success story, then a 1990s laggard before 2001’s iPod launched it into the triumphs of the past 15 years. Google is just 17 years old as a brand, but third-placed Coca-Cola is 129.

The newcomers to the list underline the virtues of brand age. Just one, PayPal, is a teenage brand, and one more is in early middle age – Lenovo, at 32 years old. The Lego brand began in 1932, the Mini car brand came into existence in 1959, and the Moët & Chandon brand has been around since 1833 – or since 1743 as plain old “Moët”.

Interbrand director Rebecca Robins says the important lesson to draw from this is that brands need to constantly evolve to stay relevant, whatever their age. At the same time, she says, they need a “centre of gravity” to which people will stay connected.

The re-emergence of the Mini illustrates her point. In the 1990s, it descended into near-irrelevance outside the retro-loving Japanese market. Then new ownership (BMW Group) and a new model revived it as a worldwide brand.

This article is from the March issue of INTHEBLACK.

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March 2016
March 2016

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