Benjamin Franklin

Legacy Brands

How Legacy Brands Evolve And Remain Relevant Across Generations
In India, Maggi has been an undisputed success, to the point where the brand name has become synonymous with instant noodles. So much so, that after the 5-month ban, Maggi didn’t even have to try and renew its contract with its brand ambassadors to promote the product.

Social media sites ran articles celebrating the return, and all the promotional material was centred around consumers who had sorely missed the brand.

Clearly, there is something about legacy brands like Maggi, Bata, or even the Enfield Bullet, that keeps them relevant even after so long.

What Are Legacy Brands

Enduring, exceptional, and irreplaceable, are just some of the monikers associated with legacy brands.

They’re about as recession-proof as any brand can be, and remain popular despite changes in cost. Case in point, is of course Maggi’s abiding popularity, which has barely taken a hit after the alleged discovery of lead content above permissible levels, which led to the 5-month ban.

Brands like this encapsulate an idea, and are able to consistently add to the consumer’s life. Over time, they become an integral part of the culture of a place, and evolve in a way that enables them to remain current, while providing a link to the past.

Common Problems Faced By Legacy Brands

Part of your job as a marketer is to nurture a brand image that’s enduring and that connects with its audience even as their needs and desires change.

The key to this is, of course, adaptability.

Inflexible marketing strategies and obscure products only serve to highlight how old a brand is and makes it irrelevant. So when you’re looking at legacy brands, there are a few common problems that you need to consider before you develop your marketing strategy.

1. Obsolete Brand Image

If your brand hasn’t changed its website layout since the 90s, it’s probably not going to inspire your customers, or bring in new ones. Over time, older brands tend to lose touch with their consumer base, and are unable to appear reliable and trustworthy to them. Aging brands cannot reorient their marketing strategies and products if they cannot understand the changing aspirations and lifestyle of their consumers.

In the information age, visibility is more important than ever, and should be an important aspect of your social media marketing strategy. Similarly, brands need to reinvent their products as well, especially if these products aren’t meeting modern standards.

For instance, Enfield had to redesign their motorcycles right from the engine, in order to meet modern efficiency standards.

2. Fragmented Communication Channels

2. Fragmented Communication Channels



         Image Credits: Gavin Llewellyn

Today, your audience uses a veritable multitude of communication channel—from social networking sites like Facebook to micro-blogging platforms like Tumblr.

These present unique challenges of their own, because while it is important for brands to be visible, they need to choose the platform that suits the image that they’re trying to build.

Then, they have to make sure that their content and methodology suits the platform itself, which is a problem that’s frequently faced by legacy brands. Attempting to interact with the user base on their turf can be a daunting challenge, especially if brands must maintain their image at the same time.

What makes things difficult is the need to interact with the consumer base across a number of different platforms, and present a consistent, yet engaging image throughout.

3. Data-Centrism

A common mistake brands make when they’re attempting to adapt to the new age is focusing too much on the data and not enough on the human factor, which is the greatest strength of legacy brands. Understanding consumer psychology and directing marketing strategies to appeal to the consumer on an intimate, emotional level does more for a legacy brand than data mining.

Staying Current As A Legacy Brand

As Mathew Evins says, “When it comes to legacy branding, think evolution and not revolution”.

The appeal of a legacy brand, as the name suggests, is in it’s rich history and endurance, so it doesn’t make sense to burn everything that it stands for to the ground, and renew it.

This was the problem that was faced by Enfield, which needed to make its engines and design more efficient without alienating its existing cult following.

So what exactly does the reinvention of a brand involve?

  • Telling Your Story

A certain amount of market research is necessary to identify what aspects of the brand’s history will resonate with today’s consumers. Then, you need to present this in a way that demonstrates that you understand your consumer base, and are able to meet their needs and demands.

An example of this would be the old Hamara Bajaj advertisements, which tied up the attributes of Bajaj two-wheelers with the aspirations of the Indian middle-class. This allowed them to present themselves as a brand that understood life in India, and why they were integral to it.

  • Transparencybike



    Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

    For legacy brands, it’s now become more important than ever before to build a level of trust with their consumer base. Authenticity, competence, and openness are key attributes that brands should demonstrate.

    Even after the Enfield Bullet has been redesigned to fix the fuel leakage issues, and for greater efficiency, Royal Enfield had to promote their new bikes. For this, they conducted marquee rides. This enabled them to reassure their consumers about the reliability of their products.

    • Packaging Redesigned

    In the beauty industry, well-established brands like Chandrika and Lacto Calamine had to reinvent themselves in order to appeal to an aspirational class of women, who wanted guaranteed results. For Lacto Calamine, this meant redesigning the packaging so that it carried forward the simplicity that was expected from the brand.

    Chandrika, being an Ayurveda brand had to not only validate itself, but also ayurvedic practices. So the packaging was redesigned to use a more nature-inspired palette. This was in line with the concept of ‘Active Ayurveda’, that reassured consumers of the ingredients and their beneficial properties.

    • Capitalise On Nostalgia

    “Nostalgia has proved effective at loosening consumers’ grips on their wallets” says Katherine Duncan in an article on the Entrepreneur.

    For a legacy brand to really establish itself as important to the cultural landscape, it needs to be presented in a way that strikes an emotional chord with the consumers. One of the best ways to engage an audience is by reminding them of fond memories, and legacy brands are best suited to do so.

    This is what Microsoft capitalised on when it relaunched the Internet Explorer. The advert reminded the young generation of their childhood memories, and reassured them that they had grown with their consumers with their tagline “You grew up; so did we”. The clip garnered over 50 million views, was shared widely, and is an excellent example of how nostalgia was tied up with social media marketing in order to appeal to consumers effectively.

    • Importance of Consumer Behavior

    It is only when a brand is able to embody a certain idea in its entirety, does it become important to the personal histories of consumers. “The power or value of a brand to an organization lies in its ability to influence consumer behaviour” as quoted in the OCLC newsletter Next Space.

    All legacy brands endure because they leverage the human side of business – they connect with their consumers on an intimate level, and communicate with them effectively. They’re user centric, and establish benchmarks of quality, which helps them develop a long-standing reputation.

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