Resurgence of Brand Heritage Stories

There is a noticeable resurgence in the heritage story of brands being reinvented for, and advertised to, a contemporary audience.  This crosses industrial sectors and is a noticeable response to the current socio economic context.

It builds upon a flight to safety, a flight to trusted brands, a flight; I contend, that is towards a proverbial comfort blanket that wraps todays consumers in familiarity, confidence and stability.  It’s warm in “heritage story land” mainly as those that have survived with resonance are the most loved of our brands – they are our friends already.

The Co-operative movement is celebrating its foundation in Manchester this week … Co-operatives United is a global event that includes the premiere of ‘The Rochdale Pioneers’, a film about the formation of the Co-operative movement.  It closes the UN Year of Co-operatives in style (ok I will admit a bias here, I work for a Co-operative).  1844 Rochdale to 2012 Manchester with no weakening of the values in between, perhaps the business I work for possesses an underused heritage story still …

Workington Town RLFC commemorated the 1952 Challenge cup win earlier this year with the Gus Risman home shirt … reliving past glories maybe, but re-invigorating the supporters with a nostalgic theme that drove record sales of the shirt, so effective too.   The heritage proudly displayed as a photo on the front of the shirt, and before you ask, yes I do own one !

Bulmers Cider is the most current and high-profile of the brands actively advertising their heritage in the most modern of manners.  The use of Plan B to launch a cider fruit variant around a year ago was a statement by the brand of relevance TODAY.  This advertising has been followed up by the “In the Beginning” campaign evolving effortlessly from the TV ads into todays current, brilliantly executed, Poster campaign using the founders of the company as brand icons and shorthand for the 125 years of history.

The trend extends into more closed communities too, Police Mutual have an interesting heritage timeline added to their refreshed website.  It sits comfortably alongside a modern new logotype (which in itself is quite lovely) and has a light touch that confidently asserts, and reminds you of, the underpinning values of the brand.  A complete contrast to Bulmers maybe but empathising with its core audience in a subtle an insinuating manner builds credibility to the strapline “Here for the Police, here for the long-term”

It’s an interesting trend that cuts across industries and the age of the brands.  I like it, it’s a trend I expect to see more of, a trend that is very much responding to the worries of today.  I fear that may be needed for a little while yet!

02 November 2012

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