If we were to say, “Just Do It”, or even “I’m lovin’ it”, you’d have to have lived under a rock to not know which brands we were referring to. The longevity of giants such as Nike, McDonald’s and Lego is no coincidence; these brands are built on solid foundations of authenticity, culture, clear core values and a constant pursuit of innovation.
With milestones such as Tower’s 18th birthday and 30 years of Taste of Cayman on the horizon, we have been thinking about how brands can prosper in Cayman and beyond.
What are the key ingredients to brand longevity?
Brand is culture, culture is brand. Your people are your brand ambassadors. Success comes not only from the outside in, with better marketing, bold products and streamlined services, but from the inside out. In a world with endless opportunities to cut corners and compromise on values, an environment that cultivates talent and encourages its people to challenge themselves is a winner.
Finding a core set of values and sticking to them is paramount. Phil Mickelson once said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” The same can be said for brands. The more you stick to your values and practice what you preach, the more authentic you become.
When it comes to authenticity, none are more authentic than Lego. How can a brand, who’s product remains unchanged since 1958, stay so relevant? The answer for Lego lies in remarketing to new audiences. What was once a brand for young boys is now for boys, girls and adults alike – all without changing the core product.
Consumers are now also able immerse themselves with the brand at LEGOLAND theme parks, and through video games, movies, the Lego Ambassador Network (targeted for adults) and multiple product lines tailored to every user. The way consumers interact with the brand may have changed, yet those same Lego bricks endure.
Mark Parker, CEO of Nike professed to, “… a culture where we are incredibly self-critical, we don’t get comfortable with our success.”
It is this continuous process of learning and innovation that keeps a brand prosperous and prevents brand fatigue. Never get comfortable. Continue to learn and move with trends, and your brand will be irreplaceable.
You would think that brands such as McDonald’s would struggle to move with trends that encourage healthy eating such as veganism. Well, say hello to the McVegan.
This ability to stay attuned and adapt to new attitudes and trends (in this case – towards food) is what maintains a loyal customer base.
Research has shown that building strong emotional connections with customers increases brand loyalty in the long run. This can be achieved by humanising communications with personalised messaging as opposed to generic messaging from a faceless, corporate organisation.
Wendy’s encompassed humanised interaction through their #NuggsForCarter challenge. Thanks to the conversational engagement on Twitter, one man’s quest for a year-long supply of Wendy’s chicken nuggets snowballed into 330 million social impressions and 149,000 new followers on Twitter.
Other great ways to engage include offering exclusives such as sneak peeks, discounts and running competitions to gauge emerging trends and needs while building emotional connections with consumers.
So, here’s to creating and cultivating talent from the inside out, moving with the times and continuously striving for greatness. In truly understanding your audience, their pain points and their motivations, achieving sustained brand loyalty is easy.