Brand heritage has gained growing interest in recent years.
There are many aspects to a brand that make it uniquely recognizable: colors, fonts, logo images to name a few.
But what is often not as obvious is the emotional attachment customers have with a brand because they feel like they know and understand it.
A brand’s heritage can play a major role in evoking nostalgia, forging emotional connections and gaining brand loyalty.
In this article, you’ll learn how brand heritage evokes emotion and earns trust for brands with the advantage of history.
What Is Brand Heritage & Brand Origin?(Nostalgia Marketing Examples)
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What Is Brand Heritage?
Brand heritage is the history of a brand that highlights how long it has been in business, the journey it’s on and the values, philosophy and reputation it’s developed along the way.
The brand’s heritage or history can be a major advantage over competitors because it provides trust and emotional connection.
From the time of a company’s founding, its heritage includes founders or family history, values passed down from one generation to another that have shaped what the brand represents in people’s minds.
Heritage is so valuable because it is an irreplicable advantage that competitors simply cannot match.
Why Is Brand Heritage Important?
The heritage of a brand is becoming increasingly important in part, due to the sheer volume of new businesses created every year. With so many new brands, heritage and history become a powerful tool for establishing trust.
The power of heritage is that it establishes an emotional connection with customers – one which competitors can’t match.
In a world where everything changes at lightning speed, a brand’s story of heritage provides consumers with a tangible link to the past. The more we move into a digital and virtual world, the greater the void grows of a time when things were simple and more tangible.
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How Heritage Can Build The Corporate Brand Image
Brand heritage is a sense of business history or tradition that can be communicated to consumers which influences how the brand is perceived.
Marketing communications, such as advertising and branding campaigns, are key in leveraging the power of brand heritage which can be illustrated beautifully with creative brand storytelling.
The more associations with tradition and heritage that are communicated by the brand, the more likely the brand’s reputation will grow with heritage as a key brand attribute.
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Brand Heritage Evokes Nostalgia
Part of what makes brand heritage so potent is its ability to evoke nostalgia which is more powerful than other emotions when eliciting positive associations with products or services.
One of the most powerful triggers for nostalgia are images, smells, and music.
Using songs that have a strong association with an era or time period can help give your brand a sense of tradition and heritage as can the smell of a product or the visual identity or image style.
Brand storytelling through creative advertising campaigns such as origin stories are pivotal in leveraging the power of heritage to evoke positive associations with consumers who will then associate those feelings back with the brand itself.
This emotional connection provides more incentive for people to purchase products from you because they feel like it’s part of their history too!
In other words, brands that make their customers feel like they’re part of the brand’s story can create long-term loyalty among their customer base
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Brand Heritage Example: Hermes
There are many excellent examples of brand heritage in the marketplace today.
One of the most potent examples of heritage branding is Hermes, a French fashion brand.
Hermes is the oldest and longest-standing fashion brand in the world a deep sense of history and tradition. Since Thierry Hermes founded the brand in the 1837, it has remained family-owned spanning five generations.
A brand like Hermes doesn’t just sell the idea of luxury items, it sells prestige and exclusivity. To this day, the company is also known for its legendary commitment to quality.
The iconic Hermès Birkin bag was named after Jane Birkin who first carried her purse in 1984 (in a black crocodile skin) which has become an enduring symbol of style and status ever since.
From their early history in saddlery and fine leather goods, Hermès has evolved into a luxury goods company with retail stores in France and abroad (including the US, Hong Kong, Japan), but still manages to maintain its artisanal identity.
This heritage is a huge drawcard for the brand with many of their customers forming a bond not just with their high-quality products, but with their rich history.
Brand Heritage Example: Penguin Books
Another example of a brand with associations of heritage and history is Penguin.
As the origin story goes; a young publisher by the name of Allen Lane found himself waiting for a train so stopped into the train station bookstore for something to read.
He was disappointed to find overpriced, mediocre books and saw a gap to produce a more affordable higher-quality alternative.
Everything about that story from the associations with train travel to a time before mobile phones when everyone read books, speaks to history and nostalgia.
How To Create A Heritage Brand
When it comes to building a heritage brand, your brand either has a history or it doesn’t. But even if your brand is relatively new, that doesn’t mean it can’t leverage history, nostalgia and tradition.
If your brand has a history, lean into it. Use those moments of glory from the past to legitimize and inform what you do today.
Otherwise, create one by looking back to different points in time where there was something special happening that could be linked with what you’re doing now.
Maybe your brand leverages a traditional process or tool. Maybe you can align with associations of a certain point in time or a certain traditional belief.
How To Build Brand Heritage With Story & Emotion
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Step 1: Get Clear On Your Brand Values
A brand’s values place a flag in the ground about what the brand holds dear in the way they do business. Such a commitment to brand integrity speaks to tradition.
Brand values are usually a set of ideals or principles that guide how the company interacts with its customers, employees and other stakeholders.
Brand value statements articulate what is important to the organization in terms of quality, service, innovation or simply how they interact with their customers and suppliers.
Step 2: Deconstruct Your Brand Philosophy
Every business does things their way.
Some businesses leverage modern technology while other businesses use tried and tested processes.
A brand’s method of how they do things represents their brand philosophy.
Of course, a brand’s philosophy can cross over into the values they have, though a philosophy tends to define a commitment to a method which in many cases can be traced back through time.
Step 3: Extract Tradition And History
Although not all businesses have history, many are born from events in history or have alignments to traditions.
These can come in the form of cultural custom or associations with a method or point in time. Not every brand needs to have 100 years of operations behind them to lean on heritage.
For example, many brands associate themselves with the industrial revolution.
“It’s a part of who we are,” says Joe Gagnon, global chief marketing officer at Caterpillar Inc., which has its roots in farming equipment before it became an international construction and mining company.”
Step 4: Develop Your Brand Story
A brand’s story and brand storytelling is not always the same thing. Brand storytelling is a story from the brand not necessarily about the brand. Often brand storytelling mirrors the journey of the customer.
A brand’s story is the narrative of why you exist, how your products and services make life better for people. It provides a framework that helps to answer questions like ‘why do we think what we are doing matters?’
The brand story should be grounded in authenticity, relevance and human values.
In order to develop an authentic story about your brand, it will require introspection on who you are as an organization, where you have been and where you want to go.
You need to know who your customer is before crafting the right message because when done well, storytelling can help build lifelong relationships with customers.
Step 5: Weave Heritage Through Messaging
Once you have mapped the roots of your brand, its operations or associations to the heritage you want your brand aligned with, you then need to weave that heritage through your brand messaging and communications.
Use visuals to depict the history
Post related content on social media
Promote events related to traditions
Tell stories of a proud history
Create videos to emphasize the authentic alignment
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Heritage is a gift that many brands don’t have the advantage of. Those that do, need to consider the value of that heritage and consider it in their positioning, communication and marketing strategies.
Do it well and you can align with a sense of tangibility and nostalgia that’s hard to replicate or compete with.
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