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Be honest, how many of us have viewed a new marketing role as the chance to make big changes? To shake things up, rewrite the rules and become the hero who revolutionised the brand?

In fairness, it may not be your personal opinion or objective to neglect previous marketing campaigns but when all eyes are on you to boost brand engagement and sales figures, change may look like an attractive option.

But hang fire; it’s a risky route! Chucking the brand out with the bath water might mean missing a trick, especially if you’re working with a brand that has heritage, history and provenance. After all, it’s not written in stone that change generates growth.

Instead, question how a brand has stood the test of time. Why it has connected with generations of families and what evolutions it has survived to remain relevant to new fans decades after it was launched.

Brands will retain value from their legacy providing they remain relevant and interesting. Successful heritage brands by their nature have embraced innovation in order to engage with new generations of consumers and remain ‘fit for purpose’ over time. Leaders in this field understand the relationship between heritage and innovation and know how to keep their brand relevant without ruining the original appeal.

Kellogg’s, famous for promoting brand heritage, is currently investing £10m into marketing its oldest brand, Corn Flakes as part of a bid to drive social media engagement.(1) The new campaign, it’s first in five years, is looking to connect with digital savvy loyal fans by inspiring them to play a part in their how to put together the ‘perfect bowl’ of cornflakes campaign via conversations on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Also looking to make heritage contemporary, Co-op’s recent brand relaunch took the household name ‘back to its roots’ to develop a new, present day brand positioning. By reprising their founding principles the Co-op announced it would be “putting membership and community back at the heart of the business” returning to familiar territory including their “cloverleaf” logo design.

Nostalgia Marketing takes brand heritage one step further by tapping into fond memories and sharing compelling ‘blasts from the past’. Designed to generate a feeling of meaning, continuity and stability, Nostalgia Marketing connects on a deeper emotional level triggering a very positive effect on the psyche, especially it seems, with busy Millennials who coined #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) and have openly embraced re-sharing their Facebook memories. As the most stressed generation(2) nostalgia offers frustrated Millennials a form of escapism.

However, brands that intend to take a walk down memory lane need to ensure their strategy fits within a modern world or they risk appearing out of touch, dated and irrelevant to today’s market.

Heritage strong brands should be looking to ‘join up’ their history by connecting consumer experiences across the years. If you want to build optimism and strike a chord with future consumers then you need to find the right balance between past and present. Only part of studying a brand’s history is about looking back, the rest is about understanding where the brand is going and navigating its future.




(1) Cereal business Kellogg’s has recently announced it will invest £10m into marketing its oldest brand, Corn Flakes – part of a bid to drive social media engagement.


(2) Millennials are the most stressed generation

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