Does age really matter when it comes to brands?
“I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I get older… younger.”
I hated being a kid! I have spent most of my childhood life wanting to be older. I guess I finally got what I wanted… I got older. But wait… now I want to be younger, to turn back time! What the hell! I’m certain that most people feel the same way as I do. Is age really just a number?
Living in Los Angeles and Western Society in general, we are obsessed with youth. To be young is everything. It’s the epitome of beauty, vitality, and the most exciting time of our lives. So much so-- that our value in society seems to decrease the minute our physical appearance starts showing any signs of aging. Yep, that’s right-- once we see worry lines and crow’s feet, we know it’s time for botox, expensive facial treatments and products.
And, to add insult to injury—it seems like we are suddenly being ignored as well. Just look at the number of glossy images in magazines, newspapers, television, or online--older people are noticeably absent. And, of course, let's not forget the AARP mailers and advertisers we receive almost daily. So, are we really surprised that to stay young, we turn to beauty treatments, anti-aging products, pills, sports cars, affairs, and other insane life choices?
Things would be decidedly different if we lived in Eastern Societies like India, China and Korea. In these cultures—aging is celebrated and valued for the wisdom and experience that comes with living. But alas we live in the US! One thing I do know is that we value those that have aged...are mature and iconic brands.
Hmmm…don’t believe me—let’s look at some of our oldest brands that have withstood the test of time. The most immediate brands that come to mind are Coca Cola, Jim Beam & Fruit of the Loom. It's truly amazing that these iconoclastic brands actually started in the late 1800’s and are still going strong! Of course, like these mature brands...others (Levi-Strauss, Lego and Brook Brothers) have not only maintained/grown their market position but added a needed bit of “nip and tuck” to remain relevant, popular and profitable within their target audience.
Crazy, huh? Why are they still here and have such brand value? That’s a great question and one that each brand would need to address…however, generally speaking…These longstanding, well known brands are part of our history and American mindset. When we see them on a shelf or pass their store front, they bring us a certain “joy la’gi” and harken back to pre-Covid times. Just seeing the packaging, advertising, and brand designs can bring a bit of stability to our lives. And it doesn't hurt that their brand promises are well known with predictable customer experience in respect to product taste, design, availability and customer service.
I know this still may seem like a strange concept—but, there are quite a few mature brands that have and are still leading the way today...Let's examine...
IBM: Did you know that IBM developed/introduced Cloud Computing to the world? Just imagine where we would be today without their foresight?
Heinz 57: Or, imagine just how many French fries would not have been ordered if Heinz 57 ketchup was not available
New York Times: Or, just how many scandals we would never have learned about without the tireless reporters and reporting from the New York Times
Anyway, I think you get my point.
So, is age just a number? For a brand to face challenges that accompany a mature product and/or service a new mindset and approach needs to be adapted--this could include a few minor tweaks or a complete "face lift". Be that as it may--below, I have listed a few tried and tested ways to keep your "aging" brand relevant in today's world:
Create, Innovate, and Engage - be bold, take chances, and don’t be afraid to push your limits.
Be Customer-Centric – get in your customers heads and determine exactly what the customer wants and/or needs-- including those that they may not be aware of yet.
Focus on the Customer Experience- make sure that the brand interacts and engages in relevant ways at every touchpoint--meaning consistent messaging at every virtual and physical interaction.
Provide People with An Alternative – jumping on a bandwagon may be a short-term fix, but it’s not going to build long-term brand relevance. Make sure and adapt in ways that still play to brand strengths and uniqueness in the marketplace.
Always Keep Brand Promises and Values-this helps to avoid consumer dissonance, ensure customer loyalty and brand longevity.
Be authentic – always align the brand decisions with the company vision.
Maintaining brand relevance means maintaining the trust and loyalty of your customers. And relevant brands are successful brands.
OK, I get it for a brand but what about you and me?
Maybe, if we challenge our conditioned thinking, we won’t fear getting old as much. Age is not all we are, and beauty can be found at any age. We can enhance the way we see ourselves by living fully and creating meaningful relationships and experiences. And in doing so, we make ourselves look better regardless of age.
At Biz Made EZ, we may not have the fountain of youth, but we can help promote, improve, and extend your brand’s life and relevance to the market.
For help with marketing and branding for your small business, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.