Legacy brands transcend their products and services and become part of the consumer lifestyle. They continually reinvent themselves and their products, cultivate relevancy with their customers, and maintain their unwavering, authentic core and purpose.
Creating a legacy brand requires an ongoing commitment to research and discovery, consistent brand messaging and upholding core brand values with integrity—even in the face of trends.
As a data-driven branding agency that develops creative brand strategies for our clients, LEAP Matter builds legacy brands for our clients through strategic brand creation timelines. We deliver insights and design-centric solutions to propel your brand forward in a way that not only connects with current trends and client expectations, but also builds a long-lasting brand legacy.
How to Create Brands That Last
For a behind-the-scenes peek at LEAP Matter’s branding process, we sat down with Greg Fehrenbach and Joel Warneke, co-presidents of LEAP Matter, to discuss the importance and structure of successful legacy branding.
Based on your years of experience as co-presidents of a top branding agency, what are the fundamental components that businesses need to consider when trying to create their own legacy brand?
Greg: First and foremost, you need to offer a great product or service that offers something vastly different than your competition. Secondly, don’t be afraid to be unique and march to your own drumbeat. Consumers respond to brands that have a clear brand voice. Always use research and data to inform decisions and avoid personal bias, create purpose for your brand that is bigger than your bottom line, and make sure that key decision-makers and stakeholders are aligned on brand strategy and the power of brand building. Lastly, partner with an agency with a proven track record and process to develop your brand.
How can long-lasting brands withstand trends and changes over time while still maintaining a strong brand identity?
Joel: Referencing your brand strategy and standards will enable you withstand trends and changes because your strategy will always point you toward consistent, deliberate choices and help you steward your brand with continuity across all channels, both visually and verbally. Long-lasting brands know how to stay true to who they are while also remaining adaptive. They also understand how to engage customers by asking questions, testing and refining. Find ways to connect with your audience and build loyalty by sharing similar core values and ideals that are more than passing trends. Innovation and reinvention are necessary ways to find the whitespace and continually improve your products and services…otherwise you run the risk of becoming a nostalgic brand rather than a legacy brand. Legacy brands innovate without changing who they are and inspire people to improve their lives in some way.
Could you walk us through a timeline of brand creation work?
Greg: Our brand creation timeline begins with research and discovery. This step uncovers the insights, opportunities and points us in the right direction. We then build a brand strategy by asking focused questions about our competition, our unique value proposition, and the purpose of our brand. For example, we pose questions such as, “How does this brand look and sound when interacting with customers or internal stakeholders?” or “How should the customer feel using our products?” We also develop a brand personality by asking questions like, “How are we messaging ourselves? Are we funny, caring, wise, neighborly?” Once the brand strategy is established, we move into logo design, identity design, and tone of voice. The next step is creative demonstrations, where we design examples of the brand identity in action and how it would apply to ads, social media, websites, packaging, signage, in store displays, etc. Lastly, we distill all the brand assets into a singular document to ensure the brand will continue to be delivered consistently.
Regarding brand evolution or the decision to rebrand, how much change should clients make to their brands and when?
Joel: That’s a big question with many considerations. Any decision to rebrand or evolve a brand begins with enormous research and discovery. I would then recommend that clients approach their decision to rebrand with curiosity: has your product become obsolete and your brand’s connection to it become a liability? Was there legal action or negative press taken against your company from which you want to distance yourself? Some brands choose to evolve simply because their brand identity has become outdated, and they just need to freshen up their appearance or deepen their connection with modern consumers. The bottom line is, don’t be reactionary. While it can be tempting to follow a trend or signal to your customers that you are still relevant, make sure you have solid, strategic reasons to move forward. Research and discovery will help ensure that you don’t lose the brand equity you’ve already built.
What questions might you ask clients while helping them create their brand strategy?
Greg: We typically ask clients the reason behind their decision to rethink their current strategy. This could be anything from a change in the market to a specific challenge they’re trying to solve. Maybe the brand is associated with something that is no longer relevant. We delve into understanding the brand’s competition and how they are presenting themselves in the market, as well as understanding their buyers’ demographic and psychographic personas. To move forward with creating a new strategy, we then ask our clients to elaborate on their business goals, as well as any products or services they will be offering or expanding in the future. We help them define their core values and purpose, their unique brand voice, and why consumers should care about their brand over others. We also clarify any components of their existing brand or strategy that they are unwilling to change.
And lastly, of all the clients you’ve helped to develop legacy brands, which was one of your favorites to work with?
Greg and Joel: It’s hard for us to choose just one, but a favorite was Igloo Coolers. We partnered with Igloo to help focus their brand and redesign their logo and identity. This was a smart rebrand for Igloo, particularly with Yeti products disrupting the market, and it’s been exciting to see the brand reinvent itself as a bit of a fashion brand by offering retro and licensed products.
Building a brand that lasts doesn’t have to become an overly complex, budget-draining process. As a successful branding agency, LEAP Matter knows that the power behind legacy branding lies in creating honest, relevant and compelling solutions that consistently speak to your audience and retain your brand voice. To learn more or begin partnering with LEAP Matter to build your brand legacy, contact us today. We have the experience and resources to help your brand evolve and adapt for many years to come.