In a world of rapid and frequent change, a brand name that evokes a track record of reliability and stability is a name that conveys a feeling of reassurance. It suggests a lineage of the shared experiences of generations of customers and that makes the purchase decision less of a shot in the dark.
Lyle’s Golden Syrup, which bears the world’s oldest brand name, is a commodity by-product of sugar refining. It is literally what it says on the distinctive green and gold tin and yet its pedigree distinguishes it from its competitors. The fact that its container and composition have hardly changed since 1885 is seen as a sign of heritage rather than homogeneity and, consequently, it’s found in 85% of UK households.
More dynamic product ranges can also benefit from name longevity. Change is good, but smart companies avoid throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Thus Coca Cola, in one of their advertising campaigns, reminds us that it was invented by John Pemberton in 1886.
They do so because it affords them the opportunity to demonstrate their constant evolution by adding “modern” names to their brand extensions. Coke Zero is an entirely contemporary concept that was trusted immediately because its name is anchored to a track record of innovations. Coca Cola are literally marketing history.
A brand name can be an incredibly valuable investment, and yet sometimes the most well-known and arguably successful names have become so over time.