Coca Cola bottles

Heritage Brands: Remaining Relevant Without Losing Your Roots

Heritage brands occupy a unique place in our everyday repertoire. They are warm and comforting and, if executed right, timeless. However, in our increasingly brand-conscious world, heritage brands must ensure they remain relevant to consumers to achieve brand growth. Historical credentials are not enough to keep consumers brand loyal!

Successful heritage brands:

  • Update their storytelling to engage modern shoppers
  • Innovate and adapt to keep up with trends
  • Delicately weave in narratives from their brands’ past to support their current positioning

Heritage brands have the luxury of an existing brand story that has been cultivated with time. Turning their history into a connection with the modern-day consumer just takes some brand (re)-building, informed innovation and creative copywriting. Over our 20 years of business, we’ve helped many heritage brands stay relevant to their modern consumers. It has never been a challenge that Elephants Can’t Jump has shied away from!

Here are 5 tips (and example brands) to ensure your brand remains relevant without losing its history. 

1. Focus on today, not yesterday… 

It is crucial that all brands, including heritage brands, continue to move forward. Keeping up to date with today’s consumers, trends and market are essential, and a brand’s history should not be a barrier to engaging with current issues. Ginster’s is a prime example of a brand that does not allow heritage to hold it back. Expanding from their traditional Cornish pasties, they launched a vegan range to cater to the growing plant-based market.

Source: Ginster’s
2. But don’t lose sight of your roots.

Whilst it is important to engage with current trends and issues, heritage brands should not lose sight of their roots. After all, what is a heritage brand without, well…heritage?

Consumers respect and admire brands with longevity. If articulated well, historical stories can (and should) reinforce the brand’s current values and reasons to believe. Think about Lindt and their mastery of chocolate. That brand story has never changed; they are master chocolatiers through and through.

Source: Lindt
3. Know what makes you great – and shout about it!

Like all brands, heritage brands must clarify their differentiator to stand out from the crowd. It is not enough to simply rely on years of category experience. The best heritage differentiators find a way of balancing history with modernity. Independent tea and coffee producer Taylors of Harrogate did precisely this. Drawing on 130 years of strong family values and passion for the craft, Taylors of Harrogate differentiated themselves in a market saturated with prominent Italian and French brands.

4. Don’t be afraid to innovate.

Innovation is the secret to all successful brands; heritage brands are no exception. For example, brands can launch new products or packaging to remain proactive and will more likely be front of mind for consumers.

An outstanding innovation by a heritage brand is Gordon’s Pink Gin. By adding a splash of colour, Gordon’s tapped into a key millennial aesthetic trend and created a hugely popular product that other brands hold in high esteem.

5. Aim for ‘classic’, not ‘old-fashioned’.

Heritage brand semiotics usually fall firmly into two camps: Classic and Old-Fashioned. Brands of the first camp typically appear timeless, knowledgeable and relevant to today. Brands of the latter can feel clunky, outdated and tired.

There can be a healthy dose of nostalgia attached to these Old-Fashioned semiotics. However, minor updates that tap into current trends can give them a refreshed appearance that brings the brand into the 21st century. A great example of classic branding is Coca-Cola. Their look and feel have changed. Today, they are one of the most universally recognised and accepted brands.

Source: Coca-Cola

Thinking about elevating your heritage brand? Get in touch with us at to see how we can bring your brand to the front of the line.

Add a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment