Typical marketing communicates how products benefit consumers. But timeless brands do more than that. They understand the depth of the human experience. They solve human problems. They improve human experiences. They endure through the meaningful ways they communicate.
Here are 3 things timeless brands do.
1. Timeless brands connect emotionally
Even the stoics among us are driven by their feelings and can be swayed by perception. Tech and trends may change, but human nature doesn’t. So a timeless brand seizes on the reality that people aren’t in the market for products as much as they are for experiences. Smart brands make their touchpoints less about product benefits and more about quality of life. While their products may have many “objective” benefits, the subjective and emotional connection is what ultimately makes their messaging work. Think about how brands like Southwest and Progressive build a human connection and present themselves as down-to-earth and approachable. In what ways can your marketing build emotional connections? Figure that out and you’re on your way to building a lasting brand.
2. Timeless brands tell meaningful stories
Ask yourself these questions: Has your business fixed something that wasn’t previously working for you? That’s a good story. Has your company “given back” in any altruistic way? That’s a great story. Has your enterprise created a solution to a problem? Did you create something where there was a void? Are you willing to be transparent in areas where your competitors typically keep secrets? These are all examples of great themes for brand-building stories. Meaningful narratives are far better than tired product claims. Kind of like how Willie Nelson’s beat up old road-worn guitar is more believable than a spankin’ new guitar off the shelf with all the options.
A local Maryland winery that I do marketing for is run by 3 young firebrands who are bent on doing the unimaginable: “Putting Maryland wine on the world map.” Now, if you know anything about wine, you know that’s a great big vision. Maryland has just 70 wineries. Compare that to 4300 in California and like 27,000 in France. See, while there isn’t anything about Maryland soil or climate that prohibits fine winemaking, let’s face it, the Old Line State isn’t historically known for noteworthy wines. So the story this young Maryland vineyard is telling is compelling. Why? They’re creating something where there’s a void. They’re establishing something where it hasn’t been firmly established before. They’re making a brand that is determined to rewire common thinking. Theirs’ is a story that kicks against history and defies stereotypes. Sure, Old Westminster Winery & Vineyard is building a timeless brand because word on the street has it that their product is exceptional. But more: Their story is exceptional.
3. Timeless brands don’t sell. They educate.
It’s one thing to have a product or service that solves a problem or meets a desire. It’s another thing to establish yourself as a trusted authority. That’s why enduring brands build for the long haul and they aren’t all that interested in short-sighted gains. They understand that no one likes to be pitched; but everyone wants to learn. So they invest by building the currency of trust to cultivate lasting relationships. Brands that consistently impart value to earn the trust of consumers tend to keep those customers for life.
Another one of my clients is a restaurant with 8 locations. A large factor in their stunning growth has to do with offering a lot of helpful information on nutrition. They blog about it. They retain Monica Reinagel, a wildly popular nutritionist. They developed a nutrition calculator for all their offerings. They also educate their customer base in the art and science of flavor. All these efforts demonstrate that they are all about educating. The result: Nalley Fresh has lines going out the door.
Craft messaging that endures
Connecting emotionally, telling meaningful stories, and educating in the marketplace are 3 surefire ways that businesses build timeless brands. Do it in longform and make it fit on a napkin. Whether it’s a book or blog post, documentary or Vine, long advertorial or 3 words on a landing page, choose language that connects emotionally, tells stories, and educates consumers. That’s how your brand will survive trends, market fluctuations, and tech developments.