Old Brands vs. New brands – Does Size Really matter? Which brands are faring better in terms of staying relevant and authentic ?

In an age of mass consumption, messaging overload, new media and an informed consumer which brands are faring better in terms of staying relevant and authentic ? Is it the Coca Colas, Niveas and Citibank’s of the world that are sitting on a brand legacy spanning more than 100 years of service , with global operations and an enviable marketing budget (Note: this month Coca Cola and Nivea celebrate 125yrs and 100yrs anniversaries respectively)? Or could it be the “newer” brands in existence for say less than 5 years, catering to a niche audience, with a brand story compelling enough to differentiate themselves from competitors and overcome limited marketing resources?

The answer – it doesn’t matter. Sure, while the longevity of a brand name certainly contributes, somewhat, to the awareness of the brand amongst target audiences, it is the value proposition of the brand ( old or new) instead that appeals most to the consumer. A brand’s stated mission and values from the day of launch and the enactment of these in its commercial operations, workforce and engagement with its audiences contribute to a brand depth enabling the brand to continually innovate – staying relevant and developing new streams of customer value.

We’ve seen evidence of this in the currently running 100 Authentic Arab Brands survey we’ve been conducting for the past month. In terms of the life span of each of the 100 nominated brands, and especially those that have managed to make it to the top 10, it’s really a mixed bag without any discernable data suggesting a voter preference for newer “younger” brands over “older” established brands; or vice versa. Renowned jewellery brand Azza Fahmy for example, from Egypt, has been able to stay authentic in their brand delivery with a brand story that is still relevant 40years after it launched. On the other hand ‘newer’ brands such as Animals of Lebanon or specialist magazines Desert Fish and Soura, all in existence for less than 5yrs have been able to quickly gain an impressionable subscription base that is very active online.

Key takeaway for Middle East brand managers? Legacy or “old” brands that have received numerous votes in our survey are those that have been able to adapt their brand legacy to the zeitgeist while the newer brands that have managed to capture significant voter support have done so because they’ve been able to quickly distinguish themselves at launch, defining clear brand values that resonate with discerning consumers of today.

** Note: A bit of trivia for you >> which country has the highest number of oldest existing brands in the world? Click here