“For us, a legacy brand is any brand that people have an emotional connection with. Whether it is one day old or several centuries old, the moment a brand represents something bigger in culture, or evokes a feeling in consumers’ hearts and minds, it has cultivated a legacy,” says Tosh Hall, the New York-based global CCO of creative agency Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR).
A brand might not have to be steeped in centuries-old tradition to qualify for legacy status, but there is no denying the big companies that have been around for longer fit more neatly into this category. And it’s telling that in JKR’s client portfolio of such brands, many of them have a lengthy heritage: Heinz (founded in 1869), Budweiser (1876), Dunkin’ (1950), and M&M’s (1941). These brands have all had a design overhaul recently, causing much discussion along the way.
Hall says these brands have become “synonymous with their category and have visual identities that can be recognised without ever even saying the brand name. The common theme is that these brands all want to be relevant now and in the future. And being relevant in the future means something different from brand to brand.”