Yahoo! is soon going to become Altaba, thus drawing the curtains on a brand we all knew for over two decades. Sure, it is still going to be around, perhaps offering the same services, but it isn’t going to be Yahoo! anymore.
In the age of constant mergers, acquisitions and re-branding, it would seem like there is no such thing as a brand anymore. But of course there is! Over decades and centuries, there are brands that have reinvented themselves, worked harder than ever and thrived – some quietly and others more publicly. But survive they did. Here’s our tribute to ten retail brands that have thrived and continue to remain relevant even today. May every retailer take a leaf (or several) out of their books and become a household name.
1. Hormel Foods
If you’ve ever eaten a big spoonful of Skippy peanut butter, you know Hormel Foods. Founded in 1891, that we think so fondly of this food and packaged product retailer is no surprise. Their USP? Staying relevant. From starting a range of organic meats with Applegate in 1995 and the 2000 release of Muscle Milk for athletes to cooked burgers, sandwiches and other food items through SPAM, they’ve always been slightly ahead of their times, and well ahead of their competition. Hormel always has stood for healthful, wholesome food- something generations of consumers understand very well.
J&J is a pioneer in the medical and home products domain. We’ve all had at least one injury that we’ve covered with a BAND-AID. Aveeno moisturisers and Neutrogena Beauty products are a favorite the world over. Our favorite painkiller, Tylenol, is made by them too! They landed in some rather hot soup last year with claims that their famous baby powder causes cancer. However, the way that brand handled the controversy is something all retailers can learn from – no blaming the other parties, only talking hard facts. For any retailer selling products of a sensitive nature, J&J’s handling of claims and cases is a lesson in keeping a cool head. It is not easy to be a medical behemoth and survive an industry so transient, both in its beliefs and claims, but with standard formulas and a lot of trust built over time, J&J is here to stay.
Don’t we all love Kellogg’s cereal? Not only are Rice Krispies and Froot Loops some of the most widely consumed breakfast cereal, they’re also extremely easy to procure. Bloomberg, in a 2015 article titled ‘Who Killed Tony The Tiger?’ claims that Kellogg’s is on its way out, that more people are seeing the virtue of eating hot, home-cooked breakfast, but tell that to a haggard mother trying to get all her kids to school with something substantial in their tummies! The same article also points out that Kellogg’s saw a similar decline in sales in the nineties when Cheerios came to be touted as a healthier alternative. But with a bit of reinvention and a lot of perseverance, Kellogg’s is one brand known to last.
4. United Parcel Service
In this day and age, we couldn’t possibly talk about retailers without talking about their trusted shippers. With online shopping becoming a norm rather than an oddity, more and more retailers are turning to their trusted shipping partners to deliver products on time and put smiles on their customers’ faces. In the shipping category, UPS stands out with its competitive pricing and dependable delivery. For retailers who are just starting out with online orders, using UPS and delivering on time may be the surest way to gain consumer trust. Coupled with features such as cost calculators, they don’t ever spring unpleasant surprises on you. What’s more, everyone is delighted to have the UPS courier guy at his or her doorstep!
Just close your eyes and imagine the first thing that comes to you when you hear the word ‘Dove’. If your nose tingles with the very well known fragrance of the soap, you’re not alone. Truly redefining the meaning of brand recall, Dove is a personal care brand we all know and have grown to love. there is no denying the fact that their lotions, soaps, and hair care products for both men and women have stolen our hearts, and our bathrooms, for years now. In itself, Dove is part of the Unilever group that sells almost everything we lay hands on in a supermarket and we’re not even kidding here.
With the recent introduction of Men’s Grooming products, Dove acknowledges its evolution with changing times, and that is why we know it is going to be around for a long time to come.
Think a warm cup of tea. Think Twinings. A rich history dating back to early 1700s puts this brand at just over 300 years. In a way, Twinings is the brand that brought Earl Grey and Darjeeling Tea to the world. Not only do they truly believe in their vision, they’re supporting millions of people and enterprises around the world who share the same vision as they do – with jobs in tea estates to artisan tea tasters, no one knows tea quite like Twinings. So how does a brand maintain its connection with the audience for so long? Engagement is taking on new meaning, which is why Twinings is pretty active on social media. However, they still remember that actual human interaction is a defining factor when it comes to gathering around tea, which is why their tea masterclasses at 216 Strand, London, are always booked to the brim.
7. Marks & Spencer
‘The Art Of British Fashion’ now has about 1400 stores worldwide. But why stop with just fashion? M&S also sells their own brand of food and home products, each of them carrying the signature functionality and elegance of the Englishman. Established in 1884, their group revenue now stands at a whopping 10.4 billion GBP, and counting. They employ over one lakh employees across geographical locations. And they sell some amazing fragrances.
So what is their brand recall USP? Over a century after establishment, they’re still reinventing the brand to suit contemporary needs. And indeed, if YouGov’s BrandIndex Buzz is to be believed, it is one of the top rated brands in the UK, with its buzz score only rising with every passing year.
8. John Deere
Everyone knows John Deere is the tractor guy. But did you know that when it comes to land and agriculture, they sell everything from seed planters to diggers, forage equipment and even power systems. The reason for their lasting brand recall is aptly put on their website, which says, “Change always comes with opportunity. And Deere has always been ready and willing to embrace it.”
So the tractor guy became the heavy machinery guy, without customers ever forgetting the tractor guy in the first place. How many brands can achieve that kind of unforgettability?
9. Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi Strauss & Co made the first pair of blue jeans in 1873, and there’s been no turning back ever since. Indeed, once in a century do we stumble across a product as unique, hardy and useful as a pair of jeans, but if it were to stop at that, our favorite apparel brand would not become what it is today. How much can a pair of blue jeans change the world? By $56 billion worldwide. Levi Strauss & Co takes its employees and apparel generation practices very seriously and is one of the few brands that can honestly claim that the people working on their denim aren’t subjected to sweatshop conditions. From maternity benefits to education and health resources, the company started thinking about its employees and their well-being 25 years ago.
Over 130 years ago, one John Pemberton thought this product would make a great medicine. He actually developed it as a substitute to the addiction to morphine. There’s no denying the fact that the brand and its bottles have undergone quite a bit of change over the years. Perhaps this is where their success lies – in always being a new, trendy brand to be seen with. What’s more, the exact formulation of the ubiquitous beverage is known to very few people.
The Coca-Cola company also owns brands such as Minute Maid, Powerade and Nestea. At one point in time, they also owned Columbia Pictures, which made films such as Ghostbusters and Karate Kid. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying the fact that pizza tastes best with Coca-Cola.
Beyond these brands, let us take a moment to acknowledge all those faceless retail brands that cater to our daily needs – be they mom-and-pop shops or small service providers. They’ve been around for a very long time and we know we couldn’t do without them.
What other timeless brands can you think of?
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Armed with a degree and a pen, loves to tell stories. When not telling stories, she also works. Hard to decide which one she likes more.