This past weekend I found myself at the second Mickey Mouse themed birthday party in just over a month’s time. It got me thinking, how do some brands stand the test of time? Looking around at the iconic mouse-shaped balloons, cupcakes, and even chicken nuggets, I began to think about other classic brands and wondered if they all have a common thread. Turns out, in my opinion, they do.
Let’s look at some of the all-American greats: Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, The Walt Disney Company and Sesame Street. While all different, they do have two major commonalities that might be the key to their success. Each has never forgotten where they began and what made them so great in the first place while also staying relevant to meet the needs of today’s consumers.
Keeping in mind that Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch were founded before the turn of the 20th century, there is something nostalgic about holding a Coke bottle in your hand or seeing a Budweiser Clydesdale up close and personal. And it never seems to get old. Why is that? Whatever the reason, these brands don’t seem to forget their early beginnings. The teacups in Disney World will never stop running, or at least they never should in my opinion, and while there have been some new characters on Sesame Street introduced over time, the puppets don’t look all that different even after forty years of being on the air. They’ve all stayed true to the brand from day one and it’s working for them.
Enter 2013. If these brands didn’t keep up with the times, they’d be goners. So how do you do both? Well, tune into Sesame Street any day and you’ll find popular celebrities like Bruno Mars, Jason Mraz or Jimmy Fallon singing alongside Elmo. Walk down Main Street Disney and while it may not look like much has changed has since the gates first opened decades ago, guests today can now be spotted regularly checking the My Disney Experience mobile app to see how long wait times are for the most popular attractions. Are you a reality TV junkie like me? Tune into American Idol and it’s impossible to miss those bright red Coca-Cola cups sitting on the judge’s table. The signs are everyone and in our fast moving society, brands needs to keep up with today’s trends.
In some regard, what these brands have been and will continue to do is what any great PR professional should do: utilize tried and true tactics while always keeping up with the next big thing. If you can manage a steady balance of executing proven strategies all the while staying current, you and your clients will be on fast track for greatness.