What these legacy brands have done right to stay relevant

So how do you stay relevant as a traditional brand? Start with a meaningful message that will appeal to your current consumer as well as an increasingly young and informed audience. Change never happens overnight, but how do you keep pace with a globalized digital audience? You follow their path if it is aligned with your DNA. And taking a stand usually helps. Think about who your brand ambassadors and friends are and if you’re building a conversation or starting one.

It is believed that the universe of designer Coco Chanel was fueled by art, music and literature. When the Chanel brand decided to team up with Princess Charlotte Casiraghi of the Royal Family of Monaco, it was not only because of the world’s fascination with royalty, but also because it could conjure up some of the Coco Chanel’s literary interests in creating a literary salon. It is a clever way to immerse the customer and the Chanel admirer in the intimate and mysterious universe of the iconic brand.

At Peepul, we like to plan long periods of preparation so that we have time to tell great stories. Sometimes it takes us six to nine months to plan a launch, and I caution against rushing things because preparation is as important as the launch itself. First you want to study the zeitgeist, your new market and your potential customer, and familiarize yourself with what it is and who they are. It takes time to be authentic. There are no CliffsNotes for this process.

I’ve said before that I use the word ‘pivot’ too much, and another word that my team and I use often is ‘democratize’. What we mean by this is that a luxury and / or heritage brand must approach a new, often larger, segment of customers in order to remain relevant and evolve. Diversification is the key to a legacy brand. One of the blessings and curses of these brands is that they can expand into new markets and acquire younger customers, but how they choose to do both can be difficult. As an agency, it becomes our responsibility to stay calm looking for people who match the brand’s values.

We always talk to brands about the story they want to tell. It’s important to never compromise on brand values ​​because you are reinventing for a reason and not erasing your past. The conversations and stories you create will guide the journey to a new market or with new customers. Swarovski is one of my favorite examples. A brand with a larger than life global heritage has entered the Indian market and found a way to speak to this rather complex and diverse audience. By creating smart collaborations, working on products that truly resonate with the local market while adhering to global guidelines and putting a huge boost in their jewelry, which is always a hit with Indians, Swarovski has succeeded in making part of the routine conversation. He is both ambitious and accessible. The brand’s DNA is intact, but by tightening and focusing their message they both have mass appeal and are ‘masstige’ in a sense. With shopping at airports, crystals on sarees and capsule collections, they are accessible and coveted.

When a legacy brand becomes local, it’s always a bit of a gamble. Hermès, the iconic luxury house known for its brightly colored scarves, sought to strengthen its presence in India with a limited-edition saree, which was priced in line with the brand’s other comparable products. I have to say that as a saree lover I thought it was a brilliant idea. A dear friend of mine bought a part, and I could see why. It was a collector’s item. But does the exclusivity tag work in India? I am not sure. Thus, as Forbes India wrote at the time, “One can only guess to what extent the Indian market will react to the offer of the French designer”.

Stay relevant

From a heritage perspective, there is one brand that I feel abandoned – the iconic Ambassador car, which is now close to extinction. When I moved to India I was fortunate enough to purchase a used Ambassador (which is painted hot pink, please). You would be surprised (or not) to know that the Ambassador has attracted a lot of attention from diplomats and expats who may have viewed him as a relic from another time. This car actually quite oddly “marked” me and frankly doesn’t need public relations. It makes people smile in the streets and it’s usually a stumbling block.

Unfortunately, Hindustan Motors stopped making its famous Ambassador after a few unsuccessful attempts to revive it, sometime in 2014. Maybe I was one of the last to buy a second one, in 2013. For me, that reminded me of my summer vacation in Calcutta. and brought a lot of memories with it. I never understood why a car with such a trip and such romance never succeeded. The definition of comfort and branding has changed, and unfortunately the Ambassador could not keep up with our times, and its manufacture was therefore discontinued.


All together now

Collaborations are a fantastic way to revitalize a brand, take it in a new direction, and / or attract a different kind of customer. For publicists, collaborations provide the impetus to be experimental, manage interesting conversations, and accompany a client on an important journey. There are many reasons why brands decide to collaborate, but if one generalizes, an association between two brands helps each of them to explore new avenues, to reach the target audience of the other and to experiment with each other. fairly low-risk way. If designed correctly and with enough thought, a collaboration is a lot of fun in every way.

Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, for example, has decided to team up with a French soul mate in the couture space, the talented and whimsical Christian Louboutin (whose heels can kill you but you can also kill for). The two couturiers have teamed up to make limited edition shoes for Louboutin’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Christian Louboutin brought Sabyasachi’s work to the world beyond the sari and lehenga, while he was also able to cater to the Indian market with a boudoir jewelry in his store in Mumbai that would be for brides. Both have pursued many other successful associations at landmark times with rave reviews and commercial success. Such inventive associations are unique and essentially nurture new audiences and reignite conversations beyond the commercial footprint.

Pareina Thapar, who represents Sabyasachi and works closely with him, explained to me how the designer is constantly injecting new ideas into his eponymous brand: “Sabyasachi has a clear vision to build a global luxury brand from India. . He is a long-term thinker who has a clear and crisp vision. It is rare to have a strong creative voice, an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to understand the realities of business. Sabyasachi has carefully charted his brand path and he builds teams that reflect the brand’s values ​​and then empowers them to execute his vision. Legacy cannot be built in the short term.

This excerpt from Pitch Perfect: How to Create a Brand People Cannot Stop Talking About by Srimoyi Bhattacharya was published with permission from Penguin Random House

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