Interbrands 4 ages of Brand. The brands that have done it for me…and still do

I gave a short talk to my now colleagues at Unboxed a while ago sharing my thoughts on what I was excited about this year. One of the topics was the ‘4 ages of Brand’ highlighted by Interbrand.

One of the questions I was asked related to the more traditional brands out there. Could I think of a well known brand that would sit under each of these four categories in this day and age…

I found this to be quite the challenge, I mean does anything still sit strictly under Identity anymore? Surely all of them add value, experience…

Well having thought about it for a while I have compiled my list. So here we go…

Age of Identity:
It has to be Heinz for me. Are there better tasting beans out there? Is there a better tomato sauce? Probably but then I wouldn’t know. I only ever buy Heinz.

Does it add value to my life? No, An amazing taste experience? Doubtful. 

The simple fact is that I trust the name. I’ve grown up with it. So for me it’s all about the association I have with the brand.

Age of Value:
The  Co-Operative Bank, (Pre scandal of course). I have banked with them for many years now and will find it hard to move away. I value their ethical stance above their hi-tech approach to banking. Being a part of it makes me feel better about myself, my life and the choices I make. I don’t find that they give me the best banking experience but that doesn’t matter. As silly as it might sound belonging to the bank has made me feel a little better about everything else going on in our often dysfunctional world.

Age of experience:
I remember the first time I used my shiny Apple iMac. Limited Edition in Graphite. Unboxing it with so much care. It was the future. USB’s, Zip drives. Translucent. Before I’d even switched it on I believed that this machine would provide an experience like nothing else. Fast forward many years and I still believe that to be true.  With Apple it’s all about the experience…and don’t they know it.

Age of you:
It’s 04:40. I’ve slipped on my Nike+ trainers, fired up the App and I’m good to go. How far will I go this time? How much faster? Where can I improve? How fast did my friend do the lap?

Nike is a company that has successfully navigated the 4 ages of brand with aplomb and has often been one of the first to move from one to the next. In my mind they are the trailblazers, the trend setters. Where Nike go others follow and for me they are a true inspiration. A company unafraid to tackle the unknown. All the more incredible when you consider their size.

So there we are. That’s me and that’s my four. I’m sure these aren’t the only ones and that many of you will have a different view. But that’s the beauty of Brand. It can be different things to different people.


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Some people call me an innovation evangelist. I simply see myself as being someone who, whilst not knowing what the future of all things look like, enjoys thinking about and sharing my thoughts with others.

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