Brand Ageism.

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I saw a picture of Claire Danes in the paper today and realized I’ve grown older with her. From her first role on “My So-called Life” to “Little Women” to “Homeland,” Ms. Danes has had a nice career arc. She has not necessarily reinvented herself — she has just moved along doing the right acting thing at the right time. Patti Smith has aged in her art quite well.

But what about brands? I know they are inanimate and don’t grow up or old, but is that truly the case? Business schoolies will tell you products have life cycles. Growth, maintain, harvest. But brands?

Brands don’t grow old, consumers do…beside them.  Sure a brands may change formulas, packaging or distribution but they don’t degrade. What does degrade is consumers tolerance and affinity. As we get older we like refreshes and newness. Stasis is our enemy. It gives rise to brand ageism.     

Do you remember the first time you heard the word “delicious?” Me either.  But I’m sure it was  pretty meaningful. Today the word is meaningless. Brand managers can deal with brand ageism so long as they have a plan. A brand plan to guide the refresh.  As Inga (my Norwegian aunt, RIP) would say “tink about it.” Peace.