Seems likely that probably everyone has heard the saying “Everything old is new again”, not sure who exactly coined that phrase, but it is a very appropriate way to begin to define what a legacy brand is. You may or may not have heard the term yet, legacy brand has not yet become a key word or phrase commonly used by the general public, its not something we actively think about, but everyone is certainly familiar with many if not most of the brands that do fall under the category.
By its simplest definition a legacy brand can best be described as a consumer product (or service) that is multi-generational in recognition and longevity. In our hyper connected information age world where business moves at the speed of light and “brands”, however true to definition that may be, are created overnight and have the ability to be instantly disseminated, Legacy Brands tend to carry much more of an enduring emotional appeal, they bring with them a sense of history that can only be achieved by the passing of time. Legacy brands have legitimate authenticity as opposed to striving for the appearance of authenticity.
The Personal Example
A perfect example of a legacy brand is one that I can pull from personal experience, Brooks Brothers. I have very vivid memories of my youth, going to Brooks Brothers on Madison Avenue to shop for school clothes each year with my mother, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about it, but I went with her. It was the same shirts and pants that my father wore to work each day, just smaller. My father shopped at Brooks Brothers because his father had shopped at Brooks Brothers. When they are of the appropriate school age, I will bring my kids to Brooks Brothers to shop. While this illustrates the generational aspect of a Legacy Brand, the emotional aspect is just as easy to explain. I love shopping at Brooks Brothers, there’s a feeling of old New York when you step through the doors on Madison Avenue, there’s a feeling of tradition and history. I don’t know if my grandfather walked through those exact doors, I know my father did, and my mother, and I continue to do so, and my kids will and I’m going to tell them stories about how I would complain mercilessly about having to shop with my mother when I was their age. I have a wide selection of different fashion and apparel brands that make up my personal wardrobe, but my Brooks Brothers dress shirts are by far and away my favorite items.
What’s Your Legacy Brand
I could probably go on and on about certain New York brands and experiences that I would consider to leave a “legacy” impression on me, Katz’s Deli is a pretty obvious one, although I personally preferred Carnegie Deli, Zabars, most of them are actually food related brands. As a personal exercise, take a few minutes to think what brands you would consider to be your legacy brands and why.
Brooks Brothers has in no way compensated us, however if this happens to ever make its way up the ladder to Claudio Del Vecchio, he could always send me a shirt, I’m a 16 35 and prefer the slim fit.