Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do Customers Care about Brand Anniversaries?

Marketing, November 12, 2008 | Go to article overview

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do Customers Care about Brand Anniversaries?


Coronation Street is preparing to celebrate its 50th birthday by partnering with five 'Best of British' brands. But are consumers really willing to engage with activity that marks such milestones?

YES - ALISON BROLLS, GLOBAL MARKETING AND MEDIA MANAGER, NOKIA

A few years ago, the only people who cared one iota were the people working for these brands. Such occasions were a cause for internal celebration and a few Champagne corks flying in the office, perhaps, but that was about it.

For most customers, a brand's longevity did not register, and was not considered a key brand attribute.

How times have changed. The current global gloom, doom and economic crisis means different values are rising to the surface. Values like authenticity, consistency, solidity and heritage matter. A trusted brand that has been part of the fabric of society for a long time and is still with us now represents something meaningful and powerful. The fact that the US has just voted for the 'change' offered by 'brand Obama' does not make this any less true.

So yes, right now customers do care about brand anniversaries, and there is no better time for qualifying brands to shout about those milestones from the rooftops.

NO - JONATHAN HARMAN, PRESIDENT, EMEA, CARLSON MARKETING

No. As a rule, consumers are much more interested in what a brand can do for them today.

Brand anniversaries can be used to remind people about the role a brand has played in their lives, making them a legitimate tactic for brands such as Coronation Street, which has offered a snapshot of British life for generations, and Hovis, which has long traded on its British roots It is unlikely that many people were sat at home last year wondering how Hovis would celebrate its 122nd anniversary, so we are probably witnessing no more than a hook on which to hang heritage.

In some categories, celebrating brand anniversaries would be extremely defensive and probably a matter of last resort. Can you imagine PlayStation telling us how good its first console was, or Apple parading an early Mac? No, exactly.

In an over-supplied, fast-moving world, consumers judge brands first on what they can offer today.

YES - CILLA SNOWBALL, CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, AMV GROUP

There is a particular and rather peculiar etiquette to children's birthday parties nowadays - it's presents all round. …

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