A recent AdAge article asked, Why Are So Many Liquor Brands Touting Their Heritage?. The answer is fairly obvious: an authentic heritage is a positive asset.Tweet: Why Are So Many Liquor Brands Touting Their Heritage? The answer is fairly obvious: an authentic heritage is a positive asset.

The key is to be authentic, but that doesn’t mean the brand is locked in the past. To the contrary, while the purity and process that defines a great whiskey or vodka is unlikely to change, other mature brands need to evolve.

When you talk about premium priced items, often there is an amount of craftsmanship, experience and expertise that consumers believe takes time to acquire. With some exceptions (modern art) people are reluctant to pay for your learning curve. And they certainly don’t want to pay a premium for your experiments.  They will pay more when they know and get exactly what they expect. They will also trust you when you have a proven track record of success that only comes through experience.

Consider Mercedes Benz for example. With a slogan of ”das Beste oder nichts” (roughly translated in English to “the best or nothing”) to guide them, they are still the perceived leader today in the luxury automobile market almost a century after inception. Why? Because they stay true to their principles of the best or nothing. They invest in research and development, continually pushing design, but never at the expense of reliability or quality. In the automotive world there will always be “new.” Mercedes understands that their mission isn’t to be the newest, but to stay the best, they have to evolve.

STIHL, likewise, has continued to evolve from its early beginning, but always with the goal of being the preferred power tool equipment for professionals. Because professionals depend on their tools, they have to be reliable, and they have to give them a competitive advantage where possible. Today, STIHL products are protected by more than 1,000 patents and sold only through independent servicing dealers. This commitment to the end-users and the network that cares for them results in an almost cult-like following of advocates for the brand.

Scotts Miracle Grow was founded in 1868. Needless to say, a lot has changed about how people think about where and how they live since then, never mind the lawn. Similarly, their guiding principles have enabled them to stay current and relevant across generations, through cultural changes and expectations. What started as a seed company has evolved to be much, much more. But being “… dedicated to a beautiful world” rings true with their customers today as much as years past, even if the methods they use to achieve them are drastically different.

In all these instances, these companies would be remiss if they didn’t recognize and acknowledge their past successes. It’s the foundation for where they are today and provides evidence to their customers that they’ve been able to take that success and move forward. It provides trust that they’ll be able to do it again, to the benefit of their customers.

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This article was originally posted on November 4, 2013 by Devin

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