Brands that last: three Secrets

Thinking of rebranding?
Bernard Kelvin Clive, Brand Strategist at BKC Consulting, making a point at the maiden Brand-CON Africa in Accra
  • Do brands last a lifetime? What makes some brands survive while others fail?

Think about this question as it relates to your own life. What brands and products do you remember from your childhood? Are those brands still existing?

If so, what could their main secrets be? If they are no longer around, what could have led to their extinction? So, perhaps you already know the answers to these questions.

My favourite childhood car brand was the French-built Peugeot. The Peugeot company was founded in 1810 by Jean-Pierre Peugeot, who began making coffee mills and bicycles.

Despite not having seen my grandfather’s functional Peugeot 504 (Peugeot’s first Saloon Car), I did see the spoilt immovable car kept in the garage. The car’s round headlights and sunroof caught my attention at the time. On occasion, he gathers his young children and tells them stories of his car-related antics. From Ho to Hohoe and Aflao to Accra, he travelled.

It was the most adored vehicle in the 1970s and 1980s. I used to only consider travelling by the Peugeot. All this time I was hoping for a meaningful experience that I would be able to talk about with my grandfather. Was his account of the car similar to my personal experience? In other words, brand’s perception vs. customer experience.

Admirably, the Peugeot still exists today with different models made, and the company has evolved.

Today, I will share with you three key secrets among the many that help brands thrive over generations.

There are several ways brands can survive and thrive. The key to success lies in understanding these strategies and applying them to your business.

Let’s get started…

Communication: Brands that last keep their communication channels open all the time. Lasting brands use both new and old media to promote their businesses. Social media is used to engage with people, listen to them, provide feedback, and promote products and services. Listening helps provide avenues for bettering your products and servicesm, and strengthening your brand’s presence. Lasting brands have a strong digital presence and constantly improve their digital presence to stay top of mind for their target audience.

These actions help to strengthen the bond between the brand and its customers.

Here are some other digital channels of communication you can also employ.

  1. Mobile apps

There is almost an app for anything you can think of, why not try that as well. Mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular among consumers around the world. They allow users to access information anywhere and anytime. Businesses are developing mobile apps to engage users and gain more exposure.

  1. Email marketing

Oldie but goodie. Email marketing is still one of the best digital marketing strategies to connect with customers. According to MailChimp, email marketing is the second-largest advertising channel today. With email marketing, you can send targetted messages to your customers and let them know about upcoming events and promotions.

iii. Video marketing

Video marketing is now a common practice used by almost all businesses. Videos are easier to comprehend and remember compared to text-based content. Consumers want to share videos and this makes it an effective way to market your brand.

  1. WhatsApp marketing

WhatsApp is a messaging app used by billions of people around the world. It allows users to send messages, pictures, voice notes, and documents among themselves without having to pay expensive SMS charges. This means that businesses can communicate with their clients directly through this platform. They are able to share news updates, give discounts, announce events, and much more. You can use WhatsApp Business which has more enhanced features.

Consistency: Consistency is key. Nothing remarkable can be achieved without consistency. It’s the value, the voice, and the brand that drives home the message. Brands that last are always improving, always innovating, and always marketing their products and services. Follow Coca-Cola’s lead. They’ve improved even their formula, packaging and messages, and they constantly market themselves.

Returning to the Peugeot brand, one of their success secrets has been their ongoing commitment to innovation and improvement. They never gave up; and today, it’s one of the most sought-after cars in Europe by tourists.

In addition to nine other Car of the Year wins in Spain, they have won five Car of the Year awards in Italy.


They realise that these people will be spreading the good word and image about the brand, which will bring in more clients and more money. Brands that last put a premium on their customer acquisition and retention processes, and don’t let it happen by chance. They are the ones that succeed over the long term. If your goal is for your customers to feel satisfied, and you put your all into it to achieve that result, your customers will come back to serve you in many ways. Some may become your unofficial brand ambassadors. Brands that attain iconic status are people-minded. They take pride in their work, and they go the extra step to ensure that their clients and customers are satisfied. Brands that last know that they’re in business because of people. The key to creating enduring customer value is to figure out how to build sustainable competitive advantage – not just for individual companies, but for entire industries. Be value-driven!

Here are 2 key areas to maximise

  1. Customer experience

Focus one offering an unmatched customer service experience for each client. Customer service is one of the best ways to ensure repeat business from customers. Customers want to feel valued and appreciated. By offering quality customer service, you give yourself a competitive advantage over your competitors. You may also introduce brand loyalty programmes. Loyalty programmes are a great way to reward your current customers and retain new customers. This could be done through coupons, rewards points, gift cards, or even cash back.

  1. Pricing

Pricing is another great way to differentiate your brand and serve your audience well. There are many pricing strategies that work well. This could be tricky but when done well, can achieve amazing results. One of the most popular ones is to offer discounts based on volume purchases. Another strategy is to charge different prices depending on the season. A third approach is to charge higher prices at peak times and lower prices at off-peak times. An example of this would be charging a premium price during holiday seasons.

I will summarise it all by ending with the words of James C. Collins, from his book, ‘Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies – “The good news is that one of the key elements of being a visionary company is strikingly simple: Good old-fashioned hard work, dedication to improvement, and continually building for the future will take you a long way… The bad news is that creating a visionary company requires huge quantities of good old-fashioned hard work, dedication to improvement, and continually building for the future. There are no shortcuts. There are no magic potions. There are no workarounds. To build a visionary company, you’ve got to be ready for the long, hard pull. Success is never final.”

To remain relevant, brands must continuously reinvent themselves to attract new customers or retain existing ones. This requires constant innovation and adaptation.

In conclusion, note that lasting brands are not built on autopilot. When it comes to building lasting brands, it’s important to understand what makes your brand different from others, and then find ways to leverage those differences to create lasting value for your customers.

Bernard Kelvin Clive is an Author, Speaker, Lecturer and Corporate Trainer. Visit

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