How to build a brand that lasts

    Klik hier om het orginele artikel te lezen op (21 December 2020)

    To celebrate 75 years of Kantar in the Netherlands we delved into the history of other brands that have been around for ages. How come these brands withstood the test of time so well? 

    Last decades the importance of consistency, innovation and deliver what you promise in building strong brands has become widely known. Challenging, but a few brands that have been around for ages have remained successful in doing so for a long time. What is the secret behind their success?

    Which established Dutch brands have put these learnings into practice successfully? 

    Consistency is key

    Douwe Egberts is a well-known Dutch business that was already founded in 1753. As a trusted, qualitative coffee brand it supports a warm connection with family and friends. DE knows exactly how to communicate this aspect of quality time together and has kept communicating this consistently.

    Consequently, when people think of Douwe Egberts they tend to get warm feelings and thoughts about home. Not only their communications but also their packaging has always remained recognizable. Nonetheless Douwe Egberts did not forget to innovate. With brands such as Senseo and L’Or the business sets new trends.

    Deliver what you promise

    Did you know that back in the early ’20s KLM already made the comfort of their passengers their top priority? KLM handed out leather coats to travelers in roofless aircrafts!  This shows that KLM already even then understood that coherence between brand promise and customer experience is where the magic happens.

    As the company grew, the Dutch airline made sure their brand promise was visible in all aspects of their business: from spacious and luxurious seats to easy online check-in self-service, attractive loyalty programs and a well-trained staff providing the personal attention customers appreciate.

    By the time we reached the tail-end of the 1900s, the signature color blue had become synonymous with reliability and service. And it pays off – even in today’s market with plenty of low-budget airlines to choose from, travelers know they’ll be taken care of when choosing KLM.

    Stay relevant in the current landscape

    Albert Heijn may not be the youngest brand on this list (founded in 1887) but that doesn’t mean they aren’t up to date. By adapting to new trends, the Dutch supermarket chain succeeded in staying relevant, also in the current landscape.

    Not only did they embrace the trend of online grocery shopping, but they also paid close attention to their products and in-store experience, including things such as live cooking, a magazine and self check-out, but also the popular fresh packages. The last example perfectly caters to the consumers’ urge to eat healthier - at the same time - also reducing the stress of figuring out what to cook. With all the ingredients included in one package, it provides a more efficient shopping experience.

    AH spokesman Van de Brandhof points to a trend that has been developing among consumers for some time: “Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of healthy food and the role of vegetables in it. At the same time, people have trouble making tasty and healthy dishes due to lack of time and inspiration. The fresh packages and vegetable convenience products are the solution to that.”

    Make customers happy and they will spread the word

    Promising to become an established brand and a more recent example of delivering on brand promise is electronics giant Coolblue (founded in 1999). This company adapted perfectly to the new digital age and focused on their goal: making customers happy.

    With their motto ‘Anything for a smile’ they bring their ‘obsessive’ (their own words) focus on customer satisfaction to life throughout the whole company. This is reflected in Coolblue’s high CX+ Index and NPS-score. Nowadays they even call themselves a provider of customer journeys rather than a company selling consumer electronics.

    That brings us to another increasingly important aspect in the 2000s: trust. Now that our lives are lived more online, consumers have increased access to potential brands and products to choose from. 

    Simultaneously, we spend more time on our favorite social media channels and write and read more online reviews to respectively voice our opinion and to read others. As people rely on social cues from others on how to think, feel and act in (uncertain) situations, online reputation can make or break your company. Judging by the overwhelmingly enthusiastic reviews Coolblue has gathered over the years, they are an outstanding voice for consumers drowning in an increasingly complex choice architecture.

    Which other brands do you think also succeeded in putting these learnings into practice?

    And looking forward to the next 75 years, which brands do you think will appear in a timeline such as this? We’d love to hear your thoughts about it!

    Luka Cremers
    Research Executive


    Yara Wiemer
    Research Executive

    This article has also been written by Tamara Doeve and Jelle Fastenau. Special thanks to them!