Building a Lasting Legacy: Strategies for Effective Brand Management

By Jodie Byass


Building a brand that consumers trust and remember is critical in today's crowded marketplace. A recent study by The Institute of Customer Service found that 81% of consumers prioritize brands they trust. Another study reveals that 88% of buyers value authenticity. But building a lasting legacy requires more than just selling products. Consumers, especially Gen Z, seek brands that align with a greater purpose. This article explores effective brand management strategies for building a lasting legacy, using real-world examples and actionable insights to help you create a brand that resonates with consumers for years.


Understanding Brand Legacy

Brand legacy isn’t merely about longevity but the emotional connection a brand forms with its audience. It’s the Coca-Cola bottle that evokes nostalgia, the Apple logo that symbolizes innovation, and the Nike swoosh that embodies determination. A brand legacy lives beyond product cycles and quarterly reports—it lives in the hearts and minds of consumers.



The Emotional Connection

Certain brands evoke strong emotions because they’ve mastered the art of storytelling. Whether it’s Dove’s Real Beauty campaign or Google’s heartfelt Super Bowl ads, these narratives become part of the brand’s legacy. As marketers, we must recognize that legacy isn’t built solely on features; it’s woven into the fabric of human experiences.

Let’s draw inspiration from iconic brand legacies:

  • Coca-Cola. Since 1886, Coca-Cola has celebrated happiness, unity, and sharing. Its timeless logo and memorable jingles, like "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" and "Open Happiness," have transcended language barriers and woven into pop culture's fabric. The iconic red can and Santa Claus imagery further solidifies Coca-Cola's place as a symbol of togetherness and festive cheer.

  • Apple. Steve Jobs didn't just create gadgets; he created a movement. Apple's sleek design, intuitive interfaces, and "Think Different" ethos define its legacy. This spirit of innovation and challenging the status quo continues to inspire legions of loyal fans who see Apple products as an extension of their personal style and a gateway to creative expression.

  • Maybelline. Since its founding in 1915, Maybelline has consistently championed empowerment and innovation in the cosmetics industry. Their "Maybe She's Born With It, Maybe It's Maybelline" slogan is instantly recognizable, and their marketing campaigns have featured diverse models throughout the years, reflecting a commitment to inclusivity. This focus on empowering women has cemented Maybelline's place as a cultural icon.


Strategies for Building a Lasting Brand Legacy

Building a lasting brand legacy requires a strategic approach encompassing various aspects of brand management. Here are some key strategies:

Consistency Across Touchpoints

Consistency is crucial in reinforcing brand recall. This applies to both visual identity and tone of voice. For instance, the golden arches of McDonald’s are instantly recognizable worldwide, demonstrating the power of a consistent visual identity. Similarly, Patagonia’s commitment to environmental activism is evident in every communication, showcasing the importance of a consistent tone and voice.

Storytelling That Transcends Time 

Great brands tell stories. Airbnb’s “Belong Anywhere” campaign isn’t just about accommodations; it’s about belonging, adventure, and human connections. Brands can also leverage their history to create a sense of legacy. For example, BMW’s “The Ultimate Driving Machine” campaign draws from its legacy of precision engineering.

Innovation with Purpose

Innovation doesn’t mean abandoning tradition. LEGO’s evolution from plastic bricks to digital experiences showcases how a brand can adapt without losing its essence. Similarly, Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers have evolved over decades, yet the iconic Jumpman logo remains—a testament to innovation within continuity.

Customer Experience as Legacy

Exceptional customer experiences become part of a brand’s legacy. Amazon’s obsession with customer satisfaction defines its legacy. Zappos, known for its legendary customer service, turned mundane shoe shopping into an unforgettable experience, creating a legacy of customer delight.

Leadership and Brand Custodianship

Leaders also shape legacies. Richard Branson and Virgin’s rebellious spirit is a prime example of how CEOs must embody the brand’s values. Similarly, Yvon Chouinard’s commitment to sustainability and activism defines Patagonia’s legacy.

Measuring Brand Equity

Brand equity isn’t just about sales figures. Metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS), brand recall, and customer lifetime value quantify legacy. Surveys, focus groups, and sentiment analysis can reveal how your brand resonates with consumers.

Adapting to Changing Landscapes

Legacy brands must embrace digital channels. Starbucks’ mobile app and personalized rewards program keep the legacy alive. Consumers seek purpose, and brands like TOMS (one-for-one model) and Ben & Jerry’s (social activism) create legacies beyond profits.

These strategies provide a roadmap for building a lasting brand legacy that resonates with consumers and stands the test of time. Do note, however, that this takes a good amount of effort, some companies go as far as restructuring their marketing departments. But while there are birthing pains, an enduring brand legacy is invaluable. 


Ethical Considerations in Brand Legacy

As mentioned, we are entering a more socially conscious market, especially as Gen Z amasses buying power. So, a brand’s legacy is not just about its products or services, but also its impact on society and the environment. This shift towards ethical branding reflects consumers' evolving expectations increasingly valuing sustainability and social responsibility.


Sustainability is no longer an optional add-on but a necessity in today’s world. Brands are expected to take responsibility for their environmental footprint. This involves adopting sustainable practices, from sourcing raw materials to manufacturing processes and packaging. 

Brands prioritizing sustainability contribute to environmental conservation and build a positive brand legacy. They demonstrate to consumers that they are committed to making a difference, which can strengthen brand loyalty and trust. 

For instance, Patagonia has built a strong brand legacy around its commitment to sustainability, with initiatives like using recycled materials in its products and advocating for environmental causes.

Social Impact

In addition to sustainability, social impact is another crucial aspect of ethical branding. Brands have the potential to make a significant positive impact on society. This can be achieved through various means, such as supporting charitable causes, promoting social justice, or implementing fair trade practices. 

Brands known for their social activism have shown that brands can be a force for good in society, creating a lasting legacy that resonates with consumers.

Ethical considerations also play a vital role in shaping a brand’s legacy. This responsibility is to a brand’s outside public and its internal public. This is apparent in the rise in employee-facing programs and the adoption of employee engagement platforms

As we move forward, with the power shifting to consumers and workers, ethical considerations will likely become even more important in building lasting brand legacies.


Leaving a Mark: The Journey Towards a Lasting Brand Legacy

Creating a lasting legacy is both an art and a science. It requires a deep understanding of your brand’s identity, a commitment to consistency, and a focus on forging emotional connections with consumers. It’s about balancing tradition with innovation, delivering exceptional customer experiences, and positively impacting society. 

As we navigate the evolving landscape of consumer expectations and digital transformations, remember that our brands are more than just products or services. They are stories waiting to be told, experiences waiting to be shared, and legacies waiting to be built.