Have you ever wondered about those brands that endure over time — and how they accomplish it?
Fast Company Design recently featured an article about a Carbone Smolan Agency (CSA) study that reached out to professionals in nine industries for nominations, narrowed the list to 50, and then asked 5,000 US consumers for ratings. The branding agency then used the consumer insights gathered to develop an Enduring Brands Index, which pinpointed five essential traits that brands require in order to endure: self-aware, principled, deliberate, adaptive, and focused. Most importantly, the one key trait that all of the companies shared — the ability to successfully navigate change.
Here are more details on each of the traits the enduring brands displayed:
- Self-aware: The key attribute in this category is "presenting a distinct character with mastery and confidence." These companies are described as knowing "who they are, what they stand for, and how to express themselves to the world." The group included a lot of nonprofits, with Habitat for Humanity in first place.
- Principled: The key attribute here is "turning to fundamental truths to inform decision-making." These organizations excel at, as the saying goes, "walking the walk and talking the talk." Law firms got high scores in this category.
- Deliberate: The key attribute of deliberateness is described as "planning and executing growth at its own pace, on its own terms." Thinking ahead and planning for multiple outcomes helps these brands maximize opportunities and plan long-term growth. One caution given for "deliberate" brands, however — overplanning sometimes makes it more difficult to respond and adapt quickly to evolving customer needs.
- Adaptive: This trait is evidenced by "responding to audiences to stay ahead of the curve." Brands that scored high in this area are able to evolve around new tastes, personalities, and identities. Hospitality brands ranked high here.
- Focused: "Investing in achievable goals" is the key attribute for focused brands, who are able to set clearly defined goals to measure progress.
A specific recipe for success didn't emerge from the study. The highest-scoring enduring brands displayed a mixture of all five of these traits.
You can download the full report here (registration required).