24 Mar 3 Brands That Have Stood the Test of Time
As Disney approaches its hundredth anniversary in 2023, the company is celebrating the success of its new “Star Wars” franchise. “The Force Awakens” broke the previous $760.5 million box office record held by “Avatar” early in January, and at over $2 billion internationally, it’s nipping the heels of “Avatar’s” global record. Four other Disney movies currently sit on the international box office top ten list: the first two “Avengers” movies, “Frozen,” and “Iron Man 3.” As these cinema successes illustrate, Disney’s corporate face has shifted from Mickey Mouse to science fiction and fantasy, superheroes and princesses, enabling Disney to adapt to today’s markets. Here are a few other brands that have stood the test of time by adapting while staying true to themsleves.
One hundred thirty years after its introduction in 1886, Coca-Cola’s $78.423 billion dollar business remains the third most valuable brand in the world, behind Apple and Google. Since its inception, the Coca-Cola logo has used the same trademark script, preserving the brand’s identity. But Coke has also been innovative, starting by being the first soft drink company to bottle its product.
Since 1916, the shape of Coke’s bottle has set it apart from other brands. Coke also pioneered the use of free sample coupons. Later Coke set its mark on TV marketing with memorable ads like “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” and Mean Joe Greene tossing a towel to a young Steelers fan. In 2009, Coke’s “Open Happiness” campaign brought the brand into the digital advertising age. Coke is continuing to thrive, airing Super Bowl ads every year and enjoying a strategic partnership with McDonald’s, the world’s ninth most valuable brand.
In another segment of the beverage industry, vodka producer Ketel One has been around even longer than Coca-Cola. Hailing from the historic Dutch spirits distillery center of Schiedam, Netherlands, Ketel One has remained in the Nolet family since its beginning in 1691. The Nolets’ business thrived during the 1700s when the Netherlands was the world’s major sea power. By the 1800s, the Dutch had lost control of the sea to the British, and the 1900s saw the invention of the column still, which drove most distilleries out of business. The Nolets’ business faced a new crisis during World War II when the Rotterdam Blitz destroyed the area around the distillery. Between this devastation, technology changes and mergers, the Nolet Distillery was the only distillery left in Schiedam in the post-war years.
In order to adapt, the Nolet family shifted from producing a wide range of spirits to focusing on a few high-quality spirits. Discovering that only three major vodka brands were available in America, Carolus Nolet decided to introduce a high-quality vodka to the U.S. in 1983. The Nolet family marketed Ketel One to bartenders in San Francisco through personal networking and the Youngs Market distribution network, and they soon built a strong network of bartenders, bars and restaurants. After selling over a million cases, Ketel One launched its first ad thanking its customers in 2003. By 2008, the brand sold two million cases a year. Today it continues to grow through social media, with over 18,000 Ketel One Vodka Twitter followers.
Nearly 105 years after its founding in June 1911, IBM ranks just behind Microsoft as the world’s fifth most valuable brand. IBM initially grew out of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, which produced electric punched card equipment for rapidly performing tabulations and computations such as U.S. Census tallies. CTR became the International Business Machines Corporation in 1924.
IBM’s computing machines continued to become more sophisticated, and electric typewriters joined the company’s product line. In 1935, the U.S. government called upon IBM to help the new Social Security Administration maintain its records. Wartime demands further expanded the company, and the postwar years saw IBM become a major government defense contractor. Meanwhile, IBM shifted from mechanical computing devices to the emerging field of electronic computers, using its computers to assist NASA space flights in the 1960s. In the 1970s, IBM entered the home computer industry. Today IBM continues to pioneer cutting-edge technology in fields like business intelligence, data analytics and cloud computing.