Legacy Brands Serve up Great Taste in the Kitchen and Preference in the Aisles
“Just like mom used to make,” is a high compliment for a reason. And when we follow mom’s recipe precisely, we can often get close to creating that same taste that she did. That’s also why legacy and mature brands have an advantage in the grocery aisle and the kitchen. We need to eat. But beyond the basic requirement for sustenance, familiar foods provide a sense of comfort, trust, and even nostalgia. While age isn’t the defining factor for a mature brand, several businesses have found that their history is a brand recipe for success. These three examples have more than stood the test of time: Clabber Girl Baking Powder®, Green Giant Vegetables®, and Marzetti Salad Dressings®.*
“Never Fails on Baking Days”
Baking at home is something that immediately rekindles fond memories. Tried and true family recipes are presented as treasures and followed precisely to the smallest measurements to achieve the same fantastic results that grandma, great uncles, and other more distant relatives. Changing anything would be sacrilege. And as likely as it was originally written in pencil on an index card, the cupboard hold Clabber Girl Baking Powder®. That’s what we’ll use as well—you don’t risk change with classic recipes.
One of America’s oldest brands, Clabber Girl dates back more than 150 years. But that doesn’t mean they have stood still. The brand has evolved from a new technological leader with their double-acting baking powder (huge for the time) to the trusted go-to source for home bakers. Clabber brand baking powder was introduced by 1899 and renamed the “Clabber Girl” brand in 1923. In 1930, Anton “Tony” Hulman began a nationwide sales campaign to promote Clabber Girl Baking Powder with cookbooks, how-tos, and recipes. That journey led him to purchase the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a venue to promote Clabber Girl.
Tracing the visual history of the brand is easy because there have been minimal changes since the name was adopted in the 1920’s. Being recognized from the kitchen to the grocery aisle is not something you change without a very good reason. That position of trust to ensure that the baking results “turn out light, airy and tender” has enabled them to expand their authority beyond baking powder to other kitchen staples, a culinary school, general store, and museum. How the message and new recipes are delivered to the end user have changed with the times. From traveling road shows to newspapers to magazines to the social media of today, they’ve followed new generations of kitchen cooks. But of course, there will always be grandma’s recipe.
Ho Ho Ho
What do you do when your product doesn’t look like what your regular canned goods brands expect and they refuse to buy it? You give it a name and sell it yourself. That’s what the Minnesota Valley Canning Company did with their new oblong, wrinkled, and relatively speaking, huge green peas. The brand name “Green Giant Great Big Tender Peas” first appeared in 1925 and picked up the image of a giant man a few years later. In the middle of the 1930’s, a young Leo Burnett (you might recognize that name) instituted a more friendly face, put the word “Jolly” in front of the “Green Giant” and the green man marched off into the legends of great brands. The famous tagline, a booming “ho, ho, ho,” arrived in 1961 and punctuated TV land for decades.
But audiences have changed. Families (not just moms and kids have a say in dinner today) have traded stationary television sets for mobile devices. And the Jolly Green Giant has followed them there. In the fall of 2016, he took to Instagram with “a mission to swap in veggies at every meal.” Embarking on a nationwide road-trip and swapping recipes along the way, the giant reconnected with old friends and gained new ones along the way with fun and lighthearted communications.
It Tastes Just Like Mama’s—Because It Is!
Like so many American business stories, the history of Marzetti Dressings grew out of one person’s passion. Teresa Marzetti, originally from Florence Italy, opened a small Italian restaurant in Columbus, Ohio in 1896. That small venture grew into a four-star restaurant and destination dining experience throughout the Midwest. Customers coveted the dressing she made so much that they often left with jars to take home. According to the corporate website, “By 1955, (61 years after opening) the dressings had become so renowned that the upstairs of the restaurant became a full-scale factory. Thus the Marzetti brand of salad dressings found its way into grocery stores throughout Ohio.”
Today Marzetti has expanded into all types of salad dressings, dips, croutons, virtually anything that adds that final touch to make a good meal great. Sharing recipes, kitchen tips and more make the brand current, like an ageless matriarch in the kitchen. The current brand tagline, “Life Tastes Better with Flavor” is definitively the embodiment of Teresa Marzetti. Coincidently, that’s also exactly how we feel about our food and the great brands we work with every day.
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*Wilson Rebranding is not employed or professionally connected with the aforementioned brands – just fans of mature brands.