The three ways brands can leverage stories older than themselves.

It’s not easy to trust a new brand. Who are you? Where are you from? What’s your story? They’re questions we naturally ask when we first meet someone. But a new brand shouldn’t simply settle on a pretty design and dismiss their opportunity for a meaningful story.

Charles Tyrwhitt had no existing heritage in shirting when he set up a clothing business in 1986. Yet rather strategically Tyrwhitt acquired an address that suggested a powerful provenance: 100 Jermyn Street. Known for its shirtmakers, Jermyn Street is a part of St James’s, an iconic shopping district in London, and dates back to 1661 whilst also boasting the highest concentration of royal warrant holders in the United Kingdom. Tyrwhitt used the location to play a pivotal role in marketing his brand away from a business set up in the slightly less glamorous Bristol University.

So how can you strengthen a brand in a category where provenance is important?


1. Consult the consumers

Marketing 101 yes but when it comes to provenance you don’t want to start building a story based on something your customers don’t really value.

In a global ranking of categories to country, the category of food and drink ranked highly with France, suggesting that food and drink brands with a connection to France should celebrate their ties. On the opposite end of the scale, the UK fell outside the top ten in the category of consumer electronics, suggesting that UK origins should not feature in brand story within this category.


2. Leverage the location

Apple plays the “designed in California” card pretty well considering their products are “built in China”, and it’s helped them a great deal in securing a market leading position on quality (bendgate aside).

While we may not have Apple budgets, we do have location and it can be effective. At Underscore we’re currently in the process of launching a coffee brand into a (let’s be honest) saturated marketplace and the ability to use its London location has been the key to finding a unique voice in the crowd. We’ve managed to jump back to the halcyon days of the Victorian coffee houses to give the brand an infinitely stronger story for people to trust.


3. Detail the details

The beauty of a story lies in the detail. We’re often faced with the sentiment that “less is more” but while less is more, detail is nicer. Attention spans are short but if you’ve captured your brand narrative in a beautifully detailed story, then you’re on to something good.

The Ghurka Story is a great example of all three elements working in brilliant harmony.

Today is a great day for new business
Today is a great day for new business