I kept my eyes peeled for more… and boy were there more! Brands in every quarter – but especially throughout the B2C arena – were at it. But why?
Authenticity, antiquity and alignment
Highlighting the date your brand or business was founded can help convey:
Your brand is real and can be trusted. Showing that you’re however-many-years old sets you apart from the newborns in your field. It suggests you have a hard-earned reputation at stake, so are less likely to deliver a dud product or duff service.
Your brand has not just been around for a while but, in comparison to your peers, a really, truly, awesomely long while. One that caught my eye was Bath-based charity St John’s Foundation, which started in 1174.
Your business began in a significant year or during a notable period, and you want to show a connection with an aspect of that time. For example, fashion retailer Gap make a show of being established in 1969. This aims to imbue Gap with the attitude of the fashion-conscious and free-thinking 60s.
All of this is generally about persuasion: convincing people why they should choose your business rather than one offering something similar.
But more often than not, the part your brand’s date of birth will play in this is going to be a small one.
Imagine being asked by a prospective customer to give them the single best reason why they should choose your brand or business. Would you really say “Because we started in 1998?” or “Because we are five years older than a our main competitor”?
If not, then why shout about it?!
In most cases, you will need to do way more than out-trump the competition in the age stakes to tip a prospective customer’s decision in your favour. And there may be more persuasive points that you could bring to the fore in any case.
A persuasion-based statement is also just one of several kinds of message that might occupy that prime piece of visual real estate alongside your logo.
Other kinds of message often have greater potential to set your brand apart from and ahead of the crowd in the hearts and minds of the people who matter.
These include explanations of what your brand is (such as HSBC’s ‘The world’s local bank’ or BMW’s ‘The ultimate driving machine’). Or you could highlight what it does or enables (think Nike’s call to arms of ‘Just do it’ or Ford’s promise that they and you will ‘Go further’).
So, why have some many businesses been putting their birth date front-and-centre? Have they all determined it’s the most potent thing they could say about their brand?
Tradition, trends and tricks