In an age of constant rebrands, marketing shifts, and mergers, it can almost seem like no company or brand survives intact for very long. After all, technology is always shifting; times are changing. And companies that can’t adapt are doomed to wither and die.
But the companies listed below prove that outlook wrong. Not only have they adapted to the modern marketplace – they’ve thrived, and in many cases are bigger than they’ve ever been. Just check out our entries:
This English tea company has the oldest continually-used logo design in the world, and they have been using it since 1787. Their founder, Thomas Twining turned the humble tea leaf into a national staple. They also pioneered the use of tea bags. Their flavor, quality, and variety have cemented them as an icon of English culture that is recognized all over the world. I love tea and try and have as much as tea as possible. However, I must admit that branding in the tea business is quite hit and miss. Coffee branding on the other hand is much more mature and successful.
The New York Times
The New York Times has been publishing “All the News That’s Fit to Print” since 1851. The newspaper has been instrumental in exposing many public scandals and covering controversial topics. Like other print news publications, the New York Times is having difficulty adjusting to an era of online and social media. Despite the challenges, however, the New York Times still intends to live by its catchphrase until it publishes its last issue.
One of the longest-running family businesses in the world, this firearms manufacturer can trace its roots all the way back to 1526, when Bartolomeo Beretta started sold 185 rifle barrels to the Republic of Venice. The company underwent several modernization phases and successfully made the transition into modern markets. Today, their firearms are used all over the world for military, law enforcement, and civilian purposes.
Tiffany & Co.
You wouldn’t think it was possible but Tiffany & Co. actually began life in 1837 as a stationery store. It sold other “fancy” goods as well, but it wasn’t until 1853 that the company focused on jewelry. They clearly marked their products’ prices and refused to bargain, which was unheard of for the time. Neither did they accept credit payments—only cash. Tiffany & Co. was on a constant quest to establish itself as the authority on jewelry and diamonds, and over the decades won multiple awards and created highly prized jewelry pieces. Today, Tiffany & Co. marks itself as an “arbiter of taste and style.”
Although no longer run by the original owners, Baker’s Chocolate is still one of the best-known chocolate brands in the United States. This brand would be the source of the popular German chocolate cake recipe, based on the name of a Baker’s Chocolate employee. The company marketed aggressively through newspaper advertisements and promotional items such as tableware and pins. Today, Baker’s Chocolate is owned and managed by Kraft Foods.
It’s been a long time since Karl Benz made the first automobile, and it’s fitting that his company should still be around. Mercedes-Benz has gone as far as its creation and is now one of the top car companies in the world. It gets consistently high ratings from review boards and continues to introduce innovations that make cars faster, more efficient, and safer. Its name is synonymous with quality and luxury and its customers are fanatically loyal. Not bad for a humble locomotive engineer.
Fruit of the Loom
Composed of an apple, leaves, green and purple grapes, and currants, the Fruit of the Loom logo is widely recognized all over the world. The brand dates back to 1851 when Robert Knight visited his friend Rufus Skeel. Mr. Skeel’s daughter happened to be painting apples onto bolts of cloth. Knight found the image to be a perfect fit for his company, and so the Fruit of the Loom’s iconic imagery was born. Today, the company is an underwear and casualwear brand with a global presence.
Levi Strauss & Co.
Levis Strauss didn’t set out to build an iconic clothing brand when he emigrated from Bavaria in 1853. He had actually been planning to open a branch of his brother’s dry goods business. But a friend had asked him for help in producing a revolutionary new type of denim pants. Together, they gave life to one of the most enduring brands in casual fashion. Levi’s is notable for its use of old-fashioned music in many of its ads, to the point that the old albums were re-released due to the demand.
In the late 18th century the Boehm family changed their surname to “Beam” and around 1795 began to produce and sell bourbon. Their first product was called Old Jake Beam and became very popular—so much that the Beam family passed the business down to succeeding generations and expanded their distribution. It wasn’t until in 1933 that the product would rebrand itself as Jim Beam Bourbon, with the statement “None Genuine Without My Signature” on its labels. The brand is still going on strong now and is still managed by members of the Beam family. I have a lot of favorite whisky brands. Perhaps I should write a whole new post the world of whisky branding. I am also proud to have created a whisky logo design and branding for WhiskyPapa.
Originally two separate companies, Colgate-Palmolive is now one of the premier personal hygiene brands in the world. Colgate was one of the first to introduce tube toothpaste, which was originally sold in jars. Palmolive’s name came from its original product, soap made entirely of palm and olive oils. They advertised heavily in radio programs, and when television was first invented they sponsored many soap operas to help them stay competitive with their rival, Procter & Gamble.
Brooks Brothers are the oldest men’s clothing brand in the United States and was originally founded in 1818. Early in its life, the brand built a strong reputation for ready-to-wear suits, which were quite an innovation in those days. They were so notable, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln was a loyal customer (and was wearing a Brooks Brothers suit when he was assassinated). This presidential trend continued for quite a while, and to date, the brand has outfitted 39 United States Presidents.