Braver design for a brighter tomorrow.

Re-crafting heritage for modern relevance.

How can brands turn heritage into legacy?

by Lisa Desforges on 10/07/2024

In the fast-paced world of consumer goods marketing, it pays to keep your eyes on the future. Successful brands understand the importance of new news, with a strong innovation pipeline that keeps consumers excited and competitors on their toes. And nowhere is innovation more notable than in the multi-blade, gel-stripped, pivoting-head arena of razors.

But sometimes in the race to stay ahead, brands can forget the timeless truths and origin stories that make their brands distinctive and compelling. Heritage might feel irrelevant for brands focused on their five-year plan or the needs of a new generation, but when every competitor brand has the same future goals, looking backwards can be the key to unlock differentiation.

The Blade Masters since 1772

For Wilkinson Sword, an enviable history that spans over 250 years was captured only in the brand name, and its truth – that the company has its origins in the sword-making industry (surely the most swashbucklingly romantic of all the 18th century industries) – was completely lost on consumers. And this is no irrelevant back story – the heritage of sword-making has a direct and obvious connection to the brand’s high quality razor blades of today. It’s an authentic and compelling craft message that begged to be told.

Happily, a new brand positioning – The Blade Masters since 1772 – has helped unlock this story for Wilkinson Sword. And B&B studio has been able to rework the brand’s famous cross-swords logo, introducing greater depth and character to a mark that had become increasingly flat and lifeless.

By moving away from the existing one-dimensional graphic, the new logo reintroduces craftsmanship to the identity, while the reworked logotype – featuring Ws made from sharp and purposeful cuts – helps give the swords a sense of life and purpose.

The new “Since 1772” tagline stresses the brand’s longevity and expertise, while also suggesting a brand that is continuing to progress into the future. The line sits snugly between the crossed swords, adding quiet confidence to its execution.

Turning heritage into legacy

With this recrafted logo, B&B studio has encapsulated Wilkinson Sword’s sword-making origins, while bringing the brand up to date as a true challenger brand in a category that has seen numerous new market entrants and direct-to-consumer launches over the past decade. It’s a heritage story that adds impact and meaning to the brand’s contemporary quality message, and a sense of gravitas in an often fad-driven marketplace. It’s a great example of the role heritage can play when used strategically – shifting the emphasis from a romanticised past to an impactful legacy with ongoing relevance today and tomorrow.

Brands with forgotten heritage should take note. What are the timeless elements of your brand’s story that can be rediscovered and re-emphasised for contemporary impact?