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Looking forward, looking back: developing a narrative of the past, present and future of a brand

Abstract

Marketers can gain a competitive advantage in brand building by skillfully leveraging and blending brand timeline intangibles related to their past, present and future. Brands can connect to their past—in terms of their history and heritage—and how it has shaped who they are and enabled what they can do. Brands can affirm their present—in terms of their values, personality and character—and how it influences how they think, feel and act. Finally, brands can point to their future—in terms of their mission, vision and purpose—and what is their full potential and how they will make a difference. The strongest brands will offer a compelling account of their origins, growth and destiny in a persuasive brand narrative. Those marketers that do so will benefit in terms of favorable consumer decision-making, strong loyalty relationships and positive brand equity.

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Acknowledgements

The author thanks the editor, Joachim Kernstock, for the opportunity to write this essay and perceptive feedback and advice, as well as Frank Ryan, Loren Brown, John Gilluly, Ann Ford and Rachael Pepper (DLA Piper) and Steve Fuller (L.L. Bean) for invaluable input.

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Correspondence to Kevin Lane Keller.

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Keller, K.L. Looking forward, looking back: developing a narrative of the past, present and future of a brand. J Brand Manag 30, 1–8 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41262-022-00309-2

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Keywords

  • Brand strategy
  • Brand narrative
  • Brand positioning
  • Brand heritage
  • Brand values
  • Brand purpose