The World’s Oldest Brands: What are the Secrets to their Longevity? (Infographic)

The World’s Oldest Brands: What are the Secrets to their Longevity? (Infographic)

Many companies are created, and many brands are therefore set up. However, many businesses fail, with plenty of them not even making it past their first year. To be able to not only create a brand, but to have it established for such a long time is a very difficult task to undertake, and requires a special set of skills in order to succeed.

So, what are the secrets to the brands’ longevity? Are they stumbling upon the Fountain of Youth? Are they just lucky? What are their secret recipes?

Unum, a firm that deals with income protection insurance and rehabilitation, have put together an infographic to explain how the world’s oldest brands such as Cadbury’s, Sotheby’s, and Colgate have managed to maintain their prestigious image. This piece showcases when exactly the companies were established and the secrets to their longevity, including how a brand should change with the times, always focus on their reputation, and make sure they stay focused.

Oldest brands' secrets - infographic by Unum

The world’s oldest brands’ longevity secrets

Cambridge University Press – est. 1534

Reputation is Everything

The longevity of the oldest publishing house int he world can partly be put down to its excellent reputation in scholarly publishing. This reputation has seen the Press expand across the world, with 50 offices globally.

Bushmills – est. 1608

Be the Best

Coming from the oldest licensed distillery in the world, Bushmills whiskey has always tried to come on top of its game. The brand continues to receive critical acclaim at International competitions, winning awards since the Paris 1889 Expo.

Barclays – est. 1690

Changing with Times

Barclays was the first UK bank to appoint a female bank manager and the first to launch a credit card in the UK, in 1969. Barclays installed the world’s first cash machine.

Coutts – est. 1692

Traditional Values & Professionalism

Coutts promotes an atmosphere of learning and development among its employees for the company to better itself. Coutts describes itself as ‘forward-looking’, showing the importance of moving with times.

Twinings – est. 1706

Quality Control

The quality of the tea has made Twinings a hit for over 300 years, so much so that in 1837, Queen Victoria gave the brand a Royal Warrant for tea. The tea company even managed to withstand tea rationing during World War II.

Moet & Chandon – est. 1743

Pioneering Spirit

The Moet family credit their ‘pioneering spirit’ for defining their brand. With a little vision they managed to bring champagne to the mainstream and have helped it become an ‘international symbol of celebration’.

Sotheby’s – est. 1744

Don’t Be Afraid to Expand

Sotheby’s was the first international auction house. Since 1744, the brand has cemented its place in the auction world and now conducts auctions across the world, with salesrooms in London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong.

Caswell-Massey – est. 1752

Have Integrity

Older than America itself, Caswell-Massey has had the honour of providing personal care products for a number of presidents, including Washington, Eisenhower and JFK. They put their long life down to having business integrity.

Jim Beam – est. 1795

Stay Focused

Jim Beam’s Master Distiller Fred Noe credits the company’s focus by setting one goal and never deviating from it for keeping them on track. Noe believes having a goal and progressing towards it each day is crucial for all brands.

Colgate – est. 1806


One of Colgate’s fundamental values is global teamwork, which shows how important the company’s employees are. The toothpaste giant believes its diverse people, thinking, talent and suppliers are key to their success.

Citigroup – est. 1812

Create Trust

Founded as City Bank of New York, Citigroup prides itself on earning and maintaining the public’s trust and keep the customers’ best interests in mind at all decision points. Becoming such a trusted brand has no doubt helped their longevity.

AXA – est. 1817

Customer Focus

AXA’s key values and attitudes seek to guide their employees to better serve their clients and to build a relationship of trust. Keeping the customer at the forefront of company values is a winning strategy.

Cadbury’s – est. 1824

Be Recognisable

Arguably one of Cadbury’s most stand out features is their purple branding, which it has used since 1920. The chocolate’s wrapper with he ‘glass and a half’ logo has become iconic and helped to firmly cement it in the mind and stomachs of consumers.

Macy’s – est. 1830

Become Part of the Community

The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and sponsorship of the Fourth of July fireworks display has made sure Macy’s is a recongisable institution in New York and across the world. While most businesses can’t afford this level of community involvement, making a name for yourself locally is certainly a sensible move.

Hermes – est. 1837

Be Available

Hermes is one of the most well-known luxury brands, with many of their costly products being so exclusive that there is a waiting list. However, they realise that this closes them off to a bigger market and as such also sell ranges that are of lower prices for aspirational consumers who still get to wear the Hermes name.

Dr Pepper – est. 1885

Be Unique

From the catchy jingle to the taste of the drink itself, Dr Pepper is unique. Its strong, identifiable branding and difference from other soft drinks is what sets it apart from its competitors and keeps it going.

Now over to you

So, what do you think? Are there any businesses that you didn’t realise had been established for such a long time? Which secret do you think would make the most difference to your company? Please share with us!

Cover photo credit: Ann W / Flickr

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