Why is brand longevity important? The answer lies in what a brand’s endurance signifies. Longevity is reliant on relevance, it means a brand is good at keeping its promises and delivering on its values to customers. There may be (and arguably should be) changes over time, but if evolutions align with those original values, the brand will remain recognisable for what it stands for. This all adds up to trust, which is hard won but can be lost in an instant. The crucial element is experience; by maintaining a positive user experience, brands can foster strong loyalty over the long-term, which is worth its weight in gold in these days of consumer reviews and instant social media feedback.
So, what gives a brand longevity? Is it enough just to have been launched decades ago when the first iteration of a product was manufactured and was sold? Let’s take an example: in 2001, the first ScanSnap document image scanner rolled off the production line. Since then, the brand has grown and evolved whilst staying true to its original brand values of enabling business and personal users to improve their productivity by being able to quickly digitise documents. But what has enabled the brand to stay relevant over 20 years through a fast-changing industry and work environment?
The last two decades have seen rapid changes in technology, including the advancement of the internet, growth of the cloud and mobile connectivity. In turn, the way we work has changed – and continues to do so – which, in turn, has resulted in changes to the way we use paper. How many of us still jot things down on a piece of paper when we can take a photo of it with our phones instead? Postcards and handwritten letters have almost completely been replaced with messaging and email. But printed information still has an important role to play in many people’s lives and across many businesses where the valuable information must be captured and converted into data in order to be put to work.
The key to brand longevity is to offer a simple proposition, then constantly and consistently deliver on it. In the case of ScanSnap, the proposition is to enable a smarter way to work, whether for a business or individual user which, because it involves some clever technology, such as optical character recognition (OCR), might sound complex and unwieldy. So, here’s the clever aspect of the brand: realising that most IT users are not IT experts – nor do they want to have to deal with complex systems – ScanSnap focused on the user experience and making sure it was effortless.
Users want software and devices to work perfectly within existing systems and solutions that they already know and use – such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Simple integrations that add extra value through finding time saving solutions are also a major benefit, for example software that scans data in receipts and saves it in a spreadsheet or takes contact information from a business card and adds it to a contact list.
The bottom line is that users want complex technology to do the complex things for them. They don’t need to, or want to, know how OCR works or how information on a page can be captured and automatically uploaded onto the relevant database. They just know that it’s incredibly useful, timesaving, and valuable.
Function over form
One of the most enduring brands, Coca-Cola, has been around for over 125 years. Its success is due to maintaining its classic flavour (among variations) and the emotional association of sharing a fun and carefree moment. Just as important are the enduring simple lines in the design of both its logo and its iconic shaped bottle, which is so comfortable to hold in one hand. Simple designs look good and, crucially, don’t detract from where the focus should be, which is the flavour.
For ScanSnap, the focus is maximum productivity from a minimum footprint with a range that encompasses small devices for on the go and larger for desktop. There are even medium-sized ones for small desktop settings like a reception and their sleek design means that anyone would be proud to have one on their desk, in their office or to produce out of their bag. Of course, the impressive bit is the one touch to scan – anytime, anywhere – which is simply the quickest and easiest way to capture a document.
Doing something right
So, like all successful brands who last the test of time, the key to brand success for ScanSnap has been staying loyal to its principles. These are that all devices must be simple to use with the focus on their function. As a result, ScanSnap has seen over 6 million scanners sold globally over its 20 years of being a brand and has received a great, and continuing, number of positive endorsements expressing what a huge difference such a simple but powerful device has made to people’s productivity.
There are some clear lessons to be learned from ScanSnap’s success. Firstly, stay true to your brand principles; secondly, focus on what you do best and keep things simple.
Learn more about ScanSnap by visiting our website here