Some of America’s largest companies rely heavily on products which they have owned for decades to account for a very large part of their sales and a significant part of their reputations with the public, customers, and investors. In most cases, the names of their flagship brands are essential to their marketing.
The danger is that older brands may be replaced in the market by more newer, more innovative ones. This began to happen in the media business when online news site The Huffington Post began to eclipse newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Huffington now has a larger number of Internet readers than The Post and nearly as many as The Times.
The advantage old products have in many cases is that they may represent brands that have built tremendous equity with consumers. Some of these are both famous and well-regarded. This is certainly true of Mercedes, which has been the flagship product of Daimler-Benz, which was founded in 1926. The first Mercedes was produced within a year its parent’s creation. It is arguably better known than Daimler in most places outside of its homeland in Germany. According to Interbrand, Mercedes Benz is currently the 12th most valuable brand in the world, worth $21.7 billion.
24/7 Wall St. looked at seven products, owned by seven companies, that are critical to the success of those firms both in the past and present. These brands may also be the key to the future success of the same firms. Products that have been successful for nearly a century are not likely to go away soon.
1. Kellogg (Founded 1906)
Product: Corn Flakes (Introduced 1896)
Kellogg’s first product was its corn flakes, and the firm was originally known as the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company. The firm’s founder, Harvey Kellogg, had worked with Seventh-day Adventists to develop new food to meet the standards of their strict vegetarian diet, which is the reason Corn Flakes was created. Kellogg now sells products as diverse as Pop-Tarts and Cheez-Its, but the cereal is still its flagship brand.
2. Company: Philip Morris (Founded 1902)
Product: Marlboro (Introduced 1924)
Philip Morris was renamed Altria in 2003. Since then, the company has been divided into two parts. The international part of the firm uses the Philip Morris name. The domestic corporation is still known as Altria. Marlboro is the best selling cigarette brand in the world. Interbrand ranks Marlboro as the 14th most valuable brand in the world at just under $20 billion.
3. Chrysler (Founded 1925)
Jeep (Introduced 1941)
Chrysler was started by Walter Chrysler, an industrialist who ran the company until he died in 1940. Jeep, the oldest four-wheel drive car in the world, was bought by American Motors in 1970 which was in turn bought by Chrysler in 1987. The Jeep brand outsold the flagship Chrysler brand last year. Sales of the Jeep flagship, the Grand Cherokee, were up 68% for the year.