Happy Birthday Levi’s

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post

Sagar Gautam, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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In our consumer culture of shiny-new-object syndrome, it is increasingly unlikely that a brand will survive—much less thrive—for more than a few seasons. But for 162 years, Levi Strauss & Co. has done just that. The staying power of the Levi’s brand stands out boldly in this era of pop-up stores.

When Levi Strauss emigrated in 1853 from Buttenheim, Bavaria, to the U.S. and founded his company, there were only 31 American states. Another 32 years would pass before the automobile was developed. Among iconic U.S. brands, only Anheuser-Busch (founded in 1852) has been around longer than Levi’s. (Coca-Cola came about in 1892; Ford in 1903.)

And yet Levi’s remains a formidable brand today. Fiscal 2014 revenue increased 2 per cent over the previous year to $4.68 billion, and the company commands the highest share of the global jeans market. Retailers credit Levi’s for having unique brand assets they can’t get from other lines. As Gary Oneil, former creative director for J.C. Penney said in The Indian Express on 10th April 2015, “Levi’s has become a brand titan that scales across lifestyle, gender … this allows retailers to cast a broad net that captures a diverse customer base.”

The secret to the longevity of Levi’s actually isn’t a secret at all. The company uses classic brand-building principles to maintain and grow its brand equity. These are fundamental ideals that remain the keys to building a brand with staying power.

Levi’s recognizes that trend-following may be the simplest way to attract attention and raise short-term revenue, but following someone else’s lead usually causes a company to stray from its own brand identity

A look at Levi’s offers insight into the commitment, courage and consistency that goes into making a great brand. One of the nation’s longest-standing companies, it thrives on its identity as an original American brand in an increasingly global marketplace. It represents individuality and rebelliousness while appealing broadly, and it offers accessibility in an industry that thrives on exclusivity.

The culture of Levi’s has withstood the ups and downs of the economy, fashion trends and the business itself. Even more than its products, the Levi’s brand was built to last.

 

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