26 September 2022

The power of characters in driving marketing relevance

The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute recently explored the power of distinctive brand assets to see which had the most potential for uniqueness. Top of the pile was Character, followed by Logo and Typography. Hardly surprising when you think that we can imbue so much emotional feeling with characters, that sticky stuff that stays in our cortex.

It was great to see Young's bring a core character back from the past in order to make the brand relevant for the future earlier this year, with their biggest brand refresh in more than 20 years.

Elizabeth Young founded the brand back in 1805, along with her family who were watermen and fishermen on the Thames in Greenwich. With the refresh, Young's brought Elizabeth to the fore of their packaging with illustration and a signature addition, celebrating her powerful and inspiring story as a female entrepreneur who started by selling whitebait and prawns from her hat, and by the turn of the century had moved on to a whole fleet of Young's family boats. 

We know that Elizabeth's neighbour in the frozen aisle fixture has an iconic and powerful Captain at the table which it has leveraged more recently - the team at Brandon helped to bring Captain BirdsEye back to life in the UK (when he'd been out in the wilderness for many years!), leading to great success for the brand, and Nomad Foods as a business.

It will be interesting to see how Young's continues to leverage Elizabeth Young in its communication moving forward. Hopefully a brief is sitting with a comms agency now and we see a TVC bring Elizabeth Young back to life and have a role in our lives once again.

Richard Taylor is the founder at Brandon. If you're looking for help with brand design, strategy or innovation, give us a call or send us an email. We'd love to hear from you. 


Richard Taylor