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Branding Trends: Why is everything ‘British Heritage’?

Branding is a reactionary process. If you’re not reacting to what’s going on around you then you’re doing something wrong. Of course, there’s a fine line between being trendy and trying too hard, but luckily there is actually a pretty logical explanation for what’s trendy. Just a tip, no one should be saying ‘trendy’…

A current branding trend is ‘British Heritage’. Having a ‘British Heritage’ product may not make you stand out amongst the crowd but holding ‘British’ and ‘Heritage’ as strong values and letting those concepts inspire you’re branding could leave you in pretty good stead. Car companies use it, food companies use it, clothes companies use it, and the list goes on and on and on.

But why? Why is ‘British Heritage’ branding trend so popular? Well, for a start it’s pretty catch all, you play yourself into a million households by alluding to one simple concept. This is because it includes well established branding techniques alongside new reactionary ones. A lot of it is political and it’s all socially aware, which is very important.

Original vs. British Heritage

‘Heritage’ is the new ‘Original’ and being the ‘Original’ is always good. It’s a timeless idea; the first is the best. It doesn’t make sense because most of our ‘original’ products are ‘new improved recipes’ but that doesn’t matter… it’s stood the test of time… it’s the best.

But it’s not just ‘original’, it’s ‘heritage’; it’s a bloody institution is what it is! ‘British Heritage’ offers different positive connotations from ‘original’. ‘Original’ says history, British Heritage says rich history. British Heritage hints that a journey has taken place, and that’s what we want from our products nowadays. We want companies to have a narrative that we can relate to, to feel that the product is more than the produce of a factory line, and to feel that it has some real history.


The idea of British Heritage branding works on a lot of new levels. It ties in with military support and pride, as well as playing into the patriotism that’s still hanging around after the Jubilee, the Royal Wedding, and the Olympics. With the two subsequent royal births it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. It’s all exacerbated by popular culture, ‘The Great British Bake Off’, ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’, ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Britain’, and so on.


Valuing ‘Britishness’ is also very politically charged. Media outlets keep EU scepticism and immigration part of daily conversation whilst political parties cope with economic difficulties by talking about a ‘broken Britain’ turning into a ‘better Britain’. If you are starting to think ‘what doesn’t it relate to?’ then I don’t blame you; we’re not even finished.

Imports vs Home-grown

At the same time as ‘British’ means British, it also means ‘not foreign’. We often hear the three words ‘cheap foreign goods’ and equating your brand with something ‘cheap’ is something you don’t want to do, your products can be cheap but your brand shouldn’t be. Foreign goods would have been seen as luxury in the past but the connotations have changed after importing goods becomes cheaper and cheaper. ‘Heritage’ also alludes to quality as it makes the product seem long lasting; even if it’s something like a cooking sauce.

Vintage Fashion

Another reason why this branding trend is so solid is its relation to many differing identities. As well as the aforementioned political identities it also has links with fashionable identities. The popularity of vintage fashion and kitsch couture does a lot to keep the ‘British Heritage’ trend alive. People describe themselves as being ‘into vintage’ and being a ‘kitsch kinda gal’. That’s the very essence of branding; you have people identifying as people who use this kind of branding as a form of self-expression.

A Temporary World

In a world that’s so throw away, so temporary, people jump at the chance to hold on to something. We are serial recorders, we record everything, through photos, videos and social networking, all because times seem to change so fast. When a brand looks back to the golden days, it speaks to the people that do the same. When a brand seems to value what the consumer does, the consumer starts to value that brand. The brilliant irony is one day this branding fashion will be history, but who knows…