There are few things worse for a company’s image than to be seen as one that believes it can connect with today’s consumers, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Misguided efforts to force their out-of-touch branding onto current audiences can come off as forced and counter-productive.

But on the other end of the spectrum, when these long-established brands are successfully able to connect with the wants and needs of today’s consumers, they can reinvigorate the brand, and potentially introducing it to an entirely new audience.

So how do you ensure that your brand falls in the latter category? Here are five ways that established brands can prove that age is just a number:

  1. Keep your ear to the ground

One of the most common missteps, when a brand is unsuccessful in updating its brand image, is that its strategic direction has no connection with current best practices. This inward-only focus ignores what is seeing the best results in the marketplace, which often leads to messaging that falls flat. Instead, brands should identify the reasons behind the successes, and work to incorporate these strategies and tactics in ways that align with their larger goals.

  1. Don’t run from your past

The long lifespans of these established brands aren’t by accident; there must be something about the brand that has driven consumers to continue their connection and keep it afloat over the years. This is not something that is easily attained, and as such, it should not be brushed aside, even when looking to modernize the brand. The brand equity possessed by these brands can give a head start to new strategies and campaigns by providing built-in consumer awareness and providing the benefit of the doubt for future moves. This is partly because of the power of nostalgia in branding, and also because of the gravitas given to brands with proven track records.

  1. But do accept that it is in the past

However, there is a difference between leveraging the past as an advantage and steadfastly clinging to it no matter what. As the saying goes, it’s important to put the past behind you. Those brands that are firmly planted in the “out of touch” category almost always are victims of an inability to move forward. The mindset of “well it’s worked in the past, it will always work” and an unwillingness to evolve is something all brands, not just those with long histories, should avoid.

  1. Keep everything in perspective

Decisions made with an eye solely on the short-term at the expense of sustained, long-lasting achievements will often start out strong then fade quickly, leaving the brand scrambling to revise its strategy to keep up.  For instance, an updated logo may be a good strategic move for the brand, but should not be paired with a total name change, effectively doing away with two crucial brand elements that lead the way in customer recognition. If your brand is looking to update, work toward achieving a balance between immediate results and long-term sustainability. Also, don’t change your brand so much that it becomes unrecognizable, rendering the “established” of “established brand” moot.

  1. Where you say it is as important as what you say

For example, when looking to use social media to communicate a brand’s message, the adage of trying to be everything to everybody leading to being nothing to nobody rings true in this aspect. When choosing the message outlets, brands would be wise to carefully examine each platform’s audience, message format and viewing trends to establish the correct ones to pursue.