Monday, June 15, 2009

Enduring Brands: the 10,000 Year Goal

This blog is a repeat performance from the Brandscendence The Journey newsletter published in 2005. It was Newsletter Number 7 in a series after the publication of the book Brandscendence: Three Essential Elements of Enduring Brands, 2004. [i]

I share it with you based on a question that came up recently at a speech at the University of Rochester Simon School of Business - what are some of the most enduring brands? Here is one answer:

Enduring Brands: The 10,000 Year Goal

Kikkoman soy sauce is a very familiar food brand in Japan, North American, Europe, and many other parts of the world. The name Kikkoman means “more than just superior soy sauce.”

Japanese folklore says the tortoise lives for 10,000 years. The tortoise presents itself as a symbol of longevity, and kikko means tortoise shell in Japanese. Combine kikko + man and you have the trademark for the Mogi family’s best soy sauce – originally made in the city of Noda near the Edo River, an area known for superior soy sauce production since the Edo period, 1603-1867.

The Kikkoman logo represents a tortoise shell with the Chinese character for 10,000 written inside.

“In December of 1917, eight families including the Mogi family merged to form the predecessor of Kikkoman Corporation, Noda Shoyu Co., Ltd.”
[iii] Kikkoman International Inc. is later established in June of 1957 and is based in San Francisco, California, in the USA. Production facilities around the world include Hokkaido and Ojima, Japan; Walworth, Wisconsin, USA; Folsom, California USA; Singapore; Tainan, Taiwan; and Hoogenzand-Sappemeer, The Netherlands.

If you want to set a brand endurance goal, understanding the story behind Kikkoman’s symbolic 10,000 year name and logo are true benchmarks to behold.


[i] Brandscendence is a trademark owned by Content Evolution ™ LLC Worldwide; Brandscendence The Journey, is a newsletter distributed by Content Evolution ™ LLC Worldwide © Copyright 2004, all rights reserved.

[ii] Story adapted from the Kikkoman web site updated July 18, 2004.

[iii] Ibid.