A brand lesson in not taking any thing for granted and resting on your laurels. Fortnum & Mason in London is 310 years old. A heritage of this kind is a wonderful thing: proof that a brand can survive the constant buffeting winds of change to remain relevant for generation after generation. But longevity can also be dangerous.

Customers may grow complacent, and presume that you’ll always be there even if they themselves don’t actually buy anything from you. It can also lead to a certain fustiness, with the brand appearing old-fashioned in comparison to the new, trendy operations on the block. Throw in the royal patronage that Fortnum’s has, and the way in which it has become a focus for anti-austerity and other protesters, and the latter problem increases in spades.

It is these challenges that Fortnum’s has been directly addressing in the last few years, since Ewan Venters joined the company as CEO and brought in Zia Zareem-Slade as Customer Experience Director.

From the outset, the duo wanted to tackle certain perceptions that had settled on the brand and stuck…read more