Why are some items considered heirlooms and some not?
Jo Ellison, the technology columnist for the FT, touches on this in her column this week. A classic heirloom might be a Rolex. Rolex know this and even play with advertising around this trait. Why are Rolex’a considered heirlooms?
I suspect one reason is cost, the average person cannot afford a new one every year or vend cade, for many, ever. Another reason is quality, they keep going. Maybe another reason is design, see reasons two in that they keep going but they also look cool, classic, stylish even. The fourth reason is that others, consumers, people, recognise how great they are. The fourth reason is status. Finally, the fifth reason is memories. If the item is an heirloom then it is likely it provokes fond memories of those who owned it before you.
Cost, quality, design, status and memories.
Are these the five factors one needs to build a lasting brand? Maybe, though I suspect they don’t always have to come as five, maybe four will do. Maybe there are many more.
This does raise the question (as Jo Ellison does) of whether today’s tech led products can conjour the same deep, instinctive feeling of loving a mechanical object. Digital products have no mechanics. We can’t get under the ‘skin’ of them. We can’t see them working (like the translucent covered iMac, the transparent backs of watches and radios, etc..). If we don’t know how it works nor can see its working parts we can never hope of learning how to build nor fix it.
Only time will tell if such digital products produce the same affections many of us have for mechanical objects. I know I’ll never hold such affections for the products of digi-world but then, maybe I was born a little too late.