A 71 year-old Japanese equestrian is the oldest competitor at this year’s Olympics. He first competed in the Olympics 48 years ago. The BBC reports women in Hong Kong (average life expectancy: 86.7 years) now are the highest life-expectancy group, displacing women in Japan (average life expectancy: 85.9 years).

Asians go beyond respecting longevity. They know how to achieve it. T’ai chi ch’uan works! So do wonders like the Okinawa diet.

Not only do the Asians do a great job on human longevity, their track isn’t bad on brand longevity either. Sharp (once Ever-Sharp) dates back to 1912. Toyota launched in 1933. Samsung started in 1938.

A July article in Huffington Post Identified six character traits associated with human longevity. They were:
• Conscientiousness
• Easy to Laugh
• Socially Connected
• Optimistic
• Happy
• Extroverted

That led me to wonder if there are comparable traits shared by brands with a long and prosperous life. Here are eight that came to mind:
• High-longevity brands are true to their core values and translate these values into products and experiences that ring true, are human, and – above all – are authentic.
• These brands communicate their values in ways that are relevant and relatable to the increasing number of diverse customer groups.
• Brands with staying power continue to innovate products and evolve the meaning of the brand in ways that are increasingly commingled with value creation for their consumers.
• Long-lasting brands are conscientious about brand details and demanding that brand extensions remain true to brand DNA.
• These brands remain socially connected to their brand evangelists, including being alarmed when their loyal supporters warn the brand is straying.
• Stick-with-it brands exceed expectations at all “touchpoints” in which the consumer comes in contact with the brand. They are always finding fresh ways to surprise and delight their customers for a memorable experience.
• Long-lived brands are optimistic enough about the future to constantly be planning for the brand’s evolution 5-10 years out . . . and planning in very tangible ways.
• And, these brands are remarkably smart and getting smarter. They regard delivering for smarter customers/audiences to be absolutely invigorating.
What causes most brands to waste away is sheer inactivity. Once having been fit and appealing just doesn’t cut it for a promising tomorrow. “So many older people, they just sit around all day long and they don’t get any exercise,” said fitness guru Jack LaLanne who lived to a ripe 96, was doing 2-hour workouts in his 90s, and published a book at 95. For sedentary older people, LaLanne maintained, their “muscles atrophy, and they lose their strength, their energy and vitality by inactivity.”

The same happens for brands.