13/01/2015 08:29 GMT | Updated 14/03/2015 05:59 GMT

Historically Innovative: Heritage Brands, Thoroughly Modern Methods

Fusing droplets of real gold onto ceramic...duplicating to the tiniest detail the intricacies of natural marble....or reproducing an exact copy of any image, be it hand drawn or a photograph, onto a tile.

These are just a handful of the modern methods which have helped a traditional, heritage brand like Johnson Tiles keep current, abreast of trends and leading the field within its industry.

Tradition and heritage are a great back-story, but without something new you're relying on a customer base that has very long memories. Having a history is something to be proud of, it shows that you know what you're doing, that you're an expert, can be trusted to deliver. That your products stand the test of time.

But to ensure longevity in a world where trends change monthly, and competitors creep ever closer, you need innovation. A constant stream, ever evolving, of new ideas in keeping with the swiftly moving and changing times.

What we did at Johnson Tiles 100 years ago is fundamentally the same as what we do now. We make great tiles. The difference is in how we make them. We use recycled ceramic material in our tiles, conscious of our impact on the environment. Our state-of-the-art technology can make tiles which look and feel like natural stone, preserving precious natural resources. We can even make tiles that look like wood. Caring for the environment wasn't even a consideration over a century ago, but now its expected that environmental responsibility is part and parcel of modern manufacturing.

We're lucky that at Johnson Tiles we're in an industry that champions innovation. That needs it to thrive and move forward. Our customers' tastes change as trends change. What's in one year may be 'out' the other. But thanks to our continued innovation, we're now actually dictating trends ourselves. Slimmer sized tiles, thinnest ever porcelain, 3D textures and micro patterns, even Middle-East inspired tiles. We travel the world for inspiration.

Other industries with heritage brands have a different issue altogether. Food companies have the problem that their customers don't like change. Change a product to make it 'healthier' as today's lifestyles demand and a public outcry usually follows, with companies falling foul of recipe rage.

But what about the nostalgia factor? Surely a historical and traditional brand doesn't need to innovate. It's been perfectly fine for years, why change things?

As our industries get increasingly competitive, getting your brand recognised by today's consumers is becoming more of a challenge. Today's consumers crave excitement and change, and reintroducing your traditional brand to them is crucial. If you don't create and innovate, make them sit up and take notice, you're a brand of yesteryear. A go-to failsafe if there's nothing else out there. Not a brand of today.

Surprise your customers with something new, and suddenly you'll capture attention. The impact of this surprise innovation is always greatest with traditional brands, simply because no one expects it.

There's no greater complement and assurance of your future than to hear someone say 'Wow, I didn't know your brand did stuff like that.'