Brighton Pier owner on the power of nostalgia

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British entrepreneur and Brighton Palace Pier owner, Luke Johnson, has spoken of the benefits nostalgia can bring when revitalising products.

 

The businessman, who bought the pier in 2016, said: “Making a faded brand work in the 21st century means respecting the past, but making the offer relevant to a modern clientele.”

Johnson acknowledged the importance of heritage in relation to the pier. He chose to restore “Palace” to the name, and believed keeping the entertainments and hospitality “classic rather than cutting edge” had been vital in retaining the public’s support.

“An obsession with innovation and being trendy can blind entrepreneurs to the power of business history,” said Johnson, adding: “Consumer affiliations forged in childhood and the teenage years can last a lifetime.”

The Grade II listed Victorian pier has entered British culture with Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly and Winston Churchill all reported to have promenaded along the pier, and when it comes to investing he sees a product’s heritage as something to be cherished: “I suppose thoughtful investors should – to use a metaphor – plant new trees but also tend to ancient forests in order to maintain diverse woodlands.”


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