How Levi Strauss & Co. Historian, Tracey Panek, Empowers Teams Through Brand Stories
Levi’s is an iconic brand with 166 years of rich heritage. To this day elements of their heritage are literally in the fabric of their garments. They have one of the most iconic consumer brands in the world, and for good reason, they have deep roots that they celebrate.
While the brand is 166 years old, the average employee in America spends about 4.6 years working at a consumer brand like Levi’s, so how do team members embody a brand and incorporate that history into their work in such a short amount of time? The secret is the preservation of company brand stories that have made it an icon. Physical assets archives are important, but it’s the stories and context behind artifacts that truly inspire. Add in a date, celebrity, location, and story behind the design and you have a really rich artifact for team members to pull inspiration from.
Tracey Panek is Levi Strauss & Co.’s historian and keeper of their stories. The archives she adopted, and has helped curate, have unbelievable stories that have far reaching impacts inside of the Levi Strauss & Co. corporation. It’s not just brand and marketing teams finding value in the stories she helps capture, it’s also sales, collaboration teams, design, executives, and lawyers…. Yes, even lawyers benefit from her work!
In our recent fireside chat with Tracey we ask her about her own roots in storytelling, the ways story comes to life in the Levi Strauss & Co. archives, and her outlook on the evolving corporate archive landscape. If you are an archivist this is a great chat to learn from a legend in the industry.