"A plain ship with no unncessary expense for show". That was the instruction Sir Samuel Cunard gave to the shipyard when he built steamship Britannia, which left Liverpool in July 1840 on Cunard's first transatlantic voyage.
I'm not sure Sir Samuel would recognise the vast, opulent ships Cunard sails in 2015; indeed, Britannia would fit inside the restaurant onboard Queen Mary 2.
But after joining agents in Liverpool last weekend for a concert commemorating 175 years of Cunard history, from the captain of Carpathia who sailed to the rescue of Titanic survivors in 1912, to the Cunard Yanks who brought the fashions and music of New York to Liverpool, I know he'd be proud of the Cunard of today.
Yet it has been far from plain sailing for the iconic brand. The cruise line was almost bankrupt when it built the new QE2 in 1969. And when Carnival Corp bought the struggling line in 1998, people said Micky Arison was mad to build another ocean liner (QM2) when demand for this kind of cruising seemed to be in decline.
So how exactly has Cunard stood the test of time?
Put simply: nobody else does what Cunard does. The romance, elegance and heritage of the brand is unique, and by staying true to these values, I expect it will have a special place in the cruise market for many more years.
We've been busy chairing judging panels for the TTG Travel Awards this week, and the single biggest thing that's separated winners from the second-placers has been companies doing something different and unique in their own particular marketplace.
At TTG Media, we know we too must offer what nobody else does - from the unique way we decide the winners of our awards, and holding our first-ever LGBT travel conference, to our thriving Tomorrow's Travel Leaders community.
In congratulating Cunard on its incredible story, perhaps we can all try to take a leaf out of Cunard's book in terms of striving to be "special". It's the fundamental step in creating the kind of brand that might still be around in another 175 years.