Douglas holt how to build an iconic brand

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Douglas holt how to build an iconic brand

  1. 1. How To Buildan Iconic BrandDouglas Holt
  2. 2. What is an iconic brand?A powerful cultural symbol.Brand champions an ideology that resonates, that peoplecare about, and so they use the brand in their everyday lives,an important component of their identities.Because iconic brands play such an important role forconsumers, they have very strong and durable brand loyalty,and are amongst most loved and respected brands.
  3. 3. Some brands become iconic simply because they provide much “Better Mousetraps”
  4. 4. But many iconic brands are not better mousetraps.Rather they are cultural innovators.
  5. 5. Every marketer dreams ofbuilding an iconic brand.Why do so few succeed?
  6. 6. Mindshare branding
  7. 7. Ads: pouring ¼ moisturizing cream into barMind share: gentle, luxurious
  8. 8. Users benefits PRODUCTquality emotions personality A brand is a set of emotion-laden, distinctive, relevant associations in customer’s minds
  9. 9. Mindshare branding1950s Roots: Unique Selling PropositionTrout and Ries: Capturing mental real estateBecame conventional one-size-fits-all model for MNCs  P&G, Unilever, Coke, Henkel, Nestle, etc  Major ad agencies followed suit  Academics formalize and diffuse via MBADominated marketing since 1980s
  10. 10. 1990s: added emotional benefits BRAND DNA or ESSENCEFUNCTIONAL EMOTIONAL BENEFITS BENEFITS
  11. 11. Complicated Unwieldy Version problem-solution Megaperls (german) Orientation Longterm Color Technology Gel Cleanliness Protection Experience Recommendation Innovation (from generation to generation) Skin Care well being Superior Cleanliness trust / Omnipresence (internal care) security Characteristic and Care Tradition Perfume (smell social recognition /History of cleanliness) (external care) Partly Environmental Mainstream authoritarian friendly orientation Family external values representationTheCulturalStrategyGroup
  12. 12. Okay for daily stewardship.But mindshare strategiescannot build iconic brands.three problems.
  13. 13. The Category Myopia Problem
  14. 14. Baby Boomers Enter the 1980s“Sixties Generation” middle-class came of ageadvocating progressive ideals about society and theenvironmentTheCulturalStrategyGroup
  15. 15. Political Shift Fuels Cultural TensionThe “Reagan Revolution”: antithesis of Sixties ideology dominatedCapitalism over environmental and humanitarian values; greed is goodideology; aggressive militaristic posturingLeft-of-center baby boomers become deeply alienatedCreated powerful desire for countervailing challenger to advocate for liberalsocietal-environmental ideals, taking on ReaganismTheCulturalStrategyGroup
  16. 16. Enter Ben & Jerry’sAdvanced humanitarian businessideologySource material:-back-to-the-land hippie subculture- Yippie political prankster media stunts
  17. 17. What’s The Doughboy Afraid of?When Pillsbury tries to use marketpower to shut Ben & Jerry’s out ofmarketplaceCohen responds with a provocativeprank that captured the liberal baby-boomer imagination
  18. 18. Ben & Jerry’s Vs. Reagan’s Cold WarGuerilla campaignand new productlaunch receivesnational coverage onall major networks
  19. 19. Cherry Garcia: “Euphoria Now” vs. Reagan’s War On Drugs
  20. 20. Rainforest Crunch vs. Slash-and-Burn Farming in the Amazon Leverages media wave covering rainforest activist Chico Mendes assassination in 1989 Launch reported on all major television networks and news dailies
  21. 21. Cultural branding creates iconic brand.Unilever purchases for $326 Million
  22. 22. Iconic brands engage key culturalissues percolating in society (not justconventional category benefits).They do so by championing anideology.
  23. 23. The history problem
  24. 24. Brands are embedded in history, sotheir meaning and value is dynamic.So too must be brand strategy.
  25. 25. the abstraction problem
  26. 26. >>Thirst Quenching!>>Exhilarating!>>Refreshing!>>Energizing! Functional benefits trench warfare
  27. 27. Duels over Emotion WordsThat Consumers Find Meaningless
  28. 28. Typical Abstract Adjective StrategyMOUNTAIN DEW Positioning (circa 1993)You can have the most thrilling, exciting, daringexperience but it will never compete withthe exhilarating experience of a Mountain Dew.
  29. 29. Leads to Strategic Black Box Functional + Emotional Benefits Brand Archetypes Expressions Brand PersonalityStrategy is too vague to make effective decisions between good and badbrand expressions; it is not doing what strategy is supposed to do.
  30. 30. Cultural Strategy provides specific direction on brand expressionsFunctional + Emotional Benefits Cultural BrandArchetypes Strategy Expressions BrandPersonality
  31. 31. Cultural Branding Laboratory ACADEMIC RESEARCH (30+) CONSULTING (60+) Budweiser Coca-Cola Volkswagen Converse Snapple Microsoft Windows Mountain Dew Corona MINI Mountain Dew Mastercard Harley-Davidson Jack Daniel’s ESPN Sprite Levi’s Vitaminwater Nike Friskies Marlboro Fancy Feast Jack Daniel’s Amazon Kindle Hyundai Patagonia Ben & Jerry’s Starbucks Planet Green Tango Georgia Coffee Cazadores
  32. 32. Modern Quest for Meaning and Identity Religions Ideology Tribes Nations Culture =Idealized Stories Communities Subcultures MythsLife Story Ideal Self Rely on myths - Interpret the world - moral anchors Identity Project - community and status
  33. 33. Who authors modern myths?FilmsTelevisionPoliticsSportMusicMovementsBrands
  34. 34. People (and other cultural “actors” such as brands) that perform the myth thatsociety most “needs” at a particular historical moment become icons.
  35. 35. Iconic communications drove both functional + emotional benefits Resonance, Identification Best tasting Makes me happyMost refreshing Makes me optimisticMost invigorating Makes me feel good
  36. 36. If we reverse engineer..how would we describethe strategy that led tothese ads?
  37. 37. Consumers collectivelyexperience a cultural tensioncaused by a social disruption.
  38. 38. Mediaobsessed with rioting Politics becomes police crackdowns
  39. 39. Media filled with disturbing images of Vietnam war Sparks huge protests, also dominates media
  40. 40. Media imagined black menfrom the ‘hoodas the nation’s nightmare
  41. 41. Brand responds with myths that bring to life the ideology that consumers demandCoke’s Utopian Humanitarian IdeologyDrinking a Coke is a moment of communion with the world—a pause thatnot only refreshes, but that also allows us to feel our common humanitywith peoples very different than us. Drinking a Coke produces a profoundsort of happiness that comes from integrating our life with disparate others,rather than experience life as isolated individuals.Coke embodies this utopian humanitarian ideology because, time andagain, the brand (and company) has inspired its customers to imagine aworld in which the most troubling inhumanities and social inequalities canbe overcome if only each of us acts every day to make it so. When theworld has problems, we have come to rely on Coke to inspire us and totake action.
  42. 42. Red Ocean BrandingBRANDS DUKE IT OUT WITHIN CATEGORY’S CULTURAL ORTHODOXY Benefits trench warfare Emotion words slugfests Chasing generic trends Clichéd ideology
  43. 43. Cultural Orthodoxysocial class = modern corporate titan
  44. 44. Historical Change Cultural Orthodoxy Ideological Opportunity Demand for Better Ideology Source Material Subculture. Media Myth. Brand Assets.
  45. 45. Revival of Frontier Masculinity
  46. 46. Historical Change Cultural Orthodoxy Ideological Opportunity Social Disruption creates Cultural Tension TheCulturalStrategyGroup
  47. 47. Source Materials:Anachronistic bootlegging subculture
  48. 48. Mythologized in upscale men’s magazines
  49. 49. Historical Change Cultural Orthodoxy Ideological Opportunity Social Disruption Source Material Subculture. Media Myth. Brand Assets. TheCulturalStrategyGroup
  50. 50. Historical Change Cultural Strategy ideology myth cultural codes TheCulturalStrategyGroup
  51. 51. Popular Culture takes over..
  52. 52. Pop Culture amplifies Frontier Masculinity
  53. 53. Hard Rock & Metal
  54. 54. From Western to Military Thrillers
  55. 55. Innovating for runners subculture
  56. 56. Better Mousetraps competition fadesLeveraged emerging discipline of biomechanicsBrooks developed kinetic wedgeAsics introduced dual density midsolesEarly technical advances provided quantum leaps inperformance, but soon became incrementalNike Air barely noticed in late Seventies
  57. 57. Then, suddenly, jogging takes off
  58. 58. Americans felt compelled to run WHY?
  59. 59. Postwar, American dream came easy
  60. 60. America’seconomic andpolitical inversionof the 1970s
  61. 61. Nike champions competitive runners’ ideology as antidote Ideology Transcend barriers with Combative Solo Willpower Cultural Codes Runners “backstage” training by themselves in terrible weather with great cheer + determination
  62. 62. Now what? After casuals flop, basketballCulturalStrategyGroup
  63. 63. Cultural OrthodoxyStar Athletes’ Feats
  64. 64. Americans faced huge challenges competing in the new economy
  65. 65. Code innovation #1dramatize ideology outside professional athlete subcultureCode innovation #2useCultural extreme disadvantage contexts to set up myth of transcendence Strategy Group
  66. 66. Mythologize ideology in the ‘hoodSubculture: harshest place in USA, impossible to succeedMyth: if you embrace the right ideology, you can achieveThe American Dream even in the very worst circumstances
  67. 67. mythologized across other sports via portrayals of discrimination.
  68. 68. CULTURAL BRANDINGCAN EMPHASIZE ANYCONSUMER TOUCHPOINT
  69. 69. Product + Package Design
  70. 70. 360-degree ideological embrace
  71. 71. Applying theFramework
  72. 72. Historical Change Cultural Orthodoxy Cultural Tension creates Ideological Opportunity Cultural Strategy Ideology-myth-cultural codes Social Disruption Source Material Subcultures-Media Myths-Brand Assets
  73. 73. Historical Change Discourse Analysis Of Category Competition Media Discourse Analysis + Identity Project Interviews Sociological Analyses Literary Analysis. Ethnographic Immersion. Brand Genealogy. TheCulturalStrategyGroup
  74. 74. ApplicationTheCulturalStrategyGroup
  75. 75. Social Disruption: Demographic Explosion Creates Craft SegmentEarly 90s—first generation to grow up with college-educated parents comes of ageFor upper-middle class “bourgeois-bohemians” (Bobos),huge pent-up demand for new products and services thatconveyed cultural sophisticationFood/drinks were bulls-eye
  76. 76. Category Orthodoxy for Craft BeerCosmopolitanArtisanal-
  77. 77. Red Ocean BrandingBRANDS DUKE IT OUT WITHIN CATEGORY’S CULTURAL ORTHODOXY Benefits trench warfare Emotion words slugfests Chasing generic trends
  78. 78. Social Disruption II: Cultural Sophistication Migrates to WorkNew professional work ideology:Creative inventive work, making “insanely great” stuff
  79. 79. But few did. Routine work in stressful organizations was the norm. Andthey make big bucks so they can’t walk away.. They can only dream of another life. Cultural Tension = The ache of the Bobo..
  80. 80. Historical Change Cultural Orthodoxy Cultural Tension = Ideological Opportunity Social Disruption Source Material Subculture. Media Myth. Brand Assets.
  81. 81. Popular articles on avocational connoisseurship e.g., starting a boutique organic farm TheCulturalStrategyGroup
  82. 82. Gathered Subculture Source Materialsto Curate Brand Story COMMUNITY OF AMATEURS Stubbornly independent renegades who opted out of careers to passionately pursue avocations, allowing them absolute freedom to turn work into creative inventive expression Don McClung 29” single-speed mountain bike pioneer
  83. 83. In pastoral townsTheCulturalStrategyGroup
  84. 84. Fat Tire Equities were perfect fitTheCulturalStrategyGroup
  85. 85. Historical Change Cultural Orthodoxy Cultural Tension = Ideological Opportunity Social Disruption Source Material Subculture. Media Myth. Brand Assets.
  86. 86. Cultural Strategy (summary)New Belgium is a community of pastoral amateurs with manyavocations, including brewing beer. We celebrate quixotic playfulexploration. Pastoral amateurs investigate their chosen domain withintensity. But this isn’t a masculine conquest. Our approach iscommunal, not competitive. We prefer childlike innocence to jadedprofessionalism. This is a playground, not a frontier.We champion wildly non-instrumental investments of time. Weembrace brash iconoclasm. Pastoral amateurs will take whatever timeit takes to learn what needs learning, pursue the paths of inquiry thatare open, experimenting to get things right, attending to the details.
  87. 87. Historical Change Cultural Strategy ideology myth cultural codes
  88. 88. ResultsSales +30-45% in test markets vs. controlFat Tire is #3 and fastest-growing craft beer in USA,rolling out nationally
  89. 89. Pregnancy Tests: Cultural Orthodoxy Patriarchal-Scientific Medicine -Talked down to women as experts -Treated women’s bodies as taboo
  90. 90. Subculture: 3rd Wave Feminism
  91. 91. Media Myth: Pop Culture For Educated Women
  92. 92. Cultural StrategyEmbrace 3rd wave’s celebration of woman’s body andsexualityChallenge patriarchal scientific approach to women andtheir bodiesTake on category taboos
  93. 93. ResultsUK 55% sales increaseGermany 45%USA 80%Radio only 35%
  94. 94. Introduce a new music channel vs MTV
  95. 95. MuchMusic USA “Me too” imitation of MTV No reputation Extremely low awareness amongst youth target Poor production values Very limited marketing budget
  96. 96. Cultural SeedingEfficient and compelling brand communication byprovocatively engaging mass media discourse with brandideology• Pick the right discourse• Pick the right tension within the discourse  Ideological flashpoint• Use “cultural seeding” to provocatively assert brand ideology in the discourse
  97. 97. Cultural JujitsuSpecial case of cultural seedingLeverage the power of the category leader to sharply andefficiently assert point-of-view
  98. 98. Incumbent’s Cultural Achilles HeelMid 1990s: Abandoned youthrebellion against bourgeoisadulthoodInstead, celebrated theteenybopper dream of the richand beautiful lifestyle• Undressed, Sorority Life, Room Raiders• Brittney, Paris, Jessica SimpsonGreat ideological opportunity
  99. 99. Populist PrankserNew anti-bourgeois myth: celebrate rude slothUse cultural jamming to mock MTV’s bourgeois tastesExtend to other points of engagement in discourseLow fidelity to show up MTV’s slick production
  100. 100. CultureJam #1
  101. 101. Times Square Billboard Generates Real-Time Media Story
  102. 102. Culture Jam #2MTV’s Spring Break
  103. 103. Culture Jam #3: iPod
  104. 104. Culture Jam #4Celebrating Reality Soft Porn
  105. 105. Business ResultsViewer Ratings increased 450% with no program changes60 New National Advertisers
  106. 106. Seeding Generated120 Million Media Impressions
  107. 107. Results Ranked #1 Youth brand equity!
  108. 108. DoingCulturalBranding
  109. 109. Shifts in category ideology create massive cultural opportunitiesSociety changes over time, often seismically, transformingthe key ideologies that structure your category..These ideological transformations challenge categoryconventions, devaluing incumbents and creatingopportunities for new and restaged brands.This is a far more important innovation driver than generictrends
  110. 110. Winners become new iconic brandsSuccessfully responding to historical changes that matterto category consumers is what transforms a brand into acultural icon.Iconic brands champion a category-relevant ideology thatresonates powerfully in people’s everyday lives.Which acts as a powerful halo shaping product quality andbenefit perceptions.
  111. 111. Brands take advantage with resonant expressions, not declarationsIconic brands don’t tell people what they stand for.Rather, they create myths—they act in compelling ways todramatize their ideology.They tell stories with implicit ideological meaning (myths)that make an emotional connection with the audience.
  112. 112. Requires new approach to strategy
  113. 113. And brand managementYour brand’s meaning and value is to be found in people’s everydaylives, in the media, in word-of-mouth, not in positioning statements orwhite board exercises or brand metrics reports.Your brand’s opportunities move with history. Game-changingopportunities emerge from structural changes in society and culturebearing down on your category. These opportunities can beresearched, but require new kinds of cultural analysis. They are not tobe found in trend reports!To do cultural branding requires that managers embrace new ways ofdoing research, strategy, and creative development.
  114. 114. Cultural branding is a systematic craft.With practice & perseverance,you can do it too!

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