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Douglas holt how to build an iconic brand

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Douglas holt how to build an iconic brand

  1. 1. How To Build an Iconic Brand Douglas Holt
  2. 2. What is an iconic brand? A powerful cultural symbol. Brand champions an ideology that resonates, that people care 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 for consumers, 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 of building an iconic brand. Why do so few succeed?
  6. 6. Mindshare branding
  7. 7. Ads: pouring ¼ moisturizing cream into bar Mind share: gentle, luxurious
  8. 8. Users benefits PRODUCT quality emotions personality A brand is a set of emotion-laden, distinctive, relevant associations in customer’s minds
  9. 9. Mindshare branding 1950s Roots: Unique Selling Proposition Trout and Ries: Capturing mental real estate Became 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 MBA Dominated marketing since 1980s
  10. 10. 1990s: added emotional benefits BRAND DNA or ESSENCE FUNCTIONAL 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 representation TheCulturalStrategyGroup
  12. 12. Okay for daily stewardship. But mindshare strategies cannot build iconic brands. three problems.
  13. 13. The Category Myopia Problem
  14. 14. Baby Boomers Enter the 1980s “Sixties Generation” middle-class came of age advocating progressive ideals about society and the environment TheCulturalStrategyGroup
  15. 15. Political Shift Fuels Cultural Tension The “Reagan Revolution”: antithesis of Sixties ideology dominated Capitalism over environmental and humanitarian values; greed is good ideology; aggressive militaristic posturing Left-of-center baby boomers become deeply alienated Created powerful desire for countervailing challenger to advocate for liberal societal-environmental ideals, taking on Reaganism TheCulturalStrategyGroup
  16. 16. Enter Ben & Jerry’s Advanced humanitarian business ideology Source 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 market power to shut Ben & Jerry’s out of marketplace Cohen responds with a provocative prank that captured the liberal baby- boomer imagination
  18. 18. Ben & Jerry’s Vs. Reagan’s Cold War Guerilla campaign and new product launch receives national coverage on all 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 cultural issues percolating in society (not just conventional category benefits). They do so by championing an ideology.
  23. 23. The history problem
  24. 24. Brands are embedded in history, so their 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 Words That Consumers Find Meaningless
  28. 28. Typical Abstract Adjective Strategy MOUNTAIN DEW Positioning (circa 1993) You can have the most thrilling, exciting, daring experience but it will never compete with the exhilarating experience of a Mountain Dew.
  29. 29. Leads to Strategic Black Box Functional + Emotional Benefits Brand Archetypes Expressions Brand Personality Strategy is too vague to make effective decisions between good and bad brand expressions; it is not doing what strategy is supposed to do.
  30. 30. Cultural Strategy provides specific direction on brand expressions Functional + Emotional Benefits Cultural Brand Archetypes Strategy Expressions Brand Personality
  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 Myths Life Story Ideal Self Rely on myths - Interpret the world - moral anchors Identity Project - community and status
  33. 33. Who authors modern myths? Films Television Politics Sport Music Movements Brands
  34. 34. People (and other cultural “actors” such as brands) that perform the myth that society most “needs” at a particular historical moment become icons.
  35. 35. Iconic communications drove both functional + emotional benefits Resonance, Identification Best tasting Makes me happy Most refreshing Makes me optimistic Most invigorating Makes me feel good
  36. 36. If we reverse engineer.. how would we describe the strategy that led to these ads?
  37. 37. Consumers collectively experience a cultural tension caused by a social disruption.
  38. 38. Media obsessed 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 men from the ‘hood as the nation’s nightmare
  41. 41. Brand responds with myths that bring to life the ideology that consumers demand Coke’s Utopian Humanitarian Ideology Drinking a Coke is a moment of communion with the world—a pause that not only refreshes, but that also allows us to feel our common humanity with peoples very different than us. Drinking a Coke produces a profound sort 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 and again, the brand (and company) has inspired its customers to imagine a world in which the most troubling inhumanities and social inequalities can be overcome if only each of us acts every day to make it so. When the world has problems, we have come to rely on Coke to inspire us and to take action.
  42. 42. Red Ocean Branding BRANDS DUKE IT OUT WITHIN CATEGORY’S CULTURAL ORTHODOXY Benefits trench warfare Emotion words slugfests Chasing generic trends Clichéd ideology
  43. 43. Cultural Orthodoxy social 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 fades Leveraged emerging discipline of biomechanics Brooks developed kinetic wedge Asics introduced dual density midsoles Early technical advances provided quantum leaps in performance, but soon became incremental Nike 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’s economic and political inversion of 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, basketball Cultural Strategy Group
  63. 63. Cultural Orthodoxy Star Athletes’ Feats
  64. 64. Americans faced huge challenges competing in the new economy
  65. 65. Code innovation #1 dramatize ideology outside professional athlete subculture Code innovation #2 useCultural extreme disadvantage contexts to set up myth of transcendence Strategy Group
  66. 66. Mythologize ideology in the ‘hood Subculture: harshest place in USA, impossible to succeed Myth: if you embrace the right ideology, you can achieve The American Dream even in the very worst circumstances
  67. 67. mythologized across other sports via portrayals of discrimination.
  69. 69. Product + Package Design
  70. 70. 360-degree ideological embrace
  71. 71. Applying the Framework
  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. Application TheCulturalStrategyGroup
  75. 75. Social Disruption: Demographic Explosion Creates Craft Segment Early 90s—first generation to grow up with college- educated parents comes of age For upper-middle class “bourgeois-bohemians” (Bobos), huge pent-up demand for new products and services that conveyed cultural sophistication Food/drinks were bulls-eye
  76. 76. Category Orthodoxy for Craft Beer Cosmopolitan Artisanal-
  77. 77. Red Ocean Branding BRANDS 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 Work New professional work ideology: Creative inventive work, making “insanely great” stuff
  79. 79. But few did. Routine work in stressful organizations was the norm. And they 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 Materials to 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 towns TheCulturalStrategyGroup
  84. 84. Fat Tire Equities were perfect fit TheCulturalStrategyGroup
  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 many avocations, including brewing beer. We celebrate quixotic playful exploration. Pastoral amateurs investigate their chosen domain with intensity. But this isn’t a masculine conquest. Our approach is communal, not competitive. We prefer childlike innocence to jaded professionalism. This is a playground, not a frontier. We champion wildly non-instrumental investments of time. We embrace brash iconoclasm. Pastoral amateurs will take whatever time it takes to learn what needs learning, pursue the paths of inquiry that are open, experimenting to get things right, attending to the details.
  87. 87. Historical Change Cultural Strategy ideology myth cultural codes
  88. 88. Results Sales +30-45% in test markets vs. control Fat 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 Strategy Embrace 3rd wave’s celebration of woman’s body and sexuality Challenge patriarchal scientific approach to women and their bodies Take on category taboos
  93. 93. Results UK 55% sales increase Germany 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 Seeding Efficient and compelling brand communication by provocatively engaging mass media discourse with brand ideology • 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 Jujitsu Special case of cultural seeding Leverage the power of the category leader to sharply and efficiently assert point-of-view
  98. 98. Incumbent’s Cultural Achilles Heel Mid 1990s: Abandoned youth rebellion against bourgeois adulthood Instead, celebrated the teenybopper dream of the rich and beautiful lifestyle • Undressed, Sorority Life, Room Raiders • Brittney, Paris, Jessica Simpson Great ideological opportunity
  99. 99. Populist Prankser New anti-bourgeois myth: celebrate rude sloth Use cultural jamming to mock MTV’s bourgeois tastes Extend to other points of engagement in discourse Low fidelity to show up MTV’s slick production
  100. 100. Culture Jam #1
  101. 101. Times Square Billboard Generates Real-Time Media Story
  102. 102. Culture Jam #2 MTV’s Spring Break
  103. 103. Culture Jam #3: iPod
  104. 104. Culture Jam #4 Celebrating Reality Soft Porn
  105. 105. Business Results Viewer Ratings increased 450%  with no program changes 60 New National Advertisers
  106. 106. Seeding Generated 120 Million Media Impressions
  107. 107. Results Ranked #1 Youth brand equity!
  108. 108. Doing Cultural Branding
  109. 109. Shifts in category ideology create massive cultural opportunities Society changes over time, often seismically, transforming the key ideologies that structure your category.. These ideological transformations challenge category conventions, devaluing incumbents and creating opportunities for new and restaged brands. This is a far more important innovation driver than generic trends
  110. 110. Winners become new iconic brands Successfully responding to historical changes that matter to category consumers is what transforms a brand into a cultural icon. Iconic brands champion a category-relevant ideology that resonates powerfully in people’s everyday lives. Which acts as a powerful halo shaping product quality and benefit perceptions.
  111. 111. Brands take advantage with resonant expressions, not declarations Iconic brands don’t tell people what they stand for. Rather, they create myths—they act in compelling ways to dramatize 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 management Your brand’s meaning and value is to be found in people’s everyday lives, in the media, in word-of-mouth, not in positioning statements or white board exercises or brand metrics reports. Your brand’s opportunities move with history. Game-changing opportunities emerge from structural changes in society and culture bearing down on your category. These opportunities can be researched, but require new kinds of cultural analysis. They are not to be found in trend reports! To do cultural branding requires that managers embrace new ways of doing research, strategy, and creative development.
  114. 114. Cultural branding is a systematic craft. With practice & perseverance, you can do it too!