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How Brands Become Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding

Book Description

Coca-Cola. Harley-Davidson. Nike. Budweiser. Valued by customers more for what they symbolize than for what they do, products like these are more than brands--they are cultural icons. How do managers create brands that resonate so powerfully with consumers? Based on extensive historical analyses of some of America's most successful iconic brands, including ESPN, Mountain Dew, Volkswagen, Budweiser, and Harley-Davidson, this book presents the first systematic model to explain how brands become icons. Douglas B. Holt shows how iconic brands create "identity myths" that, through powerful symbolism, soothe collective anxieties resulting from acute social change. Holt warns that icons can't be built through conventional branding strategies, which focus on benefits, brand personalities, and emotional relationships. Instead, he calls for a deeper cultural perspective on traditional marketing themes like targeting, positioning, brand equity, and brand loyalty--and outlines a distinctive set of "cultural branding" principles that will radically alter how companies approach everything from marketing strategy to market research to hiring and training managers. Until now, Holt shows, even the most successful iconic brands have emerged more by intuition and serendipity than by design. With How Brands Become Icons, managers can leverage the principles behind some of the most successful brands of the last half-century to build their own iconic brands. Douglas B. Holt is associate professor of Marketing at Harvard Business School.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Dedication
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Preface and Acknowledgments
  6. CHAPTER 1 - What Is an Iconic Brand?
    1. What Is a Brand?
    2. Identity Value and Iconic Brands
    3. Axioms of Cultural Branding
    4. Organization of the Book
  7. CHAPTER 2 - How Is Cultural Branding Different?
    1. From Mind-Share Branding to Cultural Branding
    2. From Emotional Branding to Cultural Branding
    3. From Viral Branding to Cultural Branding
    4. The Path to Cultural Branding
  8. CHAPTER 3 - Targeting Myth Markets
    1. The Hillbilly Myth
    2. The Redneck Myth
    3. The Slacker Myth
    4. How Myth Markets Work
  9. CHAPTER 4 - Composing the Cultural Brief
    1. Elements of the Cultural Brief
    2. DDB’s Bohemian Myth
    3. Mind Share Buries an Icon
    4. Arnold’s Indie Myth
    5. Linking Creativity to Strategy
  10. CHAPTER 5 - Leveraging Cultural and Political Authority
    1. Budweiser Genealogy
    2. Beers Battle with Reactionary Manhood Myths
    3. “This Bud’s for You”
    4. Cultural Disruption: Cynicism to Downsizing
    5. “Lizards”
    6. “Whassup?!”
    7. Managing Cultural and Political Authority
  11. CHAPTER 6 - Managing Brand Loyalty as a Social Network
    1. ESPN Genealogy
    2. ESPN’s Man-of-Action Athlete Myth
    3. ESPN’s Three Constituencies
    4. Brand Loyalty as a Social Network
    5. Managing Across Constituencies
  12. CHAPTER 7 - Coauthoring the Myth
    1. Harley-Davidson Genealogy
    2. Motorcycle Clubs Invent the Outlaw Ethos
    3. Stage 1: Cultural Texts Stitch the Outlaw Myth to Harley
    4. The Wild One
    5. Stage 2: Repackaging the Outlaw as a Reactionary Gunfighter
    6. Easy Rider
    7. Harley Becomes an Icon
    8. Stage 3: Repackaging Gunfighters as Men of Action
    9. Harley Becomes an Icon, Again
    10. Coauthoring an Iconic Brand
  13. CHAPTER 8 - Advancing the Myth
    1. Milking the Myth’s Popularity
    2. Chasing Trends
    3. Advancing the Myth: Four Principles
    4. Branding as Storytelling
  14. CHAPTER 9 - Branding as Cultural Activism
    1. Four Kinds of Cultural Knowledge
    2. Brand Manager as Genealogist
    3. Cultural Branding Strategy
    4. Brand Manager as Composer
    5. The Cultural Activist Organization
  15. APPENDIX - Methods
  16. Notes
  17. Selected Bibliography
  18. Index
  19. About the Author