Future Case

Crossmedia, Social, Mobile, Business Modeling, Marketing, Research and insights

Building ‘Brandtopias’—How Top Brands Tap into Society

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Questing ‘Tap-in’ strategies, I stumbled upon this article about brandtopias. Although it was published in 2002, I believe it has quite some relevance to my research. Currently, I am trying to define my research question. As my lector, Harry van Vliet, put it: “you’ve got slides two till eighty pretty much in your head, now where’s slide one?” Well, it all boils down to my working title: King client. I’ll be writing about it later. Here’s the article which I found on Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge.

“Customers value some of the most powerful brands in the world primarily for their “cultural value”: They provide imaginative resources that people use to build their identities” say Harvard Business School’s professor Douglas Holt.

These are what Holt terms identity brands—and their market power cannot be attributed to the usual suspects of success: superior business models or cutting edge technology.

Holt is interested in what makes identity brands resonate. In his research, he focuses on the best-performing identity brands—the top 5 percent that have been extraordinarily successful with customers over long periods of time.

What’s the secret of long-running megabrands such as Mountain Dew, Nike, and Budweiser? The magical sweet spot when a brand delivers imaginative stories that are perfectly attuned to society’s desires.

His new research, which he discussed with HBS faculty at a marketing seminar on May 8, is part of a forthcoming book that focuses on identity brands that deliver extraordinary customer value over time.

The most powerful brands are those that are able to transverse disruptive cultural shifts.
— Douglas Holt

“I’m interested in a question that I don’t think we ever really ask or address well, which is, ‘How does customer value work over time?’ How is cultural value created; how is it maintained; how is it destroyed?'”

With the strategic importance of brands climbing, understanding how certain brands achieve so much power in the marketplace is at the center of much discussion. The advice most often provided to managers is to weave the brand into the most potent popular culture trends. Recently, consultants and ad agencies began emphasizing the reverse: recommending that managers seek out the essential “DNA” of the brand. Many brands pursue these two models and do fine, says Holt.

Read the whole story.


Written by Kees Winkel

April 12, 2008 at 09:40

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