The more powerful the awoken feeling the stronger the input to take action, to do something in order to change the status quo. People identify with icons and deeply bond with them sharing goals and values. Such bonds happen with the messages rather than the products and in those few cases, in which identities bond so deeply with consumers brands, they become icons.
Examples of this type of brands are of course Nike, Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Nivea, Amazon, … to name a few.
In his book „How brands become icons“ professor Douglas B. Holt brilliantly outlines the seven ingredients of iconic brands – we added some examples:
i) Iconic brands are based on society‘s threats and desires in a certain era
ii) Iconic brands perform identity myths: simple fictions that resolve cultural contradictions
iii) Iconic brands perform as activists who lead the culture
example „Google 2012“
iv) Identity myths take place in populist worlds: places where people‘s actions are guided by personal values and not by money or power.
example: „three little pigs“ by The Guardian”
v) Customers experience the brand‘s myth through what becomes a ritual.
example: Coca-Cola X-mas trucks
vi) Breakthrough performances stick in the memory, while average ads tend to be forgotten.
Example: „Stratos“ by Red Bull
vii) Effective myths cast a halo effect on perceived quality and reliability of the brand
Example: „Best Job“ by P&G
„How brands become icons: the principles of cultural branding“ by Douglas B.Holt
An illuminating and deep analysis that Bolt, associate professor of Marketing at Harvard Business School, makes on those brands which became worldwide cultural icons e.g. Harley-Davidson, Nike, Budweiser, Coca-Cola. Based on historical analyses Holt underlines the principles of this evolution, supporting his thesis with brilliant examples and linking the success not to marketing laws, rather to the brand‘s cultural sensitivity.