How Brands Become icons?
How can companies make their brands become icons? A company can accomplish this by positioning its products or services in a unique way–using language that puts the customer in the driver’s seat. The language must be one which inspires a feeling of trust and security. Companies also must position their brands in a way that makes it easy for customers to share it with others.
The principles of Cultural Branding suggest that the key to making icons is in the choice of words. Cocoa-Cola has branded itself as a reliable brand by positioning itself as a symbol of comfort, enjoyment and virility. Likewise, Harley-Davidson has positioned itself as a symbol of freedom. Nike has branded itself as a brand of comfort. Budweiser has positioned itself as a brand of values.
Although many businesses have succeeded by capitalizing on existing icon concepts (such as the “Budweiser” brand of beer or the “Nike” brand of sneakers), successful icons must also be unique in context. One of the reasons that the “Budweiser” and “Nike” brands are so successful is that people are emotionally attached to them. If a large percentage of the population identifies an existing brand as a personal favorite, then this concept becomes a significant hurdle for marketers.
In addition to the reasons as to why icons are created and how they become icons, D. B. Holt also touches upon the social marketing element of icons when discussing branding. As he mentions in the book, when you create icons, you create social proof. He goes into explaining how once you have a logo or symbol, your company will become recognizable because people will associate it with a set of values.
In a broader sense, D. B. Holt emphasizes the value of creating an emotional connection with the customer. Once a brand has established an emotional connection with a customer, then the customer will likely trust the brand. When a customer feels that a brand is connected to him or her in some way, then they are more apt to purchase from that brand. How Brands Become Icons includes many case studies that highlight the ways in which this concept works. It would be wise for any small business owner to peruse the book.
D. B. Holt also touches Upon the importance of managing brand identity. Icons can be a useful tool to help you manage this aspect of your branding efforts. They serve as an effective reminder, but what happens when you’ve gotten so good at branding that your company no longer has to use icons? A new brand identity can be started, and the best way to do this is by making sure that your branding efforts are consistent. Incorporate these techniques of brand identity management into your strategy, and you’ll find that you can achieve long-term branding success.
Within Cultural Branding, Holt highlights several main reasons as to why a brands becomes an icon. He states that the most important reason is that we feel a bond with a brands and we associate that brands with an individual or a set of individuals. When a product or service is associated with a celebrity or a cultural figure, people want to have that same association. This is why we end up associating ourselves with the products or services associated with that figure.
In addition to the reasons as to why we make icons, D. B. Holt gives some great examples of some of the most popular icons that have become household names. For example, Bob Marley became a cultural icon in the U.S. with his song “The Devil’s Favorite Band.” Nike and Star Wars were iconic in their own right. Both of these brands managed to reach the status of being household names without spending a fortune on advertising.