Posted by Giles Lury on October 28, 2010
I sometimes call this week’s definition the Titanic definition for obvious reasons. It is also the definition that is most easily and most often accompanied by a picture.
The definition is that a brand is an iceberg.
It builds on or rather challenges the Philip Kotler definition discussed previously: “A name, term, symbol or design, or a combination of them which is intended to signify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors”.
The Titanic definition would claim that Kotler’s definition tells only part of the story. Kotler’s definition focuses on the visible elements of the brand – the name and identity – but misses the importance of the brand’s meaning, values and internal culture.
As branding has spread from fast moving consumer goods to services and corporate brands, there has been increasing recognition that branding isn’t just about the public face of an organisation but is also an expression of an organisation’s internal beliefs, cultures and behaviour.
In other words the outward facing name and identity (and advertising) is the visible tip of the iceberg but it should be the expression of the invisible but vitally important elements of the brand.
Posted by Giles Lury on March 26, 2009
A recent article in The Times by Ben Macintyre – “Great Minds Think Differently”, got me thinking. http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article5954441.ece
He discusses how, in these tough times, the philosophers and thinkers people turn to are changing. How Sun Tzu (the Chinese military strategist, much quoted at the beginning of the Iraq war) seems to have fallen out of favour with the US Army and how we have seen a rehabilitation of John Maynard Keynes as governments use fiscal stimulus to boost national economies.
All of which made me think what shifts are we seeing in marketing thinking? The most obvious one, beyond a focus on price and value, that has struck me is a shift – a return? - to a more functional approach to marketing and branding. A resurgence of the Kotler, Reeves and the “P&G” approach focusing on the functional attributes and benefits of brand and the search for the marketing Holy Grail of a USP.
Given the tough conditions it makes sense too. Everyone is thinking about what they spend their money on and so wanting to make sure what they buy is worth it. They want to know what it does, how well it does it and why it’s better than the alternatives.
We’ve always believed that the essence of a great brand is a combination of both functional and emotional – what we call the Emo-Func and depicted it with a variation on the Yin-Yang symbol. If what I’m suggesting is true then it is not that brands can ignore the “Emo”, it’s just that the “Func” is becoming relatively more important.
Perhaps like women’s hemlines, which have traditionally been seen as an barometer of economic performance, the swing in the balance of Emo-Func can be an invaluable indicator for marketers.