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Brand Management

Building Iconic Brand Associations

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Building Iconic Brand Associations

Once a brand is well positioned, the one enduring challenge that marketers face is making sure that everything associated with the brand is consistent in the minds of the target audience.

In theory it’s relatively simple. In practice of course, when managing global brands, with millions of customers and multiple campaigns, it can prove a lot more demanding.

Brand Associations And The Mind

The brand associations you build must work within the context of an over-communicated society, where it is getting harder for consumers to see and hear the signals. That’s the challenge. The good news is that once you have encoded an association it is extremely difficult to decouple it. Have you ever been to the Willis Tower in Chicago? Most people would say “no” because the building lives in their minds as the Sears Tower. In reality it’s been the Willis Tower since 2009.

Building Landmark Associations

When you execute brand associations, don’t build them around what your consumers are going to get. Build them based on what your consumers are going to remember. That has led some brands to build associations with iconic landmarks to fuel their success.

In 1925 French automaker Citroen began leveraging the power of the Eiffel Tower brand with 25,000 lights. The campaign, which spelled the brand name vertically on the side of the tower itself would last nearly a decade and would help the manufacturer become the country’s largest producer of automobiles until the Great Depression. Generations of Parisians would vividly recall the association long after the lights were removed.

In contrast Joe Boxer wanted to associate its neckties with the Statue of Liberty in 2014 by suspending a giant tie by helicopter. From one angle it gave the impression that Lady Liberty had a bold new tie and look. From other angles it looked like construction. Ideas suspending from helicopters are obviously temporary. Only two years have passed, yet the campaign is largely forgotten and deemed unremarkable.

That said, the opportunities for major brands to associate themselves with iconic landmarks are exceedingly rare. Even more rare is when that opportunity can’t be copied or diluted. For example, a new opportunity has emerged to build a long-term, physical association with the famed Hollywood sign. Brands seeking a strong link with the hopes and aspirations of dreamers everywhere will surely take note.

Just below the letter D, ‘The Last House on Mulholland’, offers one brand a preeminent stage to build an iconic home to showcase its vision.

This branded residence offers the right brand unique benefits to:

  • Become the next enduring symbol of the hopes and dreams that are Hollywood
  • Achieve high, enduring visibility with a global audience
  • Be the first and only brand to enjoy a direct and physical association with this global icon
  • Bring something new to their brand story
  • Reinforce what the brand stands for; its positioning
  • Differentiate the brand both in method and meaning

What do you want people to associate your brand with? Is your brand intrinsically LA, for example? Does it reference Hollywood (or could it)? Do you want consumers to associate you with glamour or luxury? There are plenty of motivations why a brand would want to associate itself with this iconic sign.

We can share more about this larger-than-life opportunity. Contact Derrick Daye at The Blake Project.

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Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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