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Brand Management

How High Value And High Worth Brands Differ

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How High Value And High Worth Brands Differ

It’s a classic juxtaposition in the world of marketing: On one end are brands with high value (attractive at a low price), and on the other end are brands with high worth (worth it at almost any price). In recent years, the landmark TCL Chinese Theatre on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame found itself at risk of tipping toward the wrong end of the worth-value scale.

Founded by Sid Grauman in 1927, the iconic Chinese Theatre has long been “the place” for major Hollywood film premieres and a mecca for devotees of the film industry. Generations of film lovers have flocked there just to attend a show—any show—in the legendary venue. During the last decade, however, the rise of better home theater systems and video capabilities on phones and tablets has forced theaters everywhere to improve the movie-watching experience and rethink how they appeal to the viewing public, altering the worth-value dynamic for the entire film industry. The shift has even had an impact at a one-of-a-kind venue like the Chinese Theatre, which still premieres more major films than any other theater on Earth. In the face of these challenges, refounder Alwyn Hight Kushner, the brand’s president and chief operating officer, recently initiated several changes to reinforce the Theatre’s storied legacy in the making.

“We can’t have Steven Spielberg watching his own movie and have it not be perfect,” says Hight Kushner. “When you have the most esteemed filmmakers of our time coming to watch and experience their movies, our presentation has to be remarkable.”

To ensure that the Theatre keeps its unique worth and status in the eyes of filmmakers and audiences alike, the brand underwent a massive, months-long renovation, adding all the latest cutting-edge technology and creature comforts while meticulously retaining the Theatre’s singluar atmosphere and experience. As a result, The Theatre now claims one of the largest IMAX screens in the world and the largest IMAX auditorium. Annually, more than 5 million people visit the fabled theater, including the many celebrities attending red-carpet premiers. Each blockbuster crowd spilling out onto Hollywood Boulevard — just steps from the handprints and footprints of nearly a century of Hollywood Stars in the theaters courtyard provides further evidence that the brand’s unique modern legacy is worth the trip.

The Worth-Value Scale

Brands that are easy to compare and brands that are beyond compare fall opposite ends of the worth-value scale. The TCL Chinese Theatre invests in unique qualities that distinguish it from others theaters to boost its worth among consumers. Imagine your brand on the worth-value scale:

A Good Value At A Low Price
Value = Comparable Quality ÷ Price

Worth It At Almost Any Price
Worth = Incomparable Qualities  (Ambition + Values + Beliefs + Behaviors + Personality + Social Meaning + Personal Significance + Cultural Contribution + Cultural Influence + Community + Experience + Heritage + Creativity + Innovation + Artistry + Craftsmanship + Utility + Design + Originality + Individuality + Access to Knowledge + Time Well Spent + Aspiration + Exclusivity + High Price)

On which end does your brand fall? To add worth, consider what factors would further distinguish your brand. Can you claim rare qualities such as artistry, craft, and exclusivity? How else could you invest in fewer, more distinctive expressions to ensure that your modern legacy is beyond compare? Avoid tipping towards conventional value by investing in those intangible qualities such as your contributions to culture and community that make your brand incomparable and irreplaceable.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider with the permission of McGraw-Hill. Excerpted and adapted from Legacy in the Making: Building a Long-Term Brand to Stand Out in a Short-Term World

Mark Miller and Lucas Conley are the authors of Legacy in the Making: Building a Long-Term Brand to Stand Out in a Short-Term World. Miller is the founder of The Legacy Lab, a research and consulting practice, and the chief strategy officer at Team One. Conley is executive editor at The Legacy Lab, a former researcher for The Atlantic and staff writer for Fast Company.

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