Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands

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OUP Oxford, Oct 28, 2010 - Business & Economics - 387 pages
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Market innovation has long been dominated by the worldview of engineers and economists--build a better mousetrap and the world will take notice. The most influential strategy books--such as Competing for the Future, The Innovator's Dilemma, and Blue Ocean Strategy--argue that innovation should focus on breakthrough functionality.
Holt and Cameron challenge this conventional wisdom. They develop a cultural approach to innovation: champion a better ideology and the world will take notice. The authors use detailed historical analyses of the take-offs of Nike, vitaminwater, Marlboro, Starbucks, Jack Daniel's, Levi's, ESPN, and Ben & Jerry's to build a powerful new theory. They show how brands in mature categories come to rely upon similar conventional brand expressions, leading to what the authors call a cultural orthodoxy. Historical changes in society threaten this orthodoxy by creating demand for new culture. Cultural innovations draw upon source material--novel cultural content lurking in subcultures, social movements, and the media--to develop brands that respond to this emerging demand, leapfrogging entrenched incumbents. The authors demonstrate how they have adapted this theory into a step-by-step cultural strategy model, which they successfully applied to start-ups (Fat Tire beer), consumer technologies (Clearblue pregnancy tests), under-funded challengers (Fuse music television), and social enterprises (Freelancer's Union). Holt and Cameron conclude by explaining why top marketing companies fail at cultural innovation. Using careful organizational research, the authors demonstrate that companies are trapped in the brand bureaucracy, which systematically derails innovation. Cultural innovation requires a new organizational logic. In all of their cases, the authors find that the cultural innovators have rejected the brand bureaucracy.
Written by one of the leading authorities on brands and marketing in the world today, Cultural Strategy transforms what has always been treated as the "intuitive" side of branding into a systematic strategic discipline.

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1 Rethinking Blue Oceans
Cultural Innovation Theory
Applying the Cultural Strategy Model
Organizing for Cultural Innovation
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About the author (2010)

Douglas Holt is the L'Oreal Professor of Marketing at the University of Oxford. Previously he was Professor of Marketing at the Harvard Business School. He is a leading expert on brand strategy, having established cultural branding as a new strategy tool in his best-selling book How BrandsBecome Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding. As a consultant, he has developed cultural strategies for a wide range of companies, including The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft, Brown-Forman, BMW, PepsiCo, MasterCard, and Bacardi, along with a number of not-for-profit organizations. He isco-founder of The Cultural Strategy Group with Douglas Cameron. Prior to this, he was a principal at Amalgamated, a brand communications company. He holds degrees from Stanford, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern and has published a number of influential academic articles in consumerresearch. He is the editor of the Journal of Consumer Culture. Douglas Cameron is Co-Principal of The Cultural Strategy Group, a consulting firm that specializes in helping managers, entrepreneurs, and activists develop cultural strategies. He has developed brand strategies for a wide range ofclients, including Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, The Coca-Cola Company, Court TV The Walt Disney Company, Fox Broadcasting Company, Svedka Vodka, and Planet Green. He formerly served as Chief Strategy Officer for Amalgamated, a non-traditional advertising agency known for developing cultural contentacross multiple media platforms. Under Mr. Cameron's leadership, the agency was profiled as an innovator by ABC News, CNN, The New York Times, Business 2.0, Fortune, and New York Magazine. He began his career at Cliff Freeman and Partners, the most lauded creative shop of its time. He entered theworld of marketing without premeditation: traveling the world as a bagpiper for several years, he performed at David Ogilvy's castle in France. Ogilvy insisted he take up advertising.

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