Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands

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OUP Oxford, Oct 28, 2010 - Business & Economics - 404 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. But there's another important way to build new businesses: with innovative ideologies rather than innovative mousetraps. Consider Coca-Cola, Nike, Jack Daniel's, Marlboro, Starbucks, Corona, Oprah, The Body Shop: all built with innovative ideologies. Further many "better mousetraps" are much more compelling to consumers when bundled with innovative ideologies; consider BMW, Apple, and Whole Foods. Cultural Strategy provides a step-by-step guide for managers and entrepreneurs to build businesses in this simple but effective way. Holt and Cameron analyse a series of classic cases that relied on these bold, innovative strategies: Nike, Marlboro, Starbucks, Jack Daniels, vitaminwater, and Ben & Jerry's. They then demonstrate how the theory works as an actionable strategy model, drawing upon their consulting work. They show how cultural strategy takes start-up brands into the mass market (Fat Tire beer), overcomes "better mousetraps" wars in a technology driven category (ClearBlue pregnancy test), effectively challenges a seemingly insurmountable incumbent (FUSE music channel vs MTV), and develops a social innovation (The Freelancers Union). Holt and Cameron also describe the best organizational model for pursuing this approach, which they term "the cultural studio". The book demonstrates that the top consumer marketing companies are consistently poor at this type of innovation because they rely on an antithetic organization structure, what the authors term "the brand bureaucracy". To succeed at cultural innovation requires not only a very different approach to strategy, but a new way of organizing as well.

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The main idea of the book is that you should try to materials the ideologies that people demand based on the social changes, and implement them in your brand. Although the idea sounds new, the book is not very well-written.
Loads of pages are repetitive and the authors are just bragging about how their perspective is superior to the other marketing and branding methodologies. At least half of the book could be removed. The majority of the text is about what the authors want to say rather than what the reader needs to know.
I believe the idea of the book is quite unique and inspiring. What I personally didn't like the most was that the books over-tries to sell the model by completely ignoring the values of the other models.

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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 Brands Become 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 is co-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 consumer research. 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 of clients, 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 content across multiplemedia 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 the world 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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