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customer experience
Shaun Smith
  • By Shaun Smith
  • Sep 25 2017

How Iconic Brands Market Themselves

When words are no longer needed...

An advertisement has just been published in the Times newspaper showing an elderly lady gazing into the distance; perhaps out to sea. She looks a bit windswept and the sky is overcast. She is wearing a trench coat. There is no copy at all except for the Burberry logo beneath the image.

Burberry Photo

Burberry, a brand famous for using very young celebrities and models like Brooklyn Beckham, Cara Delvigne and Emma Watson, is positioned to be at the leading edge of social media and digital marketing. So what on earth is the brand doing releasing this simple, old fashioned, monochromatic photograph of an elderly lady in the Times?

The answer is simple. The Burberry Trench Coat is an icon. It transcends generations. It was created and proven in the trenches of the Great War and has since been an enduring symbol of quality, consistency and style. It needs no copy or explanation because it’s a hallmark of the brand and embodies the Burberry heritage.

Many great brands have a story to tell and one or more iconic products that define them and their brand values. Think of the Jack Daniels ‘Old No 7’ whiskey, or the Harley Davidson Hydra-Glide made famous in the film ‘Easy Rider’ or more recently Lush’s ‘Bath Bombs’. And it isn’t just product brands that can do this. Think of the warm cookie that is given when you check into a Doubletree Hotel or the ‘Parade on Main Street’ when you visit Disneyland or even the way that the Google logo changes daily on its home page.

All these are hallmarks that define a brand. The best brands understand this and celebrate these products and experiences in their marketing as Burberry has done with the Trenchcoat. So what are you famous for? What products and stories encapsulate the very essence of your brand? When you know this, you have no need to make wild marketing claims because the experience your customers have will say it for you.

Here are six principles to help you apply this thinking to your brand…

1) Be clear about the brand purpose and values.

2) Review the brand heritage and what makes it unique.

3) Identify products or services that are distinctively different and embody the brand DNA.

4) Select those that are most closely identified with what you do, are timeless and likely to be retained in the future.

5) Write a story around them that brings to life what the brand stands for. This is not about creative copywriting. It has to be authentic and rooted in fact.

6) Think about how you can ‘dramatise’ these iconic products by creating an experience around them.