Some books I read and some I chew on.
Chewy books are those where the thinking is so profound or ideas so counter intuitive that they are tough to digest.
Douglas Holt’s How brands become icons is a chewer.
Holt’s belief that brands achieve iconic status because they provide real identity value for consumers is pretty much received wisdom. However, the concept that they do this by resolving a fundamental contradiction between the expectations placed upon people by society and the reality of their day to day lives is a little more challenging. He does this with brands like Budweiser and VW which make loads of sense but it’s when you try to apply this to your own examples that things get interesting. Is Apple a run away success because of great products and great marketing or because the brand allows millions of people to feel they are part the creative economy when the reality of their lives is very different?
Add to that his challenge to the dreary dogma of relationship marketing and you have a book that messes with a lot of our assumptions about the way brands achieve and maintain iconic status.
One day this book will make it onto my bookshelf but for now its still in my bag close at hand for a daily chew.
For an overview of his work click here. Or to take a leap into the unknown and actually purchase the thing using the link to amazon in the books section.