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How Brands Become Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding Hardcover – November 1, 2004

13 customer reviews

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How Brands Become Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding + Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands + Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Douglas B. Holt is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at HBS. He is a respected scholar in the marketing arena.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578517745
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578517749
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 45 people found the following review helpful By NK on February 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am very surprised with the rave reviews of this book here. I decided to purchase it for two reasons. First, I trusted the reviews here and decided it would be important to own this book. Second, I am familiar with Douglas Holt's academic work, and have read his articles in academic journals. I thought this book will be very interesting to read.

I am dissapointed mainly because I find that the book does not tell me something original. Instead what Douglas Holt keeps saying in this book is that building an iconic brand is possible by focusing on culture not products. His argument is not convincing, especially when he tries to disprove other forms of brand building: tradition, cultural and emotional. If I have a brand new product, can I still build an icon? Is it advantageous to have an iconic brand? What are the downside of it? These are not talked about in the book.

Another problem is that he keeps repeating the same argument again and again. It gets very boring after a few pages only.

What a disappointment!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Grace Everett on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'm no business-head. I find modern consumerism more disturbing than exciting. But I read this book as part of a study on public relations and I must say Holt's passion for the subject is contagious.

First of all, his writing style is superb. He alternates nicely between anecdotes, charts and philosophy, allowing all sorts of minds to grasp just what he's saying. His ideas were bold and insightful, and he helped me to understand what a craft marketing really is.

I sometimes felt his connections were just that - his connections - but a lot of his ideas rang true, and for the most part his evidence was well, evident.

What I found most impressive was his aknowledgement of all the sexism in marketing. Perhaps it's a bit of sexism on my part, but I hadn't expected a man to pick up on all the overt and covert misogyny inherent in the advertising world. Holt not only saw it, he understood how it connected with the greater social and political environment surrounding it.

How Brands Become Icons should be required reading for every high school student in the country. And that's the first time I've said that. Holt's grasp of the subject goes beyond branding, into the heart of American culture, into the minds of the American people. This is not just a how-to book. It's an important book of why.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Groop on August 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book! Douglas B. Holt gives a cultural perspective to branding which is not that trivial to all managers. The book also presents historical analyses on brands like Mountain Dew, Corona, Volkswagen, and many others. The clear message is that iconic brands can't be created through conventional branding strategies, instead there is a need for a cultural perspectice to branding.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a total waste of time. Think Like A Rock Star is the best book out there on marketing. This man still teaches at Harvard? I tried hard to get into this book but it was not possible. Sorry.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carol on October 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a serious book for marketers who want to understand the intersection of culture and branding. Brands that become icons speak into a cultural conversation in a relevant way and take on meaning beyond their categories. This book shows how brands like Mountain Dew, Corona, and Coke did it. A very readable and insightful book.

Carol Phillips
[...]
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fred Pollard on May 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The author points out correctly in my opinion how culture matters. In other words, in order for a brand to be relevant it must have social currency...which means cultural relevancy.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LJG on January 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great read (skim the overdone examples) but read for the structures Holt puts in place and the comparisons he makes to previous branding POVs.
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