Andrew Loog Oldham, the manager and producer of the Rolling Stones from 1963 until 1967, still considers his work in branding the world's greatest rock band—he essentially built their image from the ground up—to be all but unsurpassed.
"Is it possible to distill the character of a city into a single, striking logo? In some ways it seems crass to (re)brand a place, reducing the complexity of a locale into to what is, essentially, a marketing campaign. Done well, however, the efforts can unite locals and lure leisure travelers, who bring with them a major financial boon (check out the World Bank’s map of international tourist dollars from the past four years—there’s a lot of cash involved). But have we reached peak branding?"
It’s not an earth-shattering insight that consumers are getting smarter and more skeptical of being sold to. But Wolff Olins and Flamingo’s report does offer some reasonable strategies for adjusting to today’s realities. If you’re still spending all your energy on thinking of ways to pitch and package, you’re in trouble. If you’re thinking of your brand as a static thing, set in stone, you’re behind the times.
The challenge for companies today is coming up with a fair exchange for consumers–one that could involve simple, honest utility, like Ikea, or a more altruistic mission, like Tom’s Shoes, or a broader engagement with the marketplace, like Faber and its academy. No matter what it looks like, if consumers think you’re being honest about the offer, they’ll come to you....
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