The paper “ Coke, Budweiser and Nike - How Brands Become Icons" is a thrilling example of a literature review on marketing. Branding is one of the key strategies often employed by businesses to capture the attention of consumers. Consequently, brands are all over and thus, they have become a familiar part of many people’ s lives. But as Lury (2011, p. 150) points out, some brands present something more than a product or a service to the consumers in that they tap into a collective desire or anxiety of a society and as a result, they develop a unique status which leads to functional benefits to a business.
According to Holt (2004, p. 3), these brands develop identity myths which address the created desires or anxieties. Further, they challenge people to adopt certain generally accepted ways of thinking and behavior. Over time, these brands eventually become imbued in people’ s consciousness and cultural practices. When this happens, all people, both individually and collectively, wish to associate with the identity of these brands and thus, they gain superiority over other related brands from other sellers.
In other words, such a brand becomes a cultural brand or an icon in society. Hence the ‘ how brands become icons’ concept which is well brought out in the theory of cultural branding by Douglas B. Holt refers to a thorough inquiry into the process in which a cultural brand is created (Holt 2004, p. 3). According to Holt (2004, p. 4), it usually takes a lot of time and resources for a product to attain iconic status and this explains the fact that this status is enjoyed by relatively few brands.
In view of this, this discussion seeks to examine the process through which brands become icons. To enhance a better understanding of the concept, this paper illustrates the aforementioned process by looking at how Coke, a brand of Coca-Cola Company developed to become a long time cultural brand. How a brand becomes an iconTo clearly understand how brands become icons, it is vital to first gain an insight into the conceptual meaning of the term ‘ brand’ . Usually, the term brand is understood to refer to the subject or the markers related to the subject of sale (a product or service).
However, as Middleton (2010 p. 3) notes, the term brand is not just a good or service. Actually, it means much more than that. Also, it does not just denote the logo that is associated with a good or service. According to Middleton (2010, p. 4), a brand is about meaning. Precisely, a brand has to do with everything that customers and prospective customers think, say, feel, read, hear, watch, imagine and hope about a product, a service or an organization.
Further, Holt (2004, p. 3), who holds a similar view, argues that the term ‘ brand’ is formed when brand markers are filled with customer experiences. Formation of a brand is a process that involves advertisements, events or films which use a product or a service. In the end, people learn and talk about the product or service in conversations. Sometimes, a story emerges which wins consensus in the understanding and ideas about a brand. As Holt (2004, p. 4) points out, it reaches a point to which people value the brand “ as much for what they symbolize as for what they do. ” In other words, at that point, the brand becomes embedded in people’ s culture and consciousness (Tilde & Bjerre, 2009, p.
216). Notably, some brands which have attained this status such as Coke, Budweiser, and Nike are imbued with stories that customers “ value for their identity value. ” Often, the consumers find these stories valuable in constructing their own identities and thus, they use the associated brands as objects of self-expression. In other words, these brands help consumers to express themselves and how they want to be especially because they embody ideas that these consumers admire.
According to (Holt, p. 4, 2004), such brands eventually “ become consensus expressions of particular values held dear by some members of the society. ”