Thursday, March 30, 2017

Brands and Core Values

Some people identify with the Marlboro Man and his rugged independence. Others identify with the Horatio Alger story of rags to riches. Some people envision Mayberry RFD and its small town life. Some believe Ayn Rand got it right with her logical positivism philosophy. Others can much better relate to Mother Theresa. 

For some, it is about traditions. It might be the tradition of singing Christmas carols in a candlelight Christmas Eve church service. For others, it is about bringing family together at a Thanksgiving meal. Yet for others it might be about eating a hot dog and drinking beer at a baseball game. If you are from up north, maybe it is more about the hockey game.

Some may feel patriotic about the American flag, while the Confederate flag might be more of a symbol for others. 

Freedom, self-sufficiency and self-determination may be the vision of one person, while for another it might be the sense of community and collectivism. 

For some, it is all about aesthetics and beauty, whether found in a painting, a park, a poem, a garden or architecture. While for others it is about sport and competition and winning. 

Some people view themselves as collegiate, preppy types, while others think of themselves as good 'ol boys. Some fancy themselves to be intellectuals, while others think of themselves as mechanically inclined. Some are flamboyant screaming "look at me" while others are happy to be "plain Joes" who blend into the woodwork. 

Social circles can be based on neighborhood, school district, age, race, social class, profession, hobby, church, political party, sexual orientation or something else. Some people are so broad in their thinking that their circle of friends is unbounded.

Some people believe there is a God who oversees all things while others think our existence is just a happy (or maybe not so happy) coincidence. Some view the world as ultimately good and friendly, while others view it as hostile and highly competitive. Another group views it as random and lacking in any ultimate state.

My point to all of this is that brands must understand people's beliefs and core values if they are to relate to people in deep and meaningful ways. My other point is that there is likely to be more than one version of almost everything from religious values to the American Dream. The brand manager needs to decide to what beliefs and values his or her brand is primarily intended to appeal.

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