Bernd Schmitt and Alex Simonson, two leading experts in the emerging field of identity management, offer clear guidelines for harnessing a company's total aesthetic output -- its "look and feel" -- to provide a vital competitive advantage. Going beyond standard traditional approaches on branding, this fascinating book is the first to combine branding, identity, and image and to show how aesthetics can be managed through logos, brochures, packages, and advertisements, as well as sounds, scents, and lighting, to sell "the memorable experience." The authors explore what makes a corporate or brand identity irresistible, what styles and themes are crucial for different contexts, and what meanings certain visual symbols convey. Any person in any organization in any industry can benefit from employing the tools of "marketing aesthetics."
Schmitt and Simonson describe how a firm can use these tools strategically to create a variety of sensory experiences that will (1) ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty; (2) sustain lasting customer impressions about a brand's or organization's special personality; (3) permit premium pricing; (4) provide legal "trade dress" protection from competitive attacks; (5) lower costs and raise productivity; and (6) most importantly, create irresistible appeal. The authors show how to manage identity globally and how to develop aesthetically pleasing retail spaces and environments. They also address the newly emergent topic of how to manage corporate and brand identity on the Internet. Supporting their thesis with numerous real-world success stories such as Absolut Vodka, Nike, the Gap, Cathay Pacific Airlines, Starbucks, the New Beetle Website, and Lego, the authors explain how actual companies have developed, refined, and maintained distinct corporate identities that set them apart from competitors.
Read an Excerpt
Aesthetics. From the moment we wake to the end of each working day we are dazzled by what we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. Our personal tastes guide our decisions in choosing our neighborhoods, decorating our homes, selecting our clothing, picking our appliances, and buying our cars.
But many managers and marketers have forgotten what provides value to customers; what truly satisfies customers; what turns them on. Business has been preoccupied with "quality function deployment" and "activity-based accounting," "business process reengineering" and "cost savings," "defining core... see more
Reading Group Guide
1. What aesthetics does your organization currently use and how is it manifested?
- Identify the key identity elements of the organization
- Identify styles and themes embodied in them
- What are the desired expressions and what impressions do they create?
2. What type of identity does your organization use (monolithic, branded, or endorsed). Should this structure be changed in order to better leverage your identity? How?
3. What are the bottom line business effects being created by your identity?
- Identify different target audiences for various identity elements
- Estimate or examine potential consumer reactions to these identity elements across and within the identified segments/markets
- Identify manifested weaknesses in business opportunities due to neglect of aesthetics and identity management.
4. What is the aesthetic image or identity you desire to convey, how and why?
- Identify/isolate key themes of your organization
- Determine styles to accompany various themes
- Decide best on which identity elements need change and how to integrate the identity across the various elements and target markets
5. What nonconventional ways can you use to strengthen your identity?
- Identify leading aesthetics across numerous industries.
- Determine how your organization can gain awareness, interest, and increase market share b