February 24, 2023
By Matteo Atti
In times of insecurity, iconic products are a safe harbor for clients – a way to buy that comes with a brand guarantee and public reputation on which you can count.
Therefore, in the last few years, leading luxury consumer brands have navigated the storm of the pandemic and seen their product sales over-perform their smaller competitors and those that were new to the market.
Rolls-Royce car sales went through the roof. Waiting lists for Hermès bags and Goyard luggage became miles long.
What does iconic mean?
Iconic products represent their category as the first to come to mind when thinking of that category. They stand out as the most remarkable and memorable product.
Iconic is not a matter of scale or profitability. It is about recognizability and unquestioned premiership.
Iconic brands require to be universal in what they represent.
To become part of the collective consciousness, a brand must become the symbol of a way to approach the world: like the Red Cross is for medical assistance, IKEA is for affordable design and Bottega Veneta is for understated style.
An iconic brand is one that everyone knows what it stands for, has created a product that anchors a category and has become synonymous with a collective dream.
How do you become iconic?
We respond to first-hand experiences.
From a branding perspective, experiences are nothing more than stories passed on. They are normally something quite simple: simply unusual or inspiring.
An unexpected feeling of satisfaction that produces a straightforward, desirable outcome will leave a memory and the desire to relate the story, or to experience that moment of fulfillment again.
An iconic brand delivers a clear expectation of undisputable excellence. Cartier’s Love ring is a reliable and widely recognized symbol of enduring affection – even for consumers who never entered a Cartier shop.
Do marketers know their brand?
When thinking of the brand they have been nurturing and loving for years, marketers know it all – the highs, the lows, the past, the future.
When asked to name what makes their brand iconic, though, it is easy to focus on the thing they spent more time developing, or projects closer to their heart.
Unfortunately, what we believe in having left a mark on our audience is often different than what the brand team itself might think.
This was the case with Chanel – where a survey of internal “icons” selected the Little Black Dress, the atelier and Coco herself – while for customers it was the double C logo and Chanel No. 5.
Should you be so lucky to be asked to care for an iconic brand, remember it is part of the collective knowledge – and you should always ask why consumers love your brand, and what really is the symbol and the driver of your brand’s fame.
How to shape your brand to become an icon?
Select a space to excel in
Find the root of your icon
Let consumers give it a name about which they feel good
Select your brand signifier
Let it change and stay the same