LEGENDARY BRANDS: Unleashing the Power of Storytelling to Create a Winning Marketing Strategy

Laurence Vincent, Author . Dearborn $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7931-5560-6

How does a swoosh come to stand for a heroic victory, or a common fruit come to represent individuality and innovation? Vincent asserts that the secret to the phenomenal success of companies like Nike and Apple is the narrative that communicates the underlying brand philosophy, one which engages and inspires consumers to use and stay loyal to "legendary brands." For instance, the story of grit and defiance underlying Harley Davidson attracts those who want to be a part of the open road myth, just as the clean-cut optimism of the Ralph Lauren story appeals to those who aspire to financial success. Among the many brands Vincent touches upon are Kodak, Ben & Jerry's and even Linux. How to create such compelling brand narratives remains elusive, though, since Vincent devotes many pages to theorizing about narrative structure, but doesn't actually break down the elements of success stories. His scientific tone and wordy descriptions of basic concepts are distracting (e.g., "Brand mythology acts upon the cognitive orientation centers of the brain in much the same way that religion and other deeply held philosophical beliefs do"). Although Vincent fills the book with myriad examples of legendary brands, he doesn't offer enough analysis regarding how the companies built persuasive brand narratives, not to mention maintained and expanded their success. Despite his good ideas, Vincent misses the most basic tenet of storytelling: show, don't tell. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
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