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hard rock cafe small.jpgEveryone loves a great design, but that is only a starting point to achieving iconic brand status. A key to long term success is being able to manufacture quickly, efficiently and at a price point that leaves enough margin in the product to achieve a profit.

There are many iconic brands, products and logos, as we saw in Part 1. And the companies behind iconic brands, from Fender guitars to Ray-Ban sunglasses or Porsche sports cars, must continually innovate their designs over decades to reach iconic status, as we saw in Part 2.

But year-on-year great designs are not their only challenge.  These companies must also consider:

  •      Manufacturing
  •      Marketing
  •      Sales
  •      Pricing

Once a design is in the market, competitors can imitate it. When Apple came out with the iPad, it didn’t take long for other companies to start producing their own tablet computers. However Apple’s manufacturing processes were so robust that, not only did Apple have a dominant share of the market in the early years, they also had 99 percent of all the profits in the tablet market.

In other words, they had competition, but their competitors’ manufacturing costs were so high, that to reach a competitive price, they were selling at a loss. There are still rumours that Amazon sells the Kindle at a loss.

Achieving a robust manufacturing process includes having an excellent supply chain. Towards that end, companies must:

  •       Know their suppliers
  •       Accurately forecast demand
  •       Buy raw materials in just the right quantities and quality

Marketing and pricing are also critical components to reach iconic brand status.  Cool advertising is not enough.  Neither are low prices or extraordinarily high prices.

Hard Rock Café achieved iconic status, but Planet Hollywood and other theme restaurants never knocked the memorabilia-adorned eatery off its perch.

Knowing your target customer, understanding your sales model, reviewing your pricing, adjusting your inventory, and many other processes are just as important as slick marketing. Companies that do this well over the long term, despite constant competitive pressures, will emerge as icons.

What else is required to reach iconic status? Why do you think certain iconic brands succeed?

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  1. Tim Clark

    Brad, it’s interesting to see the full picture in this third post. A brand can only become truly iconic when the left hand talks to the right and back end operations link to the front end. Just think…if Ray Ban’s supply chain was off kilter, perhaps they wouldn’t have been able to meet demand after their brand was reinvigorated by “Risky Business” and “Top Gun”?

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