Alive and Kicking

The latest marketing book to cross my cluttered desk is Living Brands, by Raymond Nadeau, founder of the agency LBLM (Living Brands, Living Media) and former global creative director at fragrance giant Coty. It’s a different read than most business/marketing books – think Carlos Castaneda as brand strategist – but there are some good takeaways on consumer empowerment and collaborative marketing:

“You need to understand the difference between [the consumer’s] real needs versus the commercial and competitive landscape that best suits the reality of your brand. As marketers, our job is to focus … on creating great products that are inspired by the consumer’s actual versus perceived lifestyle patterns by tapping directly into people’s unexpressed and/or unfulfilled desires as opposed to trying to ‘create artificial demand.’ ”

“Instead of being seen as static, controlled ‘intellectual property’ belonging to corporations, brands will need to be viewed as cultural property that belongs fully to consumers. Brands will need to become more malleable so that they can respond to consumers’ growing appetites for personal expression.”

“The notion of media as message is evolving – and has now come to mean something far more encompassing, far more direct and profound. Consumers are now media. And their lives constitute the messages that to this day still seem to remain largely unheard.”

The book has several interesting, sometimes obscure case studies, along with contributions from an eclectic cast of cultural trend agencies, experiential experts, and other “cultural marketing geniuses,” as Nadeau calls them in his introductory chapter. (He seems to take his collaboration theme seriously by getting a lot of other voices in the book.)

I interviewed Nadeau earlier this week for a cover story on rebranding strategies that I’m doing for The Advertiser. “Brands are not graven images,” he told me. “That is where marketers in the ’80s and ’90s wanted to take brands. I think that’s just silly. Religion has evolved; why can’t branding?”

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2 thoughts on “Alive and Kicking”

  1. Thank you for this review. It proves you read the book. I am very flattered, and, frankly, am delighted by your description. Carolos C. as brand strategist? Now, that’s an idea. It’s about time.
    Warm Regards,
    Raymond Nadeau

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