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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important new direction, 4 Jan 2012
A quick search on Amazon will reveal thousands of marketing guides, analyses and 'transformative' approaches to this age-old trade. These titles provide start-up advice, handy mnemonic acronyms, and all manner of exhortations to 'zig' when others 'zag'. This volume however is short on conceptual snakeoil but thoroughly convincing in its main arguments. Holt and Cameron have combined detailed academic analysis with extensive practical experience to produce what I believe to be the best book on marketing for years.

Holt and Cameron suggest that in a 'Blue Ocean' - an environment typical to most household consumption products - marketers need to take advantage of social disruption and emergent tensions to position their products and services. New and established brands should aim their marketing efforts towards these tensions, using attributes of their products to speak to cultural trends within society. This kind of trend is most obvious in demand for environmentally sound products, the backlash against big companies and the like, and certainly, the book features case-studies that follow this type of marketing innovation. But Holt and Cameron also revisit famous marketing case studies such as Nike and Starbucks in order to show the cultural aspects of the strategies that saw them succeed. While several chapters are unashamedly conceptual and reference underlying academic theory, the multitude of case studies and the simple explanation of cultural innovation as a strategic tool make this book readable and enjoyable.

Holt and Cameron make a very strong case for cultural innovation as a way of doing business rather than a new trend in marketing, and this book is head and shoulders above the gimicky slogans of the genre.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important brand book you'll read this year, 1 Jan 2011
Just finished reading what I think is the most important brand planning book since John Grant's The Brand Innovation Manifesto.

Whilst neuroscience, evolutionary psychology and other behavioural sciences have helped us to better understand the `demand' side of commerce, what we've been missing is way to create brands that (really) work on the `supply' side.

Many of us planners have been trying to highlight the importance of culture in the equation, knowing that successful brands resolve cultural tensions. However, 50 years of thinking about brands in a mechanistic, reductionist and (ultimately flawed) scientific way has created organisational bureaucracies that prevent the creation of truly amazing brands.

Thankfully though, Cultural Strategy provides a framework, the lexicon and the evidence to rescue us from the illusion of scientific brand management. Top stuff!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't avoid to ignore cultural strategy, 18 Jan 2012
Marko P. Joensuu (London) - See all my reviews
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This book brings together many important developments in marketing thinking and gives them a solid theoretical background. It illuminates important 'truths' about marketing that most readers would have grasped intuitively and connects them with culture. Today, many marketing agencies push storytelling but without connecting the story with culture it has no real meaning. 'Cultural Strategy' is one of the handful of books that has anything new and meaningful to say about marketing. Read it before your competitors do!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The power of culture in business identity and advertising, 30 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands (Paperback)
This book was an eye-opener for me. I was already immersed in a cultural approach to understanding what makes great brand and advertising. This was however all fuzzy notions inside my head. This book showed me that I can actually work systematically with my cultural understanding, which creates an understanding of what makes marketing successful.

Holt and Douglas provide a framework, which uses knowledge of a consumer target group in a specific way to build a marketing plan. Furthermore, they make the reader acknowledge the importance of the cultural and ideological dynamics of society, which usually has been the preoccupation of historians, sociologists or anthropologists. They provide a systematic way of accumulating knowledge on ideological tensions in society, which can create break-through brands. For example VitaminWater is succesful not because it has a innovative functional properties, but because it builds on the health craze, the popular myth of drinking a certain number of glasses of water a day and getting enough vitamins through one's diet. This can be labelled an ideological development in the Western world. The founder of VitaminWater was very effective in communicating his product within this cultural development. He used relevant source materials from subcultures and popular media relating to this health ideology.

Overall, this book provides businesses and marketing employees in particular with a alternative framework on advertising. A framework, which has at least as much legitimacy as the bureaucratic, sciency and quantitive-analysis-obsessed approaches to marketing, which so often dominates big corporations and reduces the creativity in marketing work.

I give it four stars because it is very conceptual. It does not give much directions with regard to implications. This is a great barrier for the proliferation of the line of thought, this book presents. This lack however does not make it less important and ground-breaking.
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