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Stand For Something: How Shared Values Create New Markets

Posted By: SGK July 14, 2014
Stand For Something: How Shared Values Create New Markets

Markets change. Consumers age. Children grow, gain purchasing power, and develop their own brand preferences. Cultures intermingle. So to stay relevant, many brands need to change along with markets. The most effective way to do this is to discover the shared values that motivate customers and make the brand itself a medium for sharing these values, says Kathryn Sloane, our director of growth for the APAC region.

Here’s how a few iconic brands have continued to grow over a long history by developing and sharing values that are in harmony with the changing times. 

From Aristocratic Delicacy to Middle Class Family Fun
For hundreds of years, gelatin was a moldable delicacy that only the wealthy could afford. In the early 20th century, ads appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal showing fashionable young women serving Jell-O and declaring it “America’s Favorite Dessert.” Salesmen distributed free recipe books – one of the earliest examples of content marketing. Since then, Jell-O has repositioned itself repeatedly as the essential ingredient in a fad for congealed salads and layered desserts, as a convenient line of pre-packaged snacks. And most notably, as a fun food that brings kids and adults together.

From Ideal Beauty to Personal Empowerment 
Dove began its remarkable rise to brand success in the 1950s. Early messaging positioned Dove as a “beauty bar” that moisturized skin unlike ordinary soap. For three decades, the best reason to use Dove was to please someone else. By early 2000’s, women simply weren’t having any more of that. Aging customers didn’t want to be reminded of discarded beauty ideals, and potential new customers were raised to believe in themselves rather than the need to please others. That insight became Dove’s brilliant vision for completely remaking the values at the core of the brand. It was all about finding values to share and creating meaningful stories to lead the values conversation.  

Anticipating Tomorrow’s Values
Brands that want to hold onto loyalty in the long-term need to speak to the changing ways consumers look at the world as they get older. This might mean turning from an innocent to a nostalgic view of youth, as Hello Kitty has done. “Children are still the main target audience,” Sloane notes, “but over the past 25 years, Hello Kitty has learned to follow its devotees well into adulthood with toasters, cell phone cases, pajamas, spectacles, automotive accessories and other products for adults with a Hello Kitty theme,” says Sloane. It’s an approach that keeps adults connected to their youth and also closes the circle with their own kids. 

Learn more about how to stand apart from the competition and together with the people you want to reach. Download Patterns Issue 1, 2014: Participatory Marketing.