In this week’s reading I found the symbolic power of branding to be extremely intriguing.  Lury defines iconic brands to be “those brands that consumers value as much for what they symbolize as for what they do” (Lury 150).  Furthermore, what is most interesting is that consumers value these iconic brands because of their “identity value” (Lury 150).  Lury claims that what makes these iconic brands so appealing is that they act “as vessels of self-expression, the brands are imbued with stories that consumers find valuable in constructing their identities.  Consumers flock to brands that embody the ideals they admire, brands that help them express who they want to be” (Lury 150).  What is so fascinating is the progress that brands have made in order to become these sources of consumer (false) identity.  Lury mentions that branding goes beyond the actual product and even transforms the actual inner-workings of the company.  For instance, Lury claims, “the first step to creating brand authenticity is therefore to ensure that its core values are clear and have been fully internalized by those who work within the company” (Lury 145).  When reading this chapter and contemplating the ideas of identity value and developing the core initiatives within the employees I immediately thought of Soul Cycle as a great example.  Soul Cycle is so successful because it has changed the product of an exercise class and made it into a lifestyle and an identity.  Most of their marketing is less targeted to advertising the actual classes and instead creates the illusion that members are a part of a family.  Similar to what Lury was talking about in regard to employees, at Soul Cycle they provide biographies on each instructor and why soul cycle changed their life.  They certainly provide a very clear and focused branding appearance in which every employee appears to embody their core values. They did not necessarily create a new product, but they presented a normally undesirable product (exercise) and gave it identity value.

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