Iconic Advantage: Don’t Chase the New, Innovate the Old
Soon Yu with Dave Birss
A Savio Republic Book (February 2018)
How to enhance the Noticing Power and bolster the Staying Power of what you offer
The offering could be a membership or a product or a service…or you. Whatever it is, people must be aware of it, be attracted to it, and remain loyal to it. Hence the importance of the Iconic Advantage. In this book, written with Dave Birss, Soon Yu defines it as a strategy “that focuses on building timeless distinction and relevance so businesses can rise above their competition and build strong emotional connections with their audience,. It’s a strategy that applies across every area of an organization. And it’s a strategy that helps them stay focused on what matters year after year.”
Yu just described what is a competitive advantage, one that has unique meaning, relevance, and emotional connection. The challenge is to achieve it and then sustain it. Gaining an Iconic Advantage is achieved by a process over what can be — and often is — an extended period of time. Eventually, gradually, it develops Noticing Power and then Staying Power. Examples are abundant. They include Amazon, Disney, In-N-Out Burger, and Nike, all of which Yu discusses in his book.
These are among the passages of greatest interest and value to med, also shared to suggest the scope pv Yu’s coverage:
o The Ingredients of Brand Equity (Pages 20-22)
o Iconic Differentiation (25-27)
o Defining Your Signature Elements (41-42)
o Iconic Identity (47-53)
o The Science of Recognition, and, The Ingredients of Universal Recognition (96-101)
o The Three Vectors of Scaling Power (102-114)
o Let’s Introduce You to You (124-130)
o Tell the Whole Story (135-138)
o What to Play With (145-148)
o Capabilities Required [to Activate Iconic Advantage] 152-159
o Why Pursue an Iconic Advantage Strategy? (174-175)
Products such as Twinkies become a place in people’s hearts because they are iconic brands that “have the power to make people feel something, and that’s what makes them special.” They make people feel special. Soon Yu goes on to observe that “the importance of iconic brands [is that] they represent a part of who we are when we use them.”
This book’s subtitle recommends that we stop chasing the new and innovate the old. In many situations that may be eminently important, if not imperative. However, there are other situations in which “the old” can never become iconic and widely cherished. If a brand is dead, I say bury it.
That said, if a new and better brand can be created or has only recently been introduced, all of Sion Yu’s insights and counsel should be carefully considered.