Novalis, an author, poet and philosopher of Early German Romanticism (1772-1801) once wrote:
By imbuing the meaningless with meaning
the ordinary with a sense of mystery
the known with the dignity of the unknown,
and the finite with an infinite glow
I romanticize it. 1
We think Novalis would have had the stuff to be a great Premium Brand leader. For “romanticizing” things is a core skill marketers must master when they want to create desire and devotion beyond reason 2. — Unless, of course, you somehow hold an exclusive lock on indispensable utility (patent, unlimited trade funds, …?) or have the scale to undercut everyone else’s prices. But that is a risky strategy. Just see what happened to Kodak, Nokia or AOL and then compare that to Harley Davidson, Hermes or Red Bull. Both (rather random) brand groups have in common what one would consider ‘pretty outdated technologies’ today. Yet the latter group is doing pretty well (again). Why? Because they make their followers feel part of something bigger. They give ‘meaning’ beyond the product. They are mysterious and keep inviting you to discover more about them, yet never totally reveal themselves. They surprise you and keep you intrigued. And even though they are about things as mundane as motor cycles, scarves or a soft drink, they give their products an aura that transcends their ‘functional benefit’ and time. Their owners succeed to ‘romanticize’ them.
So if you are the owner of a brand that needs to compete beyond function and price, you might want to grab a book by Novalis and/or simply follow our blog.
Notes and Further Reading:
Indem ich dem Gemeinen einen hohen Sinn,
dem Gewöhnlichen ein geheimnisvolles Ansehen,
dem Bekannten die Wuerde des Unbekannten,
dem Endlichen einen unendlichen Schein gebe,
so romantisiere ich es.
2 ‘Beyond reason’ meaning ‘beyond purely rational considerations like “functional benefits / price = value”. Douglas Holt would call them “sciency” marketing models.
Books by Novalis on Amazon.