Advancing the Myth

AFTER A BRAND’S MYTH IS ESTABLISHED, usually with breakthrough advertising, what happens next? If myth markets can last a decade or longer, how does a brand sustain its iconic status over such a long period? How can managers keep the brand’s myth relevant, provocative, and inspiring? While originating a potent myth is no easy feat, managing it so that it remains vital for many years is often just as difficult. Even the most successful iconic brands routinely stumble. Mountain Dew, Volkswagen, and Budweiser, for instance, each have struggled to extend their myths.

To extend a powerful myth, the brand’s communications must steer a path between two traps: milking the myth to capitalize on its popularity, and abandoning ...

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