Just for fun, consider the most durable international brand icons not created by business, industry or not-for-profit causes. The pic is gives you a big hint. Make a list of five. When I went through the exercise I settled on five durable symbols that passed the ultimate test of a brand — an enduring, well-differentiated brand platform; each of these iconic designs stand for a unique and indelible position in our minds. But don’t expect any of them to make 2011’s list of the world’s best brands–especially number 5. Here’s my top five as measured by durable brand positioning:
1. The Christian Cross: This brand has stood for ‘Christian faith’ since the second century. Two thousand years later, the promise is as strong as ever to millions.
2. The Star of David was first used in the eleventh century. Nothing embodies the ‘Jewish identity’ like it.
3. The Statue of Liberty is distinctively ‘American’ and the nation’s symbol of ‘democratic freedom’.
5. The Swastika: Though the sight of the swastika brings discomfort, few can deny its clarity in positioning. Hitler’s re-branding of the three thousand year-old symbol will sadly be associated with ‘death and hate’ forever.
Inherent in these world marks is deep human emotion. A business brand seeks to capture the target’s emotional heartstrings, but compared to these brands, nothing measures up.