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December 18, 2006


John Hardesty

People also love to follow the Hero. Better yet they love to become the Hero.

When companies tap into the higher, holier cause then themselves they can unlock something that's far deeper then what they offer or sell. The trick is that they really have to believe in that cause and support that cause. No pretend or dress-up allowed.

Hero's that are on a mission to save the world for the good of mankind have a far greater following then those that save the world only to get the girl. It's an added bonus, but not the main mission.


Great post Jennifer.

Being considered a heroic brand will give you a competitive advantage and strengthen your brand image. Plus it will make the internal stakeholders feel proud about their brand.


Matthew Healey

Interesting question Raimo - I think one answer is that in English, word meanings can be very fluid. What was once a trademark burned on a box is now an essential reflection of "self," as Jennifer puts it. The Greek word "synecdoche" explains this transformation, where the part stands for the whole. The example we learned in school was "Sails on the water." It is not the sails themselves, of course, but the boats that are on (or in) the sea.
There's a good, concise analysis of the common meanings of the term "brand" in the preface to the Economist's book on branding. Patrick Barwise gives three distinct usages: for the trademark, the product, and the idea (so-called equity). It's hard sometimes to keep them separated.

Raimo van der Klein

Hi, Love your post..

My question is why we keep calling them brands.. Isn't it about companies and people. Brands are associated with mass marketing aspirations..


Just wanted to say Happy New Year. I hope to learn lots from you this year. I'm planning to launch an entirely new brand into a competitive arena & will be testing my ideas on this site. Steve.
ps: I see the comment preview says it's Dec 31st but it's already the 1st of Jan 2007 here. Off to bed, bye for now. . .


Great post Jennifer.

An agency I used to work for referred to these types of companies as BE Brands. Made up of 3 elements, BElief in what they stand for, then there is the sense of BElonging instilled in their staff to communicate the belief across the company and beyond, and the resulting BEhaviour of the company and consumers towards it. It's actually a very simple way of looking at hero companies that stand for something. Check out for more info.

Ps. You have been tagged!

Tom Asacker

Welcome back Jennifer! I missed you.

Check out David Wolfe's new book. I think it will help answer a lot of your questions:

Book link:

Blog link:

Happy holidays!

Carolyn Kent

Great post.

I'm curious to hear more about your thoughts on intention. Any firm with a large enough budget can position themselves as a heroic brand by turning marketing and business activities into "catalysts for social and ecological improvement". I struggle with the "why" involved. Why is this firm trying hard to make a difference? Because it truly wants to improve quality of life, or because it wants to leverage its good will efforts to generate more sales?

Perhaps either one of these intentions is not necessarily "wrong", if the ecosystem AND the business both benefit, as you assert. However, I have trouble reconciling firm motivations when it comes to issues like these.

Your thoughts?

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