The Better Mousetrap: Brand Invention in a Media Democracy

Why do we love certain brands - the ones that feel like ours - and passionately or indifferently reject the rest?


Why do we love certain brands – the ones that feel like ours – and passionately or indifferently reject the rest? What do our brands say about us? And why do we feel so compelled to use digital brands to say even more?

Simon Pont, Chief Strategy Officer at Vizeum, sets out to decode brand charisma, taking readers on a provocative and insightful journey through the brand and advertising strategies behind some of the world’s leading companies. Pont points out that the brand game is taking ever-new and remarkable turns in its pursuit of the smart and savvy consumer. He provides expert critique on how and why certain brands succeed in a world that is constantly redefined by digital media. The Better Mousetrap explores examples such as how the chocolate brand Wispa was brought back by social media, how certain logos have the power to inspire emotions (think Nike, “Just do it”), how “sub-brands” like Diet Coke and Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog can achieve greatness, the psychological properties behind the colors used in advertising and the changes in the digital era, including the mobile revolution.


  1. Thinking about consumers being the mice of a brand was off-putting at first, but the more I thought about it, that could definitely be true. I’m guilty of “tailoring” my pictures before posting them on Instagram and other social media platforms. I just think that whatever I post has to be meaningful and “classic” to my personal brand. Hearing someone with that much industry experience give advice would be amazing – I believe this book is worth checking out!!

  2. I read “The Better Mousetrap” I believe during Freshman year and really did enjoy it. Start to finish, Simon’s work is simplistic, entertaining, insightful and thought-provoking, which is difficult to come about these days in industry books. It’s clear his writings are founded on a wealth of experience and industry knowledge, which is highly advantageous intel for anyone looking to grow. I also liked when he talks about the three social media descriptors. Social media definitely allows us to express ourselves the way we want to be portrayed, though, I cannot say that that is always a good thing.

  3. The idea that we only live after the fact, and only once something has been uploaded to social media has it actually happened, is pretty depressing but is certainly believable in regards to how some people view it. Seeing how this book is free I will definitely be checking this out eventually

  4. I like when you say social media is a way for people to follow, fan, and like us! It’s true how we can use social to influence others and market other brands and our brands, but we are trying to post things so that other people like us, so it’s critical for brands to make their product seem like something that’s “cool” and “influential.”

  5. Social media is an important way of communication today. It’s a type of social currency. It is a way to communicate to others who you are and what you stand for. It definitely can become shallow at times, but it is important to understand that it can bridge communities that share in similar interests. I believe it is important for any student interested in marketing to be up-to-date on the latest trends happening on digital platforms.

  6. Pont’s ideas on social media were interesting because it describes things we’ve all experienced, but never really thought about or put into words. Pont’s idea of living an “out of body experience” really resonated with me. I have this thought every time I miss a few seconds of a live concert because I wanted to take a picture! Social media is perhaps one of the most important things for a modern advertiser to understand.

  7. Similarly to what Emily said, I also feel close to the idea of experiencing something as an out of body experience because I’m concerned with taking a photo or a video or anything to commemorate the experience while it’s happening. Back in my Tumblr days I remember seeing a text post saying “would you go on that trip if you couldn’t bring your camera?” and it made me feel so uneasy that I consciously started stopping myself from looking through my experiences through a lens. Connecting with a brand visually and directly through social media is so important to the customer experience and a great way to gauge engagement with a brand, but social has evolved into personal branding for consumers as well. It’s interesting how social has impacted modern society so strongly.

  8. I agree that our social media pages can allow us to be ourselves, I think that was its initial purpose. Though its started off as expressing our individuality and updating our followers on our day to day, it’s becoming way less authentic. These days, many people choose to only feature experiences they think their followers will find exciting. They mentality is more so ‘who’s living their best life?’ or ‘do it for the likes,’ rather than being who you truly are. I could be mistaken though, maybe everyone IS an Instagram model who travels the world, goes to concerts weekly and eats out every night…

  9. I liked how you touched on the social media aspect. Social media is prominent in everyones lives and I think it’s important to realize how social media is affecting our image and our own self-indentity. Digital platforms are taking over the marketing world, and its essential to understand it and apply it to your job.

  10. Similar to what Kristen said, I also agree that it is an important form of communication. People use their Instagram pages to brand themselves all the time or they even make a professional Twitter page separate from their personal one. It is important to remember that once it is on the Internet it’s there for good. I believe authentication is beginning to decline since people hop on board and go with it but to me, that’s the point of a trend. Social will continue to rise even if people think it’s already as high as it can be… Google is even currently beta testing these mini video answers from celebrities that answer questions such as “can Will Ferrell play the drums” then boom pops up a video of Will Ferrell telling you “heck ya i can play them” then he plays them!

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