You are viewing Aaker on Brands blog posts from January, 2012 (4 total). You can also view all blog posts.

What Readers Should Know While Reading Jim Stengel’s “Grow”

GROW: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies by Jim Stengel, the former CMO of P&G who has made several notable contributions advancing the field of brand management, is an important brand book and a good read. Its central and provocative thesis is that growth brands tend to have a higher purpose, termed by Stengel as a “brand ideal.” A brand ideal has a shared goal of improving people’s lives and comes in five types. It elicits joy, enables connections, inspires exploration, evokes pride and/or impacts society.

A brand ideal is often based on a brand’s heritage and can be pivotal in driving both culture and strategy. The elaboration of this idea in dozens of case studies such as Method, Pizza Hut, Crisco, Discovery Channel, Jack Daniels, Pampers, Innocent, Zappos and more is very instructive. It often provides a fascinating look at…

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January 26, 2012  •  Permalink

Culture Matters: Lessons from the Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley

The Berkeley-Haas school has codified a well-defined culture into a set of core brand values: namely, “question the status quo (innovate and champion bold ideas),” “students always (never feel you have learned all you need),” “beyond yourself (consider larger interests than short-term profits, go beyond personal ambition), and “confidence without attitude (without arrogance employ analysis, trust and collaboration).” The values are oriented toward the reduction of overconfidence and self-focus, which are perceived to be excessively present among the business graduates and leaders of the leading business schools.

These values are highly differentiated, have substance, are true to the heritage and are consistent with the perceptions of the school. Most remarkably, they are not simply communication tools but drive operations from the curriculum, research priorities to staff programs and faculty hiring. The curriculum, for example, has been extensively revamped in order…

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January 18, 2012  •  Permalink

Great CEOs are Born, not Made

Bob Lutz in his recent book Car Guys vs. Bean Counters makes the point that GM was doing fine until in the mid 1970s the MBA-trained finance guys took control of product development from the "car guys," who were engineers and designers. The result, he says, was inferior cars and a decline in the firm. He believes that CEOs and the top management should not be bean counters but rather should be a "product guys."

The poster child for his view was Roger Smith who was an MBA-trained accounting and finance specialist. During his ten year tenure as GE's CEO during the 80s, Smith made breathtaking strategic and operating blunders. He invested in robotics that did not work, created a disastrous reorganization that resulted in cars so similar they were a joke (remember the Cadillac Cimarron?), mismanaged some ill-conceived acquisitions, built up enormous debt, and on and…

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January 12, 2012  •  Permalink

Why I Bought a No-Name Computer From a Components Firm

I was told by the computer doctor that my wife's desktop computer had all but died at the hands of a virus and, in addition, it had been obsolete for years. A new replacement was needed. My mind immediately went to a two-brand consideration class — Dell (most of my computers had been Dell) and HP (I have HP printers and have always like the "HP Way"). But minutes later, I decided to buy an ASUS computer even though I had never heard of it. Why? Three factors were convincing.

1. The recommendation. The computer doctor said that he had just bought and installed for another client an ASUS computer and liked the price, specs, and firm and the fact that it was available at a local electronics store that stood behind its product with service and assistance.

2. The story. He told me that ASUS has been the motherboard supplier for most of the leading computer brands. This was critical because performance and reliability is much more important to me than price.

3.

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January 5, 2012  •  Permalink