You are viewing Aaker on Brands blog posts from February, 2011 (5 total). You can also view all blog posts.

Brand building and social media—the silo crisis just got worse

We are not witnessing an evolutionary change in marketing communications. Rather, there is now an inflection point which requires new communication models, different people, a revised set of capabilities, new organizational structures, and different ways of partnering with agencies. Firms are recognizing this new reality and are struggling to cope with it, as evidenced in a recent BCG report on this topic, based on nearly 100 interviews with practitioners and others close to the issue.

The maturation of social media is defining the inflection point. Social media provides the power of word-of-mouth communication, involvement, credible information sources, and personal recommendations that is next to impossible to duplicate elsewhere. Pivotal to the inflection point, it has now achieved scale which means that it is an option to some and an indispensable resource to others. But social media strategies are complex, require specialized expertise, and are much more labor intensive…

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February 25, 2011  •  Permalink

The best superbowl ad? Chrysler among the winners.

I am not certain which ad was the absolute best, but the Chrysler ad was definitely a winner.

There are dozens of scorecards naming the best Super Bowl ad and all had very different rankings and winners. The problem is that no single measure applied to the general population can be used to compare ads or even measure a single ad. An ad’s success will depend on the type of category the advertiser is in, its current image and market position, the ad’s communication objective, and the target audience. At best, consumers can identify ads that entertained, moved, or annoyed. Even then, the impact on the target audience may not be apparent. I was once on a panel with Phil Knight who responded to criticism of a controversial Nike ad campaign by saying that it was only the impact on his target audience that mattered and they respond favorably to something edgy.

Having said all that, you have to be impressed with the Chrysler ad with Eminem. It moved the needle with respect…

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February 18, 2011  •  Permalink

Why most market expenditures fail to generate any impact

The astonishing fact is that most marketing results in no change in sales or profit if you disregard short-term blips. Nearly all marketing budgets are designed to affect brand preference in established categories and subcategories with established competitors. The great majority of these, on average, have no long term sales impact.

In virtually all categories, any major change in market position comes from the emergence of new subcategories. I studied the Japanese beer market for over 50 years and a major change in market share trajectory came only four times. Three of these were when a new subcategory was introduced (dry beer, Ichiban, Happoshu) and the fourth was when a subcategory was repositioned. In between, huge marketing expenditures simply did nothing. In computers big changes in competitive position occurred only with the introduction of new subcategories such as minicomputers, network computers, tablet computers, and so on. In automobiles we have seen 4 wheel drive,…

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February 15, 2011  •  Permalink

What brands are delighting customers?

The 2011 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index evaluates some 530 brands across 79 categories. Four observations hit me.

First, what has previously distinguished the ability of a brand to gain high customer loyalty, attributes like good taste for food or high value for money, for example, are becoming table stakes and are not differentiating the successful brands. The market seems to have turned to rewarding innovation that makes a positive difference in people’s lives and even leads to a “delight” experience. In fast food, for example, where people are looking for more and healthier choices and bottled water where “environmentally sound” was important.

Second I would say that at least four of the top ten brands, Netflix, Apple, Discover, Mary Kay dominate a category or subcategory. They then have not be mired in the “my brand is better than your brand” world. They are rather promoting and managing…

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February 10, 2011  •  Permalink

Manage the category not the brand

Two brand stories caught my eye today, HomeAway and Nissan’s Quest.

I argue in Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant that the path to winning is to create new categories or subcategories rather than engaging in brand preference competition in established categories. HomeAway is on the Super Bowl with an ad asking “Why hotel when you can HomeAway?” The ad shows some of the struggles to get comfortable in the cramped quarters of a hotel and showcases the space and freedom of a vacation rental. Whether the execution of the ad is effective is another issue, but the idea of creating a new category, defining its dimensions, and becoming its exemplar is exactly where potential growth is at. HomeAway is a classic case study. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Established brands can also focus on category management even with existing categories. Nisson Quest has been…

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February 2, 2011  •  Permalink