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

Is the green market a myth?

The New York Times claimed in an article by Stephanie Clifford and Andrew Martin that “As Consumers Cut Spending, “Green” Products Lose their Allure” (April 21, 2011). The evidence is the fall-off of sales of green cleaning products of mainstream firms. The headline subtext is that green products get lip service from consumers but when it comes to buying, especially when there are a few cents more involved, the motivation fades. Let me put another spin on that data.

First, the existence of brands like Green Works from Clorox, Nature’s Source from S. C. Johnson, and Arm & Hammer Essentials from Church & Dwight may be strategically useful in the future if and when the green movement does become more mainstream and the core expands as it is doing. Although initially the brands received significant advertising support, they are now getting little investment which means…

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April 26, 2011  •  Permalink

Why did Segway fail? Or did it?

The premise that there is one key to success is an illusion. There are nearly always 5 to 10 and the absence of any one can kill an offering. Take Segway.

Segway is the upright, self-balancing, two-wheeled, people mover that was introduced in 2001 and was a market failure in the eyes of most observers because it fell far short of its expected sales. Steve Jobs predicted that it would have as great an impact as the personal computer and the production was geared to turn out 500,000 units a year, but the actual sales for the first seven years was under 30,000 units.

Segway did so many things well. First, the technology was brilliant and was protected from competitors by patents. Second, as an energy saving device, it delivered self-expressive benefits. Third, it was a lifestyle product that attracted a loyal following reminiscent of Harley. There were Segway Fest event to celebrate the Segway lifestyle. Fourth, the product…

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April 19, 2011  •  Permalink

Look at More shows how to create an innovative organization

Innovation is the lifeblood of any organization. It will lead to new offerings that define categories and subcategories. It will lead to novel and effective ways to introduce and manage those categories and subcategories. It will allow existing brands mired in brand preference competition to break out. The question is not whether to be innovative, it is how. The fact is that few firms come close to their innovation aspiration.

A refreshing perspective on innovation appears in a new book Look at More by my colleague at Prophet Andy Stefanovich. Andy, the chief curator and provocateur at Prophet, has helped companies become more innovative for nearly twenty years and pulls his ideas together in this punchy book using both stories and solid frameworks. The overriding idea is that a firm and its people need to be inspired to look at more stuff and think about it harder continually finding new vantage points to view…

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April 13, 2011  •  Permalink

Apple's Secret Weapon

Apple has arguably created or refined and revitalized at least five new categories in a single decade — the iPod, iTunes, the Apple Store, the iPad, and the iPhone; an incredible achievement. There are many drivers of the success — a flare for cool design, the encouragement of surrounding apps, the perfecting of the user experience, the credibility and visibility of Steve Jobs, the passionate customer base, the brand, and more. However, one key ingredient that is usually overlooked is the ability of Jobs to get the timing right. Some observations:

In October 2001 Apple brought to market the iPod which would sell something over 220 million units over the next eight years. However, as I noted in an earlier blog post, Sony actually launched not one but two iPod-like products fully two years before the iPod was introduced: the Memory Stick Walkman and the VAIO Music Clip. The…

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April 7, 2011  •  Permalink

Which brands will win the gluten-free war?

I like the approach that General Mills has taken to become one of the winners in the emerging new category of gluten-free foods. Unlike Anheuser-Busch that was one of the early pioneers with a gluten-free beer back in 2006, General Mills has been able to leverage a broad line of food products and the Betty Crocker Kitchen to create a major footprint in the new arena.

Until just a few years ago, Gluten-Free food was a narrow niche involving a small percentage of the 1% of the population that needs a totally gluten-free diet and has been diagnosed as such. However, this population is growing sharply, and, more importantly, substantial numbers of others, estimated as high as 25% of the population, are attracted to the diet because of a belief that it can help a variety of other conditions such as arthritis, autism, and irritable bowel syndrome and because there is a perception that it is inherently healthy. The brand and innovation question is how to be in a position to detect and…

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April 1, 2011  •  Permalink