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

The best business school brand vision?

The Berkeley-Haas School under the leadership of Dean Rich Lyons has created a brand identity that could be a role model not only for other schools but other service organizations. The process included solid research, inputs from stakeholders, an excellent feel for the school’s culture and strengths, and a very involved Dean. Far more than a communication guide, it stimulated extensive changes in programs as well as how they were presented. The vision over several years was refined and elaborated as it and its many programs were stress-tested and implemented. The result is an extraordinary asset. For full disclosure, I am a Professor Emeritus at Berkeley-Haas and had a small role to play in the creation of the brand identity.

The structure follows my brand identity model with four core identity elements and a brand essence. The essence is “We develop leaders who redefine how we do business.”

A different take on innovation and leadership, it aspires to redefine…

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May 31, 2011  •  Permalink

How iShares built a new investment category

Creating a new category or subcategory involves finding and evaluating a concept, introducing it into the marketplace, creating barriers to competitors, and actively managing the perceptions, attitudes and behaviors toward it. This last task is often foreign to marketers more comfortable in building brands than categories or subcategories. Yet that is what is needed. BGI’s (Barclay Global Investor’s) took on the task of educating and promoting a new class of investments, namely ETFs or exchange traded funds. In doing so they not only made the category visible to a wide audience, but made their brand its exemplar, the brand that represents the category. A Harvard case documents (9-2080033).

An ETF is basically a collection of stocks that represent a market (such as the S&P 500) or segment of a market (such as gold or pharmaceuticals or Brazil). Like an index fund it enjoyed very low costs. However, unlike an index or mutual fund, an investor could buy or sell holdings during…

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May 26, 2011  •  Permalink

Can Duncan Hines Create a New Cake Subcategory?

The key to growth even in mature markets is to disrupt the marketplace by creating a new subcategory. That is what Duncan Hines is trying with its “Bake On” initiative. Historically, cake mixes are associated with mothers delighting kids and family, which reflects the composition and motivation of the heavy user. Duncan Hines, the industry leader, is attempting to define a new category, gourmet desserts, by people including men and singles who love to cook. Based on using Duncan Hines’ Triple Chocolate Decadent Cake mix, recipes include chocolate cherry tort, chocolate cheesecake bars. and “cake pops (cake plus frosting formed into balls that are dipped in candies and nuts).” The result is novel, sophisticated, appealing, and interesting, but not necessarily easy or fast to make.

Will this effort succeed? Will Duncan Hines find a new sales platform and target market on which to build?…

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May 16, 2011  •  Permalink

The Private Label War

Private label or store controlled CPG (consumer packaged goods) products have a lot going for them. They are less costly in part because they are not burdened by expenditures on marketing including advertising, promotions, and slotting fees (payments to get new products stocked in stories) and because their production and logistics are simpler and more efficient. Stores have control over the price and thus can provide customers with a guaranteed substantial price value. During the periodic times of recession, price becomes more important and private label brands can gain and hold customers. For many products, private label brands enjoy the best placement with stores. They can be at the eye level or even on end displays, for example. And the packaging can send cues that the product is similar to the national brands who, needing the cooperation of the retailers, are reluctant to make an issue of it.

CPG private label share is just over 20% or so in the US and growing at a very…

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May 10, 2011  •  Permalink

Overhyped brands that bubble and burst

We have seen bubbles in e-commerce, in real estate, and in commodities. These are all based on overhype and a momentum resembling a stampede with little attention paid to reality. Can it happen in brands? A frenzy of buzz and excitement with little substance? Is Charlie Sheen just an aberration? Actually brand bubbles, brands with a high ratio of hype to substance and value, are all too common. The interesting question is how did the buzz get created if the substance was missing? Sometimes a deliberate scam is involved. But other times it is not so clear.

Consider the case of Yugo.

The Yugo was an imported car from Yugoslavia that sold some 150,000 cars between 1985 and 1992. During 1985 it was described as the fastest selling first-year European import. It turned out to be a loser of historic proportions. It was poorly built, unsafe, broke down frequently, got poor gas mileage, and was dirty with…

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May 3, 2011  •  Permalink