You are viewing Aaker on Brands blog posts from December, 2010 (4 total). You can also view all blog posts.

The brand story of the decade

My nominee for brand of the decade is Nintendo: a brand I have studied with a colleague, Professor Akutsu of Hitotsubashi University. The story of Nintendo’s astounding brand success is documented by BrandJapan, an annual survey, now it its tenth year, measuring the strength of over 1,000 brands in the Japanese market. In the 2005 findings Nintendo was ranked 135 in the survey. From that point on its status rose to 67 in 2006, to 7 in 2007, and finally to a number one position in 2008 and again in 2009. It fell in 2010, but still gained a place in the top 15. In contrast, other brands had remarkably stable equity ratings.

The products were clearly the drivers. Nintendo DS was a mega hit, reaching its worldwide accumulated sales of 26.8 million units in less than two years after its December 2004 introduction. The Nintendo DS brand was itself so successful that it was a top six brand in Japan in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Having a subbrand in the top six was unprecedented. Then…

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December 21, 2010  •  Permalink

Is “No Tax Cuts for Millionaires” the worst slogan ever?

George Lakoff is an academic linguist from UC Berkeley who has incredible insights on brands and brand building. He has noted that winning the framing war with respect to a brand, object, or issue will dictate perceptions, attitudes and behavior no matter what the logic and evidence may say. People develop frames or perspectives that are not affected by rational information processing. His ideas are best summarized in the delightful book “Don’t Think of an Elephant.”

Lakoff's primary turf is political thinking and, while he is a Democrat, the party affiliation does not affect his logic or what we can learn from it. He argues that Republicans are geniuses at framing and as a result win most of the arguments, while "clueless Democrats" still think that rational thinking will carry the day. Republicans have framed discussions with terms like death taxes, partial-birth abortion, and tax relief. When their frame is accepted, the argument is over.

Consider the difference…

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December 14, 2010  •  Permalink

The real impact of the Toyota quality issues

Recently there have been dramatic sales increases for Ford and GM and other automotive firms while Toyota experienced a small sales decline. Why?

Certainly the quality issues that Toyota has faced, around the “sudden acceleration” hypothesis and a series of visible recalls is a primary reason. There is little question that the Toyota brand has been tarnished to the point that some view it now as just another brand with respect to quality. There has been significant short-term damage. However, in my view, the Toyota quality image, while it has suffered, will be resilient. Toyota will get its actual and perceived quality back over time. It is too good of a company not to.

In my view the real long-term news is not that Toyota has faltered, but that Ford, GM, Hyundai, and other automobile brands have broken through the glass ceiling. Heretofore, these brands have not been able to get full credit for their quality improvements. The quality of many brands has been equal…

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December 8, 2010  •  Permalink

Macy’s name change — disaster or brilliant?

In 2005 Macy’s decided to change the brand names among their portfolio of brands which included Marshall Fields, Bon Marche, Rich’s, May, Lazarus, Foley’s, Filene’s, Burdine’s, and Goldsmith’s. Each of these brands had a rich history often associated with a beloved family and a customer connection that goes back to seeing Santa for the first time. The decision was pronounced as idiotic or worse by many - including me. Why would you throw away such powerful brand equities and customer relationships involving emotional benefits?

After two years the decision seemed as bad as predicted. Sales were substantially down, possibly caused in part by merchandise and promotion decisions. However, resentment over the change from loyal customers, although not quite as virulent as the reaction to New Coke, was very visible and, without question, was one factor affecting sales.

After five years, however, it seems very possible that the decision was the right one for Macy’s.…

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December 3, 2010  •  Permalink