You are viewing Aaker on Brands blog posts from December 19, 2012 through February 27, 2013. You can also view the most recent posts.
If a firm believes that one of its products is bad for its customers or bad for the environment, what should it do? If the product is contributing to youth obesity, to alcoholism, or to energy waste, is there a responsibility to “unsell” that product in order to get people to use it less?
A firm can make product or program decisions that will be a win-win. The Marks & Spencer “Shwopping” program gives customers a voucher for every M&S item they bring in to recycle, enhancing both sales and image. Both diet sodas and reduced fat ice creams are examples of products that don’t hurt taste, but have provided their brands with a healthy business while addressing a societal problem. McDonald’s “healthy” menu items have shown a profitable direction for the brand. But what about decisions that risk damaging the brand or business? Are such risks ever warranted?
Assume that a snack and…
February 27, 2013 • Permalink
Most brand strategists focus on developing points of difference that will give consumers good reasons to prefer their brand. The key to winning is assumed to be differentiation.
However, if there is a key “must have” dimension on which your brand is perceived to inadequately deliver, your brand will not be considered. You will not be a player, which means you have no chance of winning - no matter how compelling your point of differentiation is. It will not compensate for a fatal liability.
The solution? Change that liability into a point of parity (POP). In other words, change that liability so that on that dimension the brand is “good enough” to no longer exclude it from the conversation. The point of parity concept provides another perspective on how to make or keep a brand relevant. In this post, I’ll discus two different points of parity you should consider experimenting with.…
February 20, 2013 • Permalink
Panera Bread dominates the bakery/café category. It owns over 60% of the market share, with sales over three billion dollars obtained from over 1,500 units. And just in the last five years Panera Bread has increased its earnings per share by over 24% each year. In 2010, Fortune magazine named it as one of the 100 fastest-growing companies. Operating under the names Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Company and Paradise Bakery & Café, its excellence performance has been recognized in several other ways. For example, it had the highest level of customer loyalty among quick-casual restaurants according to a 2012 TNS Interesearch survey and was named Casual Dining Brand of the Year in a 2012 Harris EquiTrend Poll.…
February 13, 2013 • Permalink
The 2013 Super Bowl ads were not an impressive group. I was looking for commercials that were memorable, liked, linked to a brand, and were likely to advance the brand proposition. The majority of the ads I saw didn’t qualify. However, here are six that caught my eye. The first four were among the five most popular ads, according to a USA Today survey taken just after the Super Bowl.
Last year, Chrysler hit a home run with its “Imported from Detroit” ad that supported a brand platform that led to a sharp increase in market share. This year, Chrysler’s Dodge Ram and Jeep each had two minute ads that provided an equally emotional experience with a more subtle message.…
February 6, 2013 • Permalink
One of the empirical facts of business strategy is that “big” innovations that create new categories or subcategories do not come from the leading incumbents - they come from outsiders. Successful incumbents have the resources to lead but, in fact, success breeds complacency, lethargy or arrogance. What is also disturbingly true is that incumbents not only fail to innovate, but also fail to be relevant to major innovations of others and sometimes lose not only their momentum but their very existence as a player.
In a brilliant new book, Unrelenting Innovation: How to Build a Culture for Market Dominance, Gerry Tellis explains why this is. His answer, based on nearly a dozen major clinical studies conducted by he and his colleagues, is that it is the culture of the incumbent firm…
January 30, 2013 • Permalink
P&G’s “Thank You Mom” Olympic marketing program was a brilliant effort to draw on a universal human value to create a program with energy, relevance and emotion that spanned brands and countries. Plus, it’s ongoing with a life beyond one Olympic Games.
In my book Spanning Silos I noted that brand and country silos have advantages. They are close to market and product technologies, they promote accountability, and they encourage decisive decisions. But they simply don’t work in today’s environment. One reason is that brand messaging, especially as it is spread through global digital communities, is hard to confine to local markets. As a result, a brand that has different local positions can become confused. A second reason is that the necessary scale of advertising, promotions, and…
January 23, 2013 • Permalink
A charismatic brand is one that delivers self-expressive benefits to a committed, involved customer base that is enthusiastic about the brand experience. Think Apple, Harley-Davidson, REI or Tiffany & Co. It’s not an easy goal for a brand to achieve. But I see two brands making that leap: Zipcar and Tesla. Neither has been shy about their goal to change the world and define a new user experience.
Zipcar became the market leader, exemplar and spokesperson for the shared car concept. Any time of day or night, members can simply reserve cars online or by phone, choosing the model that will match their mood and task. When they arrive at the car pick up destination, the microchips in their Zipcard membership cards will signal the cars to unlock. They then drive and pay for the cars for hours or days. All this is aided by the Zipcar iPhone application. Parking, fuel and comprehensive insurance are part…
January 16, 2013 • Permalink
The brand experience, the essence of a relationship, is created by brand touchpoints. A brand touchpoint occurs any time a person in the marketplace interacts with the brand. To improve the brand experience, a firm needs to identify priority touchpoints and implement a program to improve those that are not on-brand.
Five steps are involved:
1) Identify all existing touchpoints, as well as those that should exist. Touchpoints can be under the control of the firm such through the communication programs, the public relations efforts, the customer contact points such as service and accounting staffs, sponsorships, or customer-focused programs such as the Tide Stain Detective. Touchpoints can also be external and controlled by retailers, run by third parties like the Consumers Report, or operated by a leading recipe website.
2) Provide an internal evaluation of all the touchpoints…
January 9, 2013 • Permalink
I wrote approximately 50 blog posts in 2012, but there are five that stand out in my mind as being especially provocative or informative. Herewith, my top picks from 2012, with a few runners-up thrown into the mix as well:
My post entitled CEOs Are Born, Not Made really hit a nerve. It was stimulated by Bob Lutz’s book that blamed GM’s problems on “bean counter” CEOs rather that “car guys.” I argued that unless you have inherent CEO talent, being a “car guy” will not help. You need to be born with CEO talent, and no amount of training or background experience will help. Many disagreed. Three other posts had CEO themes: one explained why Steve Jobs and Bobby Knight (the fabled basketball coach) were so successful despite being jerks,…
January 2, 2013 • Permalink
Brand executives can learn a lot from political professionals who exhibit creative brand building programs and then subject them to huge field tests. Consider the Obama campaign’s early decision to spend a good part of their budget on defining Romney. This money was expended before the conventions and some of it well before Romney wrapped up the nomination. There are a lot of reasons that Obama won the election, but many observers have hypothesized that this decision was key to the final result. The strategy was gutsy both because it took money away from the from the fall campaign and because it was uncertain that it would work.
The premise was that Romney was basing his campaign in part on the fact that the economy was in trouble, as it was, and that because of Romney’s experience at Bain he understood the private sector’s role in job creation and had experience as a problem solver. The Obama campaign’s…
December 19, 2012 • Permalink