You are viewing Aaker on Brands blog posts from March 6, 2013 through May 8, 2013. You can also view the most recent posts.

Higher Purpose Branding: 14 Brands Are Doing It Right

Since I began this blog, about 10% of my posts have highlighted a brand whose branding and marketing programs have been, in my eyes, impressive. These dozen or so cases, most of which have demonstrable business success as well, all have something in common. They all have a higher purpose. Some have several. They offer a basis for a customer relationship that goes beyond functional benefits to generate self-expressive, emotional or social benefits. They all rise above the “my-brand-is-better-than-your-brand” competition and the noise that goes with it.

Consider the higher purpose of the following brands that were all the subject of a blog post:

Dove: Achieving real beauty, building self-esteem

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May 8, 2013  •  Permalink

Dove: The Most Impressive Brand Builder in the Last 15 Years?

What are the most impressive brand building efforts in last 15 years? In constructing such a list, it would be hard to leave out Dove. A $200 million soap brand in the early 1990s has grown into a brand that has been estimated to be nearly $4 billion dollars today. They play in an intensively competitive arena with large, smart and established competitors. And in my view, the Dove brand building effort played a big role in their success story.

Have you seen the latest from the Dove ongoing “Campaign for Real Beauty” that originated in Brazil and was done by Ogilvy & Mather in 2004? A forensic sketch artist draws several women, first based only on their descriptions of themselves (he does not actually see them) and then based on the descriptions of a stranger who has observed the women. The subject, seeing the resulting

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May 1, 2013  •  Permalink

Three Threats to Brand Relevance: Strategies That Work

My newest book, Three Threats to Brand Relevance is out this week in e-book form. It’s a shorter form book, and can be viewed as a supplement to my book released last year, Brand Relevance.

Brand Relevance explains that the only way to grow is to develop “must haves” through big innovation that will render competitors irrelevant. It is the path to winning. This new book shows the path to avoid losing. As markets become dynamic, there is a real risk that your brand will become irrelevant. The book explains the three threats to look out for and how to avoid them or deal with them.

The first risk is that you might be marketing an offering that an important and growing segment is no

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April 24, 2013  •  Permalink

What Should Your Brand Personality Be?

My last blog post, “Three Models of How a Brand Personality Impacts,” discussed three ways in which a brand personality can impact customers and the marketplace. And its reception, measured by views and comments, indicated that brand personality is a highly sought after and intriguing concept. Many recognized brand personality as a key brand vision lever for brands that are facing dynamic markets and a fragmented media presence. A brand personality can be a crucially important driver of self-expressive benefits, brand-customer relationships and the communication of functional benefits.

If a brand strategist wants to explore the potential of creating or enhancing a brand personality, then they have to address one basic question. What should my brand personality

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April 17, 2013  •  Permalink

Three Models of How a Brand Personality Impacts

What is the worst thing you can say about a person? That they have no personality. Who wants to spend time with someone who is so boring that they are described as having no personality? It’s better to be a jerk; at least you will be interesting. Having a personality is equally helpful to brands.

Not all brands have a personality, or at least don’t have a strong, distinctive personality. Those that do have a significant advantage in terms of standing out from the crowd, having a message and supporting a relationship with customers. Personality is an important dimension of brand equity because, like human personality, it is both differentiating and enduring. Once established it will provide benefits (or harm) over a long time horizon. Creating or supporting a personality should be part of the brand vision discussion.

The power of brand personality can be seen by conceptualizing three

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April 10, 2013  •  Permalink

Look Who Sold Five Million Recipe Books in Japan: The Higher Purpose Pays Off

A small Japanese company that makes bathroom scales has under 100 million dollars in sales generated by less than 300 people. But they put out a recipe book in 2010 that has sold around five million copies and created a new growth platform. Their story, which depicts how a higher purpose can work, is instructive.

Tanita makes and markets accurate, durable, user-friendly professional and personal scales for measuring health related characteristics such as weight, body fat and body water. Based in part on some patented, breakthrough measurement technology developed in 1992 and branded as “bioelectrical impedance analysis,” Tanita has 50 percent market share in Japan, where it is a household brand for scales, and it is a leader in the global market as well.

With healthy living as a heritage value, Tanita developed a company cafeteria that featured a healthy yet tasty menu at a time in which

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April 3, 2013  •  Permalink

Why Brand Leaders in Japan are Winning

BrandJapan is an annual appraisal of the brand equity of one thousand Japanese brands from the view of consumers (BtoC) and business managers (BtoB). Each year I provide a commentary on the results. The 2013 data just became available, and it again provides insights into what drives winning brands in Japan.

In the consumer database (BtoC), the big news is that Apple, who had advanced from 11 to number one in 2012 is not only still number one but has created a significant gap over Google, which remains at number two. The iPod and iPad brands have fallen from the top 20 but are still top forty brands, and iPhone has moved to number 18 meaning that Apple has four of the top 40 brands. Furthermore, Apple’s lead on the innovation factor over Google is now huge (132 vs. 108). The seven Apple stores and the elegant success of the iPhone helped the Apple brand achieve a leadership position.


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March 27, 2013  •  Permalink

Can Delta Own Sleep with its Branded Differentiator?

The only path to brand and business success is to develop and own an offering feature or service that is judged to be a “must have” by a significant customer group. Competitors lose by being irrelevant. Delta Airlines, who operate in an arena in which differentiation is difficult, is attempting to do just that.

Delta is trying to create and own a new subcategory, namely, airlines that offer superior sleeping experiences for upper-class passengers. They identified sleep as the most important in-flight experience, which means that is an important consideration for a worthwhile customer group. Then they developed a comprehensive program to deliver. In includes a white noise channel on the in-flight radio, full flat-bed seats and a special “Westin Heavenly” comforter and

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March 20, 2013  •  Permalink

Brand Building in the Mobile World: Find the Right App

The newest and fastest growing brand building communication channel is no doubt mobile marketing. And the initial instinct is to buy ads reach the mobile user. But that’s a problem, since ads are becoming more and more challenging to notice, especially considering the limitation of smaller screen sizes. The solution? Sponsor an app or become embedded and involved in the app’s functionality.

Mobile users typically download many apps, but use only 15 or so regularly. So how do you get into the top 15? You have to have an app that users are motivated to download and use. In an article Sunil Gupta wrote for HBR, he describes five app strategies that can get your brand in the sweet 15 and either cement an existing customer relationship or create a new one.

His strategies correspond with basic

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March 13, 2013  •  Permalink

Why CMOs Fail, and Why They Don’t Have To

The average tenure of a new CMO, according to one study, is less than 24 months. And in a recent study, 60% of respondents thought that this failure was not due to the CMO’s failures but to the fact that the company was not as open to change as they thought. CMOs are hired to drive a change agenda, but just can’t get enough support.

My take is a bit more nuanced. Most organizations do inhibit change and thwart CMO objectives. But how, and why? I believe the power of the product and sometimes the country or functional silo units are the primary impediments. Nearly every organization is decentralized with silo units that have budget and strategy power. One rationale is that such power provides accountability and close-to-the-market decision making. To

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March 6, 2013  •  Permalink