You are viewing Aaker on Brands blog posts from January 12, 2012 through March 14, 2012. You can also view the most recent posts.
When I was writing my book, Brand Portfolio Strategy, I would ask executives which firms had excelled in developing a brand portfolio strategy. The most mentioned firm was L’Oréal. L’Oréal today maintains an admirable “house of brands” strategy in which some 20 brands are used to span the relatively narrow area of cosmetics and skin care in the US. There is a high level of clarity, differentiation and leverage.
The portfolio is first divided into four groupings, with little overlap in customers and outlets. Out of the 20 L’Oréal brands, four are “consumer products” and are distributed through drug and discount stores, 13 are “luxury products” distributed through department and specialty stores, four are “professional products” used by hairstylists, and four are “active cosmetics” sold to dermatologists and other specialists.
Within each grouping the brands have very distinct positioning. Consider the four consumer product brands. Maybelline…
March 14, 2012 • Permalink
BrandJapan 2012 is an annual tracking study that measures perceptions along 20 dimensions of 1,000 Japanese brands. I have been an advisor during its decade-plus life. There are a few brands at the very top year after year. Why? The answer will vary by brand and by category, but there are some generalizations. Innovation/energy, relevance/involvement, personality and relationships all play a role.
One big innovation/energy story in BrandJapan 2012 is the charge of Apple to the number one position from number 11. In addition, iPad is now 15 (up from 90), iPod is at 18 (up from 50), and iPhone is 38 (up from 73). So, Apple now has three brands in the top 20 and four in the top 40. Very impressive. The move was stimulated in part by being in the top position in both the perceived innovativeness (where iPad was 2 and iPhone was 4) and uniqueness scales, and being in the top three in both the appearance and charming scales reflecting a bit of personality as well. The publicity surrounding…
March 7, 2012 • Permalink
The brand identity (BI) model, sometimes called the Aaker model, was introduced in my book Building Strong Brands back in 1996 and was refined and elaborated four years later in my book Brand Leadership. Although there are many dozen competitive models, the BI model has a worthwhile market share - as reflected by the fact that some 170,000 copies of the two books have been sold.
But why? What are the differentiating beliefs or principles that the model is based on? Let me identify six.
1. A brand is more than a three word phrase.
In fact, a motivation for developing the BI model was the prevalence of advertising agency brand models that needed a single thought to guide an advertising campaign.…
February 29, 2012 • Permalink
Most corporate brands (and most brands in general) would like be perceived as socially concerned in thought and action. A good percentage of those brands have walked the walk: They have made a difference perhaps by protecting the environment, helping the disadvantaged or changing eating habits. They deserve to be recognized for their values and efforts. Very few, however, are. Efforts to communicate in advertising or in the press are usually ineffectual. Why does the brand get so little credit for meaningful programs? It is in part because there are so many brands that talk about such values, that none have credibility. This is due in part to the fact that the stories they tell aren’t compelling.
But a few firms break through and do get credit from doing good. The 11th annual brand equity study of some 1,000 brands in Japan has a CSR (corporate social responsibility) scale that provides some…
February 23, 2012 • Permalink
I was underwhelmed by the 2012 Super bowl ads at almost every level. One exception was the Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler ad — “It’s halftime in America.” The ad talks about the hurting and how many pulled together to find the way back. It had powerful emotion, a distinctive Clint Eastwood voiceover and wonderful visuals that captured the feeling of real people successfully working their way out of tough times. Supporting the “imported from Detroit” message of Chrysler, it provided self-expressive benefits to owners and future buyers of the four Chrysler brands.
It reminded me of the most honest, effective and satisfying ads in my memory: The classic Hal Riney ads for the Saturn launch that appeared two decades ago. Saturn, as its tagline “a different kind of company, a different kind of car” suggested, was an American car that could compete in quality and value with the imports. Created by GM to provide a low-end option that could win against the imports, Saturn was…
February 15, 2012 • Permalink
The fact that the beloved charity that owns the pink ribbon decided to pull its financial support of Planned Parenthood (a decision that was reversed three days later) in the end will help the Planned Parenthood brand even more than it damages the brand of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a nonprofit to which some 200 organizations like Ford, Major League Baseball, and BofA connect.
Here are the four key ways Planned Parenthood benefits:
Positive PR. The decision provided enormous publicity about Planned Parenthood and provided visibility of key statistics, like that it provides 165,000 breast cancer screens and 6,500 mammograms to low-income women who lack access to care, and the fact that only 3% of the budget is allocated to abortion services. This information got widespread exposure and, more important, an attentive, receptive, and enormous audience.
Improved image. The decision puts Planned Parenthood…
February 8, 2012 • Permalink
The marketing field is faced with several challenges that for many firms will require transformation in capability and charge. Among them are the following five.
1. Marketing needs to lead in substantial or transformational innovation that will result in new offerings that define new categories or subcategories. Marketing focused on “my brand is better than your brand” strategies supported by incremental innovation and conventional programs rarely create sales growth because markets have a lot of inertia. The only way to grow is through big idea innovation that will create enhancements or augmentations of the offering that will be regarded by customers as “must haves.”
2. Marketing needs to be strategic rather than tactical and needs to earn an influential place at the executive table. Marketing should own three key drivers of strategy: customer insights…
February 1, 2012 • Permalink
GROW: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies by Jim Stengel, the former CMO of P&G who has made several notable contributions advancing the field of brand management, is an important brand book and a good read. Its central and provocative thesis is that growth brands tend to have a higher purpose, termed by Stengel as a “brand ideal.” A brand ideal has a shared goal of improving people’s lives and comes in five types. It elicits joy, enables connections, inspires exploration, evokes pride and/or impacts society.
A brand ideal is often based on a brand’s heritage and can be pivotal in driving both culture and strategy. The elaboration of this idea in dozens of case studies such as Method, Pizza Hut, Crisco, Discovery Channel, Jack Daniels, Pampers, Innocent, Zappos and more is very instructive. It often provides a fascinating look at…
January 26, 2012 • Permalink
The Berkeley-Haas school has codified a well-defined culture into a set of core brand values: namely, “question the status quo (innovate and champion bold ideas),” “students always (never feel you have learned all you need),” “beyond yourself (consider larger interests than short-term profits, go beyond personal ambition), and “confidence without attitude (without arrogance employ analysis, trust and collaboration).” The values are oriented toward the reduction of overconfidence and self-focus, which are perceived to be excessively present among the business graduates and leaders of the leading business schools.
These values are highly differentiated, have substance, are true to the heritage and are consistent with the perceptions of the school. Most remarkably, they are not simply communication tools but drive operations from the curriculum, research priorities to staff programs and faculty hiring. The curriculum, for example, has been extensively revamped in order…
January 18, 2012 • Permalink
Bob Lutz in his recent book Car Guys vs. Bean Counters makes the point that GM was doing fine until in the mid 1970s the MBA-trained finance guys took control of product development from the "car guys," who were engineers and designers. The result, he says, was inferior cars and a decline in the firm. He believes that CEOs and the top management should not be bean counters but rather should be a "product guys."
The poster child for his view was Roger Smith who was an MBA-trained accounting and finance specialist. During his ten year tenure as GE's CEO during the 80s, Smith made breathtaking strategic and operating blunders. He invested in robotics that did not work, created a disastrous reorganization that resulted in cars so similar they were a joke (remember the Cadillac Cimarron?), mismanaged some ill-conceived acquisitions, built up enormous debt, and on and…
January 12, 2012 • Permalink