You are viewing Aaker on Brands blog posts from November, 2010 (6 total). You can also view all blog posts.

Heritage vs contemporary: Chevy tries to do both

A decision facing many brands is how to use heritage and even nostalgia. Many brands have a host of positive associations all based on a time in which the brand had real meaning and usually was a market leader. The problem is that many of those same associations can signal being old fashioned and are not relevant for today — particularly for the younger generation. Sometimes the decision is made to ignore the heritage because it takes the customer backwards instead of forward. However, the preferred solution often is to evolve it so that the heritage is relevant for today. So Betty Crocker remains a symbol, but has a contemporary look and modern attitude. L.L. Bean is still around the out-of-doors, but has shifted from hunting and fishing to camping and hiking.

Chevy takes a different tack under the theme “Chevy Runs Deep.” Instead of updating the heritage, it makes it the hero by presenting nostalgic imagery of Chevy cars and trucks. The deep attachment to Chevy…

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November 23, 2010  •  Permalink

Why is bike riding like brand building?

I have often admired the metaphor “strategy is like skippering a sailboat”. In each case, when the wind shifts you have to adjust. A sailboat skipper needs to identify the new wind direction and make a judgment as to how strong it is and how likely it is that its strength and direction will persist. Similarly, a business strategy has to identify new market and competitive forces, make deductions about them, and project their impact into the future.

I am an avid bike rider and have been struck by how many of the key elements of brand building are represented in biking.

Just as a brand is measured by its brand equity including a group of associations, a ride is evaluated by its associations such as the workout (not too easy but not too much) and the scenery which drives its perceived quality.

A brand has an internal team of specialists plus a group of external communication partners to plan and execute strategy. A ride involves a team as well — a group…

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November 19, 2010  •  Permalink

Aaker’s top ten brand precepts

Out of my five brand books, what precepts stand out as one of the top ten? Which are most critical “to do” tasks for someone charged with creating or managing a business? What do you need to know to excel at building a brand? Here is my top ten list:

1. Treat brands as assets. Acceptance of the concept that brands are assets and have equity really changes not only branding and marketing but also business strategy. No longer is branding a subset of marketing to be managed as a communication problem. It becomes strategic, both reflecting and enabling the business strategy. Importantly, a brand is more than image and awareness—it also includes the size, the engagement, and the loyalty level of the customer base. That means that brand strategy needs to be developed in tandem with the business strategy, both need to be clear on the target market, the value proposition, and the investment priorities over time.

2. Show the strategic pay-off of brand-building.

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November 15, 2010  •  Permalink

Content Is king

The home run in the digital age is to create a video that goes viral. But how? An interview with three of the people that created the Coke Happiness Machine video by Meaghan Edelstein provides a fascinating glimpse into the process. The bottom line was that it was not so easy and did not happen overnight.

The Coke Happiness Machine did indeed distribute happiness. At a student hang-out at St. John’s University a person bought a Coke from a machine and got not just one but, to her surprise, a stream of Cokes. The students laughed at the incongruity of the moment. Then, a hand emerged with flowers followed by a Coke plus a glass full of ice, a balloon dog, a pizza, and, finally, a submarine sandwich yards long. One student tried to hug the machine. Like many moments of happiness, it was not the gifts but fact that it was generous, unanticipated, and nothing was expected in return. Nearly 3 million viewers have watched the…

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November 15, 2010  •  Permalink

Lessons from the Fosbury flop

In creating new innovative offerings, sometimes an approach with a totally new perspective might be dismissed out of hand. It will be rejected just as an organ transplant will be rejected by the body. Or a marketing program breaks the mold. Never been tried. It fails to get a hearing to say nothing of a test. There can be a basic reluctance to step beyond the conventional way of doing things.

The problem is that in these days of product and brand proliferation, fragmented and changing media, and dynamic markets good is not good enough. New offerings and marketing programs really need to be great. And that means different. And that reminds me of a story I first heard while speaking at an innovation conference in Phoenix.

There was a high jumper good enough to be on the Oregon State track team who had an unusual style, he went over the bar backwards landing on his back. His unorthodox style became feasible because tracks had coincidentally changed the landing area from…

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November 12, 2010  •  Permalink

Aaker on Brands blog — why and what

I am now blogging. Why?

First, it doesn’t get much better for me than to hang out and talk about brands with people that share a passion for brands. Brands and brand strategy are to me fascinating and stimulating. And there is an endless stream of issues to address, both tactical and strategic, from all industries and cultures.

Second and more important, I want to advance the idea that building brands should be a priority. Toward that end, I want to make brand assets and their role in business strategy more visible and contribute to making the brand building process more efficient, effective, and accountable. The goal is to counter the enormous pressures to manage for short-term results and elevate the role of building assets and competencies that support a long-term strategic vision. This motivation has been behind much of my efforts represented by books, articles, speeches, and twittering as well.

From why to what.

With respect to content I will…

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November 11, 2010  •  Permalink