You are viewing Aaker on Brands blog posts from December, 2011 (4 total). You can also view all blog posts.

My Top 6 Aaker on Brands Blog Posts

After some 14 months of blogging about branding, I have over 60 postings. Looking over that list, I picked out three that had the most impact in terms of interest, comments, and readership and three that described a topic that had a big influence on me.

Impact on the audience

The post “Secrets of Social Media Revealed 50 Years Ago,” also published in HBR, coincidentally got a lot of attention on Twitter. It describes Ernest Dichter’s classic study of WofM brand communication, which revealed four motivations to talk about brands and two motivations to listen - findings that are relevant to social media today.

The post “Brand

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December 29, 2011  •  Permalink

Strategy Lessons from Little Red Riding Hood

Stephan Sondheim, the brilliant writer of many great musicals including “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” has some lines in his work, “Into the Woods” that caught my eye. Little Red Riding Hood is going down a straight path to visit her grandmother, a path she has walked many times before. However, a giant has altered the landscape, and she becomes lost. One of her companions suggests that they find another way, but she asserts that “my mother warned me to never stray from the path.” The companion replies, “The path has strayed from you.”

Most organizations have found success with “stick-to-your-knitting” strategies in which a single minded focus on a business strategy results in staple or increasing sales and profits. The team does not allow resources to be diverted from the job of always maintaining the offering and operation at a high level and engaging in incremental innovation to stay ahead of competitors.

The problem is that the path…

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December 19, 2011  •  Permalink

The Curse of Success

The only way to achieve real growth is to create offerings so innovative that they contain “must haves” that define new subcategories, because market inertia makes alternatives ineffective. What is needed is substantial or transformative innovation that disrupts the marketplace. The remarkable fact is that such innovation rarely occurs in the organizations that have strong profitable positions in established categories, and thus have the resources to deliver change.

Why? It is the curse of success that can take several forms:

First on the list is the insidious and common “stick-to-your-knitting” curse. Firms have been successful focusing on their core businesses: investing vigorously in incremental innovation to reduce costs and improve the offering, pursuing “my brand is better than your brand marketing” to engender more customers and higher loyalty, and building assets and capabilities that support the business. This commitment strategy however, leads to:

• A…

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December 12, 2011  •  Permalink

Patagonia’s Brand Walks the Walk

Patagonia is one of the few corporations that has gotten credit for its environmental programs. The credit is well earned. It comes in part from their values that have driven their actions since their founding over 40 years ago. Their early niche was mountain climbing equipment with a concern for “clean climbing,” which meant reducing the damage to climbing walls. Soon after they got traction in the marketplace, they were visibly supporting environmental programs with a portion of their sales and profits. Their latest initiative “Common Threads” takes it to a new level.

Common threads aims to minimize the environmental cost of clothing through its programs to reduce, repair, reuse and recycle clothing. Repair clothing by returning your items to Patagonia to have the clothing repaired at nominal cost. Reuse clothing by donating clothing to charity, selling clothing through eBay’s Common Threads site or on the Patagonia website. Patagonia will give unsold items to someone…

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December 1, 2011  •  Permalink