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Brand Leadership

Brand Leadership

Building Assets In an Information Economy

  • reading group guide
A dozen management fads have come and gone in the past decade, but brand equity, first explored by David Aaker in the late 1980s, has exploded in importance. Recognized by Brandweek as "the dean of the brand-equity movement," Aaker now prepares managers for the next level of the brand revolution -- brand leadership.

For the first time, Aaker and coauthor Erich Joachimsthaler describe how the emerging paradigm of strategic brand leadership is replacing the classic, tactically oriented brand management system pioneered by Procter & Gamble. This fundamental shift involves nothing less than a revolution in organizational structure, systems, and culture -- as the authors demonstrate with hundreds of case studies from companies such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Virgin Airlines, Adidas, GE, Marriott, IBM, McDonald's, Maggi, and Swatch. This immensely readable book provides the brand management team with the capability to:


  • Create and elaborate brand identities (what should the brand stand for)

  • Use the brand relationship spectrum, a powerful tool to harness subbrands and endorsed brands to form brand architectures that create clarity, synergy and leveraged assets

  • Identify the customer "sweet spot" and the driving idea that will move brand-building efforts beyond advertising to break out of the clutter

  • Use the Internet and sponsorship to make brands resources work more effectively

  • Address the four imperatives of global brand management


Like David Aaker's two previous bestselling books, Brand Leadership will be essential reading for line executives and brand managers in market-driven firms worldwide.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439172919 | 
  • April 2009
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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions
  1. Look at the dimensions in Figure 1-3. For exert dimension, position your organization on a seven-point scale between classic brand management and the brand leadership paradigm.
  2. Evaluate the brand identity for Virgin Airlines. How would you change it? Develop alternative brand essence statements.
  3. Focus on a brand with a sell-defined identity such as Virgin. Elaborate on the identity using each of the elaboration approaches.
  4. Pick two diverse firms-one that is close to a branded house and another that is close to a house of brands. Look closely at their branded offerings and identity the subcategories in the brand relationship spectrum that are respected.
  5. Identity a firm with a serious brand architecture problem. Describe the problem and suggest options.
  6. Evaluate the brand-building approaches presented in this chapter. Which do you admire the most? What was the key to getting that approach implemented? What other firms are using smaller techniques?
  7. Take a core identity element from a brand discussed in the book or another brand and identity sponsorship properties that will have similar associations.
  8. What web sites have strong symbols? What do those symbols tell you about the brand? Why aren't there more symbols on web brands?
  9. Pick a brand and determine its sweet spot and identify some great ideas that would exploit that sweet spot.
  10. Address the questions at the end of the McDonalds vignette
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