Rating

8

Qualities

  • Applicable

Recommendation

Every company wants to produce a product or service so successful that people equate it with a market category. Xerox did it with copiers, and the word “Kleenex” has become a common synonym for tissue. Today’s category-defining brands include Toyota’s Prius and Apple’s iPod. Firms such as Zappos, Best Buy and Amazon have introduced offerings so revolutionary they redefined their markets and created new categories. Moreover, they made it almost impossible for competitors to enter the fray. In this in-depth work, brand guru David A. Aaker provides a model for making your brand relevant and dominant. This thorough, well-researched work resembles a textbook, even though Aaker keeps it lively with dozens of case studies. getAbstract highly recommends Aaker’s well-presented information to marketers and branding practitioners.

Summary

Beer vs. Beer

A look at the Japanese beer market over several decades illustrates the ups and downs of brand dominance within a category and subcategory. From the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, Kirin was Japan’s brand of choice. In 1987, Asahi, a nonthreatening competitor with less than 10% of the market, introduced Asahi Super Dry, a new beer with a sharp flavor, more alcohol and less sugar. Within a few years, 25% of the market preferred this new dry beer. Kirin’s own dry beer failed to recapture Asahi drinkers. By 2001, Asahi surpassed Kirin and became Japan’s dominant beer company.

Kirin rebounded somewhat when it introduced Kirin Ichiban, the result of brewing innovations. Kirin’s popularity fell once more when it tried to change its lager’s image and confused the market. Kirin did better in 1998 when it introduced Tanrei beer, which used less malt and qualified for a lower tax rate. The market responded, and the low-malt subcategory quickly grew. By 2009, Kirin again held more than 40% of the beer market in Japan.

The lesson of the Japanese beer battle is that even leading companies can lose “brand relevance” and market share when a new product redefines...

About the Author

David A. Aaker is vice chairman of the consulting company Prophet and professor emeritus at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.


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