Summary of Big Brands, Big Trouble

Lessons Learned the Hard Way

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Big Brands, Big Trouble book summary
Jack Trout isn’t just fishing. He knows how to hook consumers by baiting your brand with the perfect lure.


9 Overall

9 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style


Jack Trout, head of the marketing firm Trout & Partners, digs for details about the major reasons big brands run into trouble and just how enormous companies mess up by handling their signature standard-bearers badly. He runs down the litany: mistaken extensions of the brand name, failures to differentiate the brand’s qualities and loss of clarity about just what a brand represents. His failure sagas are mini-novels based inside Xerox, General Motors, AT&T, Digital Equipment, General Mills and Coca-Cola. Remember New Coke? Now that was a branding debacle. Trout highlights corporate shortcomings and lays the blame for branding woes right at the feet of people who should have known better: of out-of-touch CEOs, ineffective consultants and dysfunctional boards. Alert consumers who like insider business war stories will enjoy this clear, lively book, but if you own a company or market a brand, suspects you should read it twice.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How major companies get into deep trouble when they mishandle their important brands;
  • What you can learn and apply from their mistakes; and
  • How to make your brand a star.


The Biggest Mistakes Big Brands Make
Ironically, many of the biggest brands featured in a very successful, important book - In Search of Excellence - have run into trouble, including Digital Equipment, IBM, Data General, Kmart and Kodak. They made big company mistakes: losing touch with...
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About the Author

Jack Trout is president of Trout & Partners, a U.S. marketing firm with offices in 12 countries. Its clients include AT&T, Merrill Lynch and Southwest Airlines. Trout was one of the first marketing experts to popularize positioning products and ideas in the mind of consumers. He is a well-known speaker and the author of numerous marketing classics, including Differentiate or Die and The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.

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