Posts Tagged ‘how brands grow’

How brands grow: what marketers don’t know

December 13, 2010

That’s the title of a really good book I’m reading at the moment (thank you to Andrew Rayner of Nando’s for recommending it).

I buy business books all the time and rarely get beyond the third chapter – often you’ve got the basic idea by then and the rest of the book is just unnecessary repetition and amplification, or it’s just written in too dull a way to hold attention. Or both. But this one is different and I highly recommend it.

It’s an easy read (although occasionally repetitive) but more importantly it brings together lots of very robust-seeming research evidence to debunk common marketing myths and present logical alternative guidelines. A lot of it planners probably kind of know (it’s based on the work of Andrew Ehrenberg) but you forget it or don’t have the evidence readily available to persuade others of its merit. It is very consistent with the latest evidence coming from neuroscience (for instance that the way brands and advertising get remembered is via imprinting strong emotional associations) but uses the more familiar evidence source of sales and market share data from lots of categories and countries.

It takes very familiar marketing tenets such as these:

and challenges them in a clear-headed and substantive way.  For instance, you learn about (or are reminded of) law-like patterns such as the Double Jeopardy Law, that brands with lower market share have far fewer buyers and those buyers are slightly less loyal than buyers of big brands, with the implication that growth in market share comes from increasing penetration of buyers of all types (especially light ones who always make up the vast majority of customer bases).

You are reminded of the importance of making brands easy to buy by being continually both physically and mentally available, the latter meaning that brands should maintain salience via noticeable communication assets that build and refresh brand-linked memory structures that make it easier for the brand to get noticed and bought. It makes a strong case for mass marketing, since it demonstrates that most of a brand’s potential sales lie with light or non buyers.

The chapter challenging the wisdom of loyalty programmes will be particularly useful if you are considering launching one – I feel like most of my clients this year have discussed doing so and this book provides a more elegant and empirical argument against it than I’ve been able to produce.

I can’t do justice to this book in a blog post: buy it, absorb it and apply it and you will be better for it.

Postscript 20th Dec: Byron Sharp emailed within hours of me posting this to say thank you.  All the way from Australia. Which reminds us of the usefulness of Google Alerts (well provided you don’t have an infuriatingly common name) but also the importance of Being Nice.  What goes around comes around.

What he omitted to say but I’ve just discovered via Rory Sutherland’s Tweets is that he is speaking at the IPA on 18th Jan – see See you there.