Game-Changing Brand Strategy with David Aaker


March 23, 2020

david aaker on brand

“Branding people have not formally gotten into the strategy world.” And vice versa. And that’s a problem according to branding and marketing legend David Aaker, author of several books including his latest Owning Game-Changing Subcategories. It’s a book that’s coming out at a game-changing and turbulent time in the world of business and beyond. We discussed all of this and more, this week on the On Brand podcast.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About David Aaker

David Aaker, the Vice-Chairman of Prophet (a global consultancy around brand, growth, and digital transformation) and Professor Emeritus of Marketing Strategy at the Berkeley-Haas School of Business is the author of over 100 articles and 18 books including Aaker on Branding and Creating Signature Stories. He had received four career awards including the NYAMA Marketing Hall of Fame. Named as one of the top five most important marketing/business gurus in 2007, he is a recognized authority on brand strategy.

His latest book, Owning Game-Changing Subcategories: Uncommon Growth in the Digital Age, shows how to generate growth platforms by creating, positioning, and owning new subcategories and takes a strategic look at Digital by describing its role enabling subcategory formation.

Episode Highlights

Where did the idea for David’s latest book, Owning Game-Changing Subcategories, come from? “I got ahold of three decades of beer data …” While this could sound like the beginning of a wild weekend, David observed that significant growth in categories like beer and automotive came with the emergence of sub-categories.

Growth, strategy, and innovation books are missing out on four key areas, according to David: (1) “Any sense of branding,” a disconnect we discussed extensively during the podcast. (2) “They don’t recognize the digital age,” (3) “Social—everything used to be media-dependent now companies like Dollar Shave Club come along” and win big, and (4) “Communities,” David notes citing brand-driven communities like Sephora and Etsy.

What can brands do to grow right now as many are struggling to keep their doors open? “This represents an opportunity. There’s an enormous need for us to be able to operate in an environment like this. Can we find new opportunities? Can we innovate?” This once again brought us back to our discussion of communities for brands like Sephora and the big role it plays when we’re all socially distanced.

What brand has made David smile recently? David has found some much-needed laughs in difficult times from the classic TV comedy Reno 911. He also shared his favorite humorous book that he often revisits, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome.

To learn more, check out the Prophet website including David’s blog.

As We Wrap …

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

On Brand is sponsored by my book Brand NowDiscover the seven dynamics to help your brand stand out in our crowded, distracted world. Order now and get special digital extras. Learn more.

  • Subscribe to the podcast – You can subscribe to the show via Apple PodcastsStitcherGoogle PlayTuneIn, and RSS.
  • Rate and review the show – If you like what you’re hearing, head over to Apple Podcasts and click that 5-star button to rate the show. And, if you have a few extra seconds, write a couple of sentences and submit a review. This helps others find the podcast.
  • OK. How do you rate and review a podcast? Need a quick tutorial on leaving a rating/review in iTunes? Check this out.

Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!


Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.




0 comments