How Brands Grow Book Summary - How Brands Grow Book explained in key points
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How Brands Grow summary

Byron Sharp

What Marketers Don’t Know

4.4 (119 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp challenges conventional marketing wisdom. It uses evidence-based research to reveal the importance of broad reach in advertising and the role of memory structures in driving purchasing decisions.

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    How Brands Grow
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    Marketing practice should use evidence provided by marketing science, not rely on traditional beliefs.

    For thousands of years, it was very common for medical doctors to practice bloodletting on their patients: just a few centuries ago, it was used as a cure for every health problem imaginable. Then, as science advanced and empirical evidence mounted, we came to learn that bloodletting is largely ineffective.

    Similarly, marketing practice has long operated on the basis of beliefs that have no empirical foundation.

    One of these established beliefs is that brands need to have an equal amount of loyal customers and customers who switch between brands (“switchers”).

    Take, for example, the toothpaste brands Colgate and Crest. In 1989, a market analysis revealed that Colgate’s consumer base was made up of 21 percent loyal customers and 68 percent switchers, while Crest’s comprised 38 percent loyal customers and just 46 percent switchers.

    For the marketing managers at Colgate, this data was worrisome enough to convince them that they should produce more persuasive advertising to keep their customers loyal.

    However, like many maxims of marketing, this belief is wrong.

    In marketing, there is a scientifically proven pattern known as the double jeopardy law which states that brands with a smaller market share have fewer customers and, what’s more, that those customers are less loyal than those of bigger brands.

    This reveals that the buying behavior of customers is related to a brand’s size, and that it’s therefore only natural that Colgate, with its 19 percent market share, has fewer loyal customers and more switchers than Crest, which has a market share of 37 percent.

    Thus, these figures shouldn’t concern Colgate’s marketing department, as they aren’t the consequence of a weak marketing strategy, but simply of the brand’s relative size.

    As the above example illustrates, in order for it to be effective, marketing practice should ground itself in the findings of marketing science. That’s because marketing science can reveal the actual causes and effects of marketing.

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    What is How Brands Grow about?

    In How Brands Grow, Byron Sharp tackles conventional marketing wisdom, disproving many of the conventional marketing myths with scientific facts and establishing some scientifically proven principles marketers should use.

    How Brands Grow Review

    How Brands Grow (2010) is a valuable read for anyone interested in understanding the principles behind brand growth and marketing. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents empirical evidence and research that challenges common marketing practices, providing a fresh perspective on brand growth.
    • This book breaks down complex concepts into practical strategies and actionable insights, making it applicable to both seasoned marketers and newcomers.
    • With its straightforward and accessible approach, it makes the subject matter engaging and accessible, ensuring that readers won't find it dull or monotonous.

    Who should read How Brands Grow?

    • Anyone working in marketing
    • Anyone interested in how science can affect marketing practice
    • Anyone who wants to know how advertising works

    About the Author

    Byron Sharp is a professor of marketing science at the University of South Australia. He has written over a hundred articles on research in marketing and focuses mainly on establishing empirical laws that can be used in marketing practice.

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    How Brands Grow FAQs 

    What is the main message of How Brands Grow?

    The main message of How Brands Grow is that brand growth is driven by a broad and consistent reach among all potential buyers.

    How long does it take to read How Brands Grow?

    The reading time for How Brands Grow varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is How Brands Grow a good book? Is it worth reading?

    How Brands Grow is a must-read for marketers and business professionals. It provides valuable insights and empirical evidence on brand growth strategies.

    Who is the author of How Brands Grow?

    Byron Sharp is the author of How Brands Grow.

    What to read after How Brands Grow?

    If you're wondering what to read next after How Brands Grow, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • What Great Brands Do by Denise Lee Yohn
    • The 1% Windfall by Rafi Mohammed
    • The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib
    • Eating The Big Fish by Adam Morgan
    • Unconscious Branding by Douglas van Praet
    • Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits! by Greg Crabtree and Beverly Blair Harzog
    • Cut Costs Not Corners by Colin Barrow
    • The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr
    • Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
    • Think Remarkable by Guy Kawasaki & Madisun Nuismer