Business wisdom, confusion for the discipline of brand - new blog from Prof. David Aaker as an example.

Prof. Aaker, who in my view is the intellectual thought leader of branding today, writes a useful post, "Strategies from the New Emerging Market Competitors," breaking down the competitive advantage of emerging multinational corporations (EMNCs).

But at the same time he muddies the waters when it comes to explaining what branding is, exactly. --- The basic argument: MNCs particularly in China excel at making

1) low-cost products made with low-cost labor (ethics in the parking lot for the moment)

2) products that focus on the most important customer wants

3) (as Marian Salzman has put it) "hyperlocal" knowledge that facilitates true reach

4) brand-building expertise that focuses innovation in a particular way (examples - HTC and Lenovo)

The problem: Brand is #4 on the list instead of driving 1, 2 and 3.

If brand = business then why not structure the post so that all business decisions flow from the positioning of the organization?

Because the net effect of this blog post structure is that branding is, once again, an afterthought.


Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, and, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.