Areas of Expertise (5)
Brand and Brand Building
Brand Portfolio Strategy
Global Brand Management
Marketing Professor Emeritus David Aaker is widely considered the father of modern branding. His pioneering work focused on defining brand equity and detailed ways to build and manage brands and portfolios. He has published more than 100 articles and 18 books on the theory and practice of marketing—including eight on branding—that have sold more 1 million copies and were translated into 18 languages.
Aaker's first brand book, Managing Brand Equity (1991), gained attention because it defined brand equity at a time when there was no accepted definition. His second book, the bestselling Building Strong Brands (1995), developed his brand identity model, The Aaker Model, which is used by hundreds of firms to build and strategically manage brands. Other influential books followed on brand leadership, portfolio strategy, and relevance. His latest book, "Creating Signature Stories," was published in 2017.
Aaker serves as Vice Chair at Prophet, a global marketing and branding consultancy. In 2015, he was inducted into the American Marketing Association Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievements in marketing.
Stanford University: PhD, Business Administration
Stanford University: MS, Statistics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: BS, Management
Honors & Awards (8)
American Marketing Association’s Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee for outstanding contributions to the field of marketing
Innovative Contributions to Marketing, Marketing Management Association
MIT Buck Weaver Award for contributions to the advancement of theory and practice in marketing science
Vijay Mahajan Award for career contributions to marketing strategy
Paul D. Converse Award for outstanding contributions to the development of the science of marketing
Fellow, World Economic Forum at Davos
Pacific Telesis Award for best article in the California Management Review
Award for best article contributed to the Journal of Marketing
Selected External Service & Affiliations (3)
- Board of Directors, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County
- Serves on the following editorial boards : Journal of Strategic Marketing, Marketing Management, The Journal of Brand Management, Strategy & Leadership, and The Russian Management Journal
- Board of Directors, California Casualty Insurance Company
Positions Held (1)
At Haas since 1968
1994 – present, E.T. Grether Professor of Marketing Strategy (Emeritus since 2000) 1999 – present, Vice Chairman, Prophet 1981 – 1994, J. Gary Shansby Professor of Marketing Strategy 1970 – 1981, Professor, Haas School of Business 1982 – 1986, Chair, Marketing Group
Media Appearances (11)
The future of branding: From slogans to stories-David Aaker
Brand Equity online
The world is upside down because of the Covid experience and branding as a result will need to look different going forward. Here's author and the 'father of modern branding', David Aaker's take on how the present will shape the future of branding.
Why subcategories are the only way to grow
Airbnb, Chobani, Dollar Shave Club, Tesla … all are successful start-ups that have disrupted existing markets by creating – and owning – new subcategories; it’s the only way to grow says David Aaker.
David Aaker: Father of modern branding
Guy Kawasaki's Remarkable People online
I’m Guy Kawasaki, and this is Remarkable People. This episode’s remarkable guest is David Aaker. David is the godfather of branding like Bob Cialdini is the godfather of influence. And like Bob, his work has shaped my concept of secular evangelism.
Rooftop video ads bring extra cash for Uber, Lyft drivers
San Francisco Chronicle online
Firefly is a San Francisco startup that places digital screens on ride-hailed vehicles. Outdoor advertising is generally a healthy segment because it’s not as cluttered as other media, although the ads risk being distracting and intrusive, said David Aaker, E.T. Grether Professor Emeritus of Marketing & Public Policy.
Facebook's Embattled Brand
Fox 2 KTVU online
Facebook announced that hackers gained access to nearly 30 million users' accounts and personal data in a security breach that the social media company originally said might impact up to 50 million accounts. "The first job is to accept responsibility. And I think the first Facebook response has been kind of tepid," said David Aaker, an author and international expert in branding who serves as Vice-Chair for Prophet.
How Prophet is still a visionary 20 years on
As any great brand will tell you, reputation is the lifeblood of a business, and Prophet’s reputation pulled the company into a lot of big markets with big clients. More specifically, Prophet’s vice-chairman David Aaker has a reputation as a well-known academic and a prolific author with a number of reputable books concerning brand strategy under his belt.
Equine equity: How mid-Missouri horses boost a global beer brand
Missouri Business Alert
The Budweiser Clydesdales are the heart of the beer's brand, said David Aaker, E.T. Grether Professor Emeritus of Marketing and Public Policy. “The Clydesdales are a great example of how a symbol can be the vehicle to help create a story and to keep it alive,” he said.
Why Brands Need Signature Stories
Business gets more tech-driven by the day, but one of the most powerful emerging tools in branding is storytelling, a skill as old as time itself. We’re not talking about user-generated stories, like those fueled by Snapchat, Instagram or casual content-marketing campaigns, but of signature stories that build brands. In his new book, Creating Signature Stories: Strategic Messaging that Energizes, Persuades and Inspires, Prophet Vice Chairman David Aaker explains why these narratives—tightly connected to brand purpose—are so effective.
Some Uber, Lyft drivers have a side hustle: mobile billboards
San Francisco Chronicle
Some Uber and Lyft drivers are turning their cars into mobile billboards, which could prove a dubious venture. "If you get in early on one of these things, you might get a whole bunch of social energy—people talking about it," said David Aaker, E.T. Grether Professor Emeritus of Marketing and Public Policy. "However, that will get old fast."
There’s More to Naming a Company After Yourself Than Ego
The New York Times
A family name can give a company a story that it can use to get noticed. "Facts don’t work. People counterargue. They’re skeptical. But if you tell them a story, that all goes away," said David Aaker, E.T. Grether Professor Emeritus of Marketing & Public Policy.
The Plato and Newton of Branding: Berkeley’s David Aaker
In the globalized, consumption-fired 21st century, branding is the air we breathe. A few decades ago, a brand was often little more than a label, at worst an advertising gimmick used to pitch dubious medications and toxic hair gels. Today, it is the fulcrum of highly complex value systems—philosophical constellations in an edgy marketing cosmos, with its nerve centers in California, New York, and the major capitals of Western Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The Plato and Newton of that volatile universe is David Aaker, a congenial professor emeritus of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, born and raised in the placid calm of Fargo, North Dakota.
Selected Papers & Publications (15)
Aaker on BrandingNew York: Morgan James
Find the shared interest: A route to community activation and brand buildingJournal of Brand Strategy
Four Ways Digital Works to Build Brands and RelationshipsJournal of Brand Strategy
Win the Brand Relevance Battle and Then Build Competitor BarriersCalifornia Management Review
Brand Relevance: Making Competitors IrrelevantJersey Boss
Brand Portfolio StrategyThe Free Press
From Fargo to the World of BrandsIceni Books
Spanning SilosHarvard Business Press
Winning by Creating New CategoriesWall Street Journal, The Journal Report
Innovation: Brand It or Lose ItCalifornia Management Review
Peeling Back the Layers on InnovationBrandWeek
Brands to the Power of TwoBrand Strategy
David Aaker and Christian Dorffer
The Relevance of Relevance: Innovating Brands in Fast-Moving MarketsStrategy + Business
Brand Marketing in Slow Growth Markets: The Internet as IntegratorStrategy + Business
The Power of Branded DifferentiatorMIT Sloan Management Review