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David A. Aaker - Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, CA, US

David A. Aaker David A. Aaker

E.T. Grether Professor Emeritus of Marketing and Public Policy | Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley


Hailed as the "father of modern branding"


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.



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The Impact of Signature Stories For Brands with Prophet’s David Aaker David Aaker: The Anatomy of a Signature Story David Aaker Professor Emeritus, Berkeley Haas School of Business


Education (3)

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

1985, 1987

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 (8)

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.

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Facebook's Embattled Brand

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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Selected Papers & Publications (15)

Aaker on Branding New York: Morgan James

David Aaker


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Find the shared interest: A route to community activation and brand building Journal of Brand Strategy

David Aaker


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Four Ways Digital Works to Build Brands and Relationships Journal of Brand Strategy

David Aaker


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Win the Brand Relevance Battle and Then Build Competitor Barriers California Management Review

David Aaker


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Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant Jersey Boss

David Aaker


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Brand Portfolio Strategy The Free Press

David Aaker


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From Fargo to the World of Brands Iceni Books

David Aaker


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Spanning Silos Harvard Business Press

David Aaker


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Winning by Creating New Categories Wall Street Journal, The Journal Report

David Aaker


Innovation: Brand It or Lose It California Management Review

David Aaker


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Peeling Back the Layers on Innovation BrandWeek

David Aaker


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Brands to the Power of Two Brand Strategy

David Aaker and Christian Dorffer


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The Relevance of Relevance: Innovating Brands in Fast-Moving Markets Strategy + Business

David Aaker


Brand Marketing in Slow Growth Markets: The Internet as Integrator Strategy + Business

David Aaker


The Power of Branded Differentiator MIT Sloan Management Review

David Aaker


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