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The Brand Bubble: The Looming Crisis in Brand Value and How to Avoid It Hardcover – October 13, 2008

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The Brand Bubble: The Looming Crisis in Brand Value and How to Avoid It + Spend Shift: How the Post-Crisis Values Revolution Is Changing the Way We Buy, Sell, and Live + The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (October 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047018387X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470183878
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

How to use brands to gain and sustain competitive advantage
Read a Q&A with author John Gerzema [PDF].

Companies today face a dilemma in marketing. The tried-and-true formulas to create sales and market share behind brands are becoming irrelevant and losing traction with consumers. In this book, Gerzema and LeBar offer credible evidence--drawn from a detailed analysis of a decade's worth of brand and financial data using Y&R's Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), the largest database of brands in the world--that business is riding on yet another bubble that is ready to burst--a brand bubble. While most managers still see metrics like trust and awareness as the backbone of how brands are built, Gerzema asserts they're dead wrong--these metrics do not add to increased asset value. In fact, by following them, they actually hasten the declining value of their brands.

Using a five-stage model, The Brand Bubble reveals how today's successful brands--and tomorrow's--have an insatiable appetite for creativity and change. These brands offer consumers a palpable sense of movement and direction thanks to a powerful "energized differentiation." Gerzema reveals how brands with energized differentiation achieve better financial performance than traditional brands have. Plus, Gerzema helps readers develop energized differentiation in their own brands, creating consumer-centric and sustainable organizations.

From School Library Journal

These authors both hold senior positions at Young & Rubicam (Y&R), part of the largest ad agency holding company in the world, WPP Group. Their book sounds an alarm based on a gap in value between how consumers and investors perceive brands. The authors have a proprietary research tool that they use to measure value, and they've found that investors reward companies with greater brand awareness, even if consumers don't see much utility. The book presents recommendations on how to close the gap between consumer and company perceptions. Many other books present theories about branding. Al and Laura Ries's The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding offers a hands-on approach to branding, focusing on what works and not necessarily why, while Janelle Barlow and Paul Stewart's Branded Customer Service attacks the problem of branding from the view of the customer experience. David A. Aaker and Erich Joachimsthaler's Brand Leadership's more quantitative approach and academic perspective can be compared most closely to this new book. The Brand Bubble is appropriate for a business school or corporate library and will be useful to marketers as well as investors.—Stephen E. Turner, Turner Devaughn Network, Abington, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

John Gerzema is a pioneer in the use of data to identify social change and help companies anticipate and adapt to new interests and demands. A best-selling author, columnist, speaker and social strategist, his books have appeared on "best of" lists at FAST COMPANY, Inc., and THE WEEK Magazine. His research, writing and interviews have appeared in The Harvard Business Review, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNBC, NPR, Forbes and many others. As a Fellow with the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, he is an expert on emergent leadership strategies and executive chairman of WPP Group's BAV Consulting. John oversees the world's largest database of brands and consumer behavior. His new book, The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And The Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future with Michael D'Antonio. John's TED talk 'The Post-Crisis Consumer' has been viewed by over a quarter of a million people.

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Customer Reviews

Through smart quantitative analysis this book explains how brands can create value today through the creation of momentum and energy.
Gareth Kay
Very clearly laid out with highlights and plenty of graphic support through diagrams and illustrations, this book is hugely informative and intriguing.
Mark Stinson
While we're trying to get ourselves out of the most recent bubble's burst, this book sounds the alarm bells we all need to avoid the next one.
Mindy Romero

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Matthew R. Coakley on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was pretty disappointed by this book. After all the hype, who would have thought that there was a review bubble! So, the first chapter or so is pretty decent. The case for a 'brand bubble' is presented effectively. After that, the book seemed to lose traction. The authors gave interesting examples, but the principles behind these examples seemed ambiguous as best. Most of the text consisted of platitudes and fluff. Also, it read like an extended advertisement for Young & Rubicam. Finally, the whole idea of 'energy' was unconvincing. If you're interested in brand management, you might want to check this book out of your local library. Otherwise, I'd skip it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on October 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The authors lay out credible evidence that businesses think brands are worth more than the consumers who buy them. At the same time, the financial markets keep raising brand valuations. The result - a brand bubble that represents $4 trillion in S&P market capitalization alone. According to the authors, the average brand value component of market capitalization is 71% using Young and Rubicon's 'BrandAsset Valuator' that was developed with $113 million to track 40,000 brands in 44 nations.

Explanations for the decline in consumer valuations of brands: 1)Glut of products - 58,375 new products introduced in 2006, over 2X that of just 2002. The average American sees 60% more ad messages/day than when President Clinton took office. Not surprisingly, over 81% of consumers could not name one of the top 50 products launched that year. 2)The glut invariable leads to commoditization of brands. 3)Consumers are more price sensitive - not surprising given the flattening of real incomes and large job losses. 4)Better products - even the lowest-priced goods exceed the average acceptable quality levels for most people. Stated alternatively, regardless of what you buy, you'll be happy with your purchase. 5)Trust in institutions and corporations has declined - this includes advertising as well.

The authors should have quit at this point. The remainder of "The Brand Bubble" is vague, and seems like a long commercial for Y&R services. Reality, however, is that a growing worldwide surplus of goods and declining economic strength for U.S. consumers doesn't leave much future for brand value. This trend is reflected in growing Wal-Mart and declining mall, high-end store sales. Period, end of book.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Viriya Taecharungroj on April 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(First of all, I do not want to give 3 stars for the sake of it but I try to be honest and hope you read my review with an open mind, thank you)

"There's another bubble hiding in our economy"

"The Brand Bubble" by John Gerzema and Ed Lebar is to remind and warn everyone that the current economy crisis might not be the last one in present days. Brands, around the world, have been inflated perceptually and financially. With the new era of technology, customers are surrounded with blogs, news, reviews, discussions, recommendations, and they are within an arm reach; this is the so-called ConsumerLand by the authors. Big brands are not invincible anymore. Brands that survive, thrive, and flourish need "energy". This book tells you the meaning and importance of "energy" and how can you foster it.


Part 1: Introduction

Chapter 1: Tulipmania and Inflated Brands
The first chapter tells you the current state of brands and how they were inflated mainly by the hands of Wall Street. Brands are less trusted, less liked, less salient, and more often perceived as low quality but the value of the brands, or the intangible assets of the company measured by the stock market, is still on the way up.

Chapter 2: Can You Say "Irresistable"?
The authors state that the new dimension that drives the brand is "energy", and the new four pillars of brand are Energized Differentiation, Relevance, Esteem, and Knowledge. There is an interesting grid of BrandAsset Valuator© or BAV which has Y-axis as Brand Strength and X-axis as Brand Stature. You can take a look at
Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Laurent Pacalin on May 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Energy drives brands and successful brands drive valuation. This is what John Gerzema and Ed Lebar demonstrate in `The Brand Bubble". This book is a great addition to a subject that has been written about a lot. As the chief marketing officer of FICO, the company that enabled equal-opportunity lending through analytics, I particularly welcome the quantitative approach that they use to make their point, as well as, their thorough analysis of how the forces of social media affect brands. This is a great read for executive teams in search of a brand boost!

Laurent Pacalin
Chief Marketing Officer at FICO
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sean King on October 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The next bubble in our economy has to do with brands - this is important news for anyone in the creative industries, in marketing, as well as those on wall street. John & Ed make a clear case for why the value given to brands by speculators does not match up to their real values in consumers' minds. There is some good news here, though - once you know about this bubble, you can move your brand in ways that your customers will value.
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