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How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don't Know

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,551 ratings  ·  124 reviews
This book provides evidence-based answers to the key questions asked by marketers every day. Tackling issues such as how brands grow, how advertising really works, what price promotions really do & how loyalty programs really affect loyalty. ...more
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published April 12th 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Tomas Ramanauskas
This is tricky. On one hand this seems to be mythbusting, forget-everything-you-know kind of sensationalist book with researches to back its claims. On the other hand it is off-handed and lazy writing treating its reader as dimwit.

It is worth flipping through with a hint of common sense and finding if these truths work for you:
-Reach is everything. Target audience are bullshit. Reach as broad audience as you can.
-For advertising to work you need to build memory structures.
-Create brand assets -
Tyrone Ingle
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it
What happens when you subject fashionable marketing theories to actual observed behaviours and supporting statistics? Most of them crumble. This book is surprising and forehead slappingly obvious in equal measure. It peels away accepted truths and paints a more rational picture of customers as "uncaring cognitive misers". Next time you hear somebody trying to sell the power of brand personalities, segmented targeting strategies, or long term algorithmic growth forecasting in a meeting - take a w ...more
Tùng Lâm
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Depressing! The book's advices are only suitable for big FMCG brands that aim to be the market leader. Meanwhile traditional marketing methodology is still appropriate for small brands.

Conclusion: Insightful but not practical.
Xavier Van
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an outstanding book for anyone who is interested in selling - which since all business is selling, should be anyone in business.

It debunks quite a lot of ideas around marketing - e.g. there is no such thing as loyalty - most big brands are big because they have massive distribution so it makes is more likely consumers will find them on the shelves when they're looking for something in the category. The nice thing is that much of the earlier chapters are backed by reasonable amounts of d
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Having some marketing experience and work for advertising, this book is somewhat an eye opener. I believe this is a must read for all marketing (and related categories) people.
Robert Zymberi
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
If there wasnt second part of the book I would give it 2 stars

Proclaimed mythbusting marketing book which at some parts used very wisely chosen data to prove everything you knew about marketing was wrong.
Doug Garnett
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: marketing
Excellent and very, very challenging. Especially humbling for marketers in its stark reminder that the consumer's primary goal in life is NOT bonding with our products. And all the things this reality leads to.

At times, the book is written with the flighty shallowness of modern business books. Sadly, it may be that the publisher feared losing readers with a deeper and more serious analysis of the variants being considered. And it might have. Sad that despite spending hundreds of millions, ad age
Lika Aprilia
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Out of date and full of obvious 'lessons' that make you go, "Well you don't say..."
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book on marketing and brand strategy I've read. Does away with a lot of marketing and branding myths, some of which are quite established, like brand loyalty, target audiences, discounts and campaign advertising. The style could be more engaging but the substance makes this textbook a revelatory read.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for data and scientific approach so I really liked this book much more than I would have ever guessed. Probably would make it a mandatory read in my company market department if we had such a thing...
Daniel Šturm
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a mind changing book. If you love Philip Kotler, don't touch this. :)
Ieuan Evans
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent read that really brings to the forefront the drivers of brand growth. An essential read for any marketeer.
Matthew Hodge
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: marketing
A data-driven argument for - of all things - mass marketing. As opposed to brand differentiation or narrow targeting based on certain groups of people.

That said, this book is now eight years old and thus hasn't taken into account the rise of digital advertising, which took advertising to select target markets to a whole new level.

I would be curious to know what Byron Sharp would write now if he was to release a revised edition.
Scott Macdonald
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-reads
I don't really like to use words such as 'important' or 'refreshing' when reviewing a book but in this case I have to make an exception. This *is* an important and refreshing book.

The amount of waffle spouted by "industry experts" without any empirical evidence to support their views is astounding and this one well written, evidence based book re-writes a lot of those assumed rules of advertising/branding in a couple of hundred pages.

Based on other reviews, I was worried about this being a dry
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
If you are a brand manager for a CPG or work with the marketing team for a CPG company, then I strongly recommend reading this book. I work in the tech industry, so many of the topics are directly applicable. However, there are still plenty of take-aways. And just as the book summary promises, it will challenge many of the deeply held beliefs about marketing a brand and product.
Maciej Zyto
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: marketing
Forget Kotlerian marketing. Believe in Byron Sharp's marketing.
The book questions marketing myths and provides evidence- based marketing like-laws.
Speaks about marketing science, not imagination and assumptions we took so far as truth.
I strongly recommed this book. It will not come easy, but is very rewarding.
Yevhen Nesin
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book about "new marketing". The author shows main Kotler's mistakes-exaggerations and emphasize on several main sales drivers which are physical and mental availability. To add more, Sharp claims there is no loyalty and differentiation and, you know, I believe him.
Bryce Johnson
Read this for work. Dry, but certainly the most insightful business book I've read to this point. I feel smarter. I'm glad I liked it, or I would've had a tough time telling everyone at work that I didn't.
Nov 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Meh. .
Jason Kim
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a good introductory book on understanding what marketers should do to grow a competitive brand.

The author establishes marketing laws.

Double jeopardy law: Brands with less market share have far fewer buyers, and these buyers are slightly less loyal (in their buying and attitudes). For implications see Chapter 2.
•Retention double jeopardy: All brands lose some buyers; this loss is proportionate to their market share (i.e. big brands lose more customers; though these represent a smaller pr
Michael Merchant
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Much of our work is done thoughtlessly. We hammer away at screws and are frustrated when yelling doesn't instantly convince our colleagues. Here is a book that takes a step back from the rush of "do do do" and asks in a systematic and reasonable way, did the work we do actually make an impact? How can we measure that?

I highly recommend this for marketing professionals and individuals trying to share a product they believe in with the world.

A word of caution, in this book, Sharp poorly distinguis
Rob Schmults
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Some good lessons and good reminders. And while this book written before more recent advances in targeting buyer intent, intent based marketing arguably supports the core points about mental and physical availability, especially if you view it as the final collapsing of the space between marketing and selling. Unfortunately the book buries the lead (spends too long building up to the points vs making them) which really detracts from readability. And while does a decent job with data on what not ...more
Christoffer Hagenmalm
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this book rather refreshing compared to all the other books on marketing I've read. I am a science nerd, and I want empirical data on everything, so the fact that this book leaned toward science more than common marketing knowledge was a fresh breeze of air. It wasn't repetitive either; the authors kept adding new information on top of all the other information, making it more in-depth, and valuable as a book, so I am going to give it four stars. If you are into marketing, study this boo ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books on marketing out there. If you are a practitioner or on the industry, I would go on and label this as a "must read." This goes against the usual Kotlerian thinking that we have been taught. I was amazed and to a certain extent, disappointed and angry, that none of the marketing course I took during my MBA have references to this book. It would have introduced the very necessary opposing view to segmentation, targeting and positioning.

Highly recommended read for anyo
Lisa Haggerty
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
A provocative yet outdated perspective on how brands grow. A better title might be, How Large CPG Brands Stay Large. This book was written before e-commerce and online advertising shifted how media is bought and how consumers consume media. And before disruptor, DNVB, and DTC brands exploded. I think many of the principles are solid, like even your most loyal buyers are not 100% loyal. As a read, it was repetitive and stale. It was not based on many meta-analyses, so the conclusions seem more li ...more
Anjana Prabhu-Paseband
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Trying to understand how consumers behave has been the most important question for marketers. This book challenges the traditional textbook wisdom with empirical data that can disprove such assumption. This helps to understand the importance of scientific data with the help of newly emerged technology and science. It briefly touches cognitive sciences in understanding the power of consumer behaviour. Must read of Marketing enthusiasts.
Sergey Bakhtiyarov
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A long-awaited critial review of a traditional approach to marketing. Having seen behavioral patterns described in the book in my own experience was liberating and adding validity to the conclusions. The alternative suggested solutions - especially, on advertising - are not as substantiated as the preceding scrutiny of a current status-quo, however seem logical and inspire further research and test by practice.
Kushmakar Sharma
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece that attempts to bring empirical evidence to a seemingly esoteric field of marketing. A lot of the observations in this book make intuitive sense when you think of your own buying behaviour. But that intuition has been curbed for marketers who have for long been exposed to sophisticated marketing theories with little regards to reality. This is a must-read for every marketer who want to correct what has been ailing this profession for so long.
Argelia Martinez
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
The book is controversial because it directs people though evidence based marketing to question fundamental marketing principles and it advices brands to mass market. I believe the book is only suited for Brands that are mass produced and are market leaders, for example CPG brands (I.e. Coke, Cheerios).
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Marketing had never been more empirical! This book offers great facts that questions a lot of things you already know about marketing (like consumer loyalty). Every argument is supported with research and only problem is that it lacks examples from real world a little bit, slightly boring reading. However, still one of the tops for brand managers!
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Byron Sharp is Professor of Marketing Science, and Director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia.

His research is supported corporations around the world including Coca-Cola, Mars, Kraft, Nielsen, British Airways, CBS, ESPN, Kellogg's and many others.

Dr Sharp has published over 100 academic papers and is on the editorial boards of four journals.

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