How Brands Grow Book Summary By Byron Sharp

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How Brands Grow is a book designed to help marketers and brands grow.

Written by Byron Sharp, this book tackles conventional marketing wisdom and approach, using scientific facts and data to disprove many of these so-called "conventional" marketing myths and establishing new principles that marketers should be putting into practice in order to grow their brand or product.

How Brands Grow Book

Book Name: How Brands Grow (What Marketers Don’t Know)

Author(s): Byron Sharp

Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Time: 18 Minutes

Categories: Marketing & Sales

Author Bio

Byron Sharp is an accomplished professor of marketing science based at the University of South Australia.

He has made contributions to the field through his research, having written over a hundred articles and studies on the topic.

Sharp is passionate about establishing empirical laws that can be used in marketing practice; this drive led to him authoring the book, How Brands Grow, which is a must-read for anyone looking to dive deeper into effective marketing strategies.

His research has been recognized worldwide, making him one of the most renowned voices in the world of marketing science today.

How Understanding The Science Of Brand Growth Can Make Your Business Thrive

Brand Growth

When it comes to successful marketing, it’s easy to assume that professionals rely on long-held, conventional beliefs rather than up-to-date empirical evidence when making decisions.

But according to How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp, that may not always be the case.

The book looks at how marketers can make use of the latest research and apply it in practice to ensure their brands grow.

It reveals why people often “satisfice” (which you’ll learn about) rather than optimizing their purchases.

Plus, How Brands Grow also explains why advertising isn’t mandatory for attempting to keep customers loyal but is absolutely essential for attracting new ones.

Ultimately, How Brands Grow provides readers with insight into the reality of what effective marketing tactics are actually based on – allowing them to develop sophisticated strategies with the most accurate and up-to-date information available.

After all, if you want your brand to be a successful and profitable one, you need to know what really works in today’s market!

The Importance Of Marketing Science In Effective Practices: The Double Jeopardy Law And The Colgate-Crest Case

For marketing practices to be successful, they must be grounded in the evidence provided by marketing science, not on traditional beliefs.

Take the example of toothpaste brands Colgate and Crest.

In 1989, a market analysis found that Colgate’s consumer base was made up of 21% loyal customers and 68% switchers, while Crest’s was made up of 38% loyal customers and 46% switchers.

This caused concern among Colgate’s marketing department and so they began producing more persuasive advertising to retain their customers.

However, this belief proves false when taking into account the double jeopardy law which states that brands with smaller market share have fewer loyal customers than those with larger market share.

Therefore, for a brand like Colgate (which has 19 percent market share) it is only natural that there are more switchers than loyal customers in comparison to a brand like Crest who holds 37 percent of the market share.

Therefore, this data should not be cause for alarm as it is typical of its size rather than being indicative of any faults in its advertising strategies.

Therefore it is clear that for effective marketing practice, marketers must rely on research and facts backed-up by marketing science instead of blindly following traditional beliefs about how things should work.

The Impact Of Acquiring New Customers On Brand Growth And Retention

If you’re looking to grow your customer base, it’s important to remember that the key is in acquiring new customers and not necessarily retaining existing ones.

It’s been said that a business can increase profits by nearly 100 percent for every 5 percent of customers retained, however this argument is misleading.

The evidence proposed was based solely on a thought experiment and does not reflect reality accurately.

What’s more, the market leader will most likely have the lowest defection rate, as brand loyalty depends on market share.

For example, CBA (Australia’s biggest bank with a 32% market share) had a defection rate of 3.4%, whereas Adelaide Bank, with its 0.8% market share had a much higher defection rate of 8%.

Considering that all this means brands have limited control over how many customers they retain in the long term, businesses should instead focus their efforts on getting new customers if they want to expand their customer base.

Marketers Should Consider Light Buyers As Well As Heavy Buyers In Their Strategy


When it comes to sales of a brand, the majority of it can be attributed to a small portion of customers who are heavy users – according to Pareto’s Law, it is heavily asserted that those users account for 80% of sales.

However, based on research and evidence, this may not be the case.

One study conducted in 2007 discovered that even for body sprays and deodorants, the heaviest buyers (the top 20%) were only responsible for just under half – results ranging between 46 and 53%.

This means that just under half of a company’s sales come from non-frequent users, who would usually be neglected by marketers as they concentrate mostly on maintaining heavy users.

It goes to show how important it is to consider all types of consumers in marketing efforts – not only those who go out and buy frequently.

With the right incentives and strategies, companies can gain more sales from customers who don’t purchase their product often.

It Is Misleading To Assume That Brand Loyalty Influences Consumer Preferences

The idea that customers have an emotional bond with the brands they purchase is far weaker than marketing mythology or conventional wisdom makes it out to be.

This is evidenced in a famous study on customer preferences, where subjects participated in a blind taste test and still preferred the labeled soda over the unlabeled one, and their preference was only attributed to loyalty for a successful marketing campaign.

What’s more, people’s beliefs are actually quite inconsistent – surveys involving Australian financial services brands revealed that on two occasions only half of those who agreed with a statement concerning them gave the same answer the second time around.

Finally, most consumers don’t seem to care much about the brand itself – they just stick to it because they know and like their products.

The truth is, attitudinal commitment to brands is much weaker than marketing mythology makes it out to be.

Why Visibility Is Essential For Brand Differentiation In The Market

Marketers sometimes think that their goal is to differentiate their brand from all others in the marketplace by offering unique products or services.

However, this does not actually distinguish it from other competing brands.

Rather than trying to make a brand appear different, brands should focus on making them more visible and recognizable so consumers can better identify them.

For example, a company might invest its brand with distinctive characteristics such as particular logos, symbols and colors like Coca-Cola’s red background or McDonald’s golden arch.

These features are what make certain brands stand out from the rest and it means people will recognize them when looking for a certain type of product or service.

Instead of trying to differentiate your brand, marketers should focus on making it noticeable in the marketplace so that customers can easily choose it over other competitors.

Can Advertising Still Be Effective, Even If It Can’t Reach Heavy Buyers?


Advertising can be a powerful tool for brands to grow and reach potential customers, but its success depends greatly on how it’s used.

Advertising works by affecting a consumer’s memory; constructing and renewing positive associations with a brand so that it’s more likely the consumer will purchase that product.

And these memory structures must be regularly updated to keep up with what people want and expect from their brands.

For instance, Coca-Cola has been able to remain popular over time by updating its advertisement strategy to reflect what current consumers would enjoy.

In the past, there were ads triggered by experiences of buying a Coke at the drugstore during summer breaks; now, the focus is on evoking memories about fun nights out with friends drinking rum and coke.

When it comes down to it, though, advertising may not be all that effective for solidifying heavy customers— those who already know they prefer one particular brand no matter what.

But it can be instrumental in reaching light buyers— those whose decisions are influenced by multiple factors.

Targeting this group helps ensure they don’t forget your name or your product when they go shopping!

The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Price Promotions For Brands

Marketers should be aware that price promotions may not always have the desired effect.

While they may serve to attract new customers – non-frequent buyers who tend to switch between brands and go with the cheapest option – this short-term spike in sales isn’t necessarily what brands should strive for.

That’s because a decrease in product prices also results in a decrease in profit margins, meaning that brands will need to work out how much of a discount they can afford in terms of generating sufficient revenue to make up for their costs.

Moreover, long-term discounts can create negative effects as well; when consumers become accustomed to the lower, discounted prices, they might refuse pay full price afterwards.

This can be beneficial if brands are able to sustain their profits with lower prices but it is not sustainable in the long run if production costs are too high.

Therefore, marketers should be careful in using price promotion strategies as part of their marketing efforts.

How Brands Can Increase Their Customers: Focus On Mental And Physical Availability


There are two key ways in which brands can increase their number of customers: making themselves easier to buy.

First, they must make themselves mentally available; this is achieved by having a large market share that makes their brand more likely to come to mind when consumers are deciding what to buy.

Starbucks, for instance, is likely to be the first thing one thinks of when looking for coffee.

Secondly, they need to be physically available as well: a brand can’t do any sales if it’s not around when a customer wants something and so brands need to ensure that they’re present wherever customers may look for them.

This means having an extensive network of stores or vendors so there’s always an option available no matter where you are.

To sum up, brands increase their sales when more people find them easier to buy-whether it’s through being mentally or physically accessible.

Wrap Up

The How Brands Grow Book provides an insightful look at how modern marketers can succeed in the marketplace.

The main takeaway is that, instead of blindly following marketing myths or conventional wisdom, marketers need to carefully analyze empirical evidence and use the insights they gain to improve their chances of success.

In terms of actionable advice, marketers should focus on making their brand stand out.

This could be done through creative packaging design or a memorable name.

All in all, this book contains valuable information for any marketer looking to make a big impact in their field.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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