Based on empirical data, we can generalize certain patterns into “marketing laws”.
Other interesting ideas:
Double jeopardy law: Brands with less market share have far fewer buyers, and these buyers are slightly less loyal (in their buying and attitudes).
Retention double jeopardy: All brands lose some buyers; this loss is proportionate to their market share.
Pareto law: 60/20: Slightly more than half a brand’s sales come from the bottom 80 % of its customers.
Law of buyer moderation: In subsequent time periods heavy buyers buy less often than in the base period that was used to categorize them as heavy buyers. Also, light buyers buy more often and some non-buyers become buyers.
Natural monopoly law: Brands with more market share attract a greater proportion of light category buyers.
User bases seldom vary: Rival brands sell to very similar customer bases.
Attitudes and brand beliefs reflect behavioral loyalty: Customers know and say more about brands they use, and think and say little about brands they do not use. Therefore, larger brands always score higher on surveys that assess attitudes to brands because they have more users.
Usage drives attitude (or I love my Mum and you love yours): Buyers of different brands express very similar attitudes and perceptions about their respective brands.
Law of prototypicality: Image attributes that describe the product category score higher (i.e. are more commonly associated with a brand) than less prototypical attributes.
Duplication of purchase law: A brand’s customer base overlaps with rival brands in line with its market share.
Brand competition and growth is largely about building two market-based assets: physical availability and mental availability.
Building mental availability requires distinctiveness and clear branding.
Strength of a brand’s distinctive assets is determined by their uniqueness and prevalence.
What marketers should worry about is whether or not their brands are distinctive. Are they easy to recognize and distinguish from others?
Memory is the link between an ad and brand choice.
The dominant way that advertising works is by refreshing, and occasionally building, memory structures.
Overall evaluation: I’m still a bit unsure about some of the conclusions in this book, but it definitely got me thinking about the assumptions marketers take for granted. This book is thought-provoking and insightful, albeit the style of writing is a bit arrogant at times. The book is essentially a summary of a lot of empirical research into brands, and is unique in offering some backing to its claims. It is tailored to big FMCG marketers, and for them, the pro-mass marketing advice seems sound and actionable. In any other context, it is essential to pick and choose what makes sense to the reader – as Byron Sharp often makes sweeping generalizations that just don’t apply. In any case, a worthwhile read, alongside Seth Godin’s “We are all weird” for an extra kick.