Marketing Expert David Aaker to Talk on Making Competitors Irrelevant, Feb. 16

Marketing guru and Haas Professor Emeritus David Aaker will talk about his new book, Brand Relevance, at his annual lecture at Berkeley-Haas on Feb. 16 at 12:30 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Room.

The David Aaker Distinguished Speaker Series event is sponsored by the Dean’s Speaker Series, MBA Marketing Club, and Undergraduate Marketing Club. Boxed lunches will be served at the event.

Registration is required; details will follow by email. Registration information also will be available on the Dean's Speaker Series website as the event date approaches.

Brand Relevance describes a competitive strategy of developing innovative offerings that result in new categories or subcategories that, in turn, make competitors irrelevant. These categories and subcategories contain exclusive, must-have characteristics that exclude other firms from competing.

“Success is not about winning the brand preference battle but, rather, the brand relevance war,” says Aaker.

For instance,, the Internet shoe company, established a category based on service and personality. Wheaties Fuel attracts people who want a cereal designed by athletes. Zipcar created the car-share category. Whole Foods Market defined a category around organic, natural food. started cloud computing. The common denominator is changing what customers are buying with an offering that includes elements and associations that competitors lacked.

"In brand preference competition, the goal is incremental innovation: making it better, faster, cheaper," Aaker explains. "Brand relevance focuses on substantial or transformational innovation, and actively managing the image of new categories and subcategories. It’s a very different challenge."