Prof. Emeritus David Aaker Named to Marketing Hall of Fame

David AakerHaas Marketing Professor Emeritus David Aaker, widely considered the father of modern branding, has been selected for the 2015 Marketing Hall of Fame for his outstanding lifetime contributions to the field.

Aaker is one of four inductees chosen this year, and the only academic honored by the American Marketing Association’s New York chapter. Winnowed from more than 100 nominees, Aaker joins Shelly Lazarus, chairman emeritus of Ogilvy & Mather; Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, Inc., and Trevor Edwards, president of Nike Brand, Nike, Inc.

“I am honored to be among such an accomplished and illustrious group,” says Aaker, who is vice chairman at the strategic brand and marketing consultancy firm Prophet. “I’m gratified because it represents how my work impacts on the way marketing is practiced in companies.”

Aaker will speak at the Dean’s Speaker Series on Wednesday, April 1, at 12:30 p.m., in the Wells Fargo Room. He will discuss why stories appeal to consumers, how they are able to communicate the essence of a brand and, most importantly, how to overcome the challenges of finding strategic stories, evaluating them, and finding ways to keep them alive over time.

Aaker’s pioneering work focused on defining brand equity and detailed ways to build and manage brands and portfolios. He has published more than 100 articles and 17 books on the theory and practice of marketing, including eight on branding, that sold more one million copies and were translated into 18 languages. He has won awards for best article in the California Management Review and twice for best article in the Journal of Marketing.

“Dave’s reputation and intellectual impact is as global as it gets,” says Haas Dean Rich Lyons. “A huge amount of what I’ve learned over the years about what an enterprise’s identity is, why it matters, and how great leaders can shape it, I’ve learned from Dave’s books and talks.”

While Aaker enjoys reading academic research, he says that he writes primarily for marketing managers. His first brand book, Managing Brand Equity (1991), gained attention because “it defined brand equity at a time when there was no accepted definition,” he explains.

His second book, the bestselling Building Strong Brands (1995), developed his brand identity model, The Aaker Model, which is used by hundreds of firms to build and strategically manage brands.

Other influential books followed on brand leadership, portfolio strategy, and relevance. His latest book, Aaker on Branding: 20 Principles That Drive Success, was published last year.

“Today, Dave’s books, articles, and blog posts enjoy an almost cult-like following in the United States and abroad,” says Michael Dunn, MBA 90, Prophet’s chairman and CEO who recruited Aaker in 1999.

Scott Galloway and Ian Chaplin, both MBA 92, founded Prophet, incorporating many of Aaker’s principles. Dunn, Galloway, and Chaplin were among the many students Aaker taught at Berkeley-Haas between 1969 and 1999. “It’s impossible to overstate Dave’s contribution to the theory and practice of marketing,” Dunn says.

While at Haas, Aaker helped then-interim Dean Lyons develop and refine what principles Berkeley-Haas should stand for over time. That campaign, as well as Aaker’s other contributions to the field, are described in The Plato and Newton of Branding, a feature article in last year’s California Magazine’s Faculty Giants series.

The annual Marketing Hall of Fame honor is presented to active marketing practitioners with a minimum of 10 years experience. The criteria include : developing marketing innovations which have dramatic impacts on business results, raising marketing’s profile in business overall and mentoring, and inspiring the next generation of marketers.

The 2015 Marketing Hall of Fame ceremonies take place May 21 in New York. Only seven professionals and two professors, Aaker, and Northwestern University’s Philip Kotler, have received the lifetime award, which was started last year.