Brand Warfare: 10 Rules for Building the Killer Brand

Brand Warfare: 10 Rules for Building the Killer Brand

by David D'Alessandro

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A marketing best seller!See more details below


A marketing best seller!

Editorial Reviews

Harvard Business Review
Don't let the generic title fool you. With its engaging voice and pull-no-punches tone, this book stands out from the marketing crowd. The key to effective brands, says the head of John Hancock Financial Services, is an identity that connects to the real problems of customers. To develop and maintain that realism, he contends, companies must protect their brands from the in-house political, legal and operational pressures that have turned most brands into mush. They also need to risk alienating some market segments. Lively stories from D'Alessandro's multi-faceted career in marketing help drive home his points with an all-too-rare concreteness. He takes the reader on a well-organized tour of marketing pitfalls, from advertising "feedback" to wasted sponsorships. And his wry sense of humor akes up for some bluster and his bias in favor of Hancock marketing choices like the Olympics. The books offers no great insights, but it may well prevent executives from signing off on ill-fated brand campaigns.
Chicago Sun Times
David F. D'Alessandro is that refreshing rarity: a businessman who tells it like it is. And he does just that in his gripping new page-turner, Brand Warfare: 10 Rules for Building the Killer Brand. (McGraw-Hill, $24.95, 185 pages). Branding is the buzzword du jour in the business world. And companies such as Citibank, Starbucks, IBM and McDonald's are constantly held up as examples of great brands.

But how many executives really get it? D'Alessandro, who moonlights as CEO of John Hancock Financial Services, neatly lays out what makes a brand great and what smart corporate types must do to protect and enhance the brand.

D'Alessandro got his start in branding at a tender age working in the family grocery store in Utica, N.Y. When D'Alessandro's grandmother died, his grandfather recruited him to go to the slaughterhouse every morning to lick carcasses to determine which were bacteria-free. The meat that passed the licking test was immediately stamped "D'Alessandro Store" to ensure it didn't get switched on the way to the grocery. Because of D'Alessandro's efforts, the store maintained its reputation for selling the best beef.

From such unusual early business practices, D'Alessandro developed an innate feeling for the brand and the importance of protecting its sanctity. And as his new book makes clear, this knowledge smoothed the way for his meteoric rise to the top of one of the nation's major financial services company.

All the rules in D'Alessandro's book really flow from one fact: Every brand has a distinct, appealing, carefully nurtured personality. Anyone committed to sustaining and building the brand should understand that. Inevitably, D'Alessandro gets around to discussing a brand's all-important relationship with its advertising agency, and he's brutally blunt about what is at the core of most such business arrangements. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a brand builder is to assume that advertising agencies want to help you build your brand and sell your products, D'Alessandro writes. "Don't be silly; what they really want is to keep you as a fee-paying client for as long as possible.

The author wraps up this diatribe by characterizing most agencies as sycophants. D'Alessandro underscores this point with an amusing and telling story about a John Hancock advertising campaign that was in place just before he was named president.

That campaign's central image was a set of scales, which perplexed D'Alessandro until he walked into a secluded part of his predecessor's office and discovered--much to his amazement--shelves and shelves of antique scales.

Judging from his comments in Brand Warfare, D'Alessandro is a big fan of bold, breakthrough advertising. He states several times that one great commercial can do as much to build a brand as millions and millions of dollars spent on mediocre advertising. He has witnessed firsthand the horrific effects of too many, poorly equipped people putting their two cents into campaigns that wound up pale shadows of what they were intended to be. Once good creatives have been subjected to such indignities, D'Alessandro writes, they never again will give their all to developing great, brand-building advertising.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this short, concise work, D'Alessandro, CEO of the John Hancock insurance group, entertainingly hammers home the importance of creating and maintaining a brand. In his view, a brand is whatever image a customer conjures up upon hearing a company's name, so everything from the firm's labor practices to its product and advertising must be taken into account. To make his points, D'Alessandro draws heavily on his former career in advertising and public relations. On having Orville Redenbacher as a client: "We literally thought he was insane." But in the end, he says, "Orville taught me...the power of a good brand to trump all rhyme or reason in the marketplace." From a consumer's point of view, brands save time, project a certain image to the rest of the world and make one feel part of the group that uses the brand. He discusses the steps to building a brand, consistently emphasizing that, if it is to resonate, the brand must have one simple image. D'Alessandro doesn't break much new ground here, but he succeeds at reminding everyone from the CEO to the people on the assembly line that their company's brand is its most crucial asset. Practical, psychologically astute and clearly written, this book has much to offer businessfolk of all stripes. (May 1) Forecast: A $500,000 advertising and publicity campaign, national radio and television interviews, a six-city author tour and D'Alessandro's savvy advice and irreverent humor will get the 100,000-copy first printing moving in no time. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

America Media International
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, CD
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 4.86(h) x 0.98(d)

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