Defending Your Brand: How Smart Companies Use Defensive Strategy to Deal with Competitive Attacks


The EMM Marketing Book of the Year, 2013

Anyone with a successful business can be certain of one thing: competitors are looking for opportunities to attack. As a result, defending a business is a critical task for business leaders. Indeed, a good defense is far more important that a good offense. If you fail trying to grow, you will miss your objectives. If you fail defending your business, you can lose everything. Defensive strategy is a brutal business; the objective is ...

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Defending Your Brand: How Smart Companies use Defensive Strategy to Deal with Competitive Attacks

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The EMM Marketing Book of the Year, 2013

Anyone with a successful business can be certain of one thing: competitors are looking for opportunities to attack. As a result, defending a business is a critical task for business leaders. Indeed, a good defense is far more important that a good offense. If you fail trying to grow, you will miss your objectives. If you fail defending your business, you can lose everything. Defensive strategy is a brutal business; the objective is to drive competitors into the ground and make off with their ideas. It isn't pretty, but a good defense can be very effective. Here, Calkins shows business leaders how to create and maintain a defensive strategy including: how to understand and get competitive intelligence; how to determine if your brand or company is at risk; how to create a defensive strategy; how to blunt your competitor's efforts - and much more. Every business leader needs to understand how to play defense and this book will teach them how to do it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"It's a brutally competitive world out there. Tim Calkins outlines the weapons and strategies available to defend against the big guys, while exploring how and when to defend against a guerilla insurgency. Wear a flak jacket." - Andy England, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, MillerCoors

"A well thought-out and articulated defense plan is not reactive, but rather a proactive strategy to protecting your business. Tim's principles and practices are for those exceptional managers who have both the courage and discipline to deliver against the non-negotiable of defending their brand . . . no matter what." - Richard H. Lenny, Former Chairman & CEO, The Hershey Company

"In tough times, the best offense is often a good defense. That's what makes this book so interesting and relevant." - Dr. John A. Quelch CBE, Distinguished Professor of International Management, Vice President and Dean, CEIBS

"Tim Calkins excellent new book is a wake-up call to the fact that most companies are not smart about how to defend their company, brand or product. All your growth planning is worthless if you haven't figured out how to defend your business." - Philip Kotler, S.C. Johnson & Son Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg School of Management

"In this bracing and valuable guide to defensive brand strategy, Calkins makes a compelling argument for why any organization must remain vigilant in the face of competitive market pressures." - Dipak C. Jain, Dean, INSEAD

"Defending Your Brand takes an innovative look at an often neglected aspect of marketing strategies, how to defend a firm's competitive advantage which has come under attack. Calkins' use of many illustrative case studies and his to-the-point writing style makes this book relevant and fun to read for managers." - Prof. Dr. Holger Ernst, WHU,Otto Beisheim School of Management

"Defending Your Brand provides powerful insight into successful brands that win despite an increasingly competitive global environment. This guide provides strategies and actions that fit the tough realities of defending a valuable brand against determined competition. Whether you are preparing for a competitive entry or planning to take on an established brand, Defending Your Brand is a must read." - Chuck Raup,Vice President / General Manager, U.S. Sugar, The Hershey Company

"In over 25 years leading business and brand strategy, I haven't come across a more practical and compelling case for investing in defensive strategy. Tim's analytical approach is grounded in business theory, but perhaps more importantly, application in the real world. Regardless of your industry or budget, you will benefit from this work." - Brad Cumings, Chief Marketing Officer, TruGreen and Terminix

"Calkins has written a valuable management reference, illuminating the usually hidden but critical arts of effective defense.This worthy guide, brought to life with robust case examples, warrants readingby every manager who wants tosucceed amidstthe disruptive competitive forcesof our capitalist system." - M. Carl Johnson III, Executive Vice President, Brands, Del Monte Foods

"A must read for marketers, Calkins' book offers strategic and tactical wisdom on how to deal with ever-increasing competition. While we all tend to concentrate on offense (increased sales and market share) 'Defending Your Brand' focuses on an equally important but often overlooked marketing aspect, defense (defending your brand and protecting market share). I'm buying a copy for each member of my staff." - Rob Gallas, Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Museum of Science and Industry

"Creating a brand is hard work, but establishing a brand and maintaining its relevance is even more important. Understanding how to defend your brand against the competition is the difference between long term success and short term failure. Calkins shows how to keep brands on top by countering competitors' attacks." - Daniel Hamburger, President & CEO, DeVry Inc.

"This is a great read for any marketing leader. Defending Your Brand outlines practical strategies for brand management in a focused manner, backed by relevant and compelling case studies. You'll walk away with applicable ideas for your business." - Conrad York, Vice President Marketing, Northwestern Mutual

"The purpose of any writing on brand management is to provoke a thoughtful debate on strategy and the resulting actions. Professor Calkins' discussions on defensive strategies deliver on that purpose." - Kevin Newell, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Brand Officer, McDonald's Corporation

"Insightful, provocative and inspiring, this book provides a prism for executives and entrepreneurs to challenge even the most focused business strategies. Full of illustrative examples, we found ourselves preparing to fall into traps that we will now avoid. Tim nails it!" - E Douglas Grindstaff II, CEO, NuSirt Sciences, Inc.

"This book will be put to use immediately, whether you are driving out your annual operating plan, your five year strategic plan or helping your sales force win in the trenches tomorrow. As a result of this timely and well-crafted book, when companies' are crafting their long-range strategic growth plans, defensive strategy will now get the attention it has long deserved." - Scott M. Davis, Chief Growth Officer, Prophet

Kirkus Reviews
A handbook on the application of defensive strategies to business operations. Calkins (Marketing/Northwestern Univ.; Breakthrough Marketing Plans, 2008, etc.) thinks there is nothing more important for a profitable business than protecting it. This may seem counterintuitive to those who think strategies aimed at securing growth might be the best approach. Against them, the author insists that to succeed, business leaders need accurate information about competitors, gaps in the market and their own vulnerabilities. He stresses a financial approach, insisting companies first understand their own finances and then figure out how to estimate the financial positions of their competitors. He shows how a new entrant with a product that takes a small part of an established company's market share can have a profound effect on the balance sheet over time. The best defense, he writes, is to keep competitors from getting new products off the ground at all. Some of the tactics he discusses--drawn from his knowledge of business practice--may strike some readers as somewhat unethical, and there is no camouflaging the reality that customers are the ones who pay for this additional overhead. No matter who wins the war for market share, customers lose from the lack of transparency and deception over purposes. The book concludes with "A Cautionary Word About Competition Law" written by the author's brother, which indicates where the lines of criminality are drawn. An eye-opening book, sometimes shocking in its straightforwardness.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230340343
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 10/16/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Calkins is clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. He teaches marketing strategy, biomedical marketing and branding. He is the author of Breakthrough Marketing Plans (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and co-editor of Kellogg on Branding (John Wiley & Sons, 2005). Prior to joining the Kellogg faculty, Tim spent 11 years at Kraft Foods leading businesses including A.1. Steak Sauce, Kraft BBQ sauce, Miracle Whip and Taco Bell Home Originals. In addition to teaching at Kellogg, Tim works with major corporations around the world on marketing strategy and branding issues. He is managing director of Class 5 Consulting, a marketing strategy firm. Tim is frequently cited by the media; he has been quoted in publications including BusinessWeek, Newsweek, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He has appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and CNBC.

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Table of Contents

Introduction:  The Hidden Strategy
• Chapter 1:  The Threat
• Chapter 2:  Three Critical Insights
• Chapter 3:  Competitive Intelligence
• Chapter 4:  The Key Question:  Defend or Not?
• Chapter 5:  Stopping the Launch
• Chapter 6:  Blocking Distribution
• Chapter 7:  Limiting Awareness
• Chapter 8:  Preventing Trial
• Chapter 9:  Fighting Repeat
• Chapter 10:  Using IP as a Competitive Weapon
• Chapter 11:  Understanding Antitrust Regulations
• Chapter 12:  Avoiding Attacks
• Chapter 13:  A Note for Innovators

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