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The Brand Bubble

Podcast with author and Chief Insights Officer, John Gerzema

John Gerzema John Gerzema

"New Rule of Brand Management: Everything is media and everything communicates."

Welcome to a Insight edition of Total Picture Radio with Peter Clayton Reporting. Companies today face a dilemma in marketing. The tried-and-true formulas to create sales and market share behind brands are becoming irrelevant and losing traction with consumers. In The Brand Bubble, The Looming Crisis in Brand Value and How to Avoid it, John Gerzema and Ed Lebar (CEO of BrandAsset Consulting), offer credible evidence--drawn from a detailed analysis of a decade's worth of brand and financial data using Y&R's Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), the largest database of brands in the world--that business is riding on yet another bubble that is ready to burst--a brand bubble. The Brand Bubble has been voted the #3 Business Book of 2008 by

While most managers still see metrics like trust and awareness as the backbone of how brands are built, Gerzema asserts they're dead wrong--these metrics do not add to increased asset value. In fact, by following them, they actually hasten the declining value of their brands.

Using a five-stage model, The Brand Bubble reveals how today's successful brands--and tomorrow's--have an insatiable appetite for creativity and change. These brands offer consumers a palpable sense of movement and direction thanks to a powerful "energized differentiation." Gerzema reveals how brands with energized differentiation achieve better financial performance than traditional brands have. Plus, Gerzema helps readers develop energized differentiation in their own brands, creating consumer-centric and sustainable organizations.

Talking Points

  • I think your book goes a long way to explain how a company like Citi can implode with the speed it did -- when you understand how the financial markets have over-valued brands, such as Citi. Can you give us some understanding of this concept, and how brand valuation has contributed to the current economic crisis?
  • Brief discussion of Citi and financial services industry - reference your blog (from '85 to 2000, I produced/directed a number of sales/marketing/employee films for Citi, as well as a weekly sales-success radio show for the retail bank called the Citibanking News Network), I would guess Walter Wriston is glad he's dead.
  • The subtitle of your book is "The Looming crisis in brand value and how to avoid it." Well John, it seems to me we've had a head-on collision - the crisis is here. Am I right?
  • History repeats itself: Tulipmania
  • Brief discussion of Rosabeth Moss Kanter's Confidence and how confidence relates to brand.
  • You are the Chief Insights Officer for Young & Rubicam Group based in NYC, a global marketing and communications company, part of the WPP Group. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do, and how your work adds value to Y&R's client relationships?
  • Much of the Brand Bubble uses a proprietary brand study, Brand Asset Valuator as the bases for your ideas - can you explain the Brand Asset Valuator?
  • The Energy Index is something I found particularly interesting - you rate brands on a scale from inert to volcanic - a volatile as the market is today, is this relevant? I can't imagine the Cadillac is in the "Burning Brand" category any longer, or Starbucks in the Volcanic category?
  • Can we talk about the auto industry? Can you correlate brand value to resale value?
  • What is the brand value of GM, Ford, Chrysler? Are they recoverable?
  • I want to talk about your First Law of Energy (mention P&G - Google employee swap from WSJ article).
  • I'm sure you've seen the stats - the life expectancy of a new CMO is about 13 months. Marketing folks get the hook faster than anyone. Why?
  • If you were writing the Brand Bubble today, what would you change?

John's Biography

John Gerzema oversees brand strategy including its planning departments worldwide and its proprietary brand study, Brand Asset Valuator. John is the leading author of a new theory on branding, which is a proprietary study developed in conjunction with The Columbia Business School, and The University of Washington Business School.

John is recognized as one of America's early founders of Account Planning. John co-founded Account Planning at Fallon Worldwide in 1992 and was integral to its growth in the mid-90's, when Fallon tripled in size, was named Advertising Age's "Agency Of The Year" (1996), and earned an A+ management rating in ADWEEK (2004). His client experience includes Coca-Cola, BMW, McDonald¹s, Citibank, Sony in Japan and China, Nikon, and Nikon Digital.

John's travel and leisure experience is extensive. John ran global strategy for United Airlines and Six Continents PLC, managing brands such as Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Intercontinental. John led the global strategic repositioning of Holiday Inn Express ("Stay Smart") as well as the design and launch of Staybridge Suites.

Prior to joining Y&R, John was the architect and global planning director for Fallon¹s International network, overseeing offices in London, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Hong Kong and partnerships in Latin America, U.S. Hispanic and Asia. John has lectured in seminars for the AAAA, AMA, One Show, APG, Miami Ad school and others, and has written for, or appeared on/in, CNBC/ASIA, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and various industry publications in the United States, Asia, and Latin America.

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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