David Aaker

Scott Davis is managing partner of the Chicago office of Prophet and Cathy Halligan is a director with its San Francisco office. Prophet is a strategic professional services firm specializing in brand leadership and brand-driven growth. For more information, visit www.prophet.com.

With rare exceptions, marketing designed to create or enhance brand preference over competitors in established product categories changes nothing. No matter how big the budget or how clever the execution, “my brand is better than your brand” marketing rarely results in sales growth. Look at any product category over a long time period and you will see that changes in market position rarely occurred unless there was a substantial or transformational innovation. Innovation drives customer “must haves.” These, in turn, define a new subcategory in which competitors are either weak or nonexistent

The Martha Stewart brand, synonymous with the notion of raising the quality of living in and around the home, drives diverse and complementary publishing, television, branded merchandise and retail businesses. The largest selection of Martha Stewart-branded merchandise—more than 3,000 products—can be found exclusively at Kmart in the United States and Zellers in Canada. About 1,200 products are featured in the company's retail businesses: its catalog, Martha by Mail, and the Internet site, marthastewart.com. The largest segment of its business, representing more than 60 percent of the revenue

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