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Defending Your Brand: How Smart Companies Use Defensive Strategy to Deal with Competitive Attacks Hardcover – Oct 16 2012


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"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

About 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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Amazon.com: 20 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A "Must" Read for execs, from start-ups to Fortune 50 Jan. 20 2013
By Robert Sherlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
When I picked up Defending Your Brand, I thought it was going to be just a handbook for big, successful companies that need to defend their mature business positions against upstarts. It is that handbook, and a very good one. Yet it's much more. Even a successful company needs to innovate and shake up the market from time to time, and of course an early-stage firm can succeed only by bringing something valuable to an underserved market. This book will be just as useful to companies that are trying to shake up the status quo as to companies determined to preserve it. When you're innovating and trying to bring something new to customers, you'd better worry about what incumbents in the market might do to defend against you. If you can understand how incumbents are likely to react, you can make plans accordingly and increase your chances of success.

Tim Calkins does a thorough job outlining the major strategies and tactics commonly used to defend a market, including disrupting launch timing, limiting awareness, discouraging trial, and making it more difficult to line up distribution channels. He notes that some defensive tactics can approach or cross into legally questionable zones, and includes a very good chapter by attorney Stephen Calkins that gives executives principles for staying on the right side of the antitrust laws around the world. Finally, he includes a chapter that addresses how to keep your organizations's people in the right frame of mind, and recognized/rewarded for their actions that build long-term brand strength. Customer loyalty, he says, is probably the best defense of all.

Just as the players on a basketball team must be able to quickly change from playing offense to playing defense as they run up and down the court, every executive needs a mental framework and playbook for handling both these aspects of their "game." Defending Your Brand is a unique and valuable book that I will strongly recommend to the board members, CEOs, marketing and sales leaders, and other executives I work with.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Marketing thumbs up! Oct. 30 2012
By Jorge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. The author explains in a very straightforward fashion the principles you should follow to protect your business in hard times. The analysis is complete and it goes from competitive intelligence, to the financial and legal aspects of these situations.
It's time to focus on defense- Great resource for Business Managers March 17 2013
By Michal Clements - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Calkins debunks the myth of "The Best Defense is a Good Offense" by challenging the reader to realize that "The Best Defense is the Best Defense". The point is that defense has its own unique tactics and strategies, and that it requires different approaches and attention.

The primary focus of the book is on defending your brand from a competitive launch of new products/services. The point is made that by simply delaying the competitor's new product launch; your brand will typically be better off (assuming your brand evaluates the situation and decides it merits defense). It recommends taking timely action as more effective rather than waiting to develop the perfect defense. This is because slowing the new product launch down has a major impact on the launch finances and the competitor's internal beliefs about success. The author points out that it is much harder to stop a competitive launch after it has achieved positive momentum of success.

The two themes I liked best were (1) the focus on the competition's financial goals, and (2) the focus on timing. By preventing the competition from reaching their financial goal, and making the competitor believe they won't or can't succeed financially, they are more likely to stop the effort earlier. Most of the included examples show that the financial impact of losing `small' market share is much more costly to the incumbent than to the challenger. It also points out that if the competitor appears irrational, it's likely that you don't understand, and need to take the time to better understand their financials and motivations.
Breakthrough Defense Strategies from Tim Calkins in 'Defending Your Brand' March 21 2013
By Diane Phillis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In 'Defending Your Brand', Tim Calkins has done a masterful job addressing an often overlooked part of successfully managing a business - effectively defending your brand from competitive threats. Written with shrewd and humorous insight, thorough research, and practical experience, he guides the reader through the 'dark arts' virtues of good defense strategies. This indeed is an often overlooked part of the business world and academic curriculum. But it is a critical part and one that pays deep dividends when successfully implemented. In the dark world of defense, timing is everything. Tim clearly lays out when it is most effective to begin defensive efforts in order to disrupt trial and launch timing of a new upstart. His emphasis on developing good estimates of a competitor's financials is spot on, so you can better identify where their breaking point will be.

This is a book that can be re-read many times and applied regularly to a brand's growth challenges and long term marketplace success. A very valuable and useful contribution to the business world. This should be required reading for all brand managers, start ups, and lumbering companies who think they are too big to fail.
I remember why I like Marketing so much! March 28 2013
By Todd Holscher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I just finished Tim Calkin's book, Defending Your Brand! Excellent Book!

This is the most exciting, honest and actionable book on marketing I've read in the past ten years. It comes at the subject of marketing through the real-world business reality of sales, operations, logistics and channel management. It's an honest discussion about marketing as the tools that create and manage the P&L. It reminds my why I love marketing so much!

Defending Your Brand does not split hairs about "strategy" vs. "tactics". There's an understanding that in real-world marketing -- strategy and tactics are mixed -- long-term and short-term are mixed -- innovation and action are mixed -- defense and offense are mixed.

I highly, highly recommend this book for anyone in marketing.

And I recommend it even higher for anyone who is a student or just starting out in marketing.

And if you have been in marketing for a few years and want to read a book that finally get's it right... with unflinching honesty... it's Defending Your Brand.


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