Byron Sharp on 'How Brands Grow', five years on

Joseph Clift

'How Brands Grow', by Australian academic Professor Byron Sharp, is one of the most influential marketing books of the past decade. Since its publication in 2010, it has been mentioned countless times in agency and client presentations.

Sharp himself was on hand at Unlearning, an event organised by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), a UK professional body for the ad industry, to give his views of the book's reception – and reveal what he has learned as a result of this response.

The book's context

'How Brands Grow' is jointly authored by Sharp and the researchers of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, of which he is director, at the University of South Australia. This institute is sponsored by large clients who are, as Sharp put it, "on a journey towards evidence-based marketing". The aim behind writing the book was to allow the CMOs of these sponsors to take to the CEO hard evidence of what works in marketing. "It was to show there's some substance behind what we are saying and hopefully raise the credibility of marketing," Sharp said.