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Brand growth

Brand growth is increasing a brand’s sales, market share and profits. There is much debate about the most effective and efficient approaches to growing brands. The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute's theories - which prioritise penetration over loyalty, salience over differentiation and physical availability and mass reach over targeting – have become influential. However, other schools of thought exist, particularly around the role of loyalty in growing a brand, and the need for meaningful differentiation.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

Byron Sharp and Kate Newstead on why global brands, including HSBC, have moved away from loyalty marketing. The paper argues that, to grow, you need many more customers, most of whom will be light buyers of the brand.
Guidance on the most effective approaches to growing brands in terms of sales, market share and profits.
How marketing science challenges many of the received wisdoms of advertising, including the need for differentiation.
Andrew Ehrenberg's classic paper on what makes a brand leader: brand differentiation or brand salience.
The ground-breaking findings into buyer behavior and brand perceptions of the late Andrew Ehrenberg.

Case Study

This case study describes how Latin American boyband CNCO used geo-location technology for a mobile campaign in Latin America, Spain and the US, to build excitement and social media buzz around the release of its debut album.

Case Study

This case study describes how specialist investment manager Architas, part of AXA, created an educational and interactive tool for independent brokers and Architas managers to help them sell more unit-linked products in France, Belgium and the UK.

Case Study

This case study describes how Black Mirror, a new rapid insights smartphone app, was launched into the Australian market by CHE Proximity.

Case Study

This case study describes how cider brand Orchard Thieves Cider used a multichannel approach to appeal to Millennials to launch into the market in Ireland.

Case Study

This case study describes how Unilever launched a new format of concentrated fabric conditioner, Comfort Intense, in the UK, Ireland, France, and the Netherlands with a smaller package for a higher price.

Case Study

This case study describes how Coors Light, the US beer brand, remedied declines in sales and penetration by creating Climb On, a campaign that echoed a desire shared by all people - not just men: to overcome obstacles.
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This case study describes how retailer Spar boosted its image by creating Start It Up Slovenia, a unique, entrepreneurial project with a mission of helping young entrepreneurs through a custom-made primetime TV show.


This article offers principles that can help advertisers communicate difficult topics - where deeply entrenched beliefs are hard to overcome and shock tactics and a preachy tone prove counterproductive - and shift the narrative direction towards real change.


This article posits that marketers must remember that they are in the business of building customer relationships and that the best brands behave as butlers.


This article considers what automotive brands need to do to achieve cut-through in an age of borderless digital content, looking at examples of 'blockbuster marketing' through campaigns such as BMW's The Hire.


This article explores the value of both salience and differentiation, the importance of the latter is often disagreed on by marketers.


In this article, the author argues that marketers should replace ROI or ROMI with a 'share of voice to brand share growth' model to measure profitability over the long term.
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  1. Article

    This event report addresses how Procter & Gamble – the owner of brands like Always, Pantene and Tide – is seeking to maintain high standards of creativity across its widely diverse output.

  2. Article

    This article relates the findings of two new studies that show penetration to not be the dominant driver of brand growth, and that relationship equity creates the difference in market success.

  3. Article

    This article provides guidance and reading on storytelling strategies, or the fashioning of events into a meaningful, relatable story for customers to identify with and remember.

  4. Article

    This article outlines various theories of brand growth, including the currently popular theory developed by the late Professor Andrew Ehrenberg; his and other theories are presented.

  5. Article

    This article provides an insight into successful launch strategies for new brands, based on research covering different categories and countries.

  6. Article

    In this important paper the authors discuss what makes a brand leader. Firstly they critically review the notions of brand differentiation and of major sustainable competitive advantages.
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