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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 shows how SPC, a food brand, increased sales by quickly reacting to a food scandal hitting Australia and putting local farming families at the front of their campaign.

Case Study

This case study shows how ArtFund, an arts charity, successfully developed its brand over six years to increase brand awareness and subscription levels across the UK.

Case Study

This case study shows how Persil, a detergent brand, renewed its core values in a bold campaign that successfully increased its sales in the UK.

Case Study

This case study describes how the Melbourne Film Festival used previous festival-goers to create content to bring new visitors to the Australian event.

Case Study

This case study describes how beauty brand L'Oréal conducted a very public content-led experiment to launch its Revitalift Laser X3 product in Australia.

Case Study

This case study shows how Surf, a detergent brand, successfully related its brand message to the Ramadan celebrations in Pakistan and India.
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This article contrasts the success of tailored targeting in the 2016 IPA Effectiveness Awards with the marketing wisdom of Byron Sharp.


This article argues that the scale and reach of TV and social media are critical to the success of FMCG brands but that marketers need to consider the wider marketing ecosystem in order to deliver effective campaigns.


This article looks at the factors that drive growth in a world of fragmented audiences, and the reasons why targeting is struggling to deal with these factors.


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.
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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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