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Big Brands Big Trouble: Lessons Learned the Hard Way





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About the book:

Despite impressive triumphs over the years, leading companies like General Motors, Xerox, and Levi Strauss have also stumbled badly at times. In Big Brands, Big Trouble, Jack Trout points out their biggest missteps as well as the critical lessons that can be learned from them. In his typically no-nonsense manner, Trout--a "positioning" expert who has written numerous bestselling books on the topic and served as a consultant to several of these firms--lays out the myriad errors that caused them and other giants to lose ground in the fight for success. Helpful specifics abound, such as in the chapter on Crest, in which Trout notes how the toothpaste's one-time dominance slipped away when consumer concern over cavities gave way to worries about discoloration, bad breath, and gum disease (which other brands more effectively set themselves up to attack). The lessons Trout takes from this are threefold: even winning positions must occasionally evolve; knowledge of how leadership was initially attained must always be maintained; and competitors must never be given an angle to exploit. Likewise, the section on Burger King discusses how turnover at the top, inconsistent advertising messages, and a loss of focus on how to assault the industry leader resulted in a stagnation that has perpetually mired the chain as a fast-food also-ran. "It's a fact of life that the easiest idea to overlook is the obvious one," Trout notes in this chapter. Since most ideas are apparent only in retrospect, however, his insights should prove invaluable to readers who might easily make similar mistakes. --Howard Rothman

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