Developing Business Strategies by David Aaker

by Paul Simister on October 30, 2011

Developing Business Strategies by David A. Aacker is written to help managers to develop strategies that will help their businesses to compete more effectively and perform better.

Developing Business Strategies Review

Developing Business Strategies by David Aaker

Who Is Developing Business Strategies Written For?

Many of the strategy books I review on my blog are:

  • for academics and MBA students
  • strategy practitioners
  • big corporations

Developing Business Strategies makes it clear from the very beginning that it is written for:

  • managers who need to develop strategies but have had little strategy experience
  • general managers and planning specialists who want to update their strategy skills

This focus on managers means that it’s written in a simple, straightforward way that is a practical guide to developing a strategy.

A Neat Touch In Developing Business Strategies

David Aaker makes clever use of the inside front and back covers with summaries of:

  • Front – the overview of strategic market management
  • Back – strategy development – a discussion agenda

I think this is a great idea to make high level summaries of the content of the book so visible and easy to find.

The Contents Of Developing Business Strategies

In total there are sixteen chapters in the 6th (and latest) edition of Developing Business Strategies:

  1. Business strategy: the concept and trends in its management
  2. Strategic market management: an overview
  3. External and customer analysis
  4. Competitor analysis – including the value chain.
  5. Market analysis
  6. Environmental analysis and strategic uncertainty – including scenario planning.
  7. Internal analysis
  8. Obtaining a sustainable competitive advantage
  9. Differentiation strategies
  10. Cost, focus and the preemptive move
  11. Strategic positioning
  12. Growth strategies: penetration, product-market expansion, vertical integration and the big idea
  13. Diversification
  14. Strategies in declining and hostile markets
  15. Global strategies
  16. Implementation

As you can see, the contents of Developing Business Strategies is comprehensive and includes pretty much every you need to think through your business strategically, identify strategic options and make the decisions about the strategies you will implement.

Style of Developing Business Strategies

Relatively simple to read and straightforward to follow.

I am wary about recommending some of the classic strategy books like Michael Porter‘s Competitive Strategy and Competitive Advantage to managers because the detail is overwhelming. This book is much more manageable.

Concerns About Developing Business Strategies

The one concern I have about Developing Business Strategies by David Aaker is that the sixth edition was published in 2001.

Advances in strategy development theory have been slow for the last ten years so it’s not that there is any major that is missing from the book but the world has moved on with advances in information technology and especially the Internet leading to many more global connections.

In the post credit crunch era since 2007, the severe recession and the ongoing threat of another financial crisis or the world sipping back into recession, the impact of the external environment has increased emphasis.

In good times it is easy to forget about the impact of the business cycle and the bigger political, economic and social forces at work.

Final Thoughts On Developing Business Strategies by David Aaker

The book does what it promises without being a workbook that takes you through step by step.

I recommend it to managers who want to learn more about strategy, either so that they can do it themselves or so they can have more detailed discussions with their strategic business advisers.

Have You Read Developing Business Strategies?

If you’ve read the book, I’d like to know what you think about it.

Has it helped you to understand the concepts of strategic management better?

Paul Simister is a business strategy coach who helps business owners to differentiate their businesses and develop winning strategies. Get your free copy of my ebook The Six Steps Profit Formula.

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Developing Business Strategies

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