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"Owning Game-Changing Subcategories" by David Aaker

"Owning Game-Changing Subcategories: Uncommon Growth in the Digital Age" is now available as an e-book! You can purchase the 17th book by our Vice Chairman David Aaker from April 7, 2020 at major online retailers.

Do you have the one to go with it Webinar missed with David Aaker? Click here for the recording (English).


With rare exceptions, extraordinary company growth is only possible on the basis of certain must-haves, which define entire “game-changing subcategories”. These, in turn, are those niche categories in which pioneering brands establish a completely new sub-category through new or significantly superior customer experiences or brand relationships and create apparently insurmountable barriers for competitors. This phenomenon can be observed increasingly in recent years, prominent examples are Netflix and Uber.

The growth driven by subcategories has exploded in the digital age. The reasons for this are technological advances and the fast and inexpensive market access made possible by e-commerce and digital communication.

The alternative, which is about being the best with your brand, rarely leads to growth because the markets are extremely stable and very difficult to break into. The book includes numerous case studies from companies such as Airbnb, Etsy, Warby Parker, Prius, and Muji to illustrate how creating sub-categories has resulted in exceptional growth.



  • Explains why certain must-haves are almost always involved in growth, which define new sub-categories, give the respective brand exemplary status and set up barriers against competitors
  • Provides tips on identifying must-haves and includes sample case studies on well-known leading brands
  • Explains in depth how digital tech trends such as e-commerce, the Internet of Things and brand communities drive growth through the creation of subcategories


  • “I LOVE this book !! This is the right read for companies looking to grow their business. Aaker is very convincing about how to use the digital revolution to create sub-categories that are highly relevant to customers. A book that you simply MUST READ in our digital times! " - Joe Tripodi, formerly the CMO of Coca-Cola, Allstate, MasterCard and Subway
  • “David Aaker uses economics and case studies to show that growth does not come from expanding marketing programs, but from groundbreaking breakthroughs that create new sub-categories. Use the 20 core statements to define your own sub-categories and thus get on the road to success. "- Philip Kotler, the father of modern marketing
  • “David Aaker shows us how you can grow in the digital age - you have to make optimal use of the dynamics of sub-categories and steer them in the right direction. A must for all business leaders. " - Yong-Jin Chung, Vice Chairman, Shinsegae Group (Korea's largest retailer)



"From Brand to Subcategory Competition", in the European Journal of Marketing, autumn 2018

"Winning in the Sharing Economy — Six Keys to Airbnb’s Success," in the Journal of Brand Strategy, February 2019

About the author

David Aaker has authored over a hundred articles and 17 books on marketing, business strategy, and branding that have sold over a million copies. He is a globally recognized authority on branding. He has developed concepts and methods for brand building that companies worldwide use.


Would you like to interview or feature Dave on your next podcast? Then please contact us or David Aaker directly.

Find out how David Aaker and Prophet can help your company create game-changing subcategories that will give your business a boost.