Explaining the science behind how brands grow

Changing customer retention rates is not cheaper than improving customer acquisition, loyalty programs do little to improve loyalty, and just because targeted marketing campaigns generate higher response rates doesn’t mean they’re more effective.

It’s those kind of thought-provoking discoveries, well researched and well argued, that have made Professor Byron Sharp one of the world’s most respected authorities on marketing.

He describes himself as an “old-fashioned scientist (known for research that seeks to discover and describe law-like patterns) working in a new area”, and his best-selling book How Brands Grow: what marketers don’t know was the first to present scientific laws and what they mean for marketing strategy.

It has been called one of the most influential marketing books of the past decade, with the then Chief Marketing Officer for Coca-Cola declaring “science has revolutionized every discipline it has touched: now it’s marketing’s turn!  All marketers need to read this book... or be left hopelessly behind”.

Byron has since published a second book, How Brands Grow Part 2, with Prof Jenni Romaniuk, and in 2017 will release the second edition of his textbook Marketing: theory, evidence, practice.  Prof Sharp has also published more than 100 academic articles and has been reported in newspapers of the calibre of The Economist and The Financial Times, yet he would be the first to tell you he can’t claim all the credit.  As Director of UniSA’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science – which has grown to become the world's largest centre for research into marketing – he works with more than 50 research colleagues who are making discoveries that show a scientific approach can transform marketing.

The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute is considered the home of evidence-based marketing. Today more than 60 companies from around the world are sponsors of the Institute, including CBS, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Kelloggs, and Procter & Gamble.  Each sponsor is on a journey to transform their marketing to be evidence-based.  The discoveries of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute help them show the tremendous value of scientific knowledge, leaving their marketers free to concentrate on the creative aspects of marketing and not be tripped up by myths about how buyers buy, or how marketing initiative work.

The Financial Times wrote of marketing’s evidence-based revolution: “Like many insurgencies, this one has been fired by a book. How Brands Grow (Oxford Uni Press, 2010), is by Professor Byron Sharp, of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia. Most marketing books are long on airy assertion and short on rigour. How Brands Grow is the opposite. It is empirical, closely argued and, in its sober way, incendiary.”

Byron Sharp

 Professor Byron Sharp, Director
Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, UniSA Business School.