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Jennifer L. Aaker






          • Our world is changing at an incredible pace. We’re in the middle of a commerce revolution that is consumer-driven and technology-enabled. Consumer expectations have risen. They want to be inspired by engaging, meaningful experiences, and they want to engage with people and brands that have compelling, data-driven, and authentic stories to share.  But how do you develop that story? Storytelling has always been a significant part of history, but the means through which the stories have been told has evolved with each civilization. From the oral histories, to the works of scribes, to newspapers, television, and now the Internet, personal narrative has been used to communicate the events of the past.  Digital media now combines tradition with technology and allows us to tell stories through voice, text, images, audio, and video. The immersive workshop is structured around three key principles: (1) know your goal, (2) craft your story, and (3) prototype to learn.  You will be a part of an ultra-faced paced design sprint to come up with a compelling story about a brand or person of your choosing, and design the story to be leveraged across digital media.

          • Building Innovative Brands (co-taught with Chris Flink IDEO) (MKTG 552)

            "Building Innovative Brands" is a hands-on-two-week exploration of how bold brands are becoming ever more open, participatory, experiential & experimental. Inspired by provocative real-world examples and industry guests, diverse student teams will employ design methods to envision compelling new experiences to enhance a particular brand they have examined. This fast-paced, project-based class will integrate methods from the, marketing courses and psychology courses. It is created for fearless individuals excited to roll up their sleeves to create innovative brand experiences.

          • The Power of Stories (GSBGEN 543)

            Stories can be a powerful tool for persuasion and leadership. Traditionally, business people persuade using only the left side of the brain, or reason. However, persuasion occurs, just as much (if not more) through emotion. By developing the right side of the brain, engagement can be better built through “uniting an idea with an emotion.”[2] A critical tool is storytelling. In this seminar, we will illuminate the power of story in business by revealing the key elements of storytelling, elucidate the power of the verbal as well as the visual, and discuss how storytelling helps build brands and organizations. The goal of the class will be to Understand what are the four more important stories to tell in business, and learn how to create a story bank; a repository of stories that you will use as a leader. By creating powerful stories and then communicating them in your own way, you’ll see how brands, careers and businesses can gain momentum.

          • Designing (for) Delight (MKTG 555)

            What we think drives our happiness often doesn’t. So what does? And how can knowing this help us create strong brands and companies? Understanding happiness is crucial to building successful relationships, products, and organizations. Yet recent research suggests that our definition of happiness is often confused and misguided. In this class, we explore new data on happiness, focusing on: re-thinking happiness (a happy you); designing happiness (a happy company); spreading happiness (a happy brand). Students will work together to use an iterative design-thinking approach to understand our own definitions of happiness, uncover what really makes us happy (vs. what we think makes us happy), prototype solutions/products to increase our happiness, and design happy companies and brands.

          • How to Tell a Story (GSBGEN 542)

            "Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” Stories are all around us. Stories move us, make us feel alive, inspire us to be more than we would be otherwise. As famed screenwriting coach and author of the screenwriting bible, Story, McKee says: “Story is not only our most prolific art form, but rivals all activities—work, play, eating, exercise—for our waking hours. We tell and take in stories as much as we sleep—and even then we dream.”[1] Despite our love for stories, most of us leave stories to “storytellers" - fiction writers, journalists, and film makers. But we all have this skill. We simply need to hone it. The question is - how can we hone it? In this seminar, we will break down the basic elements of storytelling, elucidate the power of the verbal as well as the visual, and discuss how storytelling helps build brands and organizations.

          • The Power of Social Technology (GSBGEN 358)

            In the past year, a dizzying number of people have written about (and blogged about, tweeted about…) the mechanics of using Facebook, Twitter, email and YouTube, yet none addresses one of the biggest desires of individuals and corporations: how to leverage the incredible power of the new social technology to make a difference. (No offense to the dancing cats and exploding Pepsi bottles.). Thus the goal of the class is simple: to help you harness social technology in support of a clear single, focused goal – and in so doing cultivate social good. To do so, we’ll travel with the Obama campaign as they use social technology to create political change, with Kiva as they foster economic justice by making micro-loans easily available, and with for-profits like eBay and Nike as they illustrate how social good and profit-making to go hand in hand. We’ll gain insight from leaders from Facebook, Twitter, and Google, learn a framework to structure your thinking and your action, and provide a PoST Toolkit that will get you started on using all the most important social technology tools. Ultimately, this course demonstrates that you don’t need money or power to ignite seismic social change. We’ll show you how with energy, focus, and a good wireless connection, anything is possible.
            Click here for course materials

          • Brand Planning (M357)

            This advanced MBA reading seminar addresses some of the basic branding decisions faced by companies. The main objective of the course is introduce concepts, models, methods, and role models that will help address the challenges faced by brand managers and others in marketing-related positions. Ideally, decisions will be guided by a theory of how consumers respond to and interact with brands, hence, theoretical issues pertinent to consumer behavior provide a secondary focus for the course. Specifically, the objectives of this course will provide insight on: 1. Understanding the brand: determining brand positioning and value proposition; 2. Crafting the brand: planning and implementing brand marketing programs; 3. Building the brand: building consumer-brand relationships and measuring brand performance; and 4. Managing the brand: growing and sustaining brand equity over time and across geographic boundaries.
          • Marketing Management (MKTG 240)

            The objectives of this course are to introduce students to the substantive and procedural aspects of marketing management and to sharpen skills for critical analytical thinking and effective communication. Specifically, the goals are to introduce students to marketing strategy and to the elements of marketing analysis: customer analysis, competitor analysis, and company analysis; to familiarize students with the elements of the marketing mix (product strategy, pricing, advertising and promotion, and distribution), and to enhance problem solving and decision-making abilities in these operational areas of marketing; and to provide students with a forum (both written and verbal) for presenting and defending their own recommendations, and for critically examining and discussing the recommendations of others.

          • Understanding Consumers, Understanding Cultures (MKTG 549)

            The focus of the seminar is on understanding current theoretical, conceptual and methodological approaches to various aspects of cultural psychology and anthropology, particularly in the context of consumer behavior. A secondary goal is to advance this knowledge by gaining some insight into how to conduct the research, gleem insights from the environment and through interacting with consumers, and drawing marketing implications for that knowledge. Thus, the seminar is similar to a PhD seminar in that it entails reviewing and discussing a set of articles that focus on cross-cultural marketing issues, understanding the methodologies used in the articles and discussing the marketing implications of the findings in the articles. However, it is complemented with a set of exercise-oriented field-based assignments on each day - to be conducted in a 2-4 person group. In addition, your group will work collaboratively on a global brand presentation on Day 5.

          • Culture and Persuasion (M648)

            The class objectives are to (1) familiarize you with research in cultural psychology, particularly in the context of consumer behavior, and (2) build a set of academic-oriented skills (e.g., critical thinking, presentations, review process, creating hypotheses and testing them creatively). Specifically, the focus is on understanding current theoretical and methodological approaches to various aspects of culture and persuasion, as well as advancing this knowledge by developing testable hypotheses and theoretical perspectives that build on the current knowledge base. The content of the course (e.g., readings) represent basic and recent work in cultural psychology and related disciplines (psychology, anthropology and sociology).

          • Consumer Behavior (M642)

            The class objectives are to (1) familiarize you with research in social psychology and marketing that may help you to understand how different marketing strategies affect consumer behavior, and (2) give you a strong foundation for critical thinking in the area of consumer behavior. Therefore, the focus is on understanding current theoretical and methodological approaches to various aspects of consumer behavior, as well as advancing this knowledge by developing testable hypotheses and theoretical perspectives that build on the current knowledge base. For each topic considered, a range of articles from “old classics” to recent research will be assigned. In each session there will be four or five articles that will be discussed in depth, as well as several additional background articles and chapters that you might want to know but may read at a later date.