Aaker received his SB in Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management and subsequently attended Stanford University where he received his MA in Statistics and PhD in BUSINESS Administration.
He is currently E.T. Grether Professor Emeritus of Marketing Strategy at the Haas School of Business and consults exclusively for Prophet clients. He is currently the Vice Chairman of Prophet, a global brand and marketing consultancy firm, and an advisor to Dentsu, a major Japanese advertising agency.
He has been awarded three career awards for contributions to the science of marketing: The Paul D. Converse Award; The Vijay Mahajan Award; and The Buck Weaver Award.
Aaker has won the award for "best article" in the California Management Review and in the Journal of Marketing (twice). His book Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant was named among the "Ten Marketing Books You Should Have Read" by Advertising Age in 2011 and named one of the top 3 marketing books of the year by Strategy and BUSINESS. Aaker also has a regular column in American Marketing Association News called "Aaker on Branding".
Aaker was featured in the 2007 book Conversations with Marketing, which features insights from other top marketing minds in the world such as Philip Kotler, Jean-Claude Larreche, Regis McKenna, Don Peppers, John Quelch, Al Ries, Martha Rogers, Don Schultz, Patricia Seybold, Jack Trout and Lester Wunderman.
Aaker is the creator of the Aaker Model, a marketing model that views brand equity as a combination of brand awareness, brand loyalty, and brand associations. The model outlines the necessity of developing a brand identity, which is a unique set of brand associations representing what the brand stands for and offers to customers an aspiring brand image.
Aaker primarily sees brand identity as consisting of 8–12 elements which fall under four perspectives:
Brand as Product – consists of product scope, product attributes, quality or value of the product, uses, users and country of origin.
Brand as Organisation – consists of organizational attributes and local workings versus global activities.
Brand as Person – consists of brand personality and customer-brand relationships.
Brand as Symbol – consists of audio and visual imagery, metaphorical symbols and brand heritage.
Aaker first introduced the model in his book Building Strong Brands, which was published in 1996.