Jonathan Knowles is the coauthor of five articles in the Harvard Business Review and fifteen in the MIT Sloan Management Review (nine of which form “The Strategy of Change” series). His articles have also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Professional Investor, Intellectual Asset Management, the Review of Marketing Research, the Journal of Interactive Marketing, The Marketing Journal and the AMA’s Marketing Management.

He has coauthored chapters on “The Marketing Implications of Financial Accounting” (2021) and “Orientation and Marketing Metrics” (2009), as well as a Marketing Science Institute working paper on “The Value Implications of Corporate Branding in Mergers” (2011).

He is coauthor of the book “Vulcans, Earthlings & Marketing ROI” (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2008).

His writing focuses on three main topics – business strategy (especially the role of purpose, reputation, and brand in value creation); mergers (intangible assets, post merger integration, brand architecture); and performance measurement (economics vs accounting, performance metrics, valuation).

Article Strategy

MIT SMR - Oct 2018: Why Brand Trumps Reputation

Commentary on Nike’s masterful alignment of its brand with a social cause that was authentic for the company to champion – and that drove purchase consideration among its target customers, even as it provoked a negative response from peripheral customers.


Article Strategy

MIT SMR - Feb 2018: Selling Solutions is Not Enough

Coauthored with two senior marketing executives, we explore how B2B businesses have to go beyond talking about their capabilities (aka solutions) and focus on the outcomes that they enable their customers to achieve. We identify five areas in which change is required in order to reflect this orientation towards customer outcomes.


Article Measurement

Design Management Journal - Jan 2018: Design and Business Value

Review of the relationship between design, ingenuity, intangible value and business value. My effort to help creatives articulate their contribution to business success.


Article Strategy

The Marketing Journal - Jan 2019: Don’t Risk Your Brand to Build Your Reputation

Brands are commercial constructs whose role is to persuade customers to buy. It is only a good strategy for a brand to define itself in terms of a social cause if it can do so authentically – and that the purchase behavior of its target customers is driven by their commitment to this cause.


Article Strategy

HBR - Sept 2017: Social Purpose – Brand or Reputation?

Harvard Business Review featured my commentary on how it was important to distinguish between the interests of your brand and your corporate reputation in order to understand the role that social purpose should play in your strategy.


Article Strategy

HBR - Jan 2013: Rethinking the 4 P’s

We put forward S.A.V.E as the B2B version of the four P’s — broadening the concept of product to solution; place to access; price to value; and promotion to education.


Report Strategy

Report - 2018: The Outcomes Era

Marketing is a business discipline that adapts to changes in technology that impact how customers discover, evaluate, purchase and consume products and services. Marketing is therefore the most context-dependent of all the business disciplines.

Marketing has been through a number of “eras” since it first emerged as a business discipline at the beginning of the twentieth century. The goal of this report is to analyze the changes in technology that give rise to each era in order to understand how marketing should respond to the latest technologies – digitization, the Internet of Things, and personalization.

Our conclusion is that a focus on customer outcomes is what is required to ensure that marketing continues to meet its purpose of acquiring and retaining customers.

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Article Mergers

HBR - Sept 2011: Why Fusing Company Identities Can Add Value

It is a well documented phenomenon that newly merged companies underperform the market by around 10% in the three years following the merger. There’s an infrequent but important exception, though: Corporations that brand themselves with a “fusion” of the merging companies’ identities typically enjoy higher returns.


Article Mergers

Marketing Science Institute - Feb 2011: Value Implications of Corporate Branding in Mergers

This is the working paper that outlines the findings from our research into the impact that the selection of corporate brand strategy has on post merger returns.


Strategy Video

The S.A.V.E. Framework

Video: The S.A.V.E. Framework

Commentary by the creators of the S.A.V.E framework about the origins and application of the framework to B2B marketing.

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