The general consensus is that the leading "brand" in the branding field is David Aaker, professor emeritus of marketing at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. Since the early 1990s, Aaker has been telling the brand story to American businesses. In Managing Brand Equity, published in 1991, he argued that brands have an intrinsic value, or equity, relative to a corporation's overall assets. Aaker expanded on this theory in 1995 with Building Strong Brands, one of the most important marketing books of the 1990s. He discussed how we can measure brand equity and analyzed how multiple brands work together to form a synergistic system, thus introducing the "brand identity" concept.
In his third installment, the recently released Brand Leadership, Aaker updates and extends his earlier work and, yes, adds a chapter on building brands on the Internet. He makes a compelling argument for the emergence of the "brand leadership" model, which he says is replacing the "classic" brand system pioneered by Procter & Gamble in the 1930s.
In the book's preface, Aaker observes that "when brand equity became the hot topic of the late 1980s, it may have seemed like another management fad that would last only a few years." As Aaker reminds us, one industry after another has discovered that brand awareness, perceived quality, customer loyalty and strong brand associations and personality are essential to compete in the marketplace.