It’s a Darwin world and brand is key to survival. The game is changing and there are many questions you need to know how to deal with if you want to survive and thrive. For example, how do you grow a premium brand in today’s world? How do you compete in a category for top position in your customer’s mind? How can you build an emotional bond with your customers? How do you leverage the Web to co-create your product and brand to win raving fans, build awareness, and drive adoption? How do you differentiate your brand in a compelling way that connects with customers?
Luckily, we can find the answers to these questions, as well as effective principles, patterns, and practices for effective branding, in a choice selection of business books on branding.
Harvard Business Review on Brand Management
The power of this book is that it provides multiple perspectives on branding. In this case, it includes the following articles and authors: Brands vs. Private Labels: Fighting to Win by John A. Quelch and David Harding; Building Brands Without Mass Media by Erich Joachimsthaler and David A. Aaker; Can This Brand Be Saved by Regina Fazio Maruca; Extend Profits, Not Product Lines by John A. Quelch and David Kenny; How Do You Grow a Premium Brand? by Regina Fazio Maruca; Should You Take Your Brand to Where the Action Is? by David A. Aaker; The Logic of Product-Line Extensions, Perspectives from the Editors; and Your Brand’s Best Strategy by Vijay Vishwanath and Jonathan Mark. You can use these articles to find unique insights and timeless truths on the art and science of branding.
Married to the Brand – William J. McEwen
You can measure the emotional attachment of customers to your brand. It’s one thing to raise your brand awareness. It’s another to build enduring brand relationships. This book is unique in that it provides a strategic framework to manage and measure the relationships between a brand and its consumers. McEwen shows you how to leverage the five P’s to build a better brand: Product, Place, Price, Promotion, and People. He also shows you why you have to have credibility, be compelling, and connect to build the initial relationship. A key message in the book is that while no brand will marry 100% of its customers, every brand should try to create more marriages. The emotional connection with your brand becomes a key differentiator for your business in the long run.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding – Al Ries
The beuaty of this book is that it’s a collection of timeless principles, patterns, and practices for branding. It also includes insight into building brands on the Web. This is especially important because of how the Web changes the game. The Web puts all the brands at your fingertips, so now you are competing for the top spots. Ries teaches you how to compete more effectively in niches, by dividing the niche and going for the top position in a customer’s mind. The key is that you don’t own the brand. Ries teaches us that the customer owns the brand and the value of the brand resides in the perception of the brand inside the prospect’s mind.
The Brand Bubble – John Gerzema
The Brand Bubble addresses how to use brands to gain and sustain competitive advantage. Gerzema analyzed more than a decade’s worth of brand data. He concluced that the brand bubble is going to burst. Manager’s have been measuring trust and awareness as the value of brands, but Gerzema says they are wrong. In fact, by following those metrics, they can actually speed up the decline of their brands. Instead, brands need to show “energized differentation” to achieve better financial performance. Gerzema shares a five-stage model to reveal how creativity and change are the keys to success for brands today and tomorrow.
The Brand Gap – Marty Neumeier
This book is about how you make your brand essential to the lives of your customers. It’s a fast-paced book that helps you learn how to ask the questions to ask about your brand. It also helps you test your brand concepts quickly and cheaply. Neumeier gives you a mental model and frame for thinking about how the game of branding is changing, as well as a framework for brand building.
WIKIBRANDS – Mike Dover
WIKIBRANDS is about how to play in the new game of branding. The Web changes how things work. Rather than push out your products and your brand, you can co-create them with your customers. With the Web, companies can connect to customers in more powerful ways, and earlier in the cycle, and throughout the cycle. You can find out earlier and faster what customers really want. You can also leverage customers as raving fans to help you evaneglize and socialize your product through work-of-mouth marketing. Dover also shares metrics and measurement tools to help you identify which of your efforts are actually working.
Zag – Marty Neumeier
Zag is about how to achieve “radical differentiation.” Differentiation is an increasingly important factor in standing out in the market. Neumier argues that just being differetin in the usual ways is no longer enough. Neumier shares lots of pragmatic advice such as how to use customer feeedback more effectively, how to name your products, services, and companies for better results, how to stretch your brand without breaking it, and how to design difference into your brand using 17 steps.