Branding Books from Left Field

In this series, I’ve recommended six books so far, and all of them (except the possible exception of Blue Ocean Strategy) were specific to branding.

But the three books I’m recommending today address three non-branding topics, but each presents concepts that, in my opinion, can be effectively adopted to enhance a brand. They may not apply to every brand or every situation, but it’s always nice to have a “full set of clubs” when you approach the first tee.

Here they are in no particular order:

Crossing the Chasm

written by venture consultant, Geoffrey A. Moore, concentrates on marketing new technologies to mainstream customers. The first version was written 19 years ago now, and revised in 1999. But I believe the strategies explained within are not only valid today, but perhaps even more relevant than when first penned. My copy highlights many pithy concepts and strategies that are designed to help those who are creating “breakthrough” products (like the iPod or the Kindle) understand the process of identifying and nurturing early adopters, enlisting joint venture partners, “crossing the chasm between early adapters to the mainstream and the shelves at Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

Of particular interest to me is his approach to fashioning a positioning statement, and its need in the introductory process so people will know what the product is and who it competes against. This is particularly important when your product is a new concept because there’s the initial confusion of what it is and why should I, the consumer, what one.

Here’s his positioning statement structure. Just fill in your own nomenclature between the parentheses:

For (target customers)
Who are dissatisfied with (the current market alternative)
Our brand is a (new product category)
That provides (key problem-solving capability).
Unlike (product alternative),
We have assembled (key product features for your specific application).

I’ve used this model with several clients to good effect. And, yes, Mr. Moore advocates the original goal of “positioning” – to create and occupy a space inside the target customers’ collective mind.

Jump Start Your Business Brain

by Doug Hall is directed at small businesses and concerns marketing, sales and business development. Mr. Hall has studied small business practices (Merwyn Technology) and advised marketers of all stripes (Eureka! Ranch). Though based on research, the book illustrates its conclusions with many real-life samples. From it all, Mr. Hall has crystallized a formula for success, and for me, that formula is inherent in effective branding. Here are the three principles he has identifies and espouses for developing a successful business (or a successful brand).

Those principles are:

Provide an overt benefit.
Demonstrate a reason to believe.
Promote a dramatic difference.

In a way, these principles could have come from a good copywriting text. But Mr. Hall advocates real benefits, real credibility and real dramatic differences. This goes beyond promotional appeals and gets directly into the heart of the business. It’s what makes for powerful branding when the entire organization is concentrating on those three real core values. There’s where outstanding brands evolve.

Embracing the N.u.d.e. Model

by Scott and Donna Degraffenreid is sub-titled “The Art and Science of Referral Marketing”. This small tome contains the results of Scott’s research within the pharmaceutical community where prescription medicines rely greatly of referrals. His research and later analysis led him to develop a generalized model of how referrals actually work, and how knowing this, a marketer can benefit. He calls it the N.U.D.E. Model because of its four components:


These four factors need to be present if a product or service is to be referred frequently, either by customers or gatekeepers. They add up to the reason people will refer others in the first place: to look good in the referee’s eyes. The formula to balance the four attributes is also presented.

I’ve had personal conversations with Scott (that’s why I use his first name) about the application of his model to the branding process. He and I agree that by applying the N.U.D.E. model a better branded offering will result. It will be consistent, differentiated and memorable.

So there you have three books not directly addressing branding, but from which branding strategy and tactis can be extracted.

As I stated in previous posts about branding books, if you click on a title you’ll be sent to the appropriate page in Amazon. And if you buy a book, I’ll get a very small commission.

Let me know of your favorite books on branding by using the comment box below.

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