I mentioned in my last blog about choosing three branding books I’d recommend as the text for a “night school” class in branding. I promised reviews on three other branding books I’ve found helpful.
Since I focus on helping smaller organizations develop strong brands, the books I’ve chosen have that orientation. There are several other books I like a lot, but they’re more for big brands with big budgets. Several of them are academic texts by Kevin Lane Keller and David A. Aaker.
Anyway, here are the “second-tier” branding books from my library.
By Brad VanAuken is subtitled An Easy Reference Guide to Solving Your Toughest Branding Problems and Strengthening You Market Position. You can, and probably should begin this book at the beginning and read it straight through as you would a text book. But I find it valuable as a reference guide. Whenever I’m looking for a technique or process relevant to a client’s problem, I’ll find Brand Aid to be a great source. Mr. VanAuken has provided checklists, case studies and mini-tutorials on most major branding topics and issues. The book is organized in six parts: Introduction to Brand Management, Designing the Brand, Building the Brand, Leveraging the Brand, Other Brand Management Considerations, and finally, A Summary. Particularly helpful are two appendices, one on brand audits, the other on online brand management.
By F. Joseph LePla and Lynn M. Parker is another book taking a strategic approach to branding. The authors have developed an “Integrated Brand Model” involving three concentric circles that outline the three levels of activity that define brands: brand conveyors, brand drivers and organizational drivers.. The inner-most circle is designated “Organizational Drivers” (Mission, Values, Story). The next circle, “Brand Drivers”, consist of Principle, Personality and Associations. Brand Conveyors reside in the outer circle. They include communications and positioning, strategy and products. How it all fits together to form an integrated brand is discussed in depth.
By Marty Neumeier is the quickest read of any I’ve recommended. It, and a companion book,The Brand Gap, have simplified the ideas of branding. Both are fairly short books with big type. And both can be found in presentation form on Mr. Neumeier’s website.
I picked Zag over The Branding Gap for this blog because it speaks to the number one (in my opinion) issue in branding – differentiation. His premise is study your competition and do something they aren’t doing. As the book jacket proclaims, “Today you have to out-position, out-maneuver, and out-design the competition. The new rule? When everybody zigs, zag”. He outlines a 17-step process (simpler that it sounds) to do just that.
If you click on the titles, you’ll be directed to Amazon where you can buy them. I’ll make a small, commission if you buy.
So, that’s a total of six highly recommended books. Notice I didn’t include the highly readable and thought-provoking works by Seth Godin, Tom Peters or Guy Kawasaki. They’re helpful and useful, but don’t concentrate on branding per se. Next blog will feature three books that are not exclusively branding books, but ones that have helped be brand in unusual ways.
And if you have any favorites you’d like to share, please make a comment here and share your enthusiasm with others.