7 Great Branding Books Every Marketer Needs to Have on Their (Digital) Bookshelf
Branding is as much art as it is science, and to do it effectively, you need different perspectives. Over the years I’ve tried to gain numerous perceptive on branding; the books listed below highlight some of my favorites. I’ve always been a branding and marketing enthusiast, and through my career have collected a stable of recommendations. Those recommendations, combined with some I’ve picked up as a MBA in the Center for Brand and Product Management at the Wisconsin School of Business, make for what I believe to be a solid foundation in the art of branding. On the surface, these may not seem directly linked to digital marketing, but I believe the principals to be universally relevant
1. Power Branding, Steve McKee
McKee provides a great perceptive on some of the world’s most successful brands and how they grew, despite their unconventional methods. Not just flash in pan strategies, McKee presents a well-thought out and unconventional framework brands can use to deliver consistent growth. Explained via highly engaging case studies. Read it here.
2. Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success, Ken Segall
A fun, interesting perspective on what drives arguably one of the worlds most recognized and well-respected brands. There’s no question that Apple’s meteoric rise is a case study in impeccable branding, and this book gives a behind the scenes account of the thinking behind some of the company’s’ most successful ad campaigns. No matter what the medium, simplicity is meaningful, and Segall lays out this ‘simple’ formula in easy to follow prose. Read it here.
3. How Brands Become Cultural Icons, D.B. Holt
Incredible collection of case studies showcasing the importance of cultural competence for brand managers and marketers. Cultural context for marketers has always been important, but it’s never been more important now, given the digital paradigm within which brands now exist, create and engage with content. With brands able to interact with consumers and take part in cultural conversations (at times even shape culture) this book is a must read for digital marketers. Read it here.
4. Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow , Daniel Kahneman
Kahneman’s classic treatise on how our subconscious functioning can impact our perceptions and decision making. Kahenman, author of the critically acclaimed ‘Emotional Intelligence,’ presents a thorough review of some of the best academic papers on psychology, neurobiology and cognitive theory. This book makes for an easy, interesting, and at times sobering read on how we can be impacted by our subconscious. Great read for marketers in the digital age. Read it here.
5. Brands & Branding, Rita Clifton et. al, The Economist
I came upon this book during a layover at Heathrow airport and could not put it down. Rita Clifton is a well-regarded branding thought-leader, and this book is a solid primer on brand management and an overview of contemporary branding models, including detailed discussions about the demand driving importance of brands and their value to an enterprise. A great read for those wanting to learn about strong brand management techniques. All that plus some great international case studies, written in the Economist’s pithy, intelligent voice. Read it here.
6. Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance, Paul Ferris
A comprehensive guide to marketing metrics, from of the best voices in contemporary marketing and analytics, Paul Ferris. The Landmark Professor of Marketing at the Darden School of Business, Ferris brings years of academic expertise, as well as deep insight in business to present a comprehensive framework for measuring marketing performance. Especially relevant for traditional brand managers in CPG, this can be eye-opening for digital marketing managers as well. Read it here.
7. Bobos in Paradise, David Brooks
Long time contributor to the New York Times, David Brooks gives a fun and eye opening account of the BOBOS: the bohemian bourgeoisie that, as Brooks describes, are the new upper class. Brooks describes their ascendance through a funny and anecdotal historical viewpoint. Most importantly, Brooks provides an incredibly deep understanding of their likes, dislikes and motivations. Given this groups’ disproportionate spending power, it would be wise for would-be marketers to understand what makes BOBOs tick. Hilarious and informative, a worthy addition to any library. Read it here.
Post by Gurmukh Mangat, MBA Candidate ’17, Wisconsin School of Business.