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May 25, 2009

4 must read books for do-it-yourself branding

Branding is at the core of every good marketing strategy, campaign and initiative. Without branding you are just another barker in the fish market, adding your voice to the cacophony of cliches everyone else is shouting out.

These books have been priceless for me and I refer to them regularly when I need to be inspired, or to go back to some of the grass roots concepts that started me off in the consulting game in the beginning.

I hope they are of use to you.

The Wizard of Ads: Turning Words into Magic and Dreamers into Millionaires 

This is a recent discovery for me. A book written several decades ago by a master of the craft. This book talks about a lot of the old knowledge that advertisers have relied on since the beginning of the industry.

It seems we have forgotten more than we remember about advertising. As we all move to the beat of the drum set by the new media mavens like Seth Godin  and Chris Brogan there are exceptionally valuable skills and knowledge that we have also left behind.

I think this book is invaluable. Especially because it talks about transferable skills from an advertising era that is rapidly fading from view. Advertising ain't marketing - but it does encompass a fascinating and useful skill set that we shouldn't neglect. (Read reviews )

Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time 

Just discovered this recently by Mr Joel Comm, a guy I have since found out is an absolute master at seeing where the value is in modern and common internet applications. Often more deeply than others around him at the time.

I bought this half expecting to be disappointed. I thought it would be either something lame like a manual, or some equally lame "secret" like "just be nice to everyone".

I was very pleasantly surprised. Joel really is a master of this medium, and he has great points on branding, mixing content and chit chat, setting up the account, programs and how to build a list of really powerful followers.

If your business lends itself to Twitter and other B2C social media programs then this book is something that you shouldn't be without. It is clearly the leading publication of its sort in the market today. Period.  (Read Reviews )

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Of course. The pied piper of a new age of marketing professionals. A lot of Seth's books cover over into the branding area as well as the marketing area but instead of having a long list of his work here I thought this would be the most relevant.

In case you are one of the very few interested people in the world who hasn't read this book - you simply must do.

Seth takes his seminal thoughts on Permission marketing to new hieghts explaining why tribes are possibly the most powerful marketing asset your company could have, and how you can create them.

It is branding 101 without even mentioning the word. Before you can build a tribe people must want to follow you. So branding is an integral element of it. Buy it. Read it. Keep it. Refer to it. (Read Reviews )

How to Establish a Unique Brand in the Consulting Profession: Powerful Techniques for the Successful Practitioner 

This was the book that got me started in consulting. And it is the reason why I have published three books so far, built and sold a marketing company, and achieved my own small level of notoriety in my own discipline of engineering. 

Some of the thoughts int he copy I have are a little outdated by technology - but the general concept is great and one that has stood the test of time very well. I recommend this to anybody planning on a career in consulting. (Read Reviews )

In summary...

Today branding is a do-it-yourself art form. The world has given us the technology, knowledge, inspiration and aptitude to reach far more people than you could have ever reached before. 

But without a solid brand, rooted in what you really stand for and what value you can provide, then you are just another voice in the wilderness shouting "Look at me! Look at me!". Good luck, I am sure these books will give you a head start and hopefully the motivation you need to push into the space where you deserve to be.