10 Brand And Business Book Recommendations

Derrick DayeApril 22, 20207 min

Every year authors and publishers send me hundreds of brand and business books to review. Collectively they cover the most important concepts shaping the business world today. With help from my colleagues at The Blake Project, I dive in and take a close look at each of them. The most useful quickly emerge and those books are read in their entirety.

Prompted this week by a client looking for book recommendations, here are ten of the recent brand and business books I recommend for Digital Strategy, Brand Strategy, Brand Management, Brand Storytelling, Innovation, Behavioral Science, Brand Purpose, Customer Experience, Marketing and Finance and Business Strategy.

I think you will find that each offer a great deal of actionable insights and are well worth your time.

1. Digital Strategy: Think Like Amazon By John Rossman

“What would Jeff do?” Since leaving Amazon to advise start-ups and corporations, John Rossman has been asked this question countless times by executives who want to know “the secret” behind Amazon’s historic success. In this step-by-step guide, he provides 50 ½ answers drawn from his experience as an Amazon executive―and shows today’s business leaders how to think like Amazon, strategize like Bezos, and beat the competition like nobody’s business. Learn how to:

•Move forward to get back to Day 1―and change the status quo.
•Become a platform company―with the right platform strategy.
•Create customer obsession―and grant your customers superpowers.
•Experiment, fail, rinse, and repeat.
•Decentralize your way to digital greatness.
•Master the magic of small autonomous teams.
•Avoid the trap of past positions.
•Make better and faster decisions.
•Use metrics to create a culture of accountability and innovation
•Use AI and the Internet of Things to reinvent customer experiences.

In addition to these targeted strategies, you’ll receive a rare inside glimpse into how Jeff Bezos and Amazon take a remarkably consistent approach to innovate, explore new markets, and spark new growth.

Get your copy here: Think Like Amazon, 50 1/2 Ideas To Become A Digital Leader

2. Behavioral Science: The Behavior Business By Richard Chataway

If you are in business, you are in the business of behavior – and unless a business influences behavior, it will not succeed.

In the last 50 years we have learned more about how we behave than over the previous 5,000. This book shows how behavioral science has revolutionized our understanding of how people really think (or don’t) – and how we can use those insights in our businesses to influence behavior and gain competitive advantage.

Get your copy here: The Behavior Business

3. Brand Management: The Brand Bridge By Jerome Conlon

Marketing’s role is to create a brand out of the product, and transform it into a symbol. By translating the product’s tangible and intangible benefits into symbolic meaning, images, and feelings, marketers create a brand bridge that is loved and wanted, one that is willingly traversed to get to “the other side.” The meanings, images, and feelings that advertising attaches to branded products create the attractive (or preferably irresistible) symbolic identity as experienced by consumers. This is The Brand Bridge.

Get your copy here: The Brand Bridge – How to Build a Profound Connection Between Your Company, Your Brand, and Your Customers

4. Brand Strategy: Brand Hacks By Emmanuel Probst

Brands that succeed are the ones that help us find meaning. In this process, the brands become meaningful in and of themselves. Brand Hacks takes you on an exploratory journey, revealing why most advertising campaigns fail and examining the personal, social, and cultural meanings that successful brands bring to consumers’ everyday lives.

Most importantly, this book will show you how to use simple brand hacks to create and grow brands that deliver meaning even with a limited budget. Brand Hacks is supported by in-depth research in consumer psychology, interviews with industry-leading marketers, and case studies of meaningful brands, both big and small.

Get your copy here: Brand Hacks: How to Grow your Brand by Fulfilling the Human Quest for Meaning

5. Brand Storytelling By Miri Rodriguez

Despite understanding essential storytelling techniques, brands continue to explain how their product or service can help the customer, rather than showcasing how the customer’s life has changed as a result of them. Brand Storytelling gets back to the heart of brand loyalty, consumer behavior and engagement as a business strategy: using storytelling to trigger the emotions that humans are driven by. It provides a step by step guide to assess, dismantle and rebuild a brand story, shifting the brand from a ‘hero’ to ‘sidekick’ mentality, and positioning the customer as a key influencer to motivate the audience.

Written by the award-winning storyteller Miri Rodriguez at Microsoft, Brand Storytelling is a clear, actionable guide that goes beyond content strategy, simplifying where to begin, how to benchmark success and ensuring a consistent brand voice throughout every department.

Get your copy here: Brand Storytelling: Put Customers At The Heart Of Your Brand Story

6. Brand Purpose: Grow The Pie By Alex Edmans

What is a responsible business? Common wisdom is that it’s one that sacrifices profit for social outcomes. But while it’s crucial for companies to serve society, they also have a duty to generate profit for investors – savers, retirees, and pension funds. Based on the highest-quality evidence and real-life examples spanning industries and countries, Alex Edmans shows that it’s not an either-or choice – companies can create both profit and social value. The most successful companies don’t target profit directly, but are driven by purpose – the desire to serve a societal need and contribute to human betterment. The book explains how to embed purpose into practice so that it’s more than just a mission statement, and discusses the critical role of working collaboratively with a company’s investors, employees, and customers. Rigorous research also uncovers surprising results on how executive pay, shareholder activism, and share buybacks can be used for the common good.

Get your copy here: Grow The Pie, How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose And Profit

7. Business Strategy: Connected Strategy By: Nicolaj Siggelkow And Christian Terweisch

What if there were a way to turn occasional, sporadic transactions with customers into long-term, continuous relationships–while simultaneously driving dramatic improvements in operational efficiency? What if you could break your existing trade-offs between superior customer experience and low cost?

This is the promise of a connected strategy. New forms of connectivity–involving frequent, low-friction, customized interactions–mean that companies can now anticipate customer needs as they arise, or even before. Simultaneously, enabled by these technologies, companies can create new business models that deliver more value to customers. Connected strategies are win-win: Customers get a dramatically improved experience, while companies boost operational efficiency.

In this book, strategy and operations experts Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch reveal the emergence of connected strategies as a new source of competitive advantage. With in-depth examples from companies operating in industries such as healthcare, financial services, mobility, retail, entertainment, nonprofit, and education, Connected Strategy identifies the four pathways–respond-to-desire, curated offering, coach behavior, and automatic execution–for turning episodic interactions into continuous relationships. The authors show how each pathway creates a competitive advantage, then guide you through the critical decisions for creating and implementing your own connected strategies.

Get your copy here: Connected Strategy: Building Continuous Customer Relationships For Competitive Advantage

8. Marketing And Finance: Financial Dimensions Of Marketing Decisions By David Stewart

Long overdue insights for the marketing community are found in this book about linking marketing activities and their outcomes to the financial performance of the organization. The theme of the book is that the marketing function must justify its activities and use of resources in terms of its financial contributions to the firm. More specifically, the book focuses on how marketing activities generate cash flow, growth, and other financial benefits for the organization. This perspective provides a framework for long-term investments for purposes of evaluating and ranking the funding of proposed projects.

Get your copy here: Financial Dimensions Of Marketing Decisions

9. Innovation: Costovation By Steve Wunker And Jennifer Law

Costovation solves the dilemma of how to spend less and innovate more. The book’s revolutionary approach broadens the definition of innovation beyond products to the business model itself. With Costovation, you let go of assumptions, take a fresh look at the market, and relentlessly focus on what customers really want.

Packed with examples and interactive exercises, the book explores cost innovation strategies that work for big and small companies alike. From open innovation and cost-sharing to simplifying products and turning waste into new offerings-readers learn how rivals are carving out niches, protecting positions, and dominating industries.

Innovation and cost-cutting are not opposites. Combined, they expose untapped opportunities to outsmart and underspend competitors.

Get your copy here: Costovation

10. Customer Experience: Building Brand Experiences By Darren Coleman

Retaining brand relevance is fundamental to organizational success, and an increasing challenge that high-level marketing professionals now face. In the past, many have responded with product or price-based competition, yet this can only propel a brand so far when it comes to retaining long-term relevance. Research shows that consumers are in fact driven by emotion and positive brand experiences have the power to drive engagement, while simultaneously offering countless options for competitive differentiation. Building Brand Experiences enables managers and executives to realize this and create tailored, relevant experiences that will appeal to consumers and drive brand performance.

Practically structured around The Brand Experience Blueprint, Building Brand Experiences provides a step-by-step guide to the process of building effective brand experiences based on tried-and-tested tools, templates and informed research. Combining expert insight and real-world examples in an anecdotal and digestible way, Building Brand Experiences is the essential guide to crafting relevant experiences that consumers will love, to improve brand engagement and drive results.

Get your copy here: Building Brand Experiences

What brand and business books are you reading? Please let us know in the comments section.

At The Blake Project we are helping clients from around the world, in all stages of development, redefine and articulate what makes them competitive at critical moments of change through online strategy workshops. Please email us for more.

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

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