top marketing books for business and expansion

Top Marketing Books for Business Branding & Expansion

Read Top Marketing Books to Brand Your Business

When in doubt, do your research. The key to more effective marketing is reading more about what works and what doesn’t with business branding. It pays to get a good overview of the basics by familiarizing yourself with branding best practices and real-life examples that give you insight into proven ways leading companies succeed with branding.

What makes the best brands so memorable and unique?

Learn more with these top marketing books for business branding and expansion:

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

by Al Ries & Jack Trout

How to be seen and heard in an overcrowded marketplace

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries & Jack Trout is one of the best “go-to” marketing books on branding. It is considered a marketing “classic” and contains marketing how-to’s, like how to execute a marketing plan and get inside the mind of buyers. It presents an overview of brand “positioning” that is specific to the buyer’s needs rather than the seller or manufacturer. The book gives a basic rundown on how positioning applies to our lives and not just in marketing,  “from how we are viewed by our friends to why we affiliate with a particular political party or other social cause. Learning how Positioning works is learning about life.”

The term “positioning” was coined in the 1970s and first published in a paper by Jack Trout in 1969 titled, “Positioning” is a game people play in today’s me-too marketplace. Positioning is a “competitive strategy” that involves creating a value proposition or unique perception of your brand and identity. The authors recommend a value proposition as well as using short 3-5 word phrases as “brand mantras” to differentiate core values. The book is well written, although it is a bit dated as far as digital brand positioning goes.

BrandSimple: How the Best Brands Keep it Simple and Succeed

by Allen P. Adamson

Will inspire the reader who is hoping to develop a breakthrough brand idea.

BrandSimple: How the Best Brands Keep it Simple and Succeed by Allen P. Adamson is a branding book commonly found in marketing curriculums in big time colleges like Columbia University. It gives a fantastic overview of brand theories and real-life case studies using top brands and campaigns as examples. This book is useful when strapped with the task of coming up with a differentiated, relevant, applicable, and engaging “big idea” to back your brand.

It also acts as a nice refresher course in branding for anyone who’s been in the business for awhile and is looking for a good reference. The content outlines the fundamentals of branding and the branding process in steps to provide a framework on how to build a compellingly different and meaningful brand. The book is well written and provides applicable examples that are easy to follow and tangibly actionable.

Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

by Alina Wheeler

“Design is intelligence made visible.” – Alina Wheeler

Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team by Alina Wheeler provides a glimpse at the basics behind manifesting your brand through design. The book gives a nice overview of the branding basics, the branding process, and best practices for branding and identity. It goes into great detail by breaking down every step of the branding process with examples on where to go next and what must be done to cover all the bases.

Not only does it provide a nice overview on the basics and process of designing a brand identity, this book also includes examples by big name companies or leaders in the industry. It discusses print and digital brand identity pieces that will eventually display your logo, such as your website design, favicon, business cards, packaging and products, uniforms, signage and advertising collateral. The design of the book itself is visually appealing, simple, and easy to digest. This read is strongly recommended for designers, brand specialists, and creative directors.

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design

by Marty Neumeier

“Building a brand today is a little like building a cathedral during the Renaissance. It took hundreds of craftsmen scores of years, even generations, to complete a major edifice.”

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design by Marty Neumeier offers insight into bridging the gap between strategy and design. It starts by outlining the basics of branding, who you are, what you do, and why it matters, to help you build a more effective brand strategy that aligns with your design and goals. The book lists five separate disciplines to keep in mind: differentiation, collaboration, innovation, validation, and cultivation.

This marketing book explains that branding is not a logo, corporate identity, or a product. A brand is not what you say it is but a person’s gut feeling about a product/service/company, or in other words, “a brand is not what you say it is. It’s what THEY say it is”. The book combines images and words to create a brand message that’s clear and memorable. It’s a quick and easy read, and invaluable resource that outlines each stage of the branding process, each with a unique set of questions. You’ll find this book offers clarity, and gets straight to the point.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

“A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” – Mark Twain

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath is an amazing assessment of what makes an idea stick. It walks you through the six steps for marketing and branding success aka SUCCES: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, stories. The book lists case studies and evidence via research to illustrate each point with relevant examples.

One of the biggest challenges with branding is fighting sensory overload and becoming the small amount of content that your audience sees and remembers. The book helps you understand that “sticky” ideas are those that shock, move, and convince. It’s no surprise that the memorable examples contained within the book help you get a better grasp on how to create content that “sticks” with your audience.  It will help you adapt your brand to make ideas more effective and determine what you should say and how you should say it. The book is a well written and organized marketing reference with each chapter outlining one of the six principles to include an explanation and stories with concrete samples.

Need a quick reference before branding your website?

Design elements are a fundamental part of branding your website design. Download your copy of 25 Website Must Haves Ebook for a better overview of things your website is missing to help you create a more effective brand image and identity.

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Jon Tsourakis

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Jon Tsourakis followed his dream of opening an independent digital marketing agency. As CEO of Revital Agency, he uses logic and intuition to help companies grow their business online.