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We like to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to consumer insights, marketing innovations and advancements in management practices. Here are just some of the books we’re reading that help us better understand today's ever-changing world of marketing and advertising



Brand Failures

The Truth About the 100 Biggest Branding Mistakes of All Time

By Matt Haig

Branding is a ubiquitous, but critical marketing function that can produce spectacular successes and catastrophic blunders. Highly visible branding failures are first-order marketing blunders. Yet, while branding is critical, one wonders if branding alone, as author Matt Haig asserts, is the main reason Land Rover sales declined and General Motors stopped making Oldsmobiles. Haig notes that nonbranding mistakes contribute to failure, but focuses on branding as the prime cause. As a result, his brand-centered explanations can seem strained, but he overcomes this concern with a long list of vignettes that effectively drive home important points about the causes of branding failures


Brand Leadership

Building Assets in the Information Society

By David A. Aaker and Erich Joachimsthaler

David A. Aaker and Erich Joachimsthaler flex their marketing muscles in this exhaustive treatise on global brand creation. But although the authors clearly know an enormous amount about building the perfect branding campaign, their book suffers from a patina of academia that makes it read like a textbook. The book has a multitude of marketing insights to offer and it cites plenty of real-life business examples


Brands and Branding

By Rita Clifton and John Simmons with Sameena Ahmad et al. (editors)

This anthology, edited by Rita Clifton and John Simmons with Sameena Ahmad, contains an abundance of information about branding. In fact, with 17 contributors, different experts repeat the same information more than once, further emphasizing and validating these points. For example, several contributors note the social value of brands; later, an entire chapter covers the same topic. Some sections delve into the material more deeply than others, but much of it is sophisticated enough to appeal to the most dedicated brand specialist. The book includes discussions of branding esoterica such as the distinction between verbal and visual identities, and the role of brands in a global marketplace


Brand Stretch

Why 1 in 2 Extensions Fail and How to Beat the Odds: A Brand Gym Workout

By David Taylor

Given how heavily companies spend on advertising and merchandising, any factor — in this case, better use of branding — that could possibly enhance the survival chances of a product extension deserves serious consideration. In fact, if you are thinking about launching a new product tied to an existing brand, this informative book might save your career. Author David Taylor identifies so many prerequisites for making a brand offshoot successful that you may decide to take up some safer activity — like bungee jumping. That cautionary guidance alone is invaluable. Unlike many other marketing authors, Taylor writes concise chapters, liberally dosed with good examples. Each chapter ends with a summary, checklist and pertinent takeout


Building Strong Brands

The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People

By David A.Aaker

In this book, David A. Aaker discusses how a brand can be managed as a strategic asset and a source of competitive advantage. The companies whose work is described at length include Saturn, General Electric, Kodak, Healthy Choice, McDonald’s, and many others. Aaker shows how a brand should be considered as a product, a person, an organization, and a symbol. The book is an excellent in-depth approach to the many facets of brand development. However, it sometimes tends to go into extensive detail about slight differences in concepts and definitions, and it is written in a generally dry, academic style. But, the book offers excellent basic principles you can apply to improve your brand


Fashion Brands

Branding Style from Armani to Zara

By Mark Tungate

If you want to understand the true meaning of style, the fashion world can explain it. No other industry is as adept at transforming a commodity into an art form, and doing so repeatedly on a seasonal basis. Journalist Mark Tungate presents a terrific overview of many key aspects of this gritty yet ephemeral business. His wide-ranging book covers everything from fashion photography to haute couture, modeling agencies, accessories, second hand clothes and even the history of department stores. He goes into journalistic detail about established and avant-garde designers, photographers, ad agencies and trend consultants who work side by side to sell image to the public. This is a serious book, complete with the URL’s of key Web sites, and profiles of the top designers who create brands. Tungate goes inside fashion firms that know how to sell dreams and illusions made of Italian fabrics and fine leather


Kellogg on Branding

The Marketing Faculty of the Kellogg School of Management

By Alice M. Tybout and Tim Calkins

Branding is so powerful that it touches upon more disciplines than other branches of marketing. Figuring out why branding works and where it might go in the future requires insights from several fields, including anthropology, advertising, management and psychology. Thus, this anthology takes the perfect approach to presenting the latest information about branding. A single author would have difficulty keeping up with so much multidisciplinary research. This worthwhile book ranges from the basic to the esoteric, and from the practical to the theoretical. It offers numerous case studies and advice about brand building in particular industries; it also includes an interesting discussion of the anthropology of branding


Managing Brand Equity

Capitalizing on the Value of a Brand Name

By David A.Aaker

Think Coca-Cola and what comes to mind? That’s brand power. Author David A. Aaker illustrates how such powerful brands connect with customers. He does provide compelling, insider case studies, going back to the launch of Procter & Gamble’s Ivory soap in 1881. Aaker sets three goals and just about achieves them: 1) Show managers how brand equity provides value, 2) Showcase examples of good and bad marketing and 3) Discuss how to manage brand equity. But, while Aaker explains brand equity by listing its components, the correlation between the parts and the whole is not clear — even with the ever-present flow chart


A New Brand World

8 Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the 21st Century

By Scott Bedbury with Stephen Fenichell

This pretty good book about brands and brand management is not as neat and orderly as the subtitle suggests — the so-called “8 principles” are rather vague meandering digressions. But the digressions are immensely entertaining and even educational. Learning how Nike and Starbucks handle marketing is quite worthwhile. The book’s big virtue is that it repeatedly reinforces the fact that brand building boils down to having the common sense to think first about what you are trying to accomplish, and then set about doing it without getting distracted. How simple to say, how hard to do


Strategic Brand Management

Building, Measuring, and Managing Brand Equity

By Kevin Lane Keller

Incorporating the latest industry thinking and developments, this exploration of brands, brand equity, and strategic brand management combines a comprehensive theoretical foundation with numerous techniques and practical insights for making better day-to-day and long-term brand decisions–and thus improving the long-term profitability of specific brand strategies. Finely focused on “how-to” and “why” throughout, it provides specific tactical guidelines for planning, building, measuring, and managing brand equity. It includes numerous examples on virtually every topic and over 75 Branding Briefs that identify successful and unsuccessful brands and explain why they have been so


Brand Portfolio Strategy

Creating Relevance, Differentiation, Energy, Leverage, and Clarity

By David A. Aaker

David Aaker shows managers how to construct a brand portfolio strategy that will support a company's business strategy and create relevance, differentiation, energy, leverage, and clarity. Building on case studies of world-class brands such as Dell, Disney, Microsoft, Sony, Dove, Intel, CitiGroup, and PowerBar, Aaker demonstrates how powerful, cohesive brand strategies have enabled managers to revitalize brands, support business growth, and create discipline in confused, bloated portfolios of master brands, subbrands, endorser brands, co-brands, and brand extensions. Aaker demonstrates that assuring that each brand in the portfolio has a clear role and actively reinforces and supports the other portfolio brands will profoundly affect the firm's profitability


The Brand Glossary

By Interbrand

Brand language is varied, misunderstood, and abused. With this glossary, Interbrand, the leading brand strategy and design consultancy, has set out to demystify, educate, inform, and entertain. Recognizing that branding is increasingly accepted as a vital and valuable management function, Interbrand has produced a companion for business and marketing practitioners, branding professionals, executives, academics, and students. Much more than a glossary, this is an invaluable companion for all those creating and managing brands. The comprehensive list of terms covers each subject in appropriate and manageable detail. It contains illustrations big and small, brand facts, and relevant quotes - all to help communicate the practice of branding 


How Brands Become Icons

The Principles of Cultural Branding

By D. B. Holt

Coca-Cola. Harley-Davidson. Nike. Budweiser. Valued by customers more for what they symbolize than for what they do, products like these are more than brands--they are cultural icons. How do managers create brands that resonate so powerfully with consumers? Based on extensive historical analyses of some of America's most successful iconic brands, this book presents the first systematic model to explain how brands become icons. Douglas B. Holt shows how iconic brands create "identity myths" that, through powerful symbolism, soothe collective anxieties resulting from acute social change. Holt warns that icons can't be built through conventional branding strategies, which focus on benefits, brand personalities, and emotional relationships. Instead, he calls for a deeper cultural perspective on traditional marketing themes and outlines a distinctive set of "cultural branding" principles that will radically alter how companies approach everything from marketing strategy to market research to hiring and training managers


Emotional Branding

The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People

By Marc Gobe

Emotional Branding has created a movement in branding circles by shifting the focus from products to people. The “10 Commandments of Emotional Branding” have become a new benchmark for marketing and creative professionals, emotional branding has become a coined term by many top industry experts to express the new dynamic that exists now between brands and people. In this updated edition, Marc Gobé covers how social media helped elect Barack Obama to the White House, how the idea behind Twitter is transforming our civilization, and why new generations are re-inventing business, commerce, and management as we know it by leveraging the power of the web


Power Brands

Measuring, Making, and Managing Brand Success

By Hajo Riesenbeck and Jesko Perrey

The McKinsey BrandMatics concept will show you how brands can be systematically managed. The individual tools and detailed concepts are organized into three topic areas: measuring, making, and managing power brands



How the Best Brands Keep it Simple and Succeed

By Allen P. Adamson

In an era of mixed media messages, in which brands are extended to the breaking point and complex marketing theories compete for attention, it is more difficult than ever to create effective brands. Allen Adamson offers a refreshingly simple solution: Bring back the basics of good branding and ensure success. Build a brand on a good idea that you test. Make sure the design and message of your brand fits the brand's true meaning, and stay away from unnecessary and complicated strategies. Drawing on his years of experience working with some of the world's top brands, from GE to IBM, Adamson shows how to communicate with customers and make your brand resonate. He also gives a behind-the-scenes look at his work with traditional names like Maxwell House as well as newcomers like JetBlue and iPod, explaining what they do right--and wrong


Brand Against the Machine

How to Build Your Brand, Cut Through the Marketing Noise, and Stand Out from the Competition

By John M. Morgan

Brand Against the Machine offers proven and actionable steps for companies and entrepreneurs to increase their brand visibility and credibility, and to create an indispensable brand that consumers can relate to, thus becoming life-long customers. Discover the aspirational currency that makes your brand one that people want to be or want to be friends with. Learn how to be real with your audience and make strategic associations to establish credibility. Brand Against the Machine will help you stand out, get noticed, and be remembered


The Brand Gap

How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design

By Marty Neumeier

The Brand Gap is the first book to present a unified theory of brand-building.  Whereas most books on branding are weighted toward either a strategic or creative approach, this book shows how both ways of thinking can unite to produce a “charismatic brand”—a brand that customers feel is essential to their lives. Not since McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message” has a book compressed so many ideas into so few pages. Using the visual language of the boardroom, Neumeier presents the first unified theory of branding—a set of five disciplines to help companies bridge the gap between brand strategy and customer experience

"Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes"

Peter DRUCKER, American management consultant, educator, and author (1909 – 2005)



Kotler on Marketing

How to create, win and dominate markets

By Philip Kotler

Philip Kotler draws on lectures he’s given worldwide and textbook basics to craft an informative and refreshing marketing text. Highlighting the primary tools and techniques used by marketing professionals, he encourages companies to adopt a holistic approach that emphasizes customer value over product sales. Since it’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one, companies should use all of the resources at their disposal — including marketing — in building long-term customer relationships. Beyond the customer-value sermon, Kotler offers a systemic review of fundamental marketing concepts


Legendary Brands

Unleashing the Power of Storytelling to Create a Winning Marketing Strategy

By Laurence Vincent

What makes a brand become the stuff of legend? Author and consultant Laurence Vincent says it’s the power of a good story. Vincent, whose specialty is forging alliances between consumer brands and entertainment properties, presents an interesting parallel between marketing and storytelling that makes sense in today’s increasingly cluttered media environment. Vincent introduces you to the basics of myth and storytelling. He explains how these concepts apply to marketing strategy and offers plenty of real-world examples and case studies to illustrate his points. Except for predicting the coming integration of advertising and content (it’s been around for decades), Vincent’s book is full of fresh insight


Kellogg on Strategy

Concepts, Tools, and Frameworks for Practitioners

By David Dranove and Sonia Marciano

This concise guide to strategy offers an excellent basic introduction to business strategy. David Dranove and Sonia Marciano not only outline their own benefits-minus-cost ("B - C") approach to strategy; they also usefully summarize the essentials of other widely accepted approaches, most notably that of Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter. They write lucidly, avoid academic jargon and stay focused on the essentials without burdening the reader with unnecessary detail. They illustrate their discussion with examples drawn from actual business successes and failures, and two case studies, one from the airline industry and the other from the health-care industry


A collection of the best thinking from one of the most innovative management consulting firms in the world 
For more than forty years, The Boston Consulting Group has been shaping strategic thinking in business. The Boston Consulting Group on Strategy offers a broad and up-to-date selection of the firm's best ideas on strategy with fresh ideas, insights, and practical lessons for managers, executives, and entrepreneurs in every industry


Developing Business Strategies

By David A. Aaker

A successful business strategy enables managers to provide organizational vision, monitor and understand a dynamic business environment, generate creative strategic options in response to environmental changes, and base every business effort on sustainable competitive advantages. Developing Business Strategies provides the knowledge and understanding needed to generate and implement such a strategy. This fully revised and updated edition of David Aaker’s highly influential strategic manual offers copious new information on important emerging business topics. Numerous new and revised sections cover such critical areas as the big idea, knowledge management, the customer as an active partner, creative thinking, distinguishing fads from trends, forecasting technologies, alliances, design as strategy, downstream business models, and more


Why Not?

How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big And Small

By Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres

"Why Not?" is a primer for fresh thinking, for problem solving with a purpose, for bringing the world a few steps closer to the way it should be. Idealistic? Yes. Unrealistic? According to "Why Not?” authors Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres, no. Illustrated with examples from every aspect of life, "Why Not?" offers techniques which will help you take the things we all see, every day, and think about them in a new way. Great ideas are waiting. Why not be the one to discover them?


Blue Ocean Strategy

How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant

By W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Written by the business world's new gurus, Blue Ocean Strategy continues to challenge everything you thought you knew about competing in today's crowded market place. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than a hundred years and thirty industries, authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne argue that lasting success comes from creating 'blue oceans': untapped new market spaces ripe from growth. And the business world has caught on - companies around the world are skipping the bloody red oceans of rivals and creating their very own blue oceans


Marketing Strategy

A Decision Focused Approach

By Orville Walker, John Mullins and Jr., Harper Boyd

Marketing Strategy, 7e is a focused, succinct text which can be used on its own or packaged with a case book. It covers the concepts and theories of creating and implementing a marketing strategy and offers a focus on the strategic planning process and marketing’s cross/inter-functional relationships. This text distinguishes itself from competitors by maintaining a strong approach to strategic decision-making


The Social Media Bible

Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success

By Lon Safko

The Social Media Bible, Second Edition ( is the most comprehensive resource that transforms the way corporate, small business, and non-profit companies use social media to reach their desired audiences with power messages and efficiency. In this Second Edition, each of the three parts - Tactics, Tools, and Strategies - have been updated to reflect the most current social media trends


Kellogg on Marketing

Edited by Alice M. Tybout and Bobby J. Calder

The second edition of Kellogg on Marketing provides a unique and highly regarded perspective on both the basics of marketing and on new issues that are challenging businesses today. It includes more than 60% new material on both fundamental marketing concepts and hot topics such as Product Innovation, Social Media, Marketing to Consumers at the Bottom of the Pyramid, and Internal Branding. Along with the new material, the core concepts covered in the first edition have all been updated-including targeting and positioning, segmentation, consumer insights, and more. This is a must-have marketing reference


The New Strategic Brand Management

Advanced Insights & Strategic Thinking

By J N Kapferer

Over the years it has not only established a reputation as one of the leading works on brand strategy but also has become synonymous with the topic itself. The new edition builds on this impressive reputation and keeps the book at the forefront of strategic brand thinking. Revealing and explaining the latest techniques used by companies worldwide, author Jean-Noel Kapferer covers all the leading issues faced by the brand strategist today, supported by an array of international case studies. With both gravitas and intelligent insight, the book reveals new thinking on topics such as putting culture and content into brands, the impact of private labels, the new dynamics of targeting and the comeback of local brands


The Luxury Strategy

Break the Rules of Marketing to Build Luxury Brands

By Jean-Noel N Kapferer and Vincent Bastien

The Luxury Strategy is the definitive work on the essence of a luxury brand strategy. It puts an end to the confusion around the term, and explains the fundamental differences between 'premium', 'fashion', and 'luxury' strategies. Based on an analysis of the social functions of luxury, of worldwide best practices and on first hand direct experience, it sets out the rules for success, and turns established marketing rules upside down. The Luxury Strategy provides the first rigorous blueprint for the effective management of luxury brands and companies at the highest level, including human resources and financial management. It also unveils the original methods that were used to transform small family businesses such as Ferrari, Cartier, Chanel, Gucci, and Ralph Lauren into profitable global brands


Good to Great

Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

By Jim Collins

This book aims to describe how companies transition from being average companies to great companies and how companies can fail to make the transition. "Greatness" is defined as financial performance several multiples better than the market average over a sustained period. Collins finds the main factor for achieving the transition to be a narrow focusing of the company’s resources on their field of competence.
The book was a massive best seller, selling four million copies and going far beyond the traditional audience of business books


Fit in, Stand out: Mastering the FISO Factor

The key to leadership Effectiveness in Business and Life

By Blythe J. McGarvie

Blythe J. McGarvie outlines, in her book, the key success factors to achieving effective leadership in both business and life. Separating what really works from life experiences, she incites reader with a revolutionary program known as The FISO Factor. Her program reveals the forces of integration (Fit In) harmoniously co-exist with transformation (Stand Out) by balancing each other out to form two forms of leadership success. Citing six principal agents of FISO, McGarvie provides readers with the necessary tools to master all concepts to build your leadership prowess and take your company to new heights


Shaking the globle

Courageous Decision-Making in a Changing World

By Blythe J. McGarvie

Not your typical book in business education, author Blythe J. McGarvie encourages Westerners to embrace the new form of globalization in order to adapt to today’s as well as tomorrow’s economy. Establishing opportunities for future growth requires the alignment of all employees and entrepreneurs to appreciate “distant local” customs to strive in this interconnected world. This book serves as a striking modern guide to effective decision-making in a time where dramatic financial and demographic shifts are occurring—a must have for those who want to succeed in a challenging business environment

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