Brand building must-reads for the New Year

Both my clients and students (MBA and EMBA Brand Management) often ask me for suggestions on the latest business and branding “must reads”. Here are four I have been recommending recently[1]:

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 12.53.05 PM

Creating Passion Brands: How to Build Emotional Brand Connection with Customers by Helen Edwards and Derek Day

Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies by Jim Stengel

What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest by Denise Lee Yohn

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G. Lafley  and Roger L. Martin

The key takeaway from this reading list is that while branding is crucial in brand building, brand building is much greater than branding. That’s why astute CEOs view the brand as the business. These CEOs know that:

  • The hallmark of great brands is being strong inside out
  • The heart and soul of these brands is an intrinsically motivating core ideology for owners, employees and customers. It is the glue that binds these stakeholders together in remarkably loyal, long-term relationships
  • An adaptive, winning, brand-as-business strategy, based on this core ideology, leads to the organizational focus and alignment that is crucial for creating and sustaining differentiating and compelling customer brand experiences over time
  • Great brands must have a pioneering spirit–they must be customer oriented NOT customer led. True differentiation in the market place emanates from a relentless focus on seeking new value frontiers that will surprise and delight customers and enhance their lives in meaningful and unexpected ways

I hope that you will enjoy reading these books as much as I have.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and all of my readers for some great feedback and comments over the past year. I have learned from and enjoyed our conversations. I look forward to more engaging exchanges in 2014.

Very best wishes to you and your loved ones for a New Year filled with joy and good health.

Happy New Year!


[1] Available at Amazon

About ashleykonson

STRATEGY CONSULTING | EXECUTIVE COACHING | CORPORATE TRAINING | KEYNOTE SPEAKING | Ashley Konson is the Managing Partner of Global Brand Leaders Inc., a new kind of brand consulting company dedicated to making brands and their teams leaders across the globe. He is a Brand Leader, Business Consultant and Award-Winning Educator, and a recognized thought leader and fervent advocate of the premise that strong brands and businesses achieve and sustain their market positions because they are strong Inside out™.
This entry was posted in Brand Platforms, Brand Strategy, Branding, Business Practices, Competitive Strategy, Leadership, Organizational Culture, Strong On The Inside, Worth Reading and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Brand building must-reads for the New Year

  1. ashley — thank you so much for including my book in this terrific list! your bullet points are spot on! — denise lee yohn
    p.s. i am a big fan of the others on the list as well so i’m honored to be in such great company!

  2. Alvaro Gallart says:

    Ashley thanks for your recommendation, I think that the four points you addressed are superb to describe what makes a brand strong and I see them as great guidelines for brand management. Regards.

  3. If you have to read just one, read Play to Win. It is a simple, clear and overarching view of strategy that, if followed, would also deliver the fundamentals for a great brand. No offence to the other authors – not sure I can remember 7 things that make a great brand. But I can remember the two questions Martin wants us to ask: where will we play, and how will we win? (asked within the context of customer focus). One more book I would consider is Tilt: Shifting Your Strategy from Products to Customers, by Ivey prof Niraj Dawar. It is good support for Play to WIn.

    • ashleykonson says:

      Hello Will, my thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post. I agree that Playing to Win is a gem. I have just finished reading Tilt:Shifting Your Strategy From Products To Customers (based on your recommendation 🙂 ) and concur that it is a useful read also. I do believe that the other two book on my list add some valuable insight into other crucial facets of brand building–such as creating and nurturing the appropriate brand focused culture–not dealt with sufficiently by these two authors. I would highly recommend that you read Creating Passion Brands.

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