Blog | September 26, 2013

The 7 Best Marketing and Brand Management Books

by Melissa Kelly in Brand Management

[To see an updated version of this post, go here.]

With so many books about marketing and branding flooding the market, it’s difficult to decide which ones are worth the time to read. We’ve put together a list of some of the most influential books on these strategies that every brand manager‘s bookshelf should have.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
by Al Ries and Laura Ries

The main concept of this branding book is that no matter what sector your business operates in, strong and consistent branding equals good marketing. The father-daughter duo rightfully claim, “If you can build a powerful brand you will have a powerful marketing program.” Current editions tackle issues like internet branding, and many principles are so intrinsic to branding that they apply to social media strategies and all other facets of marketing, as well.

Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People
by Marc Gobe

Marc Gobe set new standards for marketers with his 10 commandments of emotional branding and changed the way brands communicate with their customers and clients, showing that appealing to individuals was the way to go and mass-market strategies were dying. With deep insight into how social media is reshaping not only the marketing world but our entire culture, this book should be in every marketer’s collection.

Permission Marketing
by Seth Godin

The idea behind marketing guru Seth Godin’s book is that marketers need to target people who will be receptive to their messages and must also treat their prospects with respect. Get someone to opt-in, and they’re likely to listen (and offering them incentives with discounts or extras doesn’t hurt). Godin’s principles are especially relevant in the growing realm of mobile marketing.

Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders
by Adam Morgan

This is the book for innovators, or those he calls “Challenger Brands.” Eschewing traditional marketing strategies is the hallmark of startups, and Morgan’s principles have led to established brands reshaping their marketing tactics to mimic smaller, more creative brands. This is a must for startups, upstarts or anyone looking for a fresh approach to marketing.

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

Marty Neumeier takes the burden of defining a brand off of companies and puts it on customers and clients with a focus on bringing together marketing strategy and design (read: Apple). Neumeier insists brands must be charismatic and speak to customers on an emotional level and therefore create trust. This book reveals how to harness inspiration with creative branding strategies and what potential payoffs await.

Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing
by Harry Beckwith

In this revered marketing guide, Beckwith focuses on the shift from business as manufacturing to service, and the power (and monetizing results) of building strong connections and the fact that, beyond products, “…you are selling relationships.” Forward-thinking ideas like “Make technology a key part of every marketing plan” are even more true now than they were when the book was originally published.

The Life of P.T. Barnum
by P.T. Barnum

The autobiography from the master of self-promotion reads more like a marketing manual than a life story. Among the main themes is how to achieve success in the world following the founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Some language may be outdated, but he illuminates concept that hold today, such as the idea of crafting the story of your brand: “Put on the appearance of business, and generally the reality will follow.” Good advice for any marketing department, and he doesn’t stop there.