Editor’s Choice: The 11 Best Books on Branding
Branding isn’t as straightforward as it once was. Remember the good old days when all you needed to brand your product was Jack Smithy to fire up the bellows and prod your heifer with a hot-lettered iron? Neither do we. But we do remember the principles of marketing, which like many of the ways that business is conducted, have changed over the years. And what we know about these changes is that as the years go by, the practice of creating a calling card that people can not only trust, but also come to love, value, and identify with your product, company, or organization over all others is as complicated as boiling down an ocean of information into a single word as easy to swallow as a glass of water. And that’s especially true in the era of Internet marketing, where we are constantly bombarded with wave upon wave of branded content every time we open our web browser. Branding our own business can seem even more difficult when we consider the odds we’re up against: (1) the fact that all the best brands are simple, and (2) the fear that all the simplest ideas are taken. (Spoiler alert: they’re not). So to give our audience an idea of how many ways there are to brand a product; to demonstrate that there are as many simple brand ideas out there as there are people on the planet; and to reassure marketers everywhere that some of the best brands have yet to be created, we’ve assembled this ranking of the 11 Best Branding Books Of All Time. And we say 11, because in this competitive run-off, three books tied for 9th. But using this reading list, we think anyone can learn how to brand under any circumstances. Our methodology for compiling this ranking was to sift through the nearly 650 books shelved under “branding marketing” on the popular reader review site, Goodreads. We then handpicked the only 128 with at least two ratings, and scored them according to the average number of stars that readers have given them; the total number of ratings each book has received; and the relevance of their author to developing an understanding of the branding discipline. Only the highest rated, most rated, and most authorially relevant books rose to the top of our list. See if you recognize some of the titles. If you’ve been one of the many entrepreneurs who’ve branded your own business, we bet you’ll recognize at least one title, and perhaps even several that you’ve read yourself.
1. Marketing Management by Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane KellerMarketing Management is a textbook in its 15th edition published by Pearson Education and written by two of the most honorable American marketing authorities, Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller. In what has been called the “gold standard” of books for both graduate and undergraduate marketing students today, the two authors add to their ever-growing collection of scholarship on branding and brand management, delivering on their own brand promise to be the first to reflect changes in marketing theory and practice. First published in December of 1987, Marketing Management has kept up with every trend in the field of marketing for nearly 30 years. A veritable work of marketing history, the text is written for those who look to stand on the helm of the future of brand management by enabling themselves to communicate knowledgeably with some of the best minds in marketing. Indeed, it provides a clear window into concepts both past and present that have dictated how marketers interact with each other and their audiences, exploring the underlying theory of brand management, and providing a thorough glimpse of into the core principles of marketing today. Although the authors cannot predict the future, each of their editions provides a basic, well-researched foundation of knowledge necessary for any individual to reasonably speculate on and create brand strategy for their product, company, or organization. As this foundational reference work continues to grow with each edition, the reader experience is one of a steady and constant enlightenment, an awakening we definitely need if we’re going to understand the ever-changing complexity of branding, which Marketing Management makes simple. Marketing Management (15th Edition)
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