Marty Neumeier has composed a number of excellent books on brands and branding. Arguably, his most influential titles are The Brand Gap and Zag, both of which should be essential reading in any business owner’s book list.

The Brand Gap helps your brand communication break through the clutter in the market place, while remaining relevant to your company’s value proposition.

Very often, a great piece of brand communication is created intuitively – it just feels right and you know it is going to work. But then it has to undergo a formal approval process. To do this, you have to apply logic which proves that the intuition was correct. The danger is that this retrospective rationalisation is driven by love of the idea, rather than marketing and communication best practice. This book closes the gap between creative intuition and logic, ensuring that the logic that drives brand strategy inspires and supports creative execution.

ZAG was recently nominated one of the “top hundred business books of all time” for its insights into radical differentiation. Its purpose serves to help you formulate a value proposition in such a way that it is differentiated from competitive offerings. Numeier recognises the danger inherent in the application of marketing and communications best practice – that you easily fall into a generic trap. This results in sameness and brand communications that rely on execution to break through the clutter, rather than on innovative thinking. As the name of the book suggests, Numeier shows the reader how to Zag when the rest of the market is doing a Zig.

The reason why it is a good idea to read both books consecutively is therefore apparent. The one looks at the definition of a value proposition and the other at its differentiation.

Neumeier’s books are wonderfully succinct. For anyone who takes pleasure out of reading business orientated books, The Brand Gap and Zag are a smooth read as many of these types of books are far more complex and academic than they need to be. Neumeier is riding the simplicity trend to great effect.

The result – you spend your time thinking about what Numeier says rather than trying to understand what he says.

The lasting impression I took from these books is that the whole purpose of branding is to make an enticing value proposition. As easy as this may sound, it is difficult to accomplish. Neumeier’s books are a practical guide on how to make it a little bit easier.

I would recommend these books to anybody who is crazy about branding. They are also a good idea for any business leader, because brands are not restricted to marketing and communications departments. Branding is an important business tool, and as such it is the responsibility of the full leadership team in any business. As Thomas Gad, Brand Strategist to Richard Branson, says: “Today, brands are not the preserve of the marketing department. Brands are too important to be left to the marketing department – or any other department, come to that. Organisational ghettos do not create vibrant, world changing brands”.

It is not surprising, given the value they add to a business’ bottom line, that brands and branding are much written about and much spoken about. This creates a lot of noise. Numeier’s books are refreshing in that they blow away a lot of this noise and give practical help from somebody who has done it all himself.

~ by Johnny Johnson – Brand & Communications Strategist

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You can order your copy of The Brand Gap by CLICKING HERE

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You can order your copy of ZAG by CLICKING HERE

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“What you read becomes what you know. When you practise what you know, you begin to grow. As you grow and share your knowledge you in turn contribute to the growth of others. When you share with and enlighten those around you, you have espoused wisdom. Knowledge speaks, wisdom leads.” ~ Brian Eagar.