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Brand Experience

10 brand and marketing books to read this year

Over the last 50 years, branding has evolved from the ability to differentiate products, to giving companies personalities, to making emotional connections with consumers. Today, companies spend copious amounts of time and thousands of dollars crafting the perfect brand message for the world. Compelling brand messaging is vital to business success and the best marketers are able to clearly communicate their brand’s story.

If you’re looking to gain inspiration for your next marketing or branding project, check out these 10 books. They’re filled with ideas about brand storytelling, identity, disruption, and thought leadership.

1. Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You

by John Hall

Hall co-founded Influence & Co., a content marketing agency, and his company is thriving. He created this step-by-step guide to teach marketers how to keep their brand front and center using content marketing. He focuses on creating meaningful relationships with the consumer, delivering consistent experiences, and strategies that engage your audience.

Purchase on Amazon here.

Learn how to measure your brand pulse with our eBook: Brand Tracker Toolkit

2. Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits

by Debbie Millman

Millman is a design and branding expert who co-founded the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In each chapter of this book, she interviews a different expert in the field such as Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters, Seth Godin, and godfather of modern branding Wally Olins. She helps readers understand “why we buy what we buy.”

Purchase on Amazon here.

3. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

by Donald Miller

Miller’s StoryBrand conferences and workshops have been popular for years and he finally put his branding thoughts into a book. Miller uses the seven elements of powerful storytelling to help businesses clarify their message, connect with customers, and articulate their competitive advantage. Marketing leaders at any size business will find this book helpful.

Purchase on Amazon here.

4. The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader: How to Succeed by Building Customer and Company Value

by Thomas Barta & Patrick Barwise

Barta, a former McKinsey Partner and Barwise, a senior professor at London Business School developed gathered data on over 8,600 leaders in more than 170 countries to develop this research-based leadership book for marketers. Through their research, they identified 12 specific behaviors that drive marketers' business impact and career success. This is a leadership book for marketers and will teach you how to mobilize your boss, colleagues, team, and yourself.

Purchase on Amazon here.

Interested in maximizing your brand value? Check out our eBook.

5. Brand Identity Breakthrough: How to Craft Your Company's Unique Story to Make Your Products Irresistible

by Gregory Diehl

Diehl teaches small and growing businesses how to develop their own brand identity and stand out from the crowd. He’s studied businesses around the world and the book offers five unique case studies at the end so you can see how other companies are excelling at brand identity. You’ll learn how to incorporate a unique selling proposition into your branding and use business storytelling.

Purchase on Amazon here.

6. Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets

by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead, & Kevin Maney

Written by a team of Silicon Valley investors, this book offers the idea that winning today is about creating new categories in the market, instead of reimagining the same products. They use research and analysis to understand how some of the biggest category disrupters— Amazon, Ikea, Uber— created a new way of living by solving problems we didn’t know we had. You’ll understand the principle of category design and how to create a market.

Purchase on Amazon here.

7. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

by Alina Wheeler

This book is designed for those who work in or teach branding, and it’s designed to be a quintessential guidebook. It includes 50 case studies, 700 illustrations, and more than 100 branding subjects, checklists, tools, and diagrams. You’ll learn about identity design execution, launch, and governance, and how to take your brand to the next level.

Purchase on Amazon here.

Strengthen your brand identity with our eBook: Unlocking Real-time Brand Analytics

8. This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See

by Seth Godin

Godin has a multitude of brilliant marketing books, but his latest became an Instant New York Times Bestseller and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller. Godin takes his best marketing ideas and puts them into one book. He teaches you how to use empathy and connection in marketing to solve consumer problems and build trust with your audience.

Purchase on Amazon here.

9. Explosive Growth: A Few Things I Learned While Growing To 100 Million Users - And Losing $78 Million

by Cliff Lerner

Rarely do CEO’s let you in on the details of their businesses, but that’s precisely what Lerner, co-founder and former CEO of Snap Interactive, does in this book. The online dating company experienced explosive growth gaining 100,000 new users daily and unimaginable lows. He teaches you the strategies he used to grow his company through lively storytelling and case studies.

Purchase on Amazon here.

10. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

by Simon Sinek

Sinek’s Ted talk of the same name is the third most-watched Ted Talk of all time. There’s a good chance you already read this book, but just in case you haven't, you’ll want to go grab a copy right now. He gets people and brands to dig deep and understand why they do what they do. People won’t buy what you do until they understand why you’re doing it.

Purchase on Amazon here.

Learn how to grow your brand in the experience age

Diana Kaemingk

Diana Kaemingk is a contributor to the Qualtrics blog.

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