If you work in a competitive market, you know how important it is to build a memorable brand. Luckily, there are psychological principles and branding strategies you can use to achieve this.
Are you ready to educate yourself on the best branding strategies? Here are 20 of the best books on building a brand to broaden your understanding of what makes a business memorable.
1. Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits
Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits is a classic acclaimed book by Debbie Millman. It digs into the how and why behind branding symbolism. It’s a series of interviews with famous designers and branding experts. They discuss how people are naturally attracted to symbolism and how it affects their loyalty. The experts reveal insights derived from human behavior to create better branding strategies. They also use examples from the modern branding world.
Millman is a writer and designer herself. She uses her experience in the field to create a great book. It has all the most important points you need to understand the branding industry.
2. The Brand Gap
The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design is a book by Marty Neumeier. It’s one of the essential best books on building a brand because it provides a unified theory of brand-building. It’s a quick 2-hour read that focuses on how you can use both strategic and creative approaches together. Then you can create a brand image people appreciate and relate to.
The Brand Gap is great for reference as well. It quickly highlights Neumeier’s main points and provides a 220-word glossary of brand terms.
3. How to Style Your Brand
How to Style Your Brand: Everything You Need to Know to Create a Distinctive Brand Identity is just the kind of guide new entrepreneurs are looking for. Fiona Humberstone is the author. She’s an expert at styling brands. Humberstone walks you through the process of finding your focus, designing your brand identity and more with this workbook. Even if you know nothing about styling a brand right now, you’ll have an actionable ideas of your next steps once you finish this book. How to Style Your Brand is packed with examples and a tested framework you can follow for success.
4. Contagious: Why Things Catch On
Contagious: Why Things Catch On is written by Jonah Berger. It’s one of the best books on building a brand because it focuses on the biggest influencers out there: peers.
Berger is a marketing professor who digs into why people talk about certain products and brands while others don’t get social influence. He draws on both current research and case studies to illustrate his points. Most importantly, it shows how you can use these concepts yourself to build a better brand marketing strategy.
Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk About Your Stuff is a book by Mark Hughes. It’s one of the best books on building a brand in today’s modern marketing world. It stresses the importance of building a strong brand message as consumers pay less and less attention to advertising. The book focuses on strategies to generate buzz about your brand with word-of-mouth marketing. Hughes draws on his own experience as an executive and consultant . He also uses success case studies to illustrate important growth strategies.
6. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind is another one of the best books on building a brand out there. It’s written by Al Ries and Jack Trout. The book specifically tackles the problem of communicating with a distracted, skeptical audience. It gives advice on how you can cut through the noise to position your brand as an industry leader. It also describes practical techniques you can use in advertising and marketing.
7. What Great Brands Do
What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest is a book by Denise Lee Yohn. It discusses how great brands are built. Lee Yohn explains how successful brands use specific approaches and strategies to turn themselves into industry leaders. She uses examples like Apple, Nike, and IBM to do so.
Lee Yohn’s book focuses less on branding for branding’s sake and more on developing a blended strategy to help you achieve business growth and a strong image.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a book by Robert Cialdini. It’s a classic read diving into the psychology behind getting people to say “yes.” The applications of these insights for brand marketers are many.
Cialdini draws on his experience and research to outline six universal principles. Readers can learn them to become an expert persuader. Apply them to your daily life and your business practices, then you can drive your own success as a powerful influencer.
9. Delivering Happiness:
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose is by Tony Hsieh. Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos, an online retailer that earns more than $1 billion in sales annually. The book shares how the company grew to success by creating a culture of happiness.
While the book isn’t about brand building specifically, Hsieh’s story illustrates the right way to do it by building a positive corporate culture. He also focuses on empowering your employees and your brand. As a bonus, the book has great insights on the philosophy of building a happy life for yourself.
10. Designing Brand Identity
Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team is an important book by Alina Wheeler. This book is a great choice for people who like to have formal instruction, since it’s a popular textbook in marketing.
Designing Brand Identity is now in its 4th edition. It’s one of the best books on building a brand because it covers the topic comprehensively. It offers a five-step process to create an effective brand identity. It also provides guidance on implementing it. Make it through this whole textbook and you’ll be better prepared to build a memorable brand identity than most entrepreneurs.
Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands is a classic book written by Marty Neumeier. His advice follows one simple principle: “When everybody zigs, zag.”
The book teaches you how being different is a perfect strategy to make your brand memorable. It’s a part of both design and business strategy. Neumeier explains how you can use both together to really differentiate your brand. He’s also great at being brief. The book only takes 3 hours to read, but teaches you a lot about the traits your business needs for success.
12. Lean Branding
Lean Branding: Creating Dynamic Brands to Generate Conversion is a great branding book because it’s practical. Author Laura Busche provides a toolkit you can use to infuse your brand message into every part of your marketing strategy. Busche outlines 25 essential brand strategy ingredients, including logo design, demo-day pitches, and more.
Of course, building a business identity isn’t the only important part of branding. Many entrepreneurs and career professionals also need to create a personal brand. That’s where this book comes in.
KNOWN: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age is written by Mark Schaefer. It teaches you the advantages of being known in your field. Building your personal brand can help you get better jobs, more customers, and more. A person with a strong personal brand can also help their business get more notoriety. KNOWN gives you a step-by-step guide to do just that.
14. Branded Nation
Branded Nation: The Marketing of Megachurch, College Inc., and Museumworld is another one of the best books on building a brand. It’s written by James B. Twitchell. He argues that branding is just storytelling for products. He illustrates how brand storytelling has become so popular using examples that people don’t think about often, such as the church.
By looking at our cultural institutions, Twitchell shows how branding is a normal part of our everyday lives. Branded Nation is a great book if you want to get a deep introduction into what branding really is inside and outside of the normal business world.
15. Purple Cow
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable is a very popular book for marketers. It’s written by Seth Godin, who runs one of the most influential business blogs in the world. Purple Cow stresses the importance of making yourself visible for success. He uses stories from companies like Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, and Apple to illustrate how your marketing strategy shows what you’re really saying about your product. Godin’s message only gets more relevant and the business and marketing world gets more competitive. Many marketing gurus consider Purple Cow a cult classic.
16. Archetypes in Branding
Archetypes in Branding: A Toolkit for Creatives and Strategists is another one of the best books on building a brand because it’s so actionable. You’ll need to buy this one in hardcover, because it includes a deck of sixty archetype cards. You can use these to reveal your brand’s motivations, empower your team, and more to build a strong brand identity.
Archetypes in Branding is really a tool you can use over and over again to improve your brand strategy.
17. Brands in Glass Houses
Brands in Glass Houses: How to Embrace Transparency and Grow Your Business Through Content Marketing is a great book by Dechay Watts. It discusses important marketing strategies you can see in all successful businesses. It doesn’t matter if they run a mom-and-pop shop or a mega brand. Watts argues that the key to building an effective brand is through transparency. Show your audience what your business is all about.
This is something you can use in your marketing strategy, but it needs to be a part of your business strategy as well. Once you do that, you can recognize opportunities to engage your audience with an authentic message. Brands in Glass Houses teaches you everything you need to know to achieve this.
18. The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: How to Build a Product or Service into a World-Class Brand is a marketing classic. It’s written by Al and Laura Ries. They explain exactly how you can stand out in today’s marketplace, whether you’re marketing a service or a brand.
The book has a special focus on branding for the web, the biggest challenge for most marketers today. It’s a relevant, precise, and actionable read for busy marketers.
19. Branded Interactions
Branded Interactions: Creating the Digital Experience is one of the best books on building a brand because it’s comprehensive. It focuses on the interface between digital design and offline marketing. The book is focused on helping digital designers, but its guide is relevant to anyone wanting to build a strong brand from scratch.
Branded Interactions walks you through every step of the design process. It also illustrates each point with real-world examples and case studies. It has more than 300 illustrations as well, making it a great book for visual learners.
20. Building a StoryBrand
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen is a book by Donald Miller. It focuses on strategies to connect with your audience with storytelling. Miller makes it simple by teaching seven universal story points that everyone responds to. Then he describes how to apply them to your branding and content strategy to create a more memorable business. Building a StoryBrand goes into a lot of detail, including how to make specific marketing collateral, such as brochures and websites.
These 20 best books on building a brand are more than enough reading material to inspire your new brand strategy. Pick a few of your favorites to start reading or download on audiobook. Once you start your brand building education, you’ll see how valuable these resources are for startups and entrepreneurs who want to make their business memorable.