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These Are a Few of Our Favorite Books

Substance151 selection of branding marketing design books 2018

What’s on your bookshelf these holidays?

With the holidays just around the corner, we all look forward to slowing down and having the time to recharge, relax and unwind. For many of us, this is also an opportunity to read a business book or two – something that’s often hard to do in the day-to-day whirlwind of deadlines and fire drills.

The world of branding books is vast (and the holiday season is unfairly short!), but there are some that stand out and stand the test of time.

At Substance151, we love books that inspire us while offering invaluable insight. So, today, we are sharing some of our favorites. They’re great food for thought and also make a perfect gift for your favorite boss or a brand-obsessed colleague.

What are your all-time favorites? Drop us a line and let us know!


Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design

By Marty Neumeier

A very quick read (more of a guide than a book), the book itself is masterfully designed. It makes the case for combining both a strategic and creative approach in the services of creating a meaningful, relevant and enduring brand.

Take a Stand for Your Brand: Building a Great Agency Brand from the Inside Out

By Tim Williams

Written for creative agencies, this book is a must-read for all professional services firms’ executives and marketing leaders! The book shows how to develop a clear positioning that makes your firm’s brand intensely appealing to prospective clients and how to connect it to practice. Our personal favorite is the exercise that helps your firm decide what it’s not.

Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits

By Debbie Millman

Presented as a series of deeply insightful and engaging interviews with branding heavyweights from Wally Olins to Seth Godin, this book is sure to inspire and energize – and even perhaps forever change your perspective on branding.

Positioning for Professionals: How Professional Knowledge Firms Can Differentiate Their Way to Success

By Tim Williams

A must-read for every professional services firm! Be different, narrow your focus and go deep rather than wide, chart your own path instead of copying others’ successes… These are just a few concepts described in the book that can save your firm from fading away in the gray fog of sameness, making price the only discernible difference. The book offers practical tools and advice for becoming a premium brand and winning the battle on commoditization.

Build A Culture of Good: Unleash Results by Letting Your Employees Bring Their Soul to Work

By Scott Moorehead and Ryan McCarty

Full of tips, practical advice, checklists and lessons learned, this book is an honest and inspiring account of one company’s journey to transforming its culture by building on what the owners, employees and customers can rally around.

FUSION: How Integrating Brand and Culture Powers the World’s Greatest Companies

By Denise Lee Yohn

Many of the world’s best companies and the most admired brands owe their success to the alignment of business strategy, brand and culture.

Lee Yohn, the author of What Great Brands Do, shows why fusing two powerful business drivers – a company’s brand and its culture – is the only way to create a sustained competitive advantage and future-proof your business.

The book offers numerous examples and comes with templates and worksheets.


Is your firm looking to conduct a brand audit or rebrand in 2019? Contact us to start a conversation!

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