Branding is a cagey concept, which many find difficult to take in. Plus, you will find a diverse set of results if you search Google for its definition.
Those who have little knowledge about branding must know that it is more than just a logo. It’s an idea, a promise, a feeling, an experience, and a tone.
Like we said, cagey.
From brand strategy to design, there’s a whole lot to learn about. So, whether you’re planning to update your branding knowledge or seek quick branding support to boost your company’s brand image, these books can serve as incredible resources.
However, with a wide range of choices available on the market, it is imperative for you to get perplexed. Don’t worry, as we are here with our curated list of the top 12 books written by top-notch authors. These are bound to help you in your personal branding journey.
So, without further ado, let’s dig in!
Best Branding Books
Here’s the list of the 9 best branding books to improve your branding skills or want to learn more about branding.
1. Branding: In Five and a Half Steps– Best for Personal Branding
“Branding: In Five and a half steps,” written by Michael Johnson, is an ultimate visual guide that helps you in establishing a successful brand through the use of contemporary brand identities as prototypes.
One of the leading brand consultants and graphic designers, Johnson works with several companies regularly and helps them strengthen and establish their brand image. His personal branding expertise has led to the development of this absolute classic.
In this step-by-step branding guide, he has presented an illuminating and comprehensive analysis of some of the best branding case studies worldwide. Cutting through the heart of advertisements, logos, rebrands, and campaigns, this book has tried to explain their ideas, execution, and impact with towering accuracy.
The book’s first part shows that a brand is not born by finding a solution but by identifying a valid question that addresses the missing brand gap. It further explores the hidden elements involved in establishing a successful personal brand from solid USP, which gives narrative and purpose to a brand.
Using more than 1000 vibrant illustrations, Johnson has introduced the most successful business people in the world along with generic templates that will help in your brand-building process from scratch. Exploring each step involved in the branding process provides readers with the knowledge to create an effective and memorable brand more easily and simply.
So, this book will be beneficial for new entrepreneurs as well as established companies looking to strengthen their brands.
2. Hello, My Name Is Awesome: How To Create Brand Names That Stick– Best for Naming Your Business
A brand name is probably the primary and most important aspect of the branding process. Many products and companies have names that might be difficult to spell out or don’t capture the essence of their purpose. But this book named in the “Top 10 Marketing Book” and “Top 10 Branding Books by Branding Journal” list serves as an ultimate guide for naming your business or product.
Alexandra Watkins, in her book, has explained how anyone can create a compelling and memorable brand name without a degree in linguistics as such.
Its core lies in the proven SMILE and SCRATCH brand name test by Watkin. A great brand name can make you SMILE as it is Suggestive, Memorable, uses Imagery, has Legs, and is Emotional. In other words, if the name is able to capture your true brand essence, gets imprinted on the minds of people, and lends itself to a theme, you are successful.
A bad name, on the contrary, makes you SCRATCH your head, as it is Spelling challenged, is a Copycat, is Restrictive, Annoying, Tame, a Curse of Knowledge, and is Hard to pronounce. Long story short, in this case, the name wouldn’t appeal to people or customers towards the company, thereby hampering its overall growth.
In the second edition, Watkins has integrated a whole lot of brainstorming techniques and tools, strategies, and secrets to capturing a domain name. Furthermore, an additional chapter on methods large companies have used to name their products and create buzz around them has been added.
This book serves as a good creative brief for delivering all the ingredients needed to cook up a practical and appealing brand name.
3. Identity Designed: The Definitive Guide To Visual Branding– Best for Designers/Entrepreneurs
Written by David Airey, a renowned and best-seller writer, Identity Designed formalizes the process, importance, and benefits of designing brand identity. It also includes a massive collection of top-notch projects from various talented agencies worldwide.
Besides, it serves as a definite visual branding guide for independent designers, students of design, and entrepreneurs who seek to expand their knowledge regarding the importance of effective design in business. Including a brief history of visual branding, its importance, and an analysis of best practices, this book informs readers about how this branding technique can change the course of business growth.
Furthermore, through this guide, you can learn about assorted methods for conducting research, generating ideas, defining business strategy, developing brand touchpoints, and finalizing your designs, and their futureproofing. Also, sixteen high-caliber projects by agencies like Together Design, Freytag Anderson, Foreign Policy, Bedow, Robot Food, and others will help provide you with inspiration and ideas. These, in turn, allow you to establish a successful brand that appeals to your customers.
Identity Designed is, therefore, a must-have for designers and entrepreneurs who seek to improve the quality of their work by understanding the importance of a brand identity design for businesses.
4. Book Of Branding– Best for Launching New Products/Services
“Book of Branding” by Radim Malinic is an essential guide for entrepreneurs intending to launch their new products and services for creating brand identity. It informs readers about everything they need to know to operate their businesses, from branding strategies to copyright laws for client presentations.
The informal, jargon-free, and conversational tone helps readers easily understand the critical elements involved in the brand identity process. Offering insights, first-hand experience, and tips throughout its contents, Malinic uses real-life case studies to demonstrate how to achieve collaborative work.
It is worth mentioning that this detailed, informative branding guide is suitable and essential for anyone, be it entrepreneurs, brand creators, designers, or anyone seeking to expand their knowledge regarding designing a company’s identity. Malinic’s exclusive creative insights combined with distinctive graphics make this guide a must-have tool in their branding toolkit.
5. Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen– Best for Brand Storytelling
Donald Miller has provided an ultimate communication guide through this book that has helped more than a million leaders to reach their customers and generate millions in revenues. It has been a proven solution for the struggle business leaders face communicating with people about their businesses.
Brand success is all about brand storytelling. By telling compelling stories, you can help your customers to understand the brand’s purpose and the benefits they will gain through using the products. If you can’t speak the right words about the product or can’t connect with customers, you are bound to fail and lose a substantial amount of investments.
In the changing dynamic market, it has been difficult for an entrepreneur or a business owners to make their voice reach their customers, a subject Miller holds expertise with. He has shared the proven system he has created to help you truly influence and engage customers through this book.
The proven StoryBrand technique helps you understand seven universal story points all humans respond to. Other than that, you will also understand customers’ intentions behind purchasing a product and how a simple brand message can lead them toward your offerings. As a result, you can create practical and tailored messages for brochures, websites, and social media.
In “Building a storied brand,” Miller teaches business owners and marketers to use seven universal story elements to improve their connection with customers and grow their businesses dramatically. His proven technique has helped several companies to connect with their customers and gain the ultimate competitive advantage. It will completely transform how you talk with customers regarding the brand and how you would deliver value to them.
Power Branding by Steve McKee is another great branding book, integrated with real-life case studies and great examples.
Even the top brands like Amazon and Google were once startups at some point. In his book, McKee has tried to explain what enables some companies to emerge as the most prominent brands while others couldn’t make up to the mark, even after trying so hard.
The only difference between the biggest brands and others is that the former group is not a slave to traditional marketing approaches. Memorable advertising stay in the minds of customers for a longer period of time.
Through examples and case studies, McKee has presented how brand strategies applied by more prominent corporations can best serve small or mid-sized companies. A diverse set of topics has been covered in this book to provide information regarding the same.
These topics include how a company can think small to grow big, how effective campaigns and slogans help create strong brands, and how to develop an effective campaign. Not only that, by analyzing examples of companies like General Motors, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s, you’ll get to understand better the topics included.
Hence, this book can serve as a valuable branding guide for a small business or time-starved executives struggling with several marketing-related problems. It helps them change the way they think and generates consistent and healthy growth.
Designing brand identity can be a complex as well as a fascinating process. Business leaders need skills, practical design, drive, and an understanding of consumer behavior and marketing to excel in this process. “Creating a brand identity,” written by Catharine Slade-Brooking, will introduce new entrepreneurs or business students to this multifaceted process.
Catharine, a designer, educator, and researcher, has primarily focused her research on branding, graphic communication, and design research methods. She has applied her knowledge and research to develop exercises and examples highlighting significant activities undertaken by designers in creating a brand identity that is compelling and successful.
These activities include defining an audience, creating mood boards, branding techniques, analyzing competitors, creating logos, rebranding, etc. Integrated with case studies throughout, this branding guide illustrates the brand identities of successful corporations from a range of industries, including fashion, retail, advertising, packaging, product design, and more.
“Brand New” by Wally Olins is an interesting presentation of branding and its related terms. The book has primarily focused on understanding and application of branding. It can serve as an essential guide for one keen on gaining an in-depth knowledge of branding and how it operates.
In support of the content, Wally analyzed the issues faced by organizations during the process. Critical analysis of organizations that lost at the core of branding and those that have successfully established a brand image has allowed the author to explain the topic clearly.
Apart from that, a focus is placed on analyzing future scenarios of multinational firms in terms of brand image. Scenarios might alter due to globalization, emerging technologies, and changing customer feedback, and their overall impact on branding will be found in this book.
The contents included in this guide will help every corporate firm and individual elevate their brand image. You will be able to gain detailed insight regarding branding and factors affecting them, which can be utilized for developing a bold action plan fostering the growth of your business.
This book might be the earliest publication on our list but holds relevance in the current business environment. It remains a classic piece written by Al Ries and Jack Trout even after 40 years of publication.
So, getting to know about your competitors, potential customers, and marketing approaches to take, this book covers everything you need to know. Positioning a brand or a product does not deal with creating something different but manipulating customers’ thoughts regarding the existing product and re-tying the existing connections.
This book informs you about approaches to creating an image unique from your competitors and addressing the customers’ pain points. An effective brand positioning also requires companies to connect with their customers and inform them about the benefits of their products.
Accordingly, the book has covered quality marketing insights that will allow you to deliver a solid message to your customers and appeal to them to the brand. Furthermore, integrated with some valuable case studies regarding the most phenomenal success and failures in marketing history, and its critical analysis will integrate you with conventional marketing wisdom.
10. The Brand Gap
“The Brand Gap” by Marty Neumeier is among the first branding books that presented a unified brand-building theory. Where most books are weighted towards a strategic or creative approach, this piece presents how both strategic and creative ways of thinking lead to the establishment of a charismatic brand.
Neumeier, in his book, presents a set of five principles to be followed by companies to bridge the gap between brand strategy and customer experience. In an estimated 2-hour read, a reader will get to know the following branding concepts:
- A new definition of brand
- Five essential disciplines of Building a Brand
- Changing dynamics of competition due to branding
- How branding and globalization influence each other
- Importance of collaboration in branding
- Influence of Design on customer experience
- How to test brand concepts quickly
- Importance of managing brands
- 220-words brand glossary
Through illustrations, Neumeier has tried to make a boring read into an entertaining one, getting readers to invest more in it and learn better. When understood well, it provides the company access to the power of branding and uses it to bring success to their firm.
Debbie Millman, in her book, presents an engaging and unprecedented look at the state of modern branding through interviews with Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters, and many more!
The concept of a brand, like many others that dominate public and market consciousness, is a challenge to define. Is it just like an item in your cupboard or just a tool used by corporations to manipulate us or like an art piece used to stimulate our intellect and emotions? Or why do some brands command greater loyalty from their employees and customers?
If you are grappling with such questions regularly, “Brand Thinking” is an ideal book for you. Every chapter is an extensive conversation between Millman and a different leader. From her expertise, the writer asks deeply relevant branding questions, she has persuaded prescient and lucid answers from 22 subjects. These include the most prominent leaders like Seth Godin, Malcolm, Tom Peters, and Wally Olins, the godfather of modern branding.
This entertaining and engaging book provides a clear picture of modern branding and how consumers and companies can better understand the reason behind branding and purchasing.
This book is the quintessential resource whether you are a student, a project manager responsible for rebranding your company or looking to educate the staff about brand fundamentals. From research to brand strategy to executing a design, launch, and governance, “Design Brand Identity” by Alina Wheeler presents an aggregation of branding tools for the success of a corporation.
It is divided into three sections: fundamentals of a brand, process basics, and real-time case studies. It also includes more than 100 branding subjects, tools, checklists, and diagrams, along with 50 case studies, over 700 illustrations, and 400 quotes by experts, CEOs, and brand gurus.
With this amount of visual interpretations and detailed brand particulars, this book serves as a pragmatic, comprehensive, and easy-to-understand resource for brand builders, local or global. A reference piece for your whole branding team that works through your entire brand-building process can be valuable.
Best Branding Book Comparison Table
|Book Title||Author||Key Concepts>||Importance for Branding||Target Audience|
|Branding: In Five and a Half Steps||Michael Johnson||Personal branding expertise, identifying the missing brand gap, case studies||Comprehensive guide, step-by-step process, 1000+ illustrations||New entrepreneurs, established companies|
|Hello, My Name Is Awesome||Alexandra Watkins||SMILE and SCRATCH brand name test, brainstorming techniques, capturing domain name||Naming your business or product, understanding true brand essence||Entrepreneurs, marketers|
|Identity Designed||David Airey||Visual branding guide, business strategy, case studies from design agencies||Importance of effective design in business, inspiration for creative agency projects||Designers, entrepreneurs, students|
|Book of Branding||Radim Malinic||Informative guide, creating brand identity, collaborative work, case studies||Practical tool for entrepreneurs, brand creators, designers||Entrepreneurs, brand creators, designers|
|Building a Story Brand||Donald Miller||Storytelling for businesses, customer connection, proven StoryBrand technique||Engaging customers, clarifying your brand message||Business owners, Marketers|
|Power Branding||Steve McKee||Case studies from top brands, growth strategies||Learning brand strategies from successful startups and corporations||Small business owners, time-starved executives|
|Creating A Brand Identity||Catharine Slade-Brooking||Brand identity creation, practical design, audience definition, case studies||Introduction to branding process for entrepreneurs, business students||New entrepreneurs, business students|
|Brand New: The Shape Of Brands To Come||Wally Olins||Understanding and application of branding, future scenarios of multinational firms||Enhancing brand knowledge and applying branding knowledge to elevate brand image||Corporate firms, individuals|
|Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind||Al Ries and Jack Trout||Brand positioning, marketing approaches, brand image||Creating unique marketing messages and successful brand positioning||Entrepreneurs, marketers|
|The Brand Gap||Marty Neumeier||Unified brand building theory, strategic and creative thinking, case studies||Bridging the gap between brand strategy and customer experience||Business owners, marketers|
|Brand Thinking And Other Noble Pursuits||Debbie Millman||Brand identity, interviews with branding experts||Understanding modern branding in depth by learning from various thought leaders||Entrepreneurs, marketers, designers|
|Designing Brand Identity||Alina Wheeler||Brand strategy, process basics, case studies, quotes, and illustrations||Comprehensive and easy-to-understand resource for brand building, project management||Students, project managers, branding teams|
Buying Guide For The Best Branding Book
When looking for the best branding books, there are several factors to consider, such as the author’s credibility and expertise, the book’s content and key concepts, the target audience, and the overall importance of branding. Here are some helpful tips to guide you in choosing the right branding book
Determine Your Specific Branding Needs
Different branding books cater to different aspects of branding, such as personal branding, brand naming, visual branding, or launching new products or services. Identify your specific needs to narrow down your options and find the most suitable book.
Check The Author’s Credentials And Expertise
Look for books written by authors with proven experience and expertise in branding. Consider their background, achievements, and previous works to assess their credibility and authority in the field.
Evaluate The Book’s Content And Key Concepts
Look for books that offer practical and actionable insights and tips on branding. Check the book’s table of contents, reviews, and summaries to determine if it covers the key branding aspects that you want to learn.
Consider The Target Audience
Some branding books are tailored for beginners or entrepreneurs, while others are more suited for designers or marketers. Choose a book that aligns with your skill level and background to ensure that you can fully understand and apply the concepts.
Look for inspiration and creativity
Branding is an art as much as it is a science. Look for books that provide inspiration, case studies, and real-life examples to help you think creatively and out of the box when developing your brand.
What factors should I consider when choosing a branding book?
When choosing a branding book, consider your specific branding needs, the author’s credentials and expertise, the book’s content and key concepts, the target audience, and the inspiration and creativity the book provides.
Are these books suitable for beginners in branding?
Yes, many of these books are suitable for beginners who are looking to learn about branding. Some books focus on specific aspects of branding, like creating a compelling brand name or designing a visual brand identity, while others offer broader insights on branding.
How can I use these branding books to enhance my knowledge on the subject?
To enhance your knowledge on branding, select from the list of recommended books and invest time in reading them. While reading, take notes, reflect on the key concepts, and think about how they relate to your goals or your business’s specific branding challenges.
Apply your learnings to improve your branding strategies and seek advice from mentors, colleagues or peers as needed.
Why is branding important for businesses and entrepreneurs?
Branding is essential for businesses and entrepreneurs because it helps them create a unique and lasting impression in the minds of their customers. Effective branding can lead to increased recognition, customer loyalty, and competitive advantage.
It also helps businesses communicate their values, mission, and vision effectively, impacting overall business growth and success.
Are there any books that contain branding advice from interviews with industry leaders?
Yes, Brand Thinking And Other Noble Pursuits by Debbie Millman is a book that contains branding advice from interviews with industry leaders such as Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, and Tom Peters.
Out of these numerous products, Branding: In Five and a half steps by Michael Johnson is an ideal option for those seeking an ultimate visual guide that dives deep into contemporary brand identities and offers step-by-step guidance for establishing successful personal brands.
In learning how to craft a compelling brand name to capture the essence of their business or product, Hello, my name is Awesome: How to create brand names that Stick by Alexandra Watkins is a good option for entrepreneurs and marketers.
And finally, Identity Designed: The Definitive Guide to Visual Branding by David Airey is the right choice for designers, entrepreneurs, and students looking to expand their knowledge on the importance of effective design in business and seeking inspiration from real-life creative agency projects.
With this, it’s time to sign off. Take care!