2011 Summer Reading List – Marketing, Branding, Innovation & Design Thinking

Marketing and Branding Books

Many summer reading lists are about light and frothy reads.  If that is the summer reading list that you are looking for, then this is not the list for you.

This list features four of our current favourite big idea books in the business strategy and marketing realm.  The books on the list are thoughtful and will hopefully fuel your own ideas as you plan to move from good to great or great to greater this coming Fall.

1. Choice Architecture and How it Impacts Decisions

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Penguin, Updated Edition, 2009

Nudge lays out the fundamental impact that choice architecture has on all decisions.  The first few chapters capture the essence of why choice architecture and design matters, and the balance of the book sets out the authors recommendations for choice architecture improvement in the realms of health, wealth and happiness.  The first three chapters is essential reading for anyone engaged in marketing, sales and any type of consumer oriented design.

2. Customer Need and Marketing

The Perfection of Marketing by James Connor, Diamond Cutter Press, 2008

The Perfection of Marketing is a well written narrative account of branding best practices.  While we don’t agree with each and every of brand building idea in the book, we do think that the Chapter 3 — Positioning the Brand through the Sales Moment  — is an excellent articulation of why and what you want to understand about your customer.

3. Build Your Brand by Knowing your Purpose

Start With Why by Simon Sinek, Portfolio, 2009

Start with Why looks at innovative people and organizations, and sets out a thesis on what they do to innovate, lead and inspire. The core idea is that once you figure out why your company exists and why it will be meaningful to customers, then you will have a guiding purpose for making choices of what to sell and how to operate.  If you prefer listening to TED Talks, Simon Sinek’s TED Talk covers the core ideas.

From a branding perspective, this book interests us since determining your organization’s purpose will allow you to focus on building an authentic brand and ensuring that everything your organization does is tied to your brand.

4. Technology, History and Power

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu, Knopf, 2010

The Master Switch is not a branding or marketing book.  It is on our list since it appeals to our fascination with technology, history and power.

Tim Wu looks at the patterns of major information technology innovations in history, and the repeating pattern of how a single concentrated corporate power strive to control the new “master switch”.  His thesis is about the danger of the pattern repeating itself with the internet.