“The same people who think you can ‘brand’ something are the ones who ask us to produce ‘viral’ videos. What’s with these people hijacking adjectives and verbs for dubious marketing purposes? Just as viral videos are outcomes of smart, insightful thinking, so are brands. I just hope the marketing pundits don’t brand Austin McGhie a heretic for his spot-on ideas. Wait, did I say that?”
—Tom Yorton, CEO, Second City Communications
“I’ll tell you what I like about Austin’s work, and why it’s worth reading. He’s written an angry book about what’s not happening in the marketing world. To me, it’s time to get angry and restate what many overlook or just don’t get about building a differentiated brand.”
—Jack Trout, global marketing expert and author
Brand Is a Four Letter Word: Positioning and the Real Art of Marketing
If Sloan Wilson’s classic The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit personifies the top-down business culture of the 1950s, individuality rules today. And businesses must embrace this evolution, McGhie suggests in this perceptive exploration of evolving marketing doctrine. With the Internet impelling unprecedented cultural change, cookie-cutter conformity ensures mediocrity; the most differentiated, strongest products come from “oddball entrepreneurs.” Contrary to conventional thinking, McGhie argues that a brand is not imposed on the market but is awarded by the market; it is “a consequence, not an action.” This shift in perception manifests the need for a dialectic between producer and customer, with sincerity at the core. McGhie draws on his extensive marketing background to show how brands engage customers in company culture and persuade them to participate in the corporate “sense of mission.” Whether the reader accepts or condemns McGhie’s contention that the model of one-way persuasion is obsolete, the heightened significance of customer word-of-mouth reaction, or its electronic counterpart, seems unassailable. The customer, not the marketer, controls the brand in the brave new world of viral marketing. And McGhie’s argument that traditional marketing theories, though still adapting to new media, are not necessarily obsolete should intrigue both industry professionals and marketing neophytes. - Publishers Weekly
“Creating a world-famous brand is easy. First, create a killer product. Next, read Brand is a Four Letter Word to get an idea of the kind of very hard (but very rewarding) work you’ll need to do to really make your mark on the marketplace. There may be no shortcuts on this journey, but this book is the road map.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
From the Back Cover
Creating a world-famous brand is easy: First, create a killer product. Next - read Brand is a Four-Letter Word to get an idea of the kind of very hard (but very rewarding) work you'll need to do to really make your mark on the marketplace. There may be no shortcuts on this journey, but this book is the road map.
-- Daniel H. Pink, author of DRIVE and A WHOLE NEW MIND
Austin McGhie deftly proves that, despite its ubiquitous presence in culture today, the word branding is the least understood word in the business of branding. From his 'Opening Rant' to the brilliant 'User's Guide to the User's Guide,' Brand Is A Four Letter Word is an immediate mustread for anyone interested in understanding the real business of positioning and business strategy.
--Debbie Millman, author of Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits, President Emeritus of AIGA and Chair of SVA Masters in Branding
You might wonder why I would write a foreword to a book that often uses words and ideas that I've written many books about over the past thirty years. Words like “Positioning”, “Differentiation” or “Simplicity”. In many ways it's déjà vu all over again. But I'll tell you what I like about Austin's work and why it's worth reading. He's written an angry book about what isn't happening in the marketing world. “Positioning” and “branding” are widely popular words that everyone tosses around but few really understand. If you doubt this, just look at the corporate wreckage in recent years. Just look at the silly advertising that often runs on television. Just look at Wall Street encouraging companies to do stupid things. Look at the short lived tenure of chief marketing ofcers. To me it's time to get angry and restate what many overlook or just don't get about building a differentiated brand. These are lessons that can't be repeated too often. So read on.
-Jack Trout, Global marketing expert and author