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A Master Class in Brand Planning: The Timeless Works of Stephen King

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A Master Class in Brand Planning: The Timeless Works of Stephen King [Hardcover]

Judie Lannon , Merry Baskin
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews


"Every planner needs this book - and the brave ones will give it to their clients, too."  (Admap, November 2007)

"A valuable reference book for today's practitioners, as well as a unique source of sophisticated, contemporary thinking."  (Retail & Leisure International, December 2007)

"...a good book to keep beside your desk...it will help to clear the mind as an ongoing mental workout."  (Market Leader, Winter 2007)

From the Inside Flap

In 1988, on Stephen King’s retirement JWT published ‘The King Papers’, a small collection of Stephen King’s published writings spanning 1967-1985. They remain timelessly valuable but are an unexploited gold mine. This book is comprised of a fuller selection: 20 of Stephen King’s most important articles. Each one is introduced by a known and respected practitioner who, in turn, describes the relevance of the article to the communications environment of today.

Although the context in which the original papers were written was different, the worth of this material is that the principles underlying his thinking are entirely appropriate to marketing communications in today’s more complex media environment. 

The book serves as a valuable reference book for today’s practitioners, as well as a unique source of sophisticated, contemporary thinking.

From the Back Cover

‘What is a Brand?’ by Stephen King was one of the most influential pieces of work ever and has had a lasting influence on the way in which I think about brands. A few years ago I had the extraordinary experience of re-visiting the video of it made by Stephen and Jeremy Bullmore and the stunning thing was how prescient they had been some thirty years previously. Indeed, the only thing they had not foreseen was the internet – everything else they got right. —Hamish Pringle, Director General, IPA

Martin Mayer, the well-known investigative journalist, has described the present-day American advertising business more accurately than any other writer. He did this in his book Whatever Happened to Madison Avenue? Advertising in the ‘90s. I quote from page 191: “Thompson in London had become what Ogilvy was the first to call ‘a teaching hospital,’ where the researcher Stephen King developed philosophies of branding that were carried to America by John Philip Jones and Timothy Joyce.”

There is very little doubt today that branding is at the top of most marketing professionals’ minds in the United States. But “top of mind” is not quite the same as “in the bloodstream.” Packaged goods advertisers in the United States are currently forced to spend three timesas much money below the line on price cutting, as above the line on brand-building media advertising. It is to be hoped that the book of Stephen’s papers will inject a powerful serum into the bloodstream of American marketers, to help them develop a strategic response to the power of the retail trade which is at the moment debilitating and even emasculating many American brands. —John Philip Jones, Professor, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University, New York, USA

King’s relentless thirst to understand, rigour of questioning and breadth of learning remain an inspiration. A profoundly rewarding, and rather humbling read. —Adam Morgan, author of Eat the Big Fish, and The Pirate Inside

In a world of greasers and drama queens, Stephen King was the still small voice of reason. Ever polite and ever intelligent, his analysis provided real insights. We all learned from him and this book should enable many more to do so. —Tim Ambler, MA (Oxford) SM (MIT), Senior Fellow, Marketing, LBS

Stephen was a great interpreter of research and a great judge of when to use specific methodologies whether they were qualitative or quantitative. He was comfortable with both. He was and remains a very great inspiration to market researchers in companies and in research  and ad agencies.  Dr Liz Nelson OBE

King writes of our industry, at its best, representing “Creative imagination subjected to critical control.” He could have been describing his own mind and approach, which have inspired generations of brand managers and planners and remain deeply relevant today. This book should be required reading for everyone entering the business, and serve as a reminder to the rest of us that however high we think we have set our standards, they are probably not high enough. —Jon Steel, Planning Director, WPP

About the Author

Stephen King was a genuinely original thinker. He began his career in JWT (J. Walter Thompson) in London in 1959, retired from the agency in 1988 and spent the next 4 yeas at WPP. In addition, he spent 7 years as a director of the Henley Centre and was a Visiting Professor of Marketing at the Cranfield School of Management. During his career, he pioneered an entirely new organizational structure to support his ideas and philosophy – the importance of function called account planning and role of the account planner in creating advertising. It was a structure that was copied by agencies around the world. Stephen died in February 2006, leaving a legacy of articles and books about marketing, advertising, research and brand communications written over a thirty year period, which have influenced advertising people around the world. He is remembered as a leading intellectual figure in the world of communications strategy.

Judie Lannon isa Marketing Communications and Research Consultant. The major part of her career was with JWT London where she was Research and Planning Director for JWT Europe before leaving to set up her own consultancy. In addition to working with clients on branding projects, she is editor of Market Leader, the journal of the Marketing Society and on editorial board of the International Journal of Advertising

Merry Baskin, after several years as one of the industry’s top planning directors (including running the UK’s largest planning department at JWT and America’s coolest at Chiat/Day New York), founded her own strategic planning consultancy, Baskin Shark (where brands move forward or die!) in 2000. She also works with the APG and American Association of Advertising Agencies providing training for the advertising and marketing industry, and account planers in particular. She remains one of the leading lights behind the renaissance and expansion of the Account Planning Group (APG) both in the UK and overseas (UK Chairman 1998-2000).

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