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The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design Paperback – August 14, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The surprise book of the year!”
JOHN MOORE, EDITOR AT FAST COMPANY

“The first book on brand that seems fresh and relevant.”
RIC GREFE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF AIGA, THE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR DESIGN

“A pleasure to read. THE BRAND GAP consistently provides deep, practical advice in a light, visual way. Learn about the power of imagery and the role of research in building a heavy-duty brand—without the heavy-duty reading.”
DAVID A. AAKER, AUTHOR OF BRAND PORTFOLIO STRATEGY AND BUILDING STRONG BRANDS

“Finally, a book that cuts to the heart of what brand is all about—connecting the rational and the emotional, the theoretical and the practical, the logical and the magical to create a sustainable competitive advantage.” —SUSAN ROCKRISE, WORLDWIDE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, INTEL
 
“A well-managed brand is the lifeblood of any successful company. Read this book before your competitors do!” —TOM KELLEY, GENERAL MANAGER, IDEO, AND CO-AUTHOR OF THE ART OF INNOVATION

“In THE BRAND GAP, Neumeier reminds us that the ultimate moment of truth for all brands is the customer experience. Customer perceptions trump our own perceptions.”
KURT KUEHN, SENIOR VP OF WORLDWIDE MARKETING AND SALES, UPS

“This is not just another book on brand. This is the ONLY book you’ll need to read in business, engineering, and design school.”
CLEMENT MOK, design entrepreneur

“Must-reading for anyone who wants to understand how their business strategy will succeed or fail when put to the ultimate test: ‘Do customers perceive a difference that’s desirable?’”
STEVE HARRINGTON, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY AND OPERATIONS, HEWLETT-PACKARD

“The book slices like a hot knife through all the turgid, pseudo-academic nonsense that surrounds branding. It’s now on the course list for my graduate students, and new members of my team at Ogilvy get a copy with their training materials.”
BRIAN COLLINS, EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, OGILVY

From the Back Cover

THE BRAND GAP is the first book to present a unified theory of brand-building. Whereas most books on branding are weighted toward either a strategic or creative approach, this book shows how both ways of thinking can unite to produce a "charismatic brand"-a brand that customers feel is essential to their lives. In an entertaining two-hour read you'll learn:
- the new definition of brand
- the five essential disciplines of brand-building
- how branding is changing the dynamics of competition
- the three most powerful questions to ask about any brand
- why collaboration is the key to brand-building
- how design determines a customer's experience
- how to test brand concepts quickly and cheaply
- the importance of managing brands from the inside
- 220-word brand glossary
From the back cover:
Not since McLuhan's THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE has a book compressed so many ideas into so few pages. Using the visual language of the boardroom, Neumeier presents the first unified theory of branding-a set of five disciplines to help companies bridge the gap between brand strategy and customer experience. Those with a grasp of branding will be inspired by the new perspectives they find here, and those who would like to understand it better will suddenly "get it." This deceptively simple book offers everyone in the company access to "the most powerful business tool since the spreadsheet."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 2nd edition (August 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321348109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321348104
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Marty Neumeier is a designer, writer, and business adviser whose mission is to bring the principles and processes of creativity to industry. His latest book, METASKILLS, explores the five essential talents that will drive innovation in the 21st century. His previous series of "whiteboard" books includes THE DESIGNFUL COMPANY, about the role of design in corporate innovation; ZAG, named one of the "top hundred business books of all time" for its insights into radical differentiation; and THE BRAND GAP, considered by many the foundational text for modern brand-building. He has worked closely with innovators at Apple, Netscape, Sun Microsystems, HP, Adobe, Google, and Microsoft to advance their brands and cultures. Today he serves as Director of Transformation for Liquid Agency, and travels extensively as a workshop leader and speaker on the topics of innovation, brand, and design. Between trips, he and his wife spend their time in California and southwest France.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an expanded edition of a book first published in 2003. In it, Neumeier develops in greater depth several basic ideas about how to bridge a gap between business strategy and design. My own experience suggests that on occasion, there may be a conflict or misalignment rather than a "gap." Or the business strategy is inappropriate. Or the design concepts are wrong-headed. Or the execution fails. Whatever, Neumeier correctly notes that "A lot of people talk about it. Yet very few people understand it. Even fewer know how to manage it. Still, everyone wants it. What is it? Branding. of course -- arguably the most powerful business tool since the spreadsheet." What Neumeier offers is a "30,000-foot view of brand: what it is (and isn't), why it works (and doesn't), and most importantly, how to bridge the gap between logic and magic to build a sustainable competitive advantage." Of course, that assumes that both logic and magic are present and combined...or at least within close proximity of each other.

As others have already indicated, Neumeier provides a primer ("the least amount of information necessary") rather than a textbook. His coverage is not definitive, nor intended to be. He has a crisp writing style, complemented by "the shorthand of the conference room" (i.e. illustrations, diagrams, and summaries). Some describe his book an "easy read" but I do not. When reading short and snappy books such as this one, I have learned that certain insights resemble depth charges or time capsules: they have a delayed but eventually significant impact. For example, Neumeier explains why "Three Little Questions" can bring a high-level marketing meeting to a screeching halt:

1. Who are you?

2. What do you do?

3. Why does it matter?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book starts off with a bang and really grabbed my attention throughout the first half. After that the book fizzles out a bit and the information starts to lose some of its glimmer. The Brand Gap prides itself on being such a short title about a large subject. Well, I think the book could have been even shorter. It reads like a bloated blog post and interjects random visuals that are only sometimes helpful.

The Brand Gap is also quaintly outdated. At one point the author talks about how most websites are poorly designed and shows an example of something ala 1998. Well...A LOT has changed since this book was published (2006) and there are numerous examples of gorgeous, and useful websites on the market today. Granted, there's lots of bad design out there, but things have, and are, getting better.

A particularly embarrassing example is the author's use of Amazon's market share to elucidate his point about creating a focused brand. He gloats about Amazon losing 30% of it's market share after extending it's repertoire beyond books. Well guess what...the joke is on us now. Amazon magically broke the curse of expansion and their sales have risen 219% to $34.2 billion between 2006 and 2010. This NEEDS to be addressed in the book, otherwise the author's use Amazon's statistics is simply misinformation. It takes away a lot of the books credibility.

And speaking of credibility...For a book that stresses the importance of design and aesthetics, it needs to take a look in the mirror. The typesetting in the book is "horsey" and wouldn't even be acceptable in a first-semester graphic design course. Sure, I'm splitting hairs here, and most people wouldn't notice the typographic nuances, but a book that is half about design needs to take things like this seriously.
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Format: Paperback
Branding and selling must live in peace. They seldom do - and that's not good for anyone.

One reason there is confusion regarding brand/sales harmony is due to the over complicated nature of most books on branding. Branding has turned into a high concept domain of intellectuals and creative types that leaves the sales force feeling like strangers in a strange land.

The good news is that Marty Neumeier has taken the time to write with clarity. He brings brand into clear focus with a direct and easy to read book entitled The Brand Gap.

Here are seven branding truths from The Brand Gap that just may create sales-brand peace in our time!

1. Neumeier posits a simple, to the point, definition of brand, "A brand is a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or company." Sales professionals understand gut feelings and ought never to forget this definition. Too often a sales process will treat the customer as a logical, rational being that will make the best choice based on the evidence. That kind of left-brained approach to selling ignores what people are really like. Yes, reason plays a part, but not nearly as dominate a part as sales people would like. It might be comforting to think that all you need is a well-reasoned argument for your product or service, but sales and brands are more complex than that. Too often brand managers have worked hard at creating that "gut feeling" only to have it undone by a "nothing but the facts" sales process.

2. The Brand Gap says - "The foundation of brand is trust". This is THE common ground of branding and selling. Trust is always the first goal. No product, service or company will ever communicate value without first establishing trust.
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