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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Branding Primer for Sales Professionals
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...
Published on August 3, 2005 by Michael C. Wagner

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Bridge the Gap
I purchased this book because of all the good reviews, but if you are a graphic designer, this is waaay too basic. It gives you an outline of what branding isn't, but doesn't go much into what branding Is, or any critical information on how to build a brand. Honestly, it left me more perplexed than before! I did learn a couple of things hence the three stars, for...
Published on February 26, 2005 by Angela Mackintosh


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Branding Primer for Sales Professionals, August 3, 2005
This review is from: The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design (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. Without trust, customers cannot assign value to you or what you are selling. Great brands create a context of trust. The sales person still needs to build individual trust, but without a brand addressing the fears and establishing a safe context - sales will continue to be at a disadvantage. Great salespeople will understand how the brand seeks to create trust while making sure their sales process builds on it.

3. This book establishes the value of a brand in a way with which every salesperson can fully agree. "The value of your brand grows in direct proportion to how quickly and easily customers can say "yes" to your offering." I think I can hear an "amen" in the sales department. But I would add one bit of caution: Very few sales are ever a matter of simply "taking the order". No matter how strong the brand is, salespeople must never hurry past the need to get what I call "the second yes". The first "yes" is the client's positive response to creative branding. The second "yes" is the client's positive response to a sales process that uncovers their individual needs.

4. Neumeier challenges salespeople to get beyond features and benefits. The lazy will resist this - the wise will agree. Brands these days are about "symbolic attributes". Product features can be quickly copied in a marketplace where mass customization techniques are available to all. But symbolic attributes get inside the heart of the client with a series of branded answers to key questions.
- What does the product look like?
- Where is it being sold?
- What kind of people buy it?
- Which "tribe" will I be joining if I buy it?
- What does the cost say about the desirability?
- What are other people saying about it?
- Who makes it?
This is all good for salespeople hear. When branding folks insist on a list of standards that salespeople find needless; salespeople would do well to remember there are very valid reasons for managing the "symbolic attributes"!

5. Our brains filter out irrelevant information; letting in only what is different and useful. It's good to see brand managers being told to get "different" and be "useful". So much that passes as advertising is neither. But salespeople need the same lesson! In branding it's called market research. In sales it's called listening and interviewing. The day has come when brands and sales must be creatively relevant. Fail here and everyone should plan to be ignored.

6. Neumeier says design ignites passion in people. He's right. But traditional adversarial and manipulative sales processes are certain to put the fire out! I know from personal experience that, in its heyday, Saturn's brand fire burned all the more because of a sales process that was as distinctive and relevant as the brand. Well-designed products and services deserve well-designed sales processes. Keep the fire burning brand builders and sales makers!

7. Finally, The Brand Gap introduces the "brandometer" - a durable set of ideas about what the brand is and what makes it tick. Sales is not excluded from using the "brandometer"! No one is excluded! Everyone must ask the million-dollar question: "Will it help or hurt the brand?" This is the discipline question. I know sales people might want to fudge here. They live with the pressure of making their numbers. But don't give in to the temptation. Ask that question often enough and sincerely - and, you will be making millions by selling millions.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Trout and Ries, July 3, 2004
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This review is from: The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design (Paperback)
The Brand Gap picks up where Trout and Ries leave off. It gets into areas that traditional marketing and positioning books fear to tread, namely the role of aesthetics in building brands. As a 30-year veteran of Madison Avenue, I've learned the hard way that it doesn't matter how great your strategy is---it's execution PLUS strategy that moves products. Neumeier is one of the first to recognize this simple but elusive truth. It's enough to give one hope for the future of the marketing business. For that matter, for the future of business. Period.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One huge idea, April 18, 2004
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This review is from: The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design (Paperback)
Those who characterize The Brand Gap is a primer are missing the point. While the book does condense and clarify many existing theories of branding, it contributes one huge idea that has never been adequately addressed---namely, that unless strategy is connected to customer delight, there IS no brand. There's just a great business strategy that no one can see, or else there's a feel-good image that isn't based on business reality. Either extreme leads eventually to brand failure. In addition to the core idea of this book, I found a number of subordinate ideas that seem extremely fresh in the marketing world: the changing requirements for trademarks and identities, the collaborative brand-building model, and the need for Chief Brand Officers to coordinate the work, to name a few. The book may seem simple, but its simplicity is deceptive. I loved it so much that I attended one of Neumeir's workshops and was not disappointed. Both the book and the workshop are perfect examples of branding in action. They're different, collaborative, innovative, tested, and they lead to sustainable business success. Great stuff.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars shortest treatise on branding, September 1, 2006
By 
J. Malnar (Zagreb Croatia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design (Paperback)
in existence, that still tells most important things about branding you need to know.

It said nothing new to me, but then again I have read the authors and branding / positioning gurus Marty Neumeier mentions and quotes plus two dozen other books on branding and strategy.

So instead of doing it the hard way, like I did, you CAN actually find out most you need to know about branding from this rather small book during a three hour flight.

One thing I don't like about this book is its "look and feel", layout and fonts.

Its like the author wanted to be SO COOL and innovative SO BAD that he took it overboard. I found it annoying, not cool at all.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Strunk and White of branding, January 4, 2004
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This review is from: The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design (Paperback)
I liked the book a lot. The back cover makes a comparison to McLuhan, but it reminded me of Strunk and White in The Elements of Style. What Strunk and White did for writers, Neumeier has done for branders by compressing the best thinking into a slim volume that delivers the fundamentals in an entertaining way. He also follows the Strunkian dictum to omit needless words. How many marketing books can you say that about? McLuhan did not hold up well over the years. I think Neumeier will.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Bridge the Gap, February 26, 2005
This review is from: The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design (Paperback)
I purchased this book because of all the good reviews, but if you are a graphic designer, this is waaay too basic. It gives you an outline of what branding isn't, but doesn't go much into what branding Is, or any critical information on how to build a brand. Honestly, it left me more perplexed than before! I did learn a couple of things hence the three stars, for instance, logo's are dead, and icons or avatars are better, and the theory of the "Living Brand" was right on. The author said that he wanted to take out the fluff, but I think he left it a little too light.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bravo!, September 19, 2003
This review is from: The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design (Paperback)
Finally, a book that slices like a hot knife through all of the turgid, pseudo-academic nonsense that surrounds branding. Neumier provides clear, unforgetable object lessons in a compelling, beautifully designed format. Students of branding will not find a better, more inspiring primer on this subject. Bravo to Mr. Neumier for using his unique career experience in design and business to provide the kind of compelling read that was long overdue in this arena. It has been placed on the course list for my graduate students and each new member of my team at Ogilvy recieves it alongside their other training materials.
I wish I had written it myself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly simple, January 4, 2004
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This review is from: The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design (Paperback)
At first I was put off by the presentation of this book, with its extreme simplification and visual treatment. But now, after reflecting on it, I think the book is stunning. Branding is about combining images and words to make ideas clear and memorable. What better way to do a book on branding than by simplifying? One can still find the long, complex marketing books in the library. This is a book you will keep on your desk and refer to constantly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eye opening, easy and quick read, August 10, 2005
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This review is from: The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design (Paperback)
I purchased this book on a whim and boy am I glad I did. As a designer and someone with a little marketing knowledge and experience I had a very general idea of what branding is. This book was very inspirational in laying down a business minded approach to the identity that your customes see you as and not what you think your identity is. It does not suggest large, intense studies and thousands of dollars spent on focus groups and so on. It illustrates the questions you should ask and the answers you should search for to create "magic" in the new economy.

Reading this could not have come at a better time. The knowledge it reinforced assisted me in talking up a deal to design for a company run by a Stanford grad with 15 years of marketing experience. Simply put.... for a book with a $15 cover price, you get more then your money worth.

Quick, easy, and vey educational. his book has made me want to read up more on the internal workings of branding to reinforce my design and business skills. there is a thin line between a goo designer and a great comunicator.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tough job of communicating simply, December 22, 2005
By 
Mike Druttman (Hod Hasharon, Israel) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design (Paperback)
I was recommended this book by a graphic designer friend, who was raving about it. He was giving me so many superlatives that eventually I had to find out what it was all about. I'm glad I did.

I write marketing texts for a living and have done so for over 25 years, yet Marty opened my eyes to a new approach. Not only are his comments on branding very pertinent, but even more so is his writing style. You really cannot put down the book once you have started it.

That is the key point in today's media-drenched age. We have to transmit our messages in the most attractive way possible. Sometimes this means writing shorter. Sometimes it means using analogies. But always it means writing with your reader in mind.

Well done, Marty! You have given me a new perspective on writing and communicating.
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