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Why Johnny Can't Brand: Rediscovering the lost art of the Big Idea Kindle Edition

17 customer reviews

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Length: 252 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

High-concept Super Bowl commercials, baffling corporate names, "formless positioning and flabby claims that lack any differentiating punch"—all come in for abuse in this sprightly old-school marketing primer. Harking back to the "Unique Selling Propositions" of the "Brand Titans" that bestrode advertising's golden age in the early television era, brand consultants Schley and Nichols exhort companies to redefine their products in terms of a single, mesmerizing "Dominant Selling Idea." They provide reasonably specific guidelines for arriving at a DSI, covering topics like market research, brand naming, visual imagery and—the heart of their method—concocting and laying exclusive claim to some special attribute through such techniques as combining two unrelated special attributes (Certs is a candy mint and a breath mint) or declaring a magic ingredient. They steer readers away from bland brand taglines and toward specific, wallet-grabbing, must-buy propositions like Black Flag's immortal "Roaches Check In, but They Don't Check Out." Writing in an engaging, straightforward style with a dash of wit and vinegar, the authors provide much useful, hands-on advice for perplexed marketing executives.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Remember the Pets.com sock-puppet ad during Super Bowl XXXIV that epitomized the absurdity of the dot-com bubble? Cowboys herding cats, singing chimps, and the AFLAC duck may be great entertainment, but they don't convey a thing about the companies they represent. They are not effectivebranding. Somewhere along the line, "Johnny" forgot the basics about revealing the Big Idea in an easy, everyday way that cements your brand as top dog in the hearts and minds of consumers without resorting to puffery and shallow glitz. It turns out it's the steak, not the sizzle, after all. The authors create a workable strategy for placing your brand in the number-one position in the minds of your targets in eight weeks by using a motivating difference called the Dominant Selling Idea--the one thing that distinguishes your brand at the point of purchase, whether you're Ford Motors or Tom's Lawn and Garden. Schley and Nichols are partners at david, inc., a branding consulting firm in Connecticut; they've worked with major global companies such as Coca-Cola and IBM. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 600 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1591841127
  • Publisher: N.W. Widener, Inc. New York; 2nd edition (June 7, 2010)
  • Publication Date: June 7, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003RCJWIE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,385 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roger Adsett on December 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
With so many branding "experts" around, its easy to lose sight of the fundamentals - here they are. A clear review of the basic principles of creating enduring, differentiated brands. Advocates a re-focus on the dominant selling idea as the primary driver of branding. Use this guide to break out of the "sameness" of brands and to focus on what your brand uniquely offers to customers. First half is branding theory and the second half is a "how to" map for implementation. It is a quick and entertaining read that is now on my desk for reference. I ordered copies for my team and have given copies to senior managers in my organization.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dena Harris on November 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm only halfway through this magnficent book and have already recommended it to half a dozen people. I am fortunate to have stumbled across this book as I prepare to makeover my business (freelance writer) and web site. This book has me thinking in new ways and different directions than I would have without it, and I'm spending time identifying what my DSI truly is. Although this book is probably written more for companies, I think it should be a mandatory read for every independant contractor out there. Entertaining, common sense, and plenty of examples. Two thumbs up.
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Format: Hardcover
Like many other things in life, books like why Johnny can't Brand get better and more appreciated with time. Here we are almost 5 years after its release, and the book's message of going back to the basics of what can make a company or idea the best is just as timely as when it was first released. It's not rocket science. In order to be successful, there is hard work involved to show why your brand is just as good---or better---for someone than another.

The principles outlined work if applied, and no matter how long you have been in business, there is still time to turn things around and make yourself relevant.

This is must read for anyone trying to make their mark. You won't be disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is so fascinating and informing. The way it is structured and the content it provides is such an intuitive way to design and structure a book. Anyone could pick this up and enhance their brand or completely renovate it, or even start a new one! It touches on all aspects of what makes a great brand.

It was required for a design class I'm taking, and from a perspective of a graphic design student, every graphic design student MUST read this book, it will really set you apart from others in the competitive field.

Highly recommend this book and its seller.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Angela B. Carlston on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a real eye opener. I gained so much clarity where I was previously confused. I fell in love with it and am so thankful that the writers were willing to tell me all these amazing secrets and truths for just the price of the book!! I would recommend it to any business/product owner. However, I really don't want my competitors to get ahold of this book!
I am now excited about re branding my business! Totally motivated. It was also enjoyable and entertaining to read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Janice King VINE VOICE on August 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Don't let the unfortunate choice of title turn you away from this book. It is full of clear explanations and practical advice, especially if you're trying to build a new brand. One drawback: It is too focused on consumer brands and doesn't really address the issues of branding for business-to-business sales.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Marketing Guy Who Drives Sales -r on December 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I got lucky. I found this book at a local book fair and probably would not have found it otherwise. If you are serious about marketing and business branding then you must read this book.

Despite the unfortunate title, "Why Johnny Can't Brand" is probably one of the most practical, concise and informative books on branding that I've ever read.

Bill Schley and Carl Nichols update the old Unique Selling Proposition (USP) concept and transform it into a much more workable and achievable Dominant Selling Idea (DSI) that must be superlative, important, believable, memorable and tangible. The first half of the book is a veritable treasure trove of information that clearly comes from practical brand management career experience rather than ivory tower thinking. The "Granite Pages" contain a list of 17 rules that all powerful brands must follow in order to resonate with the right audience. Not since Ries & Trout in "The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing" has there been such a clear definition of what marketing must do in order to create products and services that fully resonate with customers.

The second half of the book contains an 8 week plan to define or redefine your own brand so it will be #1 in its category. Yes, it is really achievable.

A wonderful book that is a must read for the marketing professional. I'm glad the book found its way to me.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Thornlow on May 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the "big picture" book. Anyone involved or interested or even schooled in marketing will have references and citations on how to do the many activities and understand trends that come under the "marketing" banner: creating great design, conducting a focus group, creating buzz, etc.

While technique and expertise in these areas are important, it is all for naught if you don't stop to think about WHY you are doing them. This book drives home the point that everything you do must be consistent with the tenets relative to your business objective. Moreover, the book provides programmatic steps on how to discover those objectives and tenets.

The stories and insights along the way are enlightening and lend such common sense to the book's overarching messages to stay focused and remember that buying decisions are made by people.

I was totally engaged by the book which shifted my perspective. To me, that's the mark of an excellent book.
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