“The Ad-Free Brand is very practical and extremely hands-on, perfect for that branding neophyte … high tech or otherwise.”
- Kevin Lane Keller, E. B. Osborn Professor of Marketing at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and author of Strategic Brand Management.
“The Ad-Free Brand is the most comprehensive and thoughtful guide to positioning that I have ever read. Chris Grams’ step-by-step collaborative, community-based approach benefits brand builders everywhere, regardless of their size or sector. “
- Alina Wheeler, author of Designing Brand Identity and Brand Atlas
"The Ad-Free Brand is a field guide for how to tell a story and how to engage with your community. That is what branding is truly about. His stories are the great strength of the book. He tells countless stories from both his own experience at Red Hat and from others (including our Wikimedia strategy process) that reinforce his central premise: Building an ad-free brand is ultimately about engaging with your community."
- Eugene Eric Kim, Co-founder of Groupaya
"Chris knows that people appreciate a step-by-step guide as a starting point and so clearly lays out the process. His background? 10 years helping Red Hat become a $1B brand. Chris Grams gets it. From both my experience in a team he led and this book, he understands how to bring people together to work."
- Terri Griffith, Professor of Management, Santa Clara University and Author of The Plugged In Manager
"The Ad-Free Brand is not only an incredible book for those seeking to build brand strategies but an invaluable handbook for all practitioners desiring to build communities. Chris writes and lives his belief that ‘getting others to paint your fence’ has nothing to do with brand communities. Creating passion, engagement and dialogue is the sine quo non. Chris’s skillful storytelling matched by the depth of his experience engender both familiarity and confidence. You know he has been there. Reading this book is like having Chris sitting next to you having a conversation about your brand and your community.
A must read for all students entering the digital world of business."
- Susan Resnick West, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
“This entertaining and revealing work acts as a virtual textbook for how to build powerful communities around brands large and small, and is relevant for both new and traditional business sectors. As well as providing practical direction for using a basket of digital tools and social-media, The Ad-Free brand is also revealing in terms of how to ignite the passion of your brand advocates. This book is an essential read for anyone looking for a compass to navigate the continuously evolving digital landscape.”
- Jeremy Holden, author of Culture Shifts
“I love this book by Chris Grams because it offers depth, details, and scores of ideas for how leaders and employees can build better brands – internal and external. Grams has slathered the book with case studies, examples, diagrams, and fresh ideas that come from his experiences and from those he has collected.”
- Lisa Haneberg, author
“Chris Grams gets it. He shows you how to invest dollars into meaningful, productive relationships with a community in and around a company. To get them to share and care. To build a brand from the inside out. To give a brand a soul. The book reads like a textbook. With attitude. And honesty. And personality. You expect to get real world case studies. And step by step guides. And even homework. But you get so much more.”
- Danny Rosin, Co-founder of Brand Fuel Promotions
“Clearly we have to give up a lot of the illusion of control that goes with the Mad Men life, but as Chris shows that doesn’t mean we have to give up rigor. His step-by-step process is an essential guide for how to find the heart of you brand, harness your company culture (which really is your brand by the way) and enact your brand by building and supporting community. Very few marketers have run the full course of this journey. Chris has. Benefit from his experience.”
- Brian J. Lanahan, Vice President of Marketing at Celio Group Media
“Chris Grams makes branding into a common-sense task: figure out (precisely) what you are and want to become as an organization, then communicate it clearly. It’s the opposite of an expensive “lipstick” or “spin” approach, where ads are used to hammer a marketing message that may or may not relate to reality. The book is full of concrete, specific steps you can take to figure out what you are, put it into words, then tell the story over and over to employees and customers alike. Refreshingly practical!”
- Havoc Pennington, legendary software developer
From the Back Cover
Today you can build powerful, enduring brands at amazingly low cost – without expensive ad campaigns, huge marketing budgets, self-interested outside agencies, or deep specialized expertise! All you need are passion for your brand, low-cost digital tools, and The Ad-Free Brand.Drawing on his experience helping build Red Hat’s billion-dollar global brand, Chris Grams integrates classic brand positioning concepts with 21st century digital strategies, tools, and practices. Grams presents great new ways to uncover, communicate, and evolve your ideal brand position…embed branding in organizational culture…collaborate with your brand community…avoid costly mistakes…and much more. This step-by-step guide will lead you through the entire brand positioning process, while providing all you need to build a winning brand on a tight budget!
- Sidestep the clutter, cost, and ineffectiveness of traditional advertising
- Identify “points of difference” your customers will really value
- Develop brand positioning that “feels” true because it is true
- Dramatically reduce the cost of brand research
- Build your brand by guiding, influencing, and being -- not telling
- Quickly prototype your brand position, and apply what you learn
- Empower the brand advocates who know and love you best
- Communicate brand positioning with low-cost social and web tools
- Adapt classic positioning techniques for today’s new world
- Consistently focus first on low-cost, high-value strategies
- Evolve your brand for changing markets, customers, products, and services