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The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design Paperback – August 14, 2005
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“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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The answer to the mile-wide gap? Neumeier argues it is the charismatic brand. He explains getting this brand requires 5 disciplines: Differentiate, Collaborate, Innovate, Validate, Cultivate. The entirety of the book is unpacking these disciplines and applying them to real-world experiences.
The down side to this book is the examples are not all relevant; many of the examples are outdated. For example: he referenced on page 97 how web pages cram too much data on the home page and are unappealing to read. However, the majority of today’s web pages are specifically designed with ascetics and simplicity in mind. He also mentions technology phobia and the fear of web design, while in today’s world that is not the case.
Overall, the application of the 5 disciplines are relevant in any persons context, despite some of the outdated references. The book is marketing heavy, but does not present itself with advertising jargon; he is not writing exclusively to advertisers or business executive, but to a much larger audience. Although it is marketing heavy, it is still applicable to the common man.
The best part of the book is the design and style. He writes with simplicity in mind. He expresses his points clearly, with examples, and clarity. Neumeier’s packaging of the book is a manifestation of his own beliefs. It goes against the grain of the typical book layout; presented with lots of pictures, large fonts, creative sayings and captivating graphics. The book is like none I have seen. He implements two 2 of the 5 disciplines: differentiated and innovative. Must read for anyone wanting to better communicate their product.
Surprisingly, this book is about graphic design, but it is not designed very well. The text is huge, and seems like that the designer laying the book out needs to learn the fundamentals of publication design again.
However, do not make my comment about the design of the book deter you from purchasing it. I think the content of the book is still solid, and would would recommend this book to any Graphic Designer looking to brush up on Brand Design and how to effectively integrate a business model into it.
Neumier says that ‘a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.’ And then goes into detail to explain how we make decisions.‘Today we base our choices more on symbolic attributes. 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 its desirability? What are other people saying about it? And finally, who makes it?’
These types of questions speak volumes to the importance of taking ones brand serious and focusing on creating separation from others in the process. We now live in a culture where the majority of the products we invest in our strongly identical to one another. That is because many manufactures copy one another in the basic models of design. What separates the products in the mind of the buyer is the unique distinct differences decided upon by the producer. It is the little signs of customization and effective brand identity marketing that separate the companies. How well do you know your story and how can you effectively get the buyer to believe in it.
Neumier premise is to communicate how to bridge the gap between the left-brain thinking strategists who are known to be more —analytical, logical, linear, concrete, numerical, verbal and the right-brain thinking team members who tend to be known as more —intuitive, emotional, spatial, visual, and physical.
This makes logical sense that there would lye a natural gap in a branding process. I agree that both sides of the brain are needed in order to create a product that will market to both buyers as well. The overall goal is to build trust between a brand and its customers. This process does not desire to be isolated to one audience but rather be broadcast to all types.
One question I had was, is it possible that some companies and organizations intentionally create a gap in their brand? That possibly their strategy is to only connect with one side of the brain of the buying audience?
At the end of the day Neumier does a great job of stimulating creating thinking related to his intended topic. The book is easy to read and simplifies the understanding. It helps you understand how to create a charismatic brand that differentiates itself from the rest of the field. I would recommend this book to anyone hoping to learn more about the fundamentals of marketing and how it is important to see the whole process.