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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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From the Publisher
—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 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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Overall it's a short (very short) read on branding that would be good for a beginner to read, but would likely be old news for someone who has read much about branding.
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. It's ironic that the author claims that aesthetics build trust, however his own book leaves a lot of aesthetic loose ends.
The book is littered with many "a-ha" moments and interesting tidbits, but I don't feel like I have much more of an understanding of branding than I did before I read the book. It's a fun read, but nothing I would say anyone absolutely had to read.
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.
Top international reviews
Äußerst ungünstig bei einem Buch zum Thema Branding. Finde es besonders traurig, da es sich hierbei nicht um die Erstausgabe handelt. Ich bin mir sicher, dass es inhaltlich sehr gut sein wird. Von daher behalte ich es und gebe gut gemeinte drei Sterne. Wenn ich Neumeier nicht als Autorität auf seinem Gebiet wahrnehmen würde, hätte ich das Buch sofort zurückgeschickt und mir ein anderes bestellt.
I really couldn't recommend this book to anyone. If you know about branding, then there will be nothing for you here. If you don't know about branding, then you are liable to leave it confused, or at least, under-informed.
A much better choice would be The 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding or Wally Olins. On B®and, or, for a practical primer, Build a Brand in 30 Days: With Simon Middleton, the Brand Strategy Guru.