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The Edge: 50 Tips from Brands that Lead Hardcover – January 8, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 22 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“How do the top brands stay on top in such a remarkably fast-evolving market? In his new book, Allen Adamson gives readers answers from the inside. Filled with lively interviews and valuable tips directly from some of the top minds in the fields of marketing, social media, technology and popular culture, The Edge reveals what’s required to become and stay a leading brand. Both entertaining and instructive, it’s a must-read for every marketer.” --Beth Comstock, Senior Vice President, CMO, GE


“I always learn something from my interviews with Allen Adamson..... to gain an advantage, it's necessary to go the extra mile, act with greater ambition and determination. Average is over. Companies must ask themselves: Is our product something that is distinctive enough that we feel proud enough to put our name on it?" --Thomas Friedman, The New York Times


“Once again, Allen Adamson brings to life the rules of smart brand-building in simple, no-nonsense, fast-paced style, pulling together tips and insights from an impressive list of the most successful names in marketing, media, technology, and entertainment.” --Eric Kessler, President and Chief Operating Officer HBO


“As Allen Adamson makes clear in The Edge, it's only getting harder for a brand to maintain leadership. As such, the power of a brand idea has never been more important. We may influence the messages around our brands, but we can quickly lose control. A brand's story better be tight to turn cacophony into music.” --Antonio Belloni, Chief Operating Officer, LVHM


“Adamson's latest book is a great guide for any marketer navigating the rough waters of the future. With good humor, strong examples and a frank tone, he is on-point with The Edge. This is a fast and intimate view of what makes successful brands and the icons behind them. Truly news you can use.” --Faith Popcorn, CEO, Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve


“What would you give to know the inside tricks of dozens of today's power brands?  Allen's book lets you in on them...many in the words of the creators themselves. You read Allen's book and you understand how virtually all of this new century's cool brands got that way.” --Edward Vick, Chairman, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America


"Social media has dramatically accelerated and changed the way consumers get and share information. If people love your brand they’ll talk about it. If they hate your brand they’ll talk about it. Assessing the use of social media is only one of the many topics of critical importance to today’s marketers that Allen Adamson addresses in The Edge. It’s a smart, enlightening and very accessible look at how brands get built and managed in a business landscape that only continues to become increasingly complex." --Deepak Advani, Vice President of Business Analytics Products, IBM


"Allen Adamson captured enduring brand concepts in BrandSimple. The Edge adds new tips and fresh examples to show what it takes to stay on top." --Ken Roman, Former Chairman/CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide


“Allen Adamson captures the importance and instructive value of storytelling with lessons to help the reader understand how to build and grow a great brand across a wide variety of products and services.  The winning rules are the same: ‘A brand is as a brand does.’ The Edge illustrates the art and science of brands and branding from a 360 degree perspective, engaging the reader in not only the core elements required to built a strong brand but does so through real life stories and relevant analogs.” – Peter Flatow, president and founder of CoKnowledge


“In The Edge, Adamson has beautifully captured a number of important insights from some of the very best CMOs.  The book offers a nice set of guiding principles for any marketer trying to navigate our new economy.” - Greg Welch, Global Consumer Goods & Services Practice, Spencer Stuart


The Edge is Adamson’s strongest book yet on building successful brands. Filled with great, practical advice and vivid case studies, it reflects the latest, most progressive thinking in the industry.” John Gerzema, Executive Chairman, BAV Consulting


“No one knows more about brands and the process of how products and services create indelible marks within the hearts and minds of today’s distracted consumer.  I know.  I worked directly with Allen during Forbes’ own journey to reinvigorating its brand over the past few years.  His writing for the Forbes CMO Network and now his new book The Edge brings his innovative thinking and every-day solutions to building brands to life in entertaining and informative fashion. It belongs on any CMO’s must-read list.” – Bruce H. Rogers, chief insights officer, Forbes Media


"While the world we live in is increasingly complex, these simple'tips' are as relevant today as thery were decades ago. What a text book!  Adamson's The Edge should be required reading for marketing students and creative advertising folks." – Bill Bergman, former vice president, P&G


"Allen Adamson skillfully blends the accumulated wisdom of executives who manage some of the world’s top brands, with his own insights gained from years of experience as a brand professional. The Edge is highly readable and a quick tutorial on what it takes to develop and sustain world class brands. Timely and topical, the books provide one stop shopping for brand advice. The book contains 50 tips for developing strong brands; the 51st tip should be, read this book to learn what it takes to gain a competitive edge for your brand. --C. Samuel Craig, Marketing Professor, New York University, Stern School of Business


"The Edge does a great job of uncovering how brands succeed in a dramatically changing environment; describing how to manage difficult branding issues while maximizing the value of your brand." --Clive Chajet, Chairman and CEO of Chajet Consultancy


"The Edge is thoroughly enjoyable, well-researched, and up-to-date in a fun and informative writing style. Allen Adamson uses interviews with brand marketers to bring a behind-the-scenes look at the making of some of our favorite brands. In the end, it’s an honest view of what success and failure looks like." – Gary Elliott, Former Vice President, Global Marketing, Hewlett-Packard and Chair of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA)

"Tips are good, and Adamson serves them up in an accessible, no-nonsense guide for every marketer who aspires to build a great brand.  With good humor and relevant examples from smart marketers and real brands, this is a great book for marketers looking for inspiration and business building ideas." – Becky Saeger, Marketing Strategist and former CMO, Charles Schwab


"A leading marketing expert summarizes the ABCs of building brands. Adamson (BrandDigital: Simple Ways Top Brands Succeed in the Digital World, 2008, etc.) smoothly preempts anticipated laugh lines by confessing at the outset that, “like many people in the marketing business,” he enjoys watching Mad Men. The author makes use of the series as a productive foil to develop his own case that there is as much difference between building brands and advertising them as there is between the business of advertising and its televised image. Adamson makes no bones about his own interest. He has worked for some of the companies he discusses, like Proctor and Gamble, Verizon and PepsiCo. The author shows that advertising a product or company is the end result of a different kind of process, branding, which involves many different aspects. He discusses the importance of recognizing what's missing in the market place—e.g., Proctor and Gamble's 2008 jump into dry cleaning with Tide Dry Cleaners—and the involvement of consumers in the development of the brand—e.g., General Mills’ popular Box Top University, where consumers mail in coupons and the company donates to education. As a veteran in the business, Adamson's discussion with Faith Popcorn (CEO of marketing company BrainReserve) on the way young women “are influencing society, the economy and our culture” is particularly illuminating, as are the author’s views on social networking for self-activating consumers and branding. Aimed at readers in search of specialist expertise, but ordinary consumers will also find the book informative and entertaining." --Kirkus

About the Author

Allen P. Adamson is managing director of the New York office of Landor Associates, one of the world's leading strategic brand consulting and design firms. He is also author of BrandDigital: Simple Ways Top Brands Succeed in the Digital World and BrandSimple: How the Best Brands Keep it Simple and Succeed. Adamson has partnered with a wide array of clients, including Diageo, Sephora, GE, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Pfizer, and Verizon. He is a sought-after industry commentator, appearing on CNBC, FOX Business Network, and The Today Show, and quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, and USA Today

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Palgrave Macmillan (January 8, 2013)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0230342248
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0230342248
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.01 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.44 x 0.94 x 9.45 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 22 ratings

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Allen Adamson, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Metaforce

Allen Adamson is a noted industry expert in all disciplines of branding. He has worked with a broad spectrum of consumer and corporate businesses in industries ranging from packaged goods and technology, to health care and financial services, to hospitality and entertainment. Given his broad perspective and depth of experience, Allen is able to help clients see and seize opportunities before the competition, activating solutions that enable them to shift ahead of the market, generating long-term value and increased brand equity. He and his teams help clients identify what truly matters to the audiences they serve – what is relevant to them – and deliver on it brilliantly.

Allen's newest book, Seeing the How: Achieving Market Advantage by Transforming the Stuff We Do, Not the Stuff We Buy, to be published in 2023, focuses on the consumer experience as a competitive advantage, and how this change in perspective has allowed companies to achieve dramatic growth and categorical leadership. The book’s driving idea was sparked by Allen's recognition that experience transformation has been fast outpacing product transformation as a winning and sustainable marketing strategy.

His previous books, BrandSimple, BrandDigital, The Edge: 50 Tips from Brands that Lead and, most recently, Shift Ahead, are used as textbooks in higher education business programs across the country.

Allen’s multifaceted knowledge of all things brand and branding is the result of having worked on both the agency side of the business, and the client side. He spent the earliest part of his career as a marketing executive in packaged goods, at Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, where he oversaw a broad range of consumer products. He is proud to acknowledge that he spent a lot of his early business life in supermarket aisles, perusing one aisle or another in order to gain an understanding of the consumers’ outlook– and that of his brands’ competitors.

On the agency side, Allen held senior management positions at iconic advertising firms, including Ogilvy & Mather and DMB&B, before arriving at Landor Associates, a full-spectrum brand consultancy dealing with brand development and the myriad factors that makes one brand more successful than another. He eventually rose to the position of Chairman. Under his leadership, the company partnered with a variety of global brands, including Accenture, GE, Johnson & Johnson, FedEx, HBO, Marriott, MetLife, P&G, Sony, and Verizon. Additionally, he guided non-profit organizations, including the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Central Park Conservancy, and the Council on Foreign Relations, among others.

For the past several years, Allen has been an Adjunct Professor and frequent guest lecturer at New York University's Stern School of Business, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, where he lectures on the significant and numerous challenges brands are confronting - and overcoming - in a fast-changing marketplace. He also serves as the brand expert-in-residence at the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship at NYU Stern, working with student entrepreneurs from across NYU to help them develop and execute their brand “story,” providing guidance on the many aspects required to launch successful brands.

Given the depth and breadth of his expertise - his perspective of brands from both an academic and a long-standing practitioner’s point of view – Allen has been called on as an expert witness for companies across a number of industries involved in litigation over the protection of their brand assets, the distinguishing characteristics that differentiate one brand from another. His multidimensional experience makes him unparalleled in his ability to offer valuable insight to those defending brands that have come under competitive threat and encroachment of these assets.

A sought-after industry commentator, Allen has appeared on ABC News, NBC's Today Show, CNBC's Squawk Box and Closing Bell, and Fox Business Network. He is often quoted in publications including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, the Washington Post, and Forbes. He also regularly writes a column on current branding topics. He speaks on branding for a range of professional organizations, corporate events, and industry conferences.

Allen is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Metaforce (, a disruptive marketing and brand consultancy which, unlike traditional firms, takes a multi-disciplinary channel-agnostic approach to marketing challenges. It was created to help leaders understand all the forces at work inside and outside their businesses to identify strategies yielding the highest returns. Once determining the best strategy, Metaforce's consortium of partners, each industry expert in their field, pivots to help clients brilliantly act on and execute customer experiences in the market. Metaforce combines the best aspects of brand management, strategy, and experience consultancies to deliver solutions that ensure its clients shift ahead of the dramatic marketplace changes to meet fast-evolving customer needs.

Allen received his B.S. from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business.

Allen Adamson

Co-Founder and Managing Partner




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