How Brands Grow

How Brands Grow

by Byron Sharp

This excellent, clearly-written book is based on empirical research covering market share, brand equity, price promotions, and advertising. It includes some counter-intuitive conclusions regarding customer retention, loyalty programs, segmentation, and competitor differentiation. Byron Sharp is the director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science at the University of South Australia. Continue reading “How Brands Grow”

Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life

Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life

by Rory Sutherland

In Alchemy—published simultaneously in the U.K. with a punchier subtitle: The Surprising Power of Ideas that Don’t Make Sense—Sutherland writes with a humorous style filled with wisdom about consumer behavior, innovation, branding, hiring, the weakness of market research, and more. Continue reading “Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life”

The Rouser Manifesto 2019

The Rouser Manifesto 2019

Rather than featuring a book in this post, I have selected a paper written by the team at the Swedish marketing firm Rouser.  The Rouser Manifesto takes a big-picture perspective on marketing effectiveness, calling out the problematic trend of focusing solely on short-term return on marketing investment (ROMI) while eroding brand equity.

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Restaurant & Bar Marketing

Restaurant & Bar Marketing: The No Bullshit Guide to Improving Guest Counts

by Erik Shellenberger

Erik Shellenberger cuts through the hype and tells you what really works—and what doesn’t—to bring more customers into restaurants and bars. Before getting into the tactics, he presents his ocean versus fishbowl concept.

The fishbowl includes people who follow you on social media, who subscribe to your email list, etc. “The ocean—NOT the fishbowl—is where you improve guest counts… People who have no idea you exist. People who are looking to branch out and try new places to eat and drink in their home city… The tourist economy is almost exclusively an ocean environment. It includes the person using Google or online reviews to find a business like yours.”

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Story Mythos: A Movie Guide to Better Business Stories

Story Mythos: A Movie Guide to Better Business Stories

by Shane Meeker

“People are inspired and moved by stories…Story is about human emotions… Stories de-commodify your brand/product.” The premise of this book is that the same principles used by Hollywood filmmakers can be used to develop powerful brand stories. The author is the company historian and corporate storyteller at Procter & Gamble.

“What are your most powerful company stories, and how are you using them to inspire your people? How do you explain your purpose through different stories? What stories best demonstrate your company beliefs? How are you documenting and protecting the stories that matter? … How can you use a story to demonstrate a company’s culture?”

Continue reading “Story Mythos: A Movie Guide to Better Business Stories”

BadMen: How Advertising Went From a Minor Inconvenience to a Major Menace

BadMen: How Advertising Went From a Minor Inconvenience to a Major Menace

by Bob Hoffman

In this concise, informative, hilariously irreverent, and brutally honest book, former advertising agency CEO Bob Hoffman explains why ad tech is bad for advertisers, publishers, and consumers. He also calls on advertisers to stop enabling this menace.

“Surveillance marketing is powered largely by advertisers through the tracking of our movements on the web. This is called ‘ad tech.’”

Continue reading “BadMen: How Advertising Went From a Minor Inconvenience to a Major Menace”

101 Things I Learned in Advertising School

101 Things I Learned in Advertising School

by Tracy Arrington with Matthew Frederick

“To some, advertising has no soul, no center… It’s the art of lying.” Advertising executive Tracy Arrington writes, “I would argue the opposite. Advertising is the art of telling the truth. An ad campaign succeeds when it brings forward an embedded truth—about the product or service, our needs or idiosyncrasies as consumers, our daily foibles, or the fixations and biases of our culture. An ad campaign resonates when it shows us, at some level, who we are.”

Here’s a sampling of the expertise shared by the author.  Continue reading “101 Things I Learned in Advertising School”