5 practical branding books every small business entrepreneur must read

By December 6, 2018 Branding, Inspiration
5 Branding Books that are must-reads for starting entrepreneurs

Cold winter days are the best for reading. It’s the ultimate embodiment of coziness to curl up on your couch with a good book while the fire is cracking in the fireplace and a cup of Alpine Punch tea latte is filling the room with sweet almond scent. Your kiddo is having a nap, your hubby is fighting against a fierce alien invasion in Mass Effect. So it’s just you and a good book.

I have to admit, there aren’t many of these peaceful moments in our home which means that I’m pretty bad in finishing books. Especially when I get to non-fiction.

But time to time I run into an excellent read that I can’t put down no matter what exploded in our house.

In this post, I share some of these books, particularly the ones focusing on branding. These branding books are must-haves for everyone building her business. They help you build a foundation for your brand and communicate with authenticity to gain loyal followers.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not an affiliate for any of the following books and resources. I recommend them because I honestly think that they are cool and helpful for entrepreneurs.

START WITH WHY BY SIMON SINEK

5 Branding Books that are must-reads for starting entrepreneurs

Enter your text here...I talked about this book a lot in previous posts (here and here too) and with good reason. You can’t build a successful business without defining your leading purpose. Start With Why explains why this is extra important and shows you numerous examples of leading companies (like Apple) by building their brand on their core purpose.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • Why it’s not enough to follow your passion without an underlying purpose
  • What’s the most common mistake we make when we tell people what our company does
  • How starting with a purpose will open up new opportunities for your company that make competition irrelevant
  • How purpose helps you become a better leader and build passionate teams
  • How to accept the right opportunities and refuse the “shiny objects” that wouldn’t add to your desired vision

I had the chance to watch Simon Sinek live on stage, and I have to tell you, it’s a rare delight to see someone as authentic as him. Every answer, every insight he shared were in line with his mission: helping to build companies where employees are appreciated and aren’t just numbers in an Excel sheet.

Follow up with:

If you like this book, follow up with Find Your Why. This workbook helps you figure out your purpose (personal or business) in many different ways. You can choose to do this with a friend or your team. I’m sure you discover lots of valuable while going through the exercises.

Other inspiration with Simon Sinek:

FASCINATE BY SALLY HOGSHEAD​​​​​

5 Branding Books that are must-reads for starting entrepreneurs

If you like personality books and assessments (like in The Four Tendencies or Personality Plus) where you get a psychological explanation on all of your quirkiness, you’ll love this book. 

Fascinate will help you discover the unique advantages in your brand and answer the question: “How can my brand become impossible to resist?”  

This book gives you the clarity and the tools to OWN YOUR BRAND and to be able to communicate in such a way that you feel amazing about yourself and others feel amazing around you.

The book comes with the Brand Fascination Assessment that you can also fill for free online.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • What are the specifics of the seven brand advantages: Innovation, Passion, Power, Prestige, Trust, Mystique, and Alert
  • How to apply and combine these core Advantages to stand out in a crowded and distracted world
  • Lot’s of real-life stories about brands and leaders who used these tools to the maximum, like Steve Jobs, PlayDough, Tesla, Jägermeister, Twitter, IBM, Porsche, and New York University

Follow up with:

If you enjoyed this book, follow up with Amy Porterfield’s podcast interview with Sally.

PURPLE COW BY SETH GODIN

5 Branding Books that are must-reads for starting entrepreneurs

OK, to tell the truth, all the books written by Seth are excellent. He’s a very intelligent and talented writer (no surprise as he practices this profession every single day) so you can’t make a mistake by buying any of his books. 

Purple Cow is excellent if you want to leave behind the old ways of marketing (like TV advertisements… pricey and don’t work as well as they used to do) and experiment with new methods.  

Just as you get bored by the sight of regular, black and white cows along a countryside road, your target market gets bored by repeated marketing techniques. There’s too much noise, too many distractions.

What you need is a Purple Cow… something remarkable.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • Why is it important to focus on producing something remarkable instead of mainstream
  • Which market segment should you focus on in the current market so that you can spread the word about your new product
  • Focusing on remarkable products and marketing can be risky. This book also provides a clear timing when this approach is worth the risk.

Follow-up with:

Seth’s new book, This is Marketing that challenges the old thoughts you might have about marketing. Marketing is not a yukky, manipulative technique (at least not the good marketing).

Today, marketing is about making change. If you plan to make a change in your audience’s life, you must learn to listen to them and become a good marketer. 

I also recommend this recent Marie Forleo interview with Seth.

Your Heading Here

5 Branding Books that are must-reads for starting entrepreneurs

What’s the one thing we can all resonate with? That captures our attention and brings us to fully focused state?

One word: stories.

Stories are encoded in the human race. We all know that there must be a Hero, that she has Helpers along his journey, that she has to face extraordinary Obstacles. We all cheer for her to succeed and reach her goals. No matter if you live in the States or the EU or Asia, you can relate to this basic structure of a story. And it not only works for Disney and Warner, but it also works in your branding and communication.

In Building A Story Brand, Don Miller shows you how you can use the power of stories to communicate your message more effectively and show your customer (the hero of a story) that you provide the solution for her to overcome the obstacles and get to her happy ending. 

In this book you’ll learn:

  • Why stories help people understand your offers easier and make them more interested
  • How to apply the story principles in your communication (blog posts, tweets, internal and external presentations, talking at networking events, etc.)
  • Why you must never make yourself the Hero, and focus instead to the Helper role in your communication

Follow up with:

After reading the book, check Don’s blog for other interesting and inspiring articles. One of my recent favorites included “What is the right way to praise your kids”.

This Amy Porterfield podcast interview is also a great summary of the book and other discoveries Don had in the past years.

BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY BY W. CHAN KIM & RENÉE A. MAUBORGNE

5 Branding Books that are must-reads for starting entrepreneurs

Ever stalked your competition in full jealousy mode thinking about how can you become as cool as them - or even beat them? Or have you ever tried to push your prices lower than your competitors hoping that people will choose you instead of then? You’ll stop doing so after reading the Blue Ocean Strategy.  

This book focuses on strategies that make competition irrelevant. Instead of fighting against each other and making a Red Ocean, you’ll learn how to focus your energies on discovering customer pain points and solving them in new ways by stepping out of the box. Therefore you’ll create an entire Blue Ocean full of opportunities.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • Why fighting against competition on price and unnecessary add-on features is not a good long-term strategy
  • How to modify your products or develop new ones to find previously untapped markets and become the leader in this new space

Follow up with:

The Blue Ocean Shift from the same authors gives you even more real-life examples of this strategy and focuses more on how you can find your own Blue Ocean. 

This interview with Renée Mauborgne also worth watching. 

WHAT BRANDING BOOKS HAVE INSPIRED YOU?

I hope this post gave you lots of inspiration (and a must-try “business excuse” to ditch dishwashing for some reading).

And now, I’d like to hear from you: have you read any of these branding books? Which one do you plan to grab and start reading? Is there one that should also make my list?

I’m always on the look for new inspiration so let me know about your favorites in the comment section.

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