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5 Books that will help you build your brand

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is one of the world's most famous quotes. Juliette speaks it, saying that her beloved being part of a feuding family should make no difference. I think it's safe to assume I'm not spoiling Romeo and Juliet for anyone when I say that it did make a difference, and it didn't turn out well for either of them.

It's the same for your company's brand – it's so important it could be the difference between being successful on a market or being invisible on it.

Take roses, for example; they are beautiful, smell great, come in many colors, and are appropriate for all festive occasions. Sometimes, they are even the required flower – you don't see many carnations offered at graduation festivities or Valentine's Day. That's because roses have a great brand.

Here are some books to help you build your own successful brand.

1. The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes

Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson talk about the archetypes (discovered and thoroughly explained by Carl Jung) and how they can be used to build strong personal and business brands. The authors use a combination of psychology and marketing to show how to communicate through powerful, engaging stories and generate a deep sense of connection with your brand.

Archetypes are easily understandable and relatable patterns that we are all familiar with, even if we are not necessarily aware of the fact. They have been present in our lives through fairy tales, stories, legends, movies, and general cultural constructs we grew up with. As a result, brands that are rooted in archetypes tend to hold more appeal by sheer familiarity.

Read more: 4 Awesome ways to incorporate stories in your online course

2. How to Style Your Brand: Everything You Need to Know to Create a Distinctive Brand Identity

Back to the rose, you can recognize it anywhere. Even the most extraordinary varieties still have enough common elements to be easily placed in the rose category. That's all Mother Nature, but you can learn how to create your own stunning brand identity from an expert.

The book written by Fiona Humberstone is a comprehensive guide with examples and explanations, high-quality visuals, and practical tips and tricks to help you achieve branding greatness. As it is stated in the blurb for the book: "the right brand identity has the power to attract, engage and compel people to do business with you. But for many entrepreneurs, creating an effective brand can be a challenge. Whether you're a start-up on a lemonade budget or a seasoned entrepreneur planning on working with a professional, an understanding of the process is essential.”

Read more: 6 Personal branding tips for knowledge entrepreneurs

3. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

This book, written by Donald Miller, is for anyone looking to create a brand, market, and copywrite effectively. The author offers insights that will help shape the discourse about your business, its purpose, and the value that it delivers. Using a 7-Part Framework that employs the elements of storytelling, you can begin to generate powerful brand messaging:

  1. A Character (your customer)
  2. Has a Problem (they need to solve)
  3. And Meets a Guide (your business)
  4. Who Gives Them a Plan (your products)
  5. And Calls Them to Action (to start the buying process)
  6. That Ends in Success
  7. And Helps Them Avoid Failure (what would happen if they don't buy)

Read more: 8 Storytelling techniques for online course creators

4. Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits

This book by Debbie Millman is a collection of interviews with some of the most influential people in branding, marketing, and business. While theoretical knowledge of branding is essential in getting you started, having access to genuine experiences of successful branding experts and gaining insights into their thought processes has a lot of value.

Among those featured in the book are Wally Olins, co-founder of the successful branding firm Wolff Olins; Phil Duncan, the global design office of Procter & Gamble; David Butler, the VP of design at Coca-Cola and Bill Moggridge, the co-founder of IDEO, a design and innovation consulting firm.

The book touches a lot on human behavior and how knowing about it can help brand specialists reach their audience in a meaningful way. Something that has stuck with me was David Butler's statement that all over the globe, “people associate the contoured bottle [of Coke] with democracy, with the higher ideals of freedom and optimism, and with economic growth." That is genuine brand strength.

Read more: What’s emotion got to do with my online course?

5. Branding: In Five and a Half Steps

This book by Michael Johnson is a comprehensive guide to the entire branding process that doesn’t give front row to either strategy or design but treats them as a unit. Starting with the examples of some of the world's best-known brands, the author takes them apart to showcase the individual elements.

He states that the beginning of a brand is not finding a solution but rather identifying the correct question to ask.

There are a lot of amazing visuals in the book that help you see the intricacies of what makes a powerful brand. It also includes the six-question brand model that can help you begin to identify the elements of your own brand:

1. Investigate – research on what product or service you should offer, how to present it to consumers, and check if the market is ready for your business;

2. Strategy and narrative – focus on the story your company tells the world; make it understandable, cohesive, and strategic;

2.5. Bridge the gap – know that branding is never a linear process, so you need to continuously adapt the narrative established and the designs that follow;

3. Design – work closely with a graphic designer to establish a cohesive design for your logo, website, social media graphics, and other branding materials;

4. Implementation – walk the talk: have a plan for social media, emails, and website updates every day;

5. Engage or revive – be flexible and adapt to change, which is the only constant in the current business world.

Closing thoughts

Branding is a vast concept, and it keeps evolving at a rapid pace. Whether you are only starting to build your own e-learning brand or you feel that the existing one requires a refresh, these books will help you find the answers you're looking for while also asking you some very relevant questions.

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