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The Brand Gap: Revised Edition (2nd Edition) [Paperback]

Marty Neumeier
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 4 2005 AIGA Design Press
THE BRAND GAP is the first book to present a unified theory of brand-building.  Whereas most books on branding are weighted toward either a strategic or creative approach, this book shows how both ways of thinking can unite to produce a “charismatic brand”—a brand that customers feel is essential to their lives. In an entertaining two-hour read you’ll learn:

• 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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The Brand Gap: Revised Edition (2nd Edition) + ZAG: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands + Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team
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Review

“The surprise book of the year!”
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 second edition features a 220-term brand glossary and a premium softcover binding.

THE BRAND GAP is the first book to present a unified theory of brand. Whereas most books on branding are weighted toward either a strategic or creative approach, this book shows how both ways of thinking can unite to produce a “charismatic brand”—a brand that customers feel is essential to their lives. In an entertaining two-hour read you’ll learn:

• a 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

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.”

“The surprise book of the year!” —John Moore, 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.”—David A. Aaker, author of BRAND PORTFOLIO STRATEGY and BUILDING STRONG BRANDS

“Cuts to the heart of what brand is all about.” —Susan Rockrise, worldwide brand director, Intel

“Read this book before your competitors do!” —Tom Kelley, general manager, IDEO

FROM THE INSIDE FLAPS

“A pleasure to read. THE BRAND GAP consistently provides deep, practical insights in a light, visual way. Discover the power of imagery and the role of research in building a heavy-duty brand—without the heavy-duty reading.” —David Aaker, author of BRAND LEADERSHIP 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 Brand Director, Intel

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

“A well-managed brand is the lifeblood of any successful company—and Neumeier shows us exactly how to do it. Read this book before your competitors do!” —Tom Kelley, general manager of IDEO, co-author of THE ART OF INNOVATION

 “THE BRAND GAP couldn’t be more timely. Just when we’re at our most skeptical about corporate motives, along comes a book that shows how to evaluate and develop a brand in a straightforward and honest manner.” —David Stuart, co-founder of The Partners, co-author of A SMILE IN THE MIND

“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 & Mather Worldwide




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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Feb. 22 2010
Format:Paperback
It's a very stimulating book for creative people working in design and communications. And also for clients needing brand consultancy. I'm a graphic designer, and a couple years ago, I was afraid by this word, "branding", ouuuuuuaaaa[...] This is a great book to reconciliate yourself with branding or to have a better understanding of what it really is. Well written, well illustrated, short and sweet, it scores a perfect 5/5 for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars love it July 6 2013
By Pascal
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very insightful. Very pleasant to read. Graphically smart. Straight to the point. I have enjoyed every single page. I recommend it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Bird's-eye view Oct. 10 2006
By D. Sims
Format:Paperback
Ah, the brand. I found the concept at first rather abstract but the bird's-eye approach of "The Brand Gap" took care of that. The book was a great first step for me. Well done.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  54 reviews
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Become a "Brand Gap Guru" Aug. 21 2005
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an expanded edition of a book first published in 2003. In it, Neumeier develops in greater depth several basic ideas about how to bridge a gap between business strategy and design. My own experience suggests that on occasion, there may be a conflict or misalignment rather than a "gap." Or the business strategy is inappropriate. Or the design concepts are wrong-headed. Or the execution fails. Whatever, Neumeier correctly notes that "A lot of people talk about it. Yet very few people understand it. Even fewer know how to manage it. Still, everyone wants it. What is it? Branding. of course -- arguably the most powerful business tool since the spreadsheet." What Neumeier offers is a "30,000-foot view of brand: what it is (and isn't), why it works (and doesn't), and most importantly, how to bridge the gap between logic and magic to build a sustainable competitive advantage." Of course, that assumes that both logic and magic are present and combined...or at least within close proximity of each other.

As others have already indicated, Neumeier provides a primer ("the least amount of information necessary") rather than a textbook. His coverage is not definitive, nor intended to be. He has a crisp writing style, complemented by "the shorthand of the conference room" (i.e. illustrations, diagrams, and summaries). Some describe his book an "easy read" but I do not. When reading short and snappy books such as this one, I have learned that certain insights resemble depth charges or time capsules: they have a delayed but eventually significant impact. For example, Neumeier explains why "Three Little Questions" can bring a high-level marketing meeting to a screeching halt:

1. Who are you?

2. What do you do?

3. Why does it matter?

I also want to express my admiration of the book's design features. They create an appropriate visual context within which Neumeier examines each of five "Disciplines": differentiation, collaboration, innovation, validation, and cultivation. Expect no head-snapping revelations. For many of those who read this book, its greatest value will will be derived from reiteration of certain core concepts which Neumeier reviews with uncommon clarity and concision. Check out the "Take-Home Lessons" (pages 149-157) which include

"A brand is a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It's not what you say it is. It's what THEY say it is."

"Differentiation has evolved from a focus on `what it is,' to `what it does,' to 'how you'll feel,' to `who you are.' While features, benefits, and price are still important to people, experiences and personal identity are even more important."

"How do you know when an idea is innovative? When it scares the hell out of you."

Readers having relatively less experience with the branding process will especially appreciate the provision of an expanded (220-word) "Brand Glossary." Neumeier also includes a "Recommended Reading" section in which he briefly comments on each source. When reading business books, I much prefer annotated bibliographies such as Neumeier's to mere lists. For whatever reasons, many provide neither.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Branding for the rest of us Jan. 23 2006
By Thomas Ahern - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am not a CEO, owner, entrepreneur, SVP of marketing, nor do I work in a company struggling to turn a fourth-tier brand into a world beater. Those are the native audiences for this wonderful, finish-it-in-a-plane-ride book. I'm a writer and consultant trying to explain branding to fundraisers, and what I intensely like about Marty Neumeier's brief "whiteboard overview" (his phrase) of branding is that it answers ALL my questions about branding and brand strategy quickly, simply, with nicely selected examples. It starts with what branding is NOT (not your logo, not your visual ID, not your products). Then it defines what it truly is, "A brand is a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or company." That's in the first couple of pages. But of course there's so much more. I love a good, insight-rich how-to book the way others love a good mystery. The Brand Gap is among the best.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple, Straightforward, Sensational Aug. 23 2007
By Brittany Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Marty Neumeier has written two "whiteboard" style books both dealing with branding and innovation - this is the first one. By whiteboard style, Neumeier's book is light on written content, moderate on visual content and layout, and heavy on basic, important, sharp ideas.

The book covers 5 principles to help bridge the gap between strategic thinking and creative 'magic' and uses a variety of visual and written metaphors, examples, and logical knowledge to do so. If you are looking for a text-heavy, super explanatory, in-depth type of book, then this isn't the one for you. If you're looking to focus your mindset when it comes to innovative branding, this is a great, go-to book to get through in a short amount of time.

The two main things I liked about this book were the fact it actually followed a lot of its own principles in terms of how it was designed/set up etc. and it also packed a lot of universality into these generic yet focused, sensical tips.

Case in point...here is what you'll get out of the book if you are:

A Student/Novice in the Field: Students will love this book to help them review a lot of what's happening in marketing right now, and the 5 guiding principles can help them innovate at their future workplaces. The expanded edition of this book includes a 200 word glossary of advertising terms that'll also help students and novices talk the talk.

Agencies: will delight at the tests Neumeier asks you to go through when developing a brand, particularly graphically in the "icon/avatar" section. The real-life examples of successful businesses identify the longevity of the brands and how it is obtained, giving hints to marketing/advertising agencies how to get that same magic formula.

Businesses: whether small or large, this is a great book to have. If you have an internal promotions/marketing department, this book should be distributed to the head of your branding staff to help them focus your company's direction in the market. If you are the owner of a small business without an internal marketing department, this book can help introduce you to the fundamental principles of branding that you can then discuss with an external agency.

Overall a great quick read that kept me hooked, never bored, and always thinking. The summative list of the main topics discussed throughout the book at the end was extremely helpful, although the glossary was kind of out of place as half the words in the glossary aren't used in the text. Probably helpful for beginners in the ad industry though.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mixed... Oct. 27 2008
By R - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book feels a wee bit dated (it's been a couple of years since I've read the phrase "World Wide Web). It seems to dance all over the place, and did not offer any particularly unique ideas. Feels like it's cheating a bit with the big text.

It might be of interest to individuals who want a good overview of branding. May be too simplistic for individuals in the marketing, advertising, or design.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Junk food for thought. March 10 2012
By D. Garza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book starts off with a bang and really grabbed my attention throughout the first half. After that the book fizzles out a bit and the information starts to lose some of its glimmer. The Brand Gap prides itself on being such a short title about a large subject. Well, I think the book could have been even shorter. It reads like a bloated blog post and interjects random visuals that are only sometimes helpful.

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.
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