Most Influential Reading – Book Review Part 2

Photo credit: ScriptsandScribes.com

Photo credit: ScriptsandScribes.com

Building off of last week’s article on some of my favorite books that cover branding and digital marketing-related topics/issues, here are my top three all-time favorites to conclude the book review.

Similar to the earlier reviews, below I have included a link to the online reviews on Amazon within the title of the book itself.  I’ve also provided a link to a respective page for each author (Twitter feed, own home page) for those that may be interested.

#3 – “Six Pixels of Separation” – by Mitch Joel

Brief Summary:

Joel, who is the President of Twist Image, provides a detailed look at optimizing your social media plan with both recommendations and specific tools that are at everyone’s fingertips.  He provides a number of sites to leverage and how to best leverage them.  Joel also provides real life success stories in building a brand or company through online connections.

Why I enjoyed the book:

Entrenched with digital marketing and social media recommendations, I felt like Joel did a tremendous job of tying the real life stories together with his own recommendations on how to succeed online.  Around the time of reading this I started my limited blogging efforts, which made this book that much more interesting and changing my frame of mind to treating the blog as my own “brand”.

#2 – “Focus” – by Al Ries

Brief Summary:

While somewhat dated (first published in 1996 and reissued in 2005), the premise of Ries’ extended title remains the same in today’s world, “Focus – The Future of Your Company Depends on It”.  Ries effectively argues that a company must work to get their brand, product, service, etc. right.  Without focus you are doomed to fail – maybe not right away, but you cannot sustain success without focus.

Companies and brands must fight the urge to extend/divide themselves too wide in order to meet growing demand of internal (profitability, the board room) and external (consumers) forces.  It isn’t necessarily a terrible thing to try to extend your brand’s equity into new space, as long as you keep your foot on the throttle of what is already working for you and consumers – assuming there is something going right.

Why I enjoyed the book:

The overall message of “focus” and doing something right simply resonated deeply with me.  Trying to spread your business too thin and trying to run before walking is a message that is always in my mind when talking to clients.  Figure out where you can win and what is attainable and go do it.  However, if and when success comes, don’t immediately turn the page and start looking in another direction, keep going and keep winning!

#1 – “UnMarketing” – by Scott Stratten

Brief Summary:

Scott Stratten simply kills it with this book that was originally published in 2010 (since revised/updated).  Stratten turns your marketing hats upside down to clean out the cobwebs of so many “tried and true” marketing formulas.  The central theme of the novel revolves around building and driving engagement with your (potential) customers.  He then provides a number of examples of how this has and has not worked for others.  Stratten firmly pushes down on how and where to best leverage online platforms to strengthen your relationships with consumers and/or building new ones.

Why I enjoyed the book:

Not to overdramatize this too much, but when I read this book back in 2010, I couldn’t stop saying “Yes!” and “This!!”  Truth be told, this book really started getting the wheels in motion for me and trying to help others in this ever adapting world and how (not) to run your business and communication online.  Small business owners that have any interest in online marketing should consider this the Holy Grail – an easy to read, informative piece of writing that includes at least one nugget of information to take with you at its conclusion.

It didn’t hurt that Stratten spends so much time discussing Twitter and how to activate your consumer base through the site.  I am a huge believer in the power of Twitter and what it can do for you in the long run.  If you stick to your message(s) and have strong content or a worthy offering, people will find you on the site.  Stick to it and have fun with it!  (… and don’t screw up!)

So there you have it, my favorite books over the years in the brand building and digital marketing arenas.  If you have any recommendations for old or new novels that might be of keen interest, please let me know!  I would appreciate any recommendations for future reading.  Also, if you happened to particularly like/dislike any of these books, let me know in the comments below.