12 books to help you build your brand

12 books to help you build your brand

In Reading Lists by Molly Hurford

12 books to help you build your brand

Whether you’re a founder and entrepreneur, own your own small business, are trying to make it as a freelancer, or have a small side hustle, branding is integral to your success. We’re not just talking about logos and business cards: Branding encompasses everything about your company and how it's viewed by your target audience. You don’t need an MBA to improve your branding These experts share the ins and outs of branding and why it matters so much to your business.

Diehl helps you figure out exactly what your brand identity is, and what to do with that information. While developing a brand identity is an important step, sharing it with the world is even more critical, and Diehl helps you get your story straight. We also appreciate that he doesn’t just use big brands like Coca-Cola or Burger King as examples, he looks at smaller businesses as well. And he gets practical about products and actually making sales online and in real life.

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22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries 

For an even quicker hit of branding inspiration, listen to the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding. It’s a quick overview that looks at tried-and-true branding strategies to give you ideas for your own business in under an hour. While you may not be planning to be the next Starbucks, the advice in here works for big and small companies, regardless of size or budget. 

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How to Launch a Brand by Fabian Geyrhalter 

If you haven’t started your business or side hustle yet, learning to launch with a bang is a great goal. Assuming you already know what you want to make or provide, Geyrhalter walks you through the next steps of creating your platform, choosing a name, creating an identity, and honing the customer experience, whether your product exists in the physical or digital realm.

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Holiday is one of the top writers in philosophy these days, but he got his start in advertising and PR. His audiobook, Growth Hacker Marketing, is a great guide to amplifying your message without spending a ton of capital on traditional marketing practices. He provides great examples of brands who’ve done things differently — and reaped the rewards. It’s a great book for reminding you to think outside the traditional box as you consider your brand and your growth strategy.

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How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman and Steven Heller 

While branding isn’t all about aesthetic and graphic design, that certainly is a part of it. An identifiable brand has a logo, a website, ads, and more that must strike the right look and feel in order to be successful. Even if you can outsource your design needs, it’s helpful to have an idea of what it is you really want. Millman, renowned branding expert and designer, shares interviews with 19 graphic designers about their work and how they think about design. While it won’t teach you how to use Adobe Illustrator, it will help you better understand strategic choices graphic designers make, and perhaps inspire you to play around with your own brand design. 

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In What Great Brands Do, author Lee Yohn dissects her 25 years in branding and consulting, where she worked with some of the biggest companies in the world. She boils down successful branding into seven key principles and shares case studies from major brands like Lululemon and Chipotle, while also bringing those strategies to a smaller scale, offering advice that businesses of any size can put into practice.

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Want to better understand why branding matters? Unconscious Branding isn’t a book about how to create a logo. Rather, it’s a book that helps explain why logos matter to customers, and the impact that branding can have on a subconscious level. This book will help you realize just how important branding is, even if you hate the idea of marketing or creating a ‘personal brand’ for yourself. If you can understand what makes people want to get on board with a brand, you can create a better brand that speaks more directly to your audience. 

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Salenbacher shares the method he uses with business clients to develop their creative thinking. His goal is to help entrepreneurs figure out what’s next for them and for their brand, and he shares nine assignments to put you on the right path toward a brand that makes sense for you now, and for where you want your company to go in the future. If you’re someone who needs specific workbook-style assignments and a coach mentality, this is it. 

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If your business is in the changemaking space, it may be tough to consider the idea of branding when you’re busy trying to save the world. But the more eyes you can get on your cause, the more likely you are to actually affect change. That’s why Miltenburg wrote Brand the Change. She explains why creating a strong brand is critical, even for small nonprofits, and she shares ways to do so that don’t feel inauthentic. She also includes specific exercises to help you get started. 

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We all want to know how to make our brands irresistible. And Hogshead is cracking the code on how to do just that. Fascination equates to holding a customer’s attention; making it so they simply can’t look away. She believes that the ability to fascinate is built on one of seven principles: innovation, passion, power, prestige, mystique, alert, and trust. Which are you using? Hogshead even has an assessment to help you hone in on your brand’s pre-existing strengths and play to them.

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Clearly, there’s something about the number seven, since half the books on this list about branding feature seven principles, and Miller’s Building a StoryBrand is no different. The New York Times bestselling author looks at the seven elements that create powerful stories — and helps you figure out exactly what your company’s unique, salable story is. (Hint: It’s probably not that really boring story about how you founded the company that makes your spouse start zoning out every time you tell it.) This book will change how you talk about your business, in the best way possible.

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Personal Branding For Dummies by Susan Chritton 

It’s hard to beat a ‘For Dummies’ guide when it comes to hitting the basics of any topic, and this massive volume delivers by laying the groundwork of branding for freelancers and small businesses. It starts with helping you clarify who you are as a personal brand, and developing a mission statement. It also includes next steps when it comes to building your brand as well as common pitfalls to avoid. It’s a great place to start if you want to skip around and get a sense of branding, learn the lingo, and grasp the basics.

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About the Author: Molly Hurford

Molly is a writer and bookworm in love with all things wellness related. When not playing outside, she’s writing or podcasting about being outside and healthy habits for The Consummate Athlete. She also writes books, including the Shred Girls series. In her spare time, she runs, rides bikes, and hikes with her mini-dachshund and husband.
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