While I was still at NYU Stern, I decided that the best way that I could supplement my business education was to use my free time to digest some classic marketing literature. I figured it was a more productive way to spend my time on planes, for example, than working through another sudoku puzzle. Besides, by starting while I was still in school, I could more easily transition from the constant digestion of textbooks.
Here are some of the books that I’ve read so far with some thoughts. Maybe one of these days, I should go back through some of them with the intention of crafting a fuller book report.
- The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier – This is perfect airplane reading for someone who wants a quick and succinct intro to branding. I especially appreciate it because of my background in product development, as it describes the impact of creativity and innovation on the strategic process.
- Zag by Marty Neumeier – If I had to describe the focus of this book in a single word, it would be “differentiation”. Whereas The Brand Gap looks at a wider swath of marketing strategy, this book focuses on the importance of being different in the market place. If I’m going to re-read this at some point, I should do it soon, as I need to give this copy back to a former co-worker!
- Positioning: The Battle for the Mind by Al Ris and Jack Trout – This has been mentioned by so many of my marketing professors and text books that I had to give it a look. It’s an older book (even with the annotations added in the edition I have, many of the hot brands described have long since waned.) Like Zag, it beats into your head the importance of differentiation. I actually referenced the idea that you must be first or second (positioning yourself as the alternative to number one) in conversation with my brother last night while we were talking about my job search. Analogies for the win.
- Trading Up: The New American Luxury by Michael Silverstein and Neil Fiske – This isn’t a classic like the others, but I got a copy from a former client at Bath & Body Works (Fiske is CEO of BBW). It’s a bit dated, even though it’s only six years old. Apparently, the BCG didn’t see the housing bubble bursting any time soon! Otherwise, it’s an interesting read about how so-called “new luxury” companies (i.e., ones whose products are attainable but still at a price premium to everyday goods) like Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, or Calloway have tapped into the market.
I’ll go into what’s left on my reading list in a future post. I’ve got to leave you wanting for more, right?