Working with brand, we are always looking for informed and intelligent thinking on the key topics surrounding it. Only by constantly learning can we bring new and relevant knowledge and opinion to our work. Here’s a selection of the books that have helped give us a richer appreciation and understanding of the role brand plays – economically, socially, and culturally.
1. The Rebel Sell: How The Counter Culture Became Consumer Culture
Heath and Potter analyze counter culture and smartly identify that in searching for identity and definition through rebellion (ie not belonging to a certain group) counter cultures simply ‘feed the flames’ of consumer culture by creating a whole new set of goods for ‘rebel consumers’.
Get your copy here: The Rebel Sell: How The Counter Culture Became Consumer Culture
2. Authenticity – Brands, Fakes, Spin And The Lust For Real Life
Authenticity is very often something brands strive to communicate and people look for in brands. But what is authenticity, and how can we decide what is ‘authentic’?
Get your copy here: Authenticity – Brands, Fakes, Spin And The Lust For Real Life
3. Beyond Culture
A brand is not an island – it exists within its environment. And for a brand to have any relevance it needs to resonate with people. So what ties the wider environment and connecting with people together? Culture, or more accurately shared cultural reference points.
Get your copy here: Beyond Culture
4. The Third Wave
An amazingly prescient book, written over 30 years ago, introducing the ‘Third Wave’ (The First Wave – Agricultural revolution, The Second Wave – the Industrial civilization, The Third Wave – the digital age). Futurist Alvin Toffler (pictured) introduces us to the idea of the ‘prosumer’ and the collapse of the producer/consumer dichotomy. This book was so far ahead of it’s time it’s unreal.
Get your copy here: The Third Wave
5. Niche Envy
A very concerning book explaining the intrusiveness of the filtered ‘world’ that technology shows us today. Discover what implications your online activity has for the customization of your online experience. We are not all the same.
Get your copy here: Niche Envy
6. Consumer Culture
This book analyzes consumer culture, the changing relations between the production and consumption of cultural goods, and importantly the powerful role consumption plays in our lives, providing new ways of creating social and political identities.
Get your copy here: Consumer Culture
7. Understanding Media, The Extensions Of Man
If you ever say ‘the medium is the message’ or refer to ‘the global village’ and haven’t read this book… well just read it.
Get your copy here: Understanding Media, The Extensions Of Man
8. The Power Of Co-Creation: Build It With Them To Boost Growth, Productivity, And Profits
If you have heard anything about co-creation, then Venkat Ramaswamy (with C. K. Prahalad) was the person who coined the term. Co-creation involves redefining the way organizations engage individuals—customers, employees, suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders—bringing them into the process of value creation and engaging them in enriched experiences. This book shows multiple examples of how companies, large and small, have harnessed the power of co-creation, creating value for both company and people.
9. Citizen Brands: Putting Society At The Heart Of Your Business
Why brands should behave as citizens, relating to society as a member of that society. This book shows how brands need to build goodwill and trust if they want any chance of developing ‘relationships’ with consumers.
Get your copy here: Citizen Brands: Putting Society At The Heart Of Your Business
10. The Rise Of Brands
A book which offers a great study of what a brand is; from it’s earliest examples dating back to the Roman era, to its spread from commodities, into its use for charities, places, countries and governments.
For an introduction to how brands have changed, and become increasingly central in contemporary society, then look no further than this book.
Get your copy here: The Rise Of Brands
11. Brands. Meaning And Value In Media Culture
This book is authored by someone I consider to be an extremely important voice on brand.
The key tenet is that brands have become an important tool for transforming everyday life into economic value. The first part of this book traces the historical development of branding, while the second part evaluates new media, contemporary management and overall media economics to present the first systematic theory of brands: the brand as a key institution in information capitalism.
Get your copy here: Brands. Meaning And Value In Media Culture
12. Brand Society. How Brands Transform Management And Lifestyle
This book takes some important academic literature and references, and marries them with industry perspectives. In combining these perspectives it aims to show how brands have the power to transform both the organizations that develop them and the lifestyles of the individuals who consume them.
Get your copy here: Brand Society. How Brands Transform Management And Lifestyle
13. Brands: The Logos Of The Global Economy
A key book analyzing what a brand is, what it does, and why it is such an important cultural force in society today. If you want to get a real insight into the power of brand in todays society and culture then this book if for you.
Get your copy here: Brands: The Logos Of The Global Economy
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Paul Bailey, Strategy Director at Halo
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