the brand gap by m neumeier

 Although it was published more than six years ago, The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier holds a lot of insights that remain true to this day.  It outlines five principles that suggest how to bridge the gap between strategic thinking and creative execution – or finding the “magic”.  Neumeier says that, “The secret of living a brand is that it lives throughout the company.  Since branding is a process, not an entity, it can be learned, taught, replicated, and cultivated”.  I found that the statement very well summarizes what you will find in the book.

The five principles of strategic and creative branding are differentiation, collaboration, innovation, validation, and cultivation.  Neumeier apparently is known for his “whiteboard” approach in his books where everything that is explained in a concise, easy to understand, and quick manner.  The book explains things very simply, for instance, “A combination of good strategy and poor execution is like a Ferrari with flat tires.  It looks good in the specs but fails on the street.  This is the case for at least half the brand communication done today”.  I wish everybody at  my agency read this.  Actually I wish our client side read it also.  Because more than 50% of the times, the client side is required to at least think about taking the risks to be differentiated, innovative, etc.   To achieve originality, we need to abandon the comforts of habit, reason, and the approval of our peers, and strike out in new directions (and by “we” I mean everybody involved in a brand; not just the select few of strategists and creatives).  So, how do we know when something is innovative? Neumeier says, “when it scares the hell out of you”.

Throughout the book, I realized it could be a quasi-metaphor for Apple and Job’s philosophy.  It’s a great, easy, fast-paced read for anybody who is in any kind of industry.

dee’s recommendation: 4/5