Brand value

A succinct guide to branding speaks volumes.

If, as the old adage has it, every picture speaks 1,000 words, then Dan White’s conveniently pocket-sized title is an encyclopedic tome masquerading as a short and snappy guide. Barely a page goes by without a hand-drawn illustration – be it a model, a chart or the visualization of a set of ideas. They are both effective and fun, and add hugely to the book’s accessibility, meshing seamlessly with its succinct, straight-forward insights.

Part of LID Publishing’s successful ‘Concise Advice’ series of pocket-sized guides on a broad range of business topics, The Smart Branding Book is a follow-up to White’s two previous books in the series: 2020’s The Smart Marketing Book and 2021’s The Soft Skills Book (reviewed in Dialogue, Q1 2022). It is an ambitious project: can you really provide a comprehensive guide to branding in just 160 short pages? Well, yes, judging by this book.

Across seven chapters, White explores the origins of branding and ways it can help a business, before setting out guidance on deciding what your brand should represent and planning for growth. He describes the brand-building process and the role of communications, before considering the value of creativity, originality and consistency, and assessing how different media channels can be used.

He concludes with a look at how to measure brand perceptions, determine brands’ value and track progress against a brand’s objectives – something he is well-placed to assess, as one of the architects of Kantar BrandZ, the leading brand equity development system.

It is peppered with thought-provoking examples: from examining how branding has shaped the trajectories of Patagonia and Apple over the years, to offering food for thought on key brand decisions; such as pointing to research showing that ‘catchy’ brand names enhance brand preference and choices, such as TikTok, Kit Kat and Dunkin’ Donuts.

If you’re in the market for a succinct yet wide-ranging guide to the essentials of branding, The Smart Branding Book is hard to beat.

Patrick Woodman is editor of Dialogue.