Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Top 10 Business Books of 2009

It’s that time of year when there are lists for everything. I guess it has something to do with the infamous “nice” list created by the guy who dresses in red, travels with reindeer, and lives in the North Pole. Since I call the business world home, the following is my list of the top ten business books for 2009 – all have great messages to share.

Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up
By John Baldoni, Leadership author/speaker and Harvard Business Publishing columnist

How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life
By Joanna Barsh, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company and Leader of the McKinsey Centered Leadership Project

How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In
By Jim Collins, Co-Author of the bestselling classic, Built to Last, which has been translated into 29 languages, and teacher to senior executives and CEO’s

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience
By Carmine Gallo, BusinessWeek writer and communication coach for admired brands

Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking
By Andy Sernovitz, professor and creator of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association

Googled: The End of the World As We Know It
By Ken Auletta, writer for The New Yorker Magazine and author of 11 books

Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business
By Erik Qualman, Global VP of Online Marketing for EF Education in Switzerland

The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff
By Clara Shih, author, blogger, and entrepreneur

Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time
By Joel Comm, NY Times author and social media expert and

Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers
By Bridget Brennan, CEO of Female Factor and speaker

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Few Words on Branding

These days, the topic on many people’s minds is brands: product brands, service brands, and as a result of social media, personal brands. Everyone has joined the conversation that traditional brand marketers have been having for years. So, the question is, what is a brand and how can it affect business?

David A. Aaker, brand expert and UC-Berkeley professor, shared an excellent explanation in his 1991 book, Managing Brand Equity:

“A product is something that is made in a factory; a brand is something that is bought by a customer. A product can be copied by a competitor; a brand is unique. A product can be quickly outdated; a successful brand is timeless.”

To put it simply, a brand centers on an experience – something so incredibly unique and memorable that it cannot be duplicated by another product or service. A customer has a positive experience and wants to repeat it. Reasons for this positive experience may include customer service, product quality, or ease of purchase. Some examples may be as small as a particular brand of toothpaste or beer to something more substantial as a retail store or automobile.

So, how does this apply to a personal brand? The other half of the brand equation is a corporate identity, or for an individual, an individual identity. This includes differentiation, perceived quality and value, the creation of positive attitudes and feelings, and strong associations. So, when you set up a LinkedIn account and begin building a personal brand, apply the elements that yield memorable and long-lasting product and service brands – and you will be on your way to becoming a memorable brand yourself.