10 of the best branding books to read in 2020

If you Google the word branding, you’ll find a lot of different definitions. Branding is the marketing practice of actively shaping your brand from the name, symbol, design that is easily identifiable to a company, giving your brand an edge in increasingly competitive marketplace.

That’s the basic definition. However, there is so much more that goes into it. But what exactly does “branding” mean? And what about personal branding?

Branding has become one of those marketing concepts that is a vague and can become confusing quickly. While you can’t learn everything about branding from books, they should help you become more comfortable with the meaning of branding.

10 of the best branding books to read

Here is a list of top 10 books you should read about branding:

1. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Building a Story Brand Book

Author: Donald Miller

Why should you read this book? In this book, the New York Times best-selling author Donald Miller explains the key elements of powerful stories. The goal: to help you transform the way you talk about who you are, what you really do, and the unique value you bring to your customers and others.

The author’s process helps you see the seven universal story points all humans respond to, the reason customers make purchases, how to create a simple brand message, and how to create persuasive messaging for your digital presence.

2. Branding: In Five and a Half Steps

Branding in and Half Steps Book

Author: Michael Johnson

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn how to create a successful brand using “contemporary brand identities as prototypes.” The author is one of the world’s leading graphic designers and brand consultant, helping many companies re-brand such as Virgin Atlantic.

The author “strips down” brands into their basic components to show us why we select one product or service over another.

Using case studies, he shows how little subtle influences make a big difference and explains how hidden elements can create a successful brand. With more than 1,000 vibrant illustrations, the book explores the process required for creating simple yet compelling brands.

3. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

Designing Brand Identity Book

Author: Alina Wheeler

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn why this book is such a good resource if you are responsible for your company’s branding and you need to educate your employees about the fundamentals of a designing a brand identity.

The book provides the tools for branding best practices with process basics, case studies, checklists, tools, and diagrams. From research to brand strategy to design execution, launch, and governance, this book has more than 700 illustrations of brand touchpoints to reinforce that “a picture paints a thousands words.”

4. Brand Identity Breakthrough: How to Craft Your Company’s Unique Story to Make Your Products Irresistible

Brand Identity Breakthrough Book

Author: Gregory V. Diehl

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn how to tell your company’s story. From when you first open your doors to new products and services releases, you are creating a niche in your industry. Your brand identity matters a lot because it helps you stand out from the crowd.

The author shows you how to develop a strong brand identity by combining your personality and values with the functionality of your products.

You’ll learn how to incorporate a unique selling proposition into your branding, how to use storytelling to sell more and how to sell more of your products and services by becoming an irreplaceable brand.

5. The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

Laws of Branding Book

Authors: Al Ries and Laura Ries

Why should you read this book? This book has become a marketing classic. This new version includes new commentary, new illustrations, and a bonus book: The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding. 

This book shows how some of the best brands in the world such as Rolex, Volvo, and Heineken stand out in today’s crowded marketplace.

With step-by-step instructions, you’ll learn how to brand on the Internet. This book will help your company become a category-dominating, world-class brand.

6. Build Your Brand Mania: How to Transform Yourself Into an Authoritative Brand That Will Attract Your Ideal Customers

Build Your Brand Mania Book

Author: Matt Bertram

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn how your company can become a “trusted advisor”in your industry that gains mindshare with your ideal customers and prospects.

The author – a trainer, speaker, and consultant – shows how he has personally helped hundreds of clients and entrepreneurs how to understand the science behind credibility, the hidden concepts behind affinity audiences, and why the “celebrity effect” is so important.

This books provides a blueprint to creating the reputation you want others to see online about your company and how to build authority using some of the best tools, platforms, and resources available today.

7. Branding For Dummies

Branding for Dummies Book

Author: Bill Chiaravalle

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn how brands are created, managed, differentiated, and licensed. This books provides you with the “nuts and bolts” to create a successful brand.

This book will help you create your company’s mission statement, learn how your customers and prospects think of your brand, and what qualities you want them to associate with you.

Created to speak to you in “plain English,” you get step-by-step instructions for how to position your brand, handle advertising and promotions, and keep your brand viable and visible. This book will give you a wide range of branding advice from help on how to develop a logo and tagline, to social media’s impact on branding programs, to how to avoid avoid brand crises.

8. Sticky Branding: 12.5 Principles to Stand Out, Attract Customers & Grow an Incredible Brand

Sticky Branding Book

Author: Jeremy Miller

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn how to create a “sticky brand” in your industry. Learning from companies such as Apple, Nike, and Starbucks, you’ll see how they became successful. But you don’t have to be a big brand to stand out as long as you challenge current norms and find innovate ways to serve your customers.

Based on tons of research on what makes brands successful, this book has become a playbook for branding with ideas, stories, and exercises to make your brand stand out.

By providing a unique “12.5” principles, you’ll gain insights from how CEOs and business owners excelled in their industries and grow their brands.

9. How to Launch a Brand: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting a Brand: From Positioning to Naming And Brand Identity

How to Launch a Brand

Author: Fabian Geyrhalter

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn how to build a brand from the ground up from how to create a brand platform to how to create the different branding touch points.

This book will show you the importance of design as it relates to the success by your brand. This book will teach you how to launch your brand by design with practical advice on how to make the “right” branding decisions along the way from the ideation phase to the harsh realities of a real and tangible brand.

With expert insights based on two decades of professional experience transforming new product and service ventures, the author breaks down the key phases of preparing for a brand launch.

10. The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design

The Brand Gap Book

Author: Marty Neumeier

Why should you read this book? In this book, you’ll learn the theory of “brand building” and how to produce a “charismatic brand.” This book will show you how a brand can become an essential part of their lives.

You’ll the new definition of a brand, the key disciplines of brand building, the three most powerful questions to ask about any brand, and how brand design determines a customer’s experience.

With tons of ideas in a relatively small amount of pages, the author shows how companies “bridge the gap” between brand strategy and customer experience. This book takes a strategic and creative approach to branding.

What are some of the best branding books would you add to this list?

Is your favorite branding book missing from this list? What branding books are a must read?