"It's not what we
don't know that sabotages us in business. It's what we don't
know that we don't know. Ignorance is NOT bliss!
"What you don't know
about branding is hurting YOUR bottom line, right now.
"I don't care if you're
a one person, home based business owner or the marketing director
of a Fortune 500 company. Rob Frankel knows what YOU need
to know about branding. You need to learn what this book has
to teach, because it will make a MASSIVE difference to YOUR bottom
I was asked to review this book by someone
from Rob Frankel's team. I don't know why. But I was more than
happy to accept the invitation. I've admired Rob's approach to
branding since we first ran into each other on-line in 1996 or
We both contribute regularly to the
same on-line professional discussion lists, and we've had the
occasional e-mail exchange that has confirmed the similarities
in our approaches to branding.
For those readers not from Australia,
I should explain something of my own credentials as a reviewer
of Rob's book..
Over the past 30 years I've been involved
in advertising, marketing and sales on the agency side, on the
client side, and as a brand owner.
I've been involved in creating branding
strategies for some of Australia's best known brands. We've even
had some of the brands we created become virtually generic names
for all products in those categories which becomes a real risk
if you can't maintain a clear distinction in the consumer's mind.
(Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as being too successful.)
So I have pretty strong ideas on branding,
and branding strategy, based on some very substantial successes
over the years.
Now all this could raise doubts in your
mind about my objectivity, I know. But those who know me will
tell you that I don't invest much emotion in these issues. I'm
a hired gun. And I've learned, over the years, about what
works and what doesn't.
So I'm here to tell you that Rob Frankel
is so right, it's scary.
Not that Rob himself is scary
he's not . What's scary is that so few people understand branding
who OUGHT to know. Or, even scarier, who CLAIM to know and genuinely
believe they do!
I don't care if you're a one-person,
home-based business owner or the marketing director of a Fortune
500 company. You need to learn what this book has to teach, because
it can make a MASSIVE difference to your bottom line.
It can make the difference between failure
and survival. Between survival and success. It's that good, and
it's that do-able.
I like the way Rob gets right back to
basics from the beginning. He looks at the roots of branding,
of media influence, of social change and its impact on consumer
perceptions and attitudes. And he pinpoints the REAL differences
that the Internet brings to the party, and how this has changed
everything - even traditional mass media. Everything is now moving
in the direction set by the Net. And that's no longer mass media,
but media for the masses. It's about CHOICE. It's about the consumer
now being in control - setting both the direction and pace of
change at the click of a "delete," "unsubscribe,"
"remove" or "go somewhere else now" button.
In other words, he gets down to cause
and effect. WHY things happen (or not) and HOW to make them happen
(or not). This is valuable, useful stuff and Rob Frankel
is putting it out there where it's so sorely needed, with skill
and style and genuine authority, based on the kind of insight
that comes only to those with the experience, the knowledge,
the skills and the talent needed to recognise it.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that his
advertising background gives him the ability to communicate in
a direct, uncluttered, non-nonsense, highly readable way. Reading
this book is no chore. It's ideosyncratic and provocative (in
the best possible ways) and it's funny. But the substance is
there. This is not another of those fashionable business books
full of buzzwords and psychobabble. You get all meat, with only
enough feathers to attract the eye without spoiling the enjoyment.
One of the things that I really like
about this book is that it's living, breathing proof of what
it teaches. It brands Rob Frankel as the best branding authority
in the world. And if you think he's not, how come the person
who's supposed to be better than Rob isn't springing to my top-of-mind
One of the most crucial issues, for
me, is Rob's position that branding is all about leadership.
Not talking about market leadership here, either that's
effect. No, we're talking about leadership being the driving
force behind successful branding. It's all about vision. It's
cause, not effect. (At the Profit Clinic, we've been teaching
this very point, loud and clear, for nearly 15 years. We also
take the position that selling is all about leadership as well.
But, as Rob so accurately points out, selling is a whole other
story. Case in point: how do you know for sure that a company
hasn't a clue? When they have a Manager of Sales and Marketing.
No such animal. Rob explains why with irrefutable authority and
Another really valuable and useful (they're
not the same, either) aspect of the book is Frankel's Laws, Prime
Directive and assorted corollaries. When you can distill your
observations and experience down to this kind of succinct power
pill, it shows that you've reached a point of critical mass in
your own cutting edge learning that others haven't. And your
grasp is so consumate that you can recognise that fact and articulate
it so incisively. It's the hallmark of a true pioneer and a master
of the game. True to form, Rob spells out this awareness in Frankel's
Fifth Law of Big Time Branding: "If you can't articulate
it, neither can anyone else."
Unfortunately, this can also mean that
the articulator is full of self-importance, hyperbolae, introspection
or testosterone (S.H.I.T. for short). Their egocentric posturing,
pontificating and precociousness can become irritating and, ultimately,
But Rob Frankel not only avoids this
trap, he pre-empts it. Time after time, just when you may be
starting to wonder whether the book is headed in that direction,
Rob steps in with a shot of disarming self-satire to prick his
own balloon and reclaim his hold on your attention - and your
admiring (and continuing) indulgence. When you're as forthright
and forceful in your arguments as Rob Frankel, you need that
kind of indulgence on the part of your readers. He knows it,
and he gets it, despite ruffling plenty of feathers amongst those
with dubious positions to protect.
The astute reader of this review will
have realised by now that I haven't said much at all about what
the book actually says. That's quite deliberate. I'm selling
you on why you should buy it and devour it. I'm trying to convey
the enticing aromas and sounds of a gourmet meal being prepared
by a master chef. To get the real gratification and fulfilment
being offered, you need to eat it.
This book is so tightly-packed with
high-value insights, ideas and intelligence that no review of
the content itself could hope to do it justice. I won't even
try. If you're in the business of marketing a business - any
business - you need to hear what Rob Frankel has to say. Even
if you disagree with him, it will take you places you haven't
yet been, and open your eyes to possibilities you've never dreamed.
If you buy it for no other reason, buy
it for its lucid grasp of how to create branded communities on-line.
This topic alone is a tour de force you can't afford to miss.
About the book
272 pages comprising nineteen chapters,
four appendices and two other addenda - all of which are worth
the time and effort read. You'll learn something of value from
each of them.
The Table of Contents is comprehensive
and provides a thorough overview of the book. The index is thin,
but workable. If the book itself has a flaw, it would have to
be the proof reading, both for literals and aesthetics. But don't
worry about it. It's not intrusive enough to spoil the experience
or devalue the content. I'm conscious of it because I get the
same criticism from my own editors.
The true strength of this book lies
in its eye-opening, accurate perspectives on branding - including
why it's not the same thing as marketing, sales, advertising
or PR - as well as solid information, ideas and tools for implementing
what it teaches, with a host of practical examples and implementation
strategies, including some of the best stuff about Internet branding
you'll ever see.
It's the whole shooting match. It's
a genuine, one-of-a-kind resource that belongs right there on
your desktop, NOT in your bookshelf.