I have been working in the field of Marketing and Communications for over ten years and my favorite part of the field is seeing how brands tell their stories in a consistent way.
I think I fell in love with Brand Marketing when I started working at Microsoft Jamaica as their Marketing Manager and I was handed their brand guidelines. My mind was blown away by the intricacies that went into the guidelines, and the importance placed on how the logo was used, when, and why.
Outside of that experience, I was working at McCann Port Of Spain while Blink | Bmobile was rebranding to Bmobile; I got to see the entire roll out of the brand from a higher level and that for me was an exhilarating experience. From the redoing of the logo, to the new images that would be associated with the brand, to the colors and “look and feel” everything was taken into consideration in the rebranding of Bmobile.
If you love brand marketing, if you are curious about it or if you just love hearing about brands from an insider perspective, I strongly recommend you give these books a read.
That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea by Marc Randolph
When Marc Randolph told his wife his idea, which would eventually become Netflix, her response was, “That will never work.” Undeterred, Randolph was able to make his idea a reality.
I am a heavy Netflix user, the kind of user that is one someone else’s account <insert judgement here>. I remember hearing about Netflix and thinking, “I will never watch TV again!” Fast forward to 2021, and that statement is mostly true.
In That Will Never Work, Marc Randolph takes us to the very inception of Netflix and the stages that followed, sharing how the idea was developed over time. We meet the shell team that started it all, we see all the testing that went into making Netflix what it is today, we see the birth of Netflix, how it started and what led this revolution that has altered how we now consume content. I loved that Marc Randolph gave us an in-depth look into Netflix from the idea stage, before capital was involved, people were hired, and the first DVD purchased.
A lot happened to get this giant company started and it was great getting insight into what makes and breaks a start-up. Culture, of course, is a huge part of it; but what more is drive and determination. If you have ever wondered what went into making Netflix what it is today, this is the perfect read.
How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story by Billy Gallagher
If you have ever wondered about the story behind that app with the yellow ghost and the disappearing stories, this is the perfect book. How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story by Billy Gallagher gives a behind the scene look into how Snapchat came about, what made the app the coolest app at the time, how DJ Khaled breathed life into the brand, and what led to the ultimate demise in cool factor.
I remember hearing about Snapchat from my friend and thinking, “UGH! Another social media app to learn and download.” Of course, I downloaded the app and spent copious amounts of time playing with filters. I was on the app during the “Major Key” era, and I distinctly remember the day Instagram launched “Insta-Story” which ultimately led to the untimely death of Snapchat.
If you are into Brand Stories especially an application that changed the way millennials communicate, this is the perfect read. This book does a solid job of dropping interesting tidbits about design and engineering and what life is like in Silicon Valley. If you have ever wondered what went into making Snapchat be sure to give this book a read.
The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger
Disney: what a monster brand! I think most of us grew up on Disney movies – some of us even visited the Magical Kingdom. I finished reading Robert Iger’s “Ride of A Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Year as CEO of Walt Disney Company” and I was blown away by the insights he shared and how much I have learned. As someone who loves learning about brands and how to tell a great brand story, getting a behind the scenes look into Walt Disney the brand was a learning experience.
Robert Iger has worked for the same company for over 45 years, and he is currently the 6th CEO to run the company since Walt founded it in 1923. Throughout the book, Iger made numerous mentions of his Chief Communication Officer Zenia Mucha. He said, “she always has the interests of the company at heart”. As someone who is in Marketing and Communications, hearing from the CEO of Walt Disney on how ways I can be more of an asset to an organization was impactful. This also highlights how close the brand manager works with the CEO and how important the role of a Brand Manager is.
This is definitely a book I will be recommending and re-reading in the future, it is packed with key lessons that everyone can learn from. I highly suggest you add it to the list of books you read to help with your development. If you have an affinity for Disney, I am sure you will enjoy this book.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight
We all recognize the famous tick and know the tagline, “JUST DO IT!” but do you know that when Phil Knight was just starting out he paid a graphic artist $35USD to make one of today’s most famous logos? Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE is a must read for anyone who is interested in what it takes to build a global brand. Also if you are a budding entrepreneur, this book should be a guide.
Phil Knight held nothing back in his memoir; he shows us how he built NIKE to what it is today. Knight documents how unsure he was about his place in life, how we knew he had a bigger calling and how he took the unbeaten track in life. I liked that he took the time to travel and gain a lot of insights he wouldn’t have gained being in Oregon. I also loved how honest he was about the struggle to build a business, and how he remained true to himself against everything else.
I admire this man and everything he’s achieved. I liked reading about the history of NIKE, how he decided on the name even though he didn’t love it, how he paid a graphic artist $35USD to create a logo that had “motion” and ended up with the swoosh/tick. That tick is now one of the most recognized logos in the world.
I’ve learned so much from reading this memoir, I honestly think this book should be required reading in schools. You learn about character, entrepreneurship, not giving up, taking the unbeaten road, believing in yourself and most of all- just doing it. Just do it!
There you have it – four books to read that give deep insights to major brands such as Netflix, Snapchat, NIKE and Disney.
Article edited by: Top Scholars Tutoring