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BRANDS DON'T WIN

HOW TRANSCENDERS CHANGE THE GAME

A thoughtful and enthusiastic high-concept assessment of how top companies succeed.

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A look at how examples from politics can transform brand marketing.

In this debut business book, Bernard argues that the most successful companies, haven’t found success through traditional branding practices, but by treating their businesses like political campaigns. Companies such as Amazon, Tesla, and Uber—the “Transcenders” of the book’s subtitle—set own their agendas, according to this book’s framing, instead of responding only to competitors’ actions. They distill their core messages into concise, memorable slogans that help to turn customers into true believers. Bernard opens by analyzing several political campaigns, including those of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, to highlight elements of his framework, such as those mentioned above; in subsequent chapters, he uses these concepts to analyze the actions of booming companies. For example, he looks at how Starbucks presents itself as a “third place” that isn’t one’s home or work, and how skincare company Glossier went from covering makeup trends to setting them. The final chapter offers a few recommendations for readers looking to apply similar models to their own businesses. Bernard’s prose style, with its distracting abundance of capitalized terms (“As a Transcender leader, [Apple co-founder Steve] Jobs recognized that he needed two things: a winning Campaign Agenda and winning product candidates”) that may not appeal to all readers. However, like the companies he profiles, he knows how to make a convincing case, and he does a good job of presenting and supporting his arguments. The book is at its strongest when it highlights key elements of successful campaigns, as when Bernard recommends replacing the classic “elevator pitch” with something briefer that one can present when elevator doors are closing: “if you can only communicate four words to your customer on an elevator, it should be the Campaign Agenda, since it is far more important to Communicate the Agendathan it is to promote the brand.” The chapter offering tips to readers on applying the framework to their own businesses, however, is mostly quite general, focusing more on concepts than actionable steps.

A thoughtful and enthusiastic high-concept assessment of how top companies succeed.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5445-2232-6

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2022

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THE CULTURE MAP

BREAKING THROUGH THE INVISIBLE BOUNDARIES OF GLOBAL BUSINESS

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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