An enjoyable and helpful guide to developing and selling a brand.

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UNCOPYABLE

HOW TO CREATE AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE OVER YOUR COMPETITION

A marketing consultant shares brand differentiation strategies that resist imitation.

Miller (Stop Wasting Your Time at Trade Shows and Start Making Money, 2006, etc.), who boasts a Fortune 100 client list and more than 1,500 speaking engagements, delivers a coaching session in book form. Its rat-a-tat patois, the coined one-word title, and even the orange cover embody the author’s theories in practice. Don’t mistake the work’s brevity for a lack of substance. Miller oozes ideas but makes his points quickly, mostly through rapid-fire anecdotes. Short sentences—often questions—punctuate his discourse, engaging the reader as a stand-up comic might call out an audience member. He explains how competition focused on one-upping a rival’s product, price, or service breeds conformity rather than ingenuity. Miller’s prescription: “Look at what everybody else is doing, and don’t do it.” The goal: become “uncopyable” and create an “uncopyable attachment” among customers. His most vivid example is Harley-Davidson, whose devotees often tattoo its logo on their bodies. His trademarked advice is “Stealing Genius”—appropriating innovations from other industries. He recounts how Southwest Airlines copied NASCAR pit crews to service planes faster and how he helped construction trade show executives lift display ideas at an American Girl doll store. Miller asserts that businesses must forge anchors that plant their products in customers’ minds and triggers that activate brand choice when buying decisions arise. How? Creative words, phrases, color associations, and surprises that “shock and awe” customers. Miller bills himself as “Kelly’s Dad, Marketing Gunslinger”—uncopyable. His trigger color is orange; top clients get orange Mont Blanc pens. He advises establishing figurative or literal clubs, where sellers turn their best customers into “rock stars” and departure means sacrificing perks. The author elevates his clients (and himself) by pointedly dropping names throughout—Disney, Nordstrom, etc. His ideas aren’t all original, but his synthesis is, well, uncopyable. Miller has produced an easy and fun read with a wealth of actionable information that anyone responsible for building and marketing a brand should find useful. He acknowledges that nothing can remain uncopyable indefinitely, so he urges developing a mindset that’s continually on the lookout for inventive ideas. Copy that.

An enjoyable and helpful guide to developing and selling a brand.

Pub Date: Feb. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59932-787-7

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Advantage Media Group

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.

REIMAGINING CAPITALISM IN A WORLD ON FIRE

A well-constructed critique of an economic system that, by the author’s account, is a driver of the world’s destruction.

Harvard Business School professor Henderson vigorously questions the bromide that “management’s only duty is to maximize shareholder value,” a notion advanced by Milton Friedman and accepted uncritically in business schools ever since. By that logic, writes the author, there is no reason why corporations should not fish out the oceans, raise drug prices, militate against public education (since it costs tax money), and otherwise behave ruinously and anti-socially. Many do, even though an alternative theory of business organization argues that corporations and society should enjoy a symbiotic relationship of mutual benefit, which includes corporate investment in what economists call public goods. Given that the history of humankind is “the story of our increasing ability to cooperate at larger and larger scales,” one would hope that in the face of environmental degradation and other threats, we might adopt the symbiotic model rather than the winner-take-all one. Problems abound, of course, including that of the “free rider,” the corporation that takes the benefits from collaborative agreements but does none of the work. Henderson examines case studies such as a large food company that emphasized environmentally responsible production and in turn built “purpose-led, sustainable living brands” and otherwise led the way in increasing shareholder value by reducing risk while building demand. The author argues that the “short-termism” that dominates corporate thinking needs to be adjusted to a longer view even though the larger problem might be better characterized as “failure of information.” Henderson closes with a set of prescriptions for bringing a more equitable economics to the personal level, one that, among other things, asks us to step outside routine—eat less meat, drive less—and become active in forcing corporations (and politicians) to be better citizens.

A readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5417-3015-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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