Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Review: Sticky Branding by Jeremy Miller

As part of being a member of the book launch team for a buddy of mine, Jeremy Miller, I had to read the book ahead of its official public release, but I also reviewed it...honestly.

by Jeremy Miller, Owner of Sticky Branding
Click to visit page on Amazon.
Granted I am a friend of Jeremy’s, and if you buy this book through any of my links, I will receive a small commission.  However, I am one of the most objective people you will meet, either in person or virtually online.  I definitely recommend buying this book, especially if you have a business and want to make more money.

See Also: Video: Jeremy Miller of Sticky Branding: Rebranding for the Next Generation

Here is a more thorough review of this book—good and bad:

Upsides: Plainly put, reading this book will make you smarter.  If you have a business and want to make money, buy and read this book.  Jeremy Miller is brilliant.  He is a seemingly endless well of ideas, and he is always thinking.  He also practices what he preaches.  I met him via his LinkedIn Group Sticky Branding (a group on LinkedIn with over 35,000 members).  Throughout his book, he takes a few interesting angles.  For many parts of the book, he referred to when he took over the family business…and it was failing.  He walks us through things he did to turn around that business.  However, he also interviewed many businesses, sharing their branding secrets.  Throughout the book, he gives little nuggets that will help any business, but he makes some major points about how to brand yourself in a way that separates you from the pack (your competition).  What he shares applies to business, but what he shares in the book also applies to individual people looking for a new job or a promotion.  Several things Jeremy says in the book are common sense, but plenty of what he shares is purely breakthrough thinking…not just about branding but about overall business.  Jeremy has been there, done that, and is ready to walk you through the steps.

Downside: There is not a lot of reasons to dislike this book, but Jeremy is a brilliant mind but only an above-average writer.  This book will not entertain you very much, but it’s not boring, either.  I’ve talked with him, and he has a LOT more personality than you will get from this book.  It’s not dry, but I get more of his personality while talking with him and exchanging personal emails and messages.  He’s pretty amazing, but his formal writing does not really convey that as well as I know it should, but you'll definitely get a feel for his brilliance.
Overall Recommendation: If you want to position yourself or your business to make more money, buy this book.  (It even comes with a workbook.)  Read it, and force yourself to implement things you learn.  BUY THIS BOOK!

To get a flavor of some of the things inside the book, below here I am including some quotes I took while reading it:

Regarding the rate of Technological Changes (and Approaches Companies are Using)
“In 1900, the average travel speed in the (US) was eight miles an hour.  That’s a little faster than walking.  Fast-forward fifty years, and the velocity of travel accelerated to twenty-five miles an hour. Fast-forward again to 2000, and the rate of travel increased to seventy miles an hour. In the span of a century technology accelerated our rate of movement close to nine times.”
(Page 13)

Regarding our Supply Base and Competition
“The advancements in transportation allow us to move from one point to another with very little resistance.  They compress our world and increase our reach.”
(Page 13)

“Your customers are waiting.  They are craving for a company like yours”
(Page 19)

“To drive sales and grow a Sticky Brand, focus on one priority at a time: Volume, Velocity, or Value.”
(Page 22)

“The people who grow Sticky Brands are filled with pride. They take a great deal of pride in their work, their customers, and the results they deliver. And it shows.”
(Page 23)

“Sticky Brands make Big Goals and take Bold Actions.”
(Page 23)

“like an orange tree in an evergreen forest”
(throughout the entire book)

“No one ever said that business has to be fair.  Every company is trying to find a strategy or competitive advantage that positions its brand to win.”
(Page 25)

“Your customers are crying out for clarity.”
(Page 27)

“Once we knew what people were looking for, we made our website really easy to find.”
(Page 29)

“For a label to be useful it should be three things:

1. Short: Ideally ten words or less
2. Descriptive: The label offers an explanation of the contents
3. Memorable: Easy to find and easy to remember”
(Page 30)

Regarding putting together an effective elevator pitch
“We can get too creative. We use words and phrases that make people think, and that can lead to confusion…Thinking slows down our (and our prospect’s) ability to retain information.”
(Page 31)

“(A heuristic) is a visual shorthand that quickly conveys a lot of information and supports our desire for rapid decision making.”
(Page 32)

Regarding a Description of Your Brand
“Is (your brand) easy to remember and easy to refer?”
(Page 32)

“The middle (size) companies are rarely the first choice of customers.”
(Page 41)

“You have to give your clients a clear reason to work with you.”
-Bob Spiers, CEO, ProVision IT
(Page 41)

See Also: A Lesson in Branding: How I became a Little More of a Seahawks Fan

“Generalists can compete on three factors: Price, Availability, and Relationships.”
(Page 42)

“Shifts or downturns in a sector can be catastrophic for generalists and leave them competing solely on price.”
(Page 43)

“Every time you take on a client outside of your niche you are stretching and diluting your core skills and assets.”
(Page 50)

“The stalwarts of your industry love it when you take on any piece of business, because that pushes your brand back into that soft, squishy (undefined and nonthreatening, just-like-everyone-else) middle.”
(Page 50)

 “Sticky Brands have rigor in their sales and delivery.  They know who they are, what they do, and who they serve (and) rarely deviate from this path.”
(Page 50)

“A company with a Sticky Brand identifies what it does better than anyone else, and then doubles down on that expertise.”
(Page 52)

“(Customers) will seek out firms that have a unique expertise and choose them first.”
(Page 55)

“Sticky Brands are Positioned to Win, because they have a clear understanding of how they deliver value to clients, and they invest in the operational excellence to deliver on those needs.”
(Page 62)

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service that fits him and sells itself.”
-Peter Drucker
(Page 65)

“Many people purchase luxury items to enhance their physical appeal.”
(Page 68)

“Marketers who wish to influence the stories that consumers create must build stories around archetypes, not stereotypes.”
-Gerald Zaltman, Author
(Page 74)

“Massive rebrands are usually a sign of neglect.”
(Page 78)

“It doesn’t matter what the company promotes, it’s what the customers experience that counts. The experience shapes the perception of the brand.  Sticky Brands provide their customers compelling experiences that keep them coming back.  Find what makes your business unique and better, and bake that into the customer experience.”
(Page 82)

“Orange is the first color you pick up in peripheral vision. You’ll catch it out of the corner of your eye…The color radiates warmth and happiness, because it combines the energy and stimulation of red with the cheerfulness of yellow.”
-Matt Horne, CEO, DECO (small crack windshield repair)
(Page 90)

“Brand storylines have three elements:
1. Expertise: It’s a topic you know well and draws from your company’s core skills and assets
2. Strong Opinions: It’s a topic you are passionate about and can take a stance on
3. Point of Sharing: The topic resonates with your market and encourages others to participate”
(Pages 95 & 96)

“Strong opinions without expertise is a rant.”
(Page 96)

“Expertise without a strong opinion is boring.”
(Page 96)

“Try completing some of these statements (to craft your branding story that will be sticky):
We believe…
Our competitors get it wrong, because…
What frustrates us about our industry is…
What surprises most people about our approach is…
We never want to be associated with…
People commonly say this, but we think it’s actually…
What gets me most excited about our industry is…
The biggest risk to our customers is…”
(Page 106)

“If you don’t blow your own horn, someone else will use it as a spittoon.”
-Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager
(Page 107)

“When you connect and build relationships with your customers before they need you, they will seek you out when they are ready to buy.”
(Page 109)

“If (your customers) don’t like you, they will look for alternatives.  If they don’t trust you, they will never buy (from you).”
(Page 109)

“People buy based on their relationship with the brand.  And the more complex the product or service, the more important that relationship becomes.”
(Page 110)

“When people aren’t in the buying mode, they don’t want to be sold to.”
-Paul Edmond, CEO of Versature
(Page 110)

“When your customers choose you first, they don’t consider any other options…They know who to call and trust that you will deliver.”
(Page 116)

“Sticky Brands create a buzz about them, because their relationships are scalable.  They reach beyond traditional networking and advertising options to focus on community building.”
(Page 121)

“There are three layers of relationships:
Layer 1: Inner Circle (family, close friends, a few key business contacts)
Layer 2: Personal Connections (casual friends, acquaintances, colleagues, prospects, clients, referral partners)
Layer 3: Community (people met through bridging networks)”
(Page 122)

“Not everyone in the community is a potential customer, but they are active supporters of your brand.”
(Page 125)

“A large community is proof that your brand is credible and delivering great services.  It reduces the risk of buying from an unknown quantity.”
(Page 125)

“Large communities are unusual.  They immediately differentiate your business from the competition, because they are hard to grow, hard to maintain, and even harder for your competitors to duplicate.”
(Page 125)

“A good product does not stand on its own anymore. It is foundational but not enough…A [community] provides amplification.  It enables you to be heard above the roar of the crowd.”
-Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
(Page 125)

“Promotions and giveaways don’t attract people seeking a relationship.  They attract people seeking free stuff.”
(Page 129)

“You don’t have to punch outside your weight class (by marketing) everywhere, just in the communities that have shared values and interests with your brand.”
(Page 131)

“It is unlikely that you can thousands of followers or be a credible member of the community if you are perceived as using them for lead generation.  People see right through marketing-driven communities and avoid them…You don’t own the community.  You’re a member of it.”
(Page 132)

“Use the 4Bs of community building: Be Present, Be Opinionated, Be Generous, and Be Everywhere.”
(Page 133)

 “Customers go through three predictable buying stages: Awareness, Assessment, (and) Purchase.”
(Page 140)

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”
-Mario Andretti, Champion Race Car Driver
(Page 149)

“What separates Sticky Brands from everyone else is how they organize and focus their talent to perform at a higher standard.  They bring together people, culture, and values as a core asset of the company…They can beat better funded and bigger companies, because they are more focused and work together better.”
(Page 152)

“Investing in your culture is a value.  You either believe in it, or you don’t.”
(Page 157)

“We are building a culture that people love so much that they are willing to put their own money in it.”
-David Cronin, Co-founder of DevFacto
(Page 157)

“People buy from people – they buy from people they know, like, and trust.  The more active your employees are in their community, the more relationships they will form.  Not only will customers seek out your corporate brand, they will seek out the people (your employees) they know like and trust.”
(Page 160)

“Be brilliant at the basics.”
(Page 164)

“(Attention) to detail (allows) work to stand the test of time.”
(Page 164)

“When your clients know your company does the right things consistently, they won’t need to look anywhere else.”
(Page 165)

“(An) added bonus for taking pride in customer service: your customers will talk about you.”
(Page 169)

“It takes time and commitment to get better and to reach a point where your company can be considered world-class experts.  Do you have that level of commitment?”
(Page 173)

“How do you know if your company is doing well (or not)?  Without quantifiable customer feedback, all you have are opinions and hearsay…”
(Page 174)

“Ratchet up the energy and excitement in your company with Big Goals and Bold Actions.”
(Page 176)

“There are not many people who can walk into a gym for the first time and bench press three hundred pounds.  It takes time, effort, and training to develop the skills and strength to move that much weight.  The process is filled with ruts and plateaus.  (Business is the same way.)”
(Page 177)

“To get to the next level, a $5- to $7-million dollar business needs to invest in the infrastructure of a $10-million dollar business.  Once the systems, talent, and resources are in place, the company can experience the growth spurt and burst through the plateau.”
(Page 178)

“You don’t need to apply a lofty goal that sounds good on paper but is meaningless to your staff and customers.  Commit to goals that will make a tangible impact on your business right away.”
(Page 179)

“The biggest problem with isolated numeric goals (is that) they are all about you, not your customers.”
(Page 182)

“Every overnight successful business was twenty years in the making.”
-Jim Gilbert, CEO of Jim Gilbert’s Wheels and Deals
(Page 191)

“(You) cannot make investments into your company, people, or brand if you are only considering the next ninety days.”
(Page 193)

“Growing a Sticky Brand is a personal commitment.  It isn’t a job or a stepping stone in your career.  Growing a Sticky Brand is a way of life.”
(Page 195)

Jeremy Miller of Sticky Branding shares his unique experiences, research, and insight and gives the fruits of his labor into his book, Sticky Branding.

Feel invited to ask me any questions about Jeremy, the book, and

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