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Brand esSense: Using Sense, Symbol and Story to Design Brand Identity Paperback – 3 Nov 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Kogan Page; 1 edition (3 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749470011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749470012
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 290,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description



For those who really want to get much deeper into the essence of branding, this is a masterful book.

Neil Gains provides a uniquely insightful, step by step approach to really effective branding.

Brand esSense should be mandatory reading for marketers and brand owners.

" (Alan Fairnington, Managing Partner, Duxton Consulting Group)

"If you're like the rest of us in marketing - or even part of that ever increasing, inquisitive public, wanting to know about the senses - you've come to the right place. Neil Gains writes with a wealth of science mixed with a dollop of marketing, and baked with practicality. Read what he has to say about how the senses do more than please our eyes, nose, palate, skin. These senses create meaning. Brands can use these meanings to grab their consumers, holding them closer than ever before. And Brand esSense is a fun read. You end with practical frameworks for designing products and services. But you have to read the book, take it in, and really think just how YOU are going to harness what clever developers and marketers have been profiting from for years." (Howard Moskowitz. Ph.D. President, Moskowitz Jacobs, Inc.)


At last someone has woven together all of the pieces of the puzzle on the very hot and timely topic of integrating the senses into Brands. In his book Brand esSense, Neil opens up the world of sensory, storytelling, symbols and archetypes with scientific endorsement, revealing key insights behind many renowned case studies of brand success and failure. Brand esSense delivers a practical 'how to' guide for developing and engaging the senses into your brand - regardless of whether it is a consumer, business to business or experience brand.

This book will be a resource you will find yourself referring to again and again.

" (Karen Stanton, Regional Marketing, Sensory and Consumer Insights Director, International Flavors and Fragrances)


Neil Gains has succeeded in beautifully pulling together an astonishing number of strings that span different disciplines.

Admirably syncretising sensory research with the more established consumer research practices, he ends up with a fascinating new paradigm on Brand research and eventually Brand Management.

His style is witty and light and will give the reader the pleasure of having much of what is needed at hand in order to provide a checkpoint for their own Brand esSense, and eventually allow them to start experimenting on how to write their Brand's next chapter.

" (Massimo Cealti, Symrise Global Scent & Care, VP Consumer & Market Insight)

"Brand esSense is a thought-provoking and entertaining thesis on the power of sensory branding. As advertisers and marketers continue to clutter what is already an overcrowded visual environment, huge opportunities lie in exploring how companies can connect with their consumers across other, less densely occupied sensory channels. The book provides a practical framework within which marketers can identify a brand's true archetype and communicate this across multiple sensory touch points. The author has succeeded in blending some complex insights from the academic discipline of sensory science with real world applications and a host of illustrative case studies. Simple, elegant and a must read for anyone interested in finding the ideal sensory mix for their brand." (Professor Gemma Calvert Founder, Neurosense and Professor of Neuromarketing at the Nanyang Business School, NTU, Singapore)

"Brand equity is essentially an emotional construct, and nobody knows that better than Neil Gains as demonstrated in this book. Want to leverage the quick, intuitive choice that favours your branded offer? Then Neil's book should be your automatic choice in learning more about this vital topic." (Dan Hill, founder/president of Sensory Logic and author of Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success (Kogan Page, 2010))

"Brand esSense is a valuable book providing insights into what make brands stronger, better and more differentiated. Finding the true purpose of brands in an increasingly noisy world is not an easy endeavour, but the book provides great ideas and tools to enhance the success of the journey. The book is highly recommendable and a good read for any marketer and leader who aspires to make a difference." (Martin Roll, Business & Brand Strategist Martin Roll Company)


Brand esSense is a great read for any researcher who wants to wants to understand the role of the senses and emotions in human behaviour.

It takes the reader on a journey from the way we experience the world through to the fundamentals of human motivation, providing clear and detailed overviews of sensory research, semiotics and the role of emotions and archetypes in shaping decision making. Neil is a leading global authority on sensory research and this is recommended reading for anyone who wants to better understand the relationship between buyer behaviour and brand experience.

" (Dan Foreman, Chief Marketing Executive, Lumi and ESOMAR President)

"an easy read for anybody broadly familiar with brands, the senses, and qualitative research. Even for people deeply steeped in the area, there are nuggets in there that they will find illuminating or useful. So, I would warmly recommend it." (Ray Poynter, Director, Vision Critical University and author of The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research)

Book Description

Using a unique blend of the latest market research and leading brand design approaches, Neil Gains examines the importance of brand identity and especially the application of sensory principles to create a strong brand.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SusanB on 11 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
I work in a company that has created many wordy definitions of who we are and what we aim for, without quite capturing the essence of why we do what we do and keep coming to work. Using the concepts in this book including storys and archetypes we have finally been able to address this gap and we are now well on the way to building a much stronger emotional connection both internally and externally.

The first part of this book contains a very comprehensive guide to the theory around sense making and symbols. In the later part of the book Neil covers story telling, archetypes and brand building, with real examples from his work with companies.

While I have the advantage of working with Neil in person, this book is an excellent introduction to his approach and provides a great starting point for anyone who wants to add resonance and meaning to their brand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Tam on 11 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
Dr Gains' new book Brand esSense summarises his unique blend of brand thinking - combining traditional and contemporary approaches that utilise the latest developments in sensory science, semiotics and storytelling.

His extensive research into the topics, combined with his years of on-the-ground experience with clients and insights practitioners in Asia-Pacific, ensures that his book will serve an important source of ideas for all.

It does not matter whether you are a young graduate contemplating a career in brand insights or an industry veteran in search for new thinking and ideas - this book helps you to reflect on your current beliefs and offers a few important recommendations on where the future lies for branding through archetypes, senses, symbols and codes.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stan on 4 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
The book addresses the very relevant topic of the Total Product Experience. Intended to open the traditional borders between the product oriented R&D and the consumer oriented marketing functions. Next to this, and at least as important, is that it is very well written, with nice examples, and therefore reads very pleasantly.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By cakes on 12 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is absolutely brilliant. It is a must-read if you are doing anything related to multi-sensory design or marketing. It is clear, concise and enlightening.

Above all else, it is the vanguard of current research into this topic.

You won't regret buying it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Exploring and expanding understanding of target markets 16 Dec. 2013
By Wei Kong - Published on
Format: Paperback
Brand EsSense is an enjoyable exploration into understanding how we see things in the world around us, and how the world around us in turn influences our perception of what we see. For researchers and designers familiar with established research methods, Neil Gains’ explanation of the senses at work gives a bigger view of how to deliver effective messaging to specific audiences and situations.

From understanding of goals, associations, symbols, metaphors and more, through to building stories and using archetypes, Brand esSense helpfully references work by Neil and by others with examples of branding of snack foods, the IT industry to airlines in explaining principles in context.

Though much of my work on user experience and behavior in healthcare falls into a different sector, correct messaging and being on-brand is just as relevant. This book offers a way to get a deeper richer understanding of my target markets and so better satisfy their needs and wants.

Wei Kong, Researcher and Designer, Singapore
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Highly Recommend 27 Jan. 2014
By Kevin S. Gray - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been in Marketing Research for more than 25 years and I learned from this book. It's a product of formal education that is both broad and deep, extensive outside reading and many years working on the client and agency sides as a real-world Marketing Researcher. Gains is an excellent writer and the book is entertaining without being superficial. Brand esSense itself is a good example of the key concepts and practices it aims to communicate, and succeeds in blending sensory experience, symbolism and storytelling into an accessible and practical framework for branding. The book is also a reminder, to those who need it, that marketing is more than retargeted ads.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Building great brands 3 Jan. 2014
By Jay Olson - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Forging strong emotional connections that center on brand meaning & core values is essential to building brand equity and driving consumer choice. During the last decade there has been an avalanche of new books that focus on either sensory branding, semiotics or storytelling. Brand esSense is the first book that combines all three of these vital building blocks together in a brilliantly written, easy-to- read format, backed by lots of highly relevant and compelling examples. Kudos to Neil Gains! As a brand and marketing strategist, I thoroughly enjoyed reading every page from cover to cover and would highly recommend this masterpiece to any marketing or creative professional looking to expand his/her knowledge in branding, visual design and/or marcom.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Groundbreaking Brand Book 16 Dec. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
In Brand esSense, Dr Neil Gains manages to weave together many previously unconnected themes of brand symbolism, storytelling and the senses, around fundamental consumer goals. He lays out as blueprint for establishing the true north for any brand, virtuous from sensory triggers to end goals or consumer jobs. One of those books you can keep pulling down to decode a brand, a piece of marketing or to spark some ideas for an innovation workshop. It makes many of the "pop marketing" books look very light on substance in comparison. Bravo Dr Gains !
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Connecting brand stories, symbols and sensory touchpoints 16 Dec. 2013
By Susan Bell - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
There are hundreds of books out there about branding - some useful, some not. The least useful are the ‘me me me’ books , in which the author claims sole responsibility for some mega brand’s mega success.

Neil Gains has written a very different kind of book from these. The thesis behind his book Brand EsSense: Using Sense, Symbol and Story to Design Brand Identity is that ‘successful brands align their brand story with consumer goals, and then ensure that the brand’s symbols and sense (experiential) cues are consistent with them’. He clearly and carefully explains what he means by brand stories, brand’s symbols and sensory cues.

As you might guess from its title, this book is in the tradition of Martin Lindstrom’s book BRAND Sense. Both books are very readable and accessible; both focus on brands as a sensory experience. As Gains says: ‘Symbols, including brands, are made real through our senses.’

However, Gains has added to Lindstrom’s work in two ways. The first part of the book describes the senses in greater detail than in Lindtsrom’s, and cites contemporary academic research where needed.

Brand EsSense is also different from BRAND Sense in that the second part of Brand EsSense is about how brands can leverage and create meaning through symbols and stories. The chapter on semiotics (the study of symbolism) is useful and comprehensive. Stories ‘define why a brand exists’ – so the chapters on stories draw on research into archetypes, giving examples of brands drawing on one or more of the 12 main archetypes, such as the Artist (LEGO) and the Joker (Virgin Airlines). I particularly liked the point that many brands are a mix of different archetypes.

The last part of the book contains a practical description of the EsSense framework, so the reader can apply the ideas in the book to their own brand. I am going to try it.
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