Yes, yes, yes, that was a very nice brand thingy document whatsit. Now then, I need a new case study and my wife likes pink...' The first thing that you notice when reading Scot McKee's book is the style that it's written in. Mckee has a certain direct, elaborate and definitely humorous way of putting things. From its inception McKee takes us through a short history of B2B branding to its current state, mixing theory and practical examples and ends up taking a look into the (online) possibilities that lie ahead.
The journey that the book takes you through conveys the continuous need for improvement of B2B branding efforts. A brand is a confusing thing, it's not merely the badge or logo but a brand is all about perceptions in the minds of an audience. What we as marketers must manage are those perceptions in order to build a reputation that sets our company apart from the competition. Preferably we manage this in a creative way. The central message of this book therefore is: `B2B marketer, dare to be different!". In these often homogeneous markets we operate in, having a brand and reputation may well be the most important thing that makes buyers choose us. Not anything to think lightly of, and McKee doesn't. He pleas to B2B marketers to work on storytelling the benefits instead of merely stating the functional features of products or services. He uses a lot of real-life examples from his own experience to support this. The examples range from rebranding Eskimo's, using corporate brand tattoos, through to the use of dodgy stock photography and rocket science.
What's good about the book is that McKee uses his own voice to tell his story and while it makes you laugh frequently it helps you understand what he's on about. McKee is passionate about creative B2B branding - "Love is the magic ingredient" - and he manages to convey his enthusiasm effectively throughout this book. While McKee himself claims that he's never been able to read a whole business book I was happy to read his book, although I would have liked it even better if the form it was written in would have been more creative - it's a lot to take in and although the content is good, a more creative form could help to digest this even better. All in all a great expose on the way forward for B2B branding, with a lot of true to life observations, interesting statements and swipey, clicky things that you want to hug and kiss (really!).