How can a book which has almost no pictures be the ultimate introduction to branding?
I was highly sceptical, and only added it onto to my list of branding books to buy because it was cheap. How wrong I was.
In 172 readable, small-paperback pages, Al Ries and his daughter Laura unveil the fundamentals of branding, stripping away the most powerful myths and demonstrating with a mixture of brand successes, failures, falls and rises, that they know what they are talking about. What's more, what they say made sense of many things I have been dimly feeling towards in my 20 years as a communications professional.
I suspect that this book oversells itself slightly. The title made me suspicious, and the definitiveness of statements which go against what you find in other books makes you wonder, at points, if what it's saying is really this cut and dried. I probably would have disregarded this book if I'd read it ten years ago: but practical industry experience convinces me that what it is saying is right, and the other books, which focus on choosing your name and redesigning the logo, are the ones which only understand a part of the picture.
It took me about an hour and a half to read this book, and I will never see branding the same way again. That's good value for you. On the other hand, I probably won't be reading and re-reading it avidly. It makes its points, which can be quickly revised from the chapter headings. Now it's time to move on.
I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants (or needs) to learn about branding. I can't imagine a better introduction to the subject for someone who already has enough industry experience to recognise what it is talking about. I wouldn't recommend anyone to _only_ read this book: it is an extremely sound beginning, not an encyclopaedia.
In terms of what this book is trying to be, I don't think there could be any higher recommendation than that.