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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to "zag" when everyone else "zigs", 28 Jun. 2007
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
In a previous book, The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier explains how companies can bridge the gap between business strategy and customer experience, noting that brand-building isn't a series of isolated activities; rather, it is a complete system in which five disciplines - differentiation, collaboration, innovation, validation, and cultivation - "combine to produce a sustainable competitive advantage. " His intent in Zag "is to zoom in on differentiation to reveal the system within the system."

Initially, he observes that the human mind deals with clutter the best way it can: by blocking it out. As a result, "the newest barriers to competition are the mental walls that customers erect to keep out clutter. For the first time in history, the most powerful barriers to competition are not controlled by companies, but by customers. Those little boxes they build in their minds determine the boundaries of brands." (Thomas H. Davenport and John C. Beck also have much of value to say about these boundaries and barriers in The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business.) In his latest book, Neumeier explains how to overcome these barriers with radical innovation - "the engine for a high performance brand" - that requires mastery of four disciplines:

1. Finding your zag
2. Designing your zag
3. Building your zag
4. Renewing your zag

Everything begins with identifying the zag. That is, offering something that combines the qualities of both good and different. "When focus is paired with differentiation, supported by a trend, and surrounded by compelling communications, you have the basic ingredients of a zag."

OK, but how to do that? Neumeier provides a design process that consists of 17 checkpoints, each formulated as a question. He explains how to answer each of them correctly (i.e. an answer most appropriate to the given organization) by proceeding through a sequence of 17 checkpoints, each of which evokes a question to be answered correctly (i.e. appropriate to the given organization), with the first two previously posed as a trilogy in The Brand Gap: "Who are you?" and "What do you do?" Responding to them may prove far more difficult than it may first seem and a correct (i.e. appropriate) answer to each is essential to achieving radical innovation. The third question posed previously, "Why should I care?" creates an even greater challenge. Fortunately, a correct (i.e. appropriate) answer to that question will be revealed by carefully proceeding through the remaining 15 checkpoints.

It is truly remarkable how much substance and how many thought-provoking questions Neumeier provides within a narrative of less than 200 pages. With both rigor and eloquence, he explains how radical innovation can break through ever-increasing clutter in a competitive marketplace, whatever and wherever it may be. Special note should also be made of the book's production values. All of his core concepts, checklists, key points, observations, and recommendations are presented within a visually appealing context. The last time I checked, there are about 34,000 business books on the general subject of brands. Neumeier has written two of the most valuable among them. Bravo!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Having the courage to be different, 9 Nov. 2006
By 
david (Batheaston, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If you type Branding into Google, you will find 1,330,000 references. Everyone knows about it, talks about it, but few have created a successful brand and can explain to others how they did it. Marty Neumeier has and can. He explains how to do it in simple stages avoiding jargon and confusion. This is not a 'padded' book, I read it in two sittings.

He writes beautifully with a full knowledge and appreciation of the next question on the reader's lips.

I particularly liked how he used the running example of a fledgling company throughout the book, bringing to life its stage by stage growth and illustrating how ground-breaking differentiation was achieved.

This is an essential book for designers and clients who need to demystify the branding process, and it will help them generate the vision and courage needed to create a unique brand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Brand Book I've Ever Read, 12 May 2011
By 
Daddy-O (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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I was recommended this by a colleague who's worked in branding for a number of years. Unlink lots of other books in this space, ZAG is very real and practical. I've come away with a number of very useful "tests" which I can use to check what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. I'm going to re-buy it once I get my Kindle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Zag A strategy for high performance brands, 28 Oct. 2011
Zag - rocket fuel for the would be tycoon. Everything about the book is appealing and well worth a read if you are trying to establish a niche in the market.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book — informed, 21 Jan. 2015
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An excellent book — informed, concise and really well-written. Also small enough for a coat pocket so it's easy to carry around some daily inspiration.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 15 July 2014
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Informative read
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