on 14 May 2010
Scot McKee has cracked it: instructional text expressed in the form of coffee table pick up/put down magazine. It's simple to read: the points he makes are clear and concise, informative and reinforced with anecdotes and colourful experience. The guy has done it then written about it. Tough to find both skill-sets in one person working in the B2B arena in such an appealing way. He says what we'd like to think. And if we don't think like that we are formulaic and, ultimately, work in a way which is self-defeating. I like it. There's edge. But it's logical edge, not gratuitous. It's logical because it's founded on principles, built on method and finished with analysis. And the creative bit comes at the end of the process not the start. Which means it's got a chance or delivering results. (No, really).Creative B2B Branding (No Really): Building a Creative Brand in a Business World
on 15 November 2010
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!).
For every marketing student or practitioner this book is a must. Throw away, use as doorstops or light the BBQ with the over-sized and clichéd texts that your Uni prof forced you to pay exorbitant amounts for.
Don't be put off by the rather specific 'b2b branding' title. Anybody involved in even the vaguest way with marketing will benefit hugely from this book. For example, there is a chapter on various research methodologies, their pros and cons and even how to best use each one, complete with story about why there is a fat man, face down in cereal on the cover. For those who use the words 'logo' and 'brand' interchangeably, read chapter 2 before Scot hunts you down and skins you alive.
This is not to say that the book is not about B2B Branding. It is. Specifically. And there aren't many of those around. So if that's your game then this is just the steroid you need.
Neither should you be upset that this doesn't have endless pictures of pretty logos or fancy marketing campaigns. In fact you could count on one hand the number of pictures in this book. Yes. Here is a book on branding that does not have a picture of Coca-Cola, the Coke bottle or anything else related to Coke. And yet you will learn more from this book than those loaded with pictures of brands that we see a 1000 times a day anyway. He replaces the clichéd pictures with delightfully dry British humour.
This is like no marketing book you have read - whether on branding or otherwise. It is evident that Scot McKee lives and breathes brands and specifically B2B brands. He writes in a way that is extremely accessible, entertaining and yet puts the point across in an easy-to-understand-and-apply manner.
Hope that helps.
on 26 July 2010
I had never heard of scot McKee before I received his book but I don't mind admitting that I am now a bit of a scot McKee stalker. I regularly visit his blog and we follow each other via twitter (sounds a bit homo erotic but it's not, well not on my side anyway).
I really enjoyed Scots book. The tone is perfectly suited to the subject matter - to the point, informed and a bit mad - which I'm sure stems from Scots own personality. And that's kind where scot sets out his stall on branding. Your brand is not a clever logo, pictures of business clones in suits shaking hands; it's not a single campaign or even a group of campaigns.
Your brand (as I will now be preaching as often as people will listen) is everything your business does as it perceived by your customers, employees and prospects. Your brand is the personality of your organisation; it's what truly differentiates your brand beyond abc company and the new, faster and cheaper widget 765 compact edition for half price before the end of august with any other purchase.
One of the things that struck me while reading the book was just how much of what Scot recommends is regularly ignored by the great bland B2B business landscape and how it would be much more fun if people started to adopt Scots ideas while communicating their brands to us the unsuspecting business consumer.
Towards the end scot talks about social media (what was once briefly called web 2.0) and puts into context the power of being able to engage an audience establish their preferences and become part of the dialogue. This section is particularly interesting and provides some excellent ammunition to counter the "who cares what I had for lunch last Tuesday" objection which always rears it ugly head.
In summary if you are involved in helping others create a brand, grow awareness or even reduce customer service complaints then this book is definitely for you and would be a useful read for clients.
on 3 August 2010
If, like me, you have battled against the following scenario:
Marketing: "We need to talk about the brand"
Sir: "I want to see people shaking hands. Preferably in a dated, double-breasted Hugo Boss suit.
Sir: "Because it's what we do, we make business happen. And if you can't get shaking hands, I want people pointing at a computer screen"
then you will appreciate the sentiment of Scot's book. This isn't new, radical stuff, this is common sense. This is about making B2B the creative force it deserves to be, and desperately wants to be, when it's older. It's the same B2B that struggles to look past the suit, handshakes, and tall building stock photography, the colour blue, widgets, data speeds, faster, bigger, better. Where's the joy? Where's the relevance? The dose of reality?
I haven't read a B2B marketing book since I left university. Why? Because they're dull. They don't inspire. And where branding is concerned, it's all "well you'll need a logo to convey the brand personality" (box-ticked, lets move on). 'Creative B2B branding' gives the industry ( and me, to be honest) a much needed kick up the a*rse and gives b2b marketing practitioners an excellent framework with which to both rejuvenate and develop a creative brand.
It all starts with a story.....
on 19 January 2011
I'm not usually a fan of business books, colleagues have given me some in the past that have just seemed dull and talk utter pap. This one is different. I stumbled across Birddog (Scot's Agency) a couple of years ago and have enjoyed reading their pearls of wisdom and laughed out loud on many occasions - wishing I had the guts to commission them for some work. They have always appeared edgy, slightly barking, and it is great to see that Scot has carried through this personality into the book.
Personality is an important element of Scot's branding message. Scot doesn't rely on complex and theoretical models that are nonsense when applied in the real world, there doesn't even appear to be much science behind his methods. The main theme is to build a personality for your brand with the help of your customers and your colleagues.
Read it, enjoy it, laugh with it and then implement his ideas. If you are brave enough, you might end up with some adverts featuring a fat bloke with his head in a bowl of cornflakes.
on 18 September 2010
As someone who has learned all he knows about marketing from books, it's good to find one that I read all the way to the end. I've followed Scot from afar from some time, from the old days of him running a local agency to ours in Hampshire.
When I saw through his own social links that he'd written a book, I thought I'd part with the cash and see if he could translate his ranting style of Blog posts into a much longer, more succinct piece.
In short, he has.
It made me smile when through each chapter I started nodding as I was reminded me of a client in my own professional past, the barriers that we faced and how I'd do things differently in the future. It also got me thinking about my current business brands (and personal brand), especially the final case study (at which I'm still amazed he found a client with the balls - I know I never could).
I am now recommending this book to most of the people I know in marketing, branding and design as a 'must read'.
on 16 November 2014
I'd recommend this book to any B2B marketer who is thinking about giving their brand a lift. Scott is passionate, creative and convincing in the way he writes about B2B suffering from a lack of creativity. After a number of chapters I couldn't wait to get a conversation started - to speak with my team about how we are perceived, and how we can stand out in a busy marketplace.
The book does lack structure in places, and sometimes I felt as if Scott had gone off onto an unrelated tangent - however, the passion and ideas in other sections more than make up for this. A great inspiring read overall.
on 15 November 2010
In an economic climate of uncertainty Scot McKee makes the point that brands don't exist in theories and spreadsheets, they exist in the hearts and minds of people...even business people. His book is a timely reminder that the pursuit of risk reduction and quantifiable results is also a pursuit of the invisible brand when, contrary to popular opinion, there has never been a better opportunity for business brands to put their head above the parapet through creative strategy and communication. The point is enjoyably well made through his inimitable use of parrhesia.
on 8 August 2011
the funniest, and best B2B marketig book ever! that's it! nothing more to say. The author also turned out to be a very nice guy, always ready to reply via Twitter to his readers
although i would have preferred it in paperback format, the hardcover looks a bit ridiculous on such a thin book