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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, very timely and cheekily amusing book on 21st century branding, 27 Oct 2010
This review is from: A Book About Innocent: Our Story and Some Things We've Learned (Paperback)
Trust is a vital ingredient of our society, and the capital of trust which corporations were endowed with has been seriously eroded over the last couple decades. This has occurred very visibly through a series of massive corporate scandals, but also through the thousand stings of little lies and the greed of some getting the better of their sense of responsibility. In a world where companies are no longer presumed innocent, what better response than to just BE innocent? In this book, the three founders of innocent tell us how their very successful and likable "little food company" came about and thrived. The book contains useful start-up advice for would-be entrepreneurs, sharing lessons they have learned about positioning, focus and persistence dispensed with commonsensical clarity and a healthy dose of British downplaying humor that I very much enjoy (and, as becomes clear throughout the book, a key ingredient of all things innocent). But it was the sections on the branding that I found the most interesting and an original contribution to the field of marketing. Innocent has built its brand by leveraging its "genuine authenticity" (I know it is kind of redundant, but you can probably think of a few "fake authentic" companies, so cut me some slack, here), by acting responsibly and in transparency, and by bringing its consumers into a brand that is not a mere image that wraps a product to make it sell better, but an expression of the values held by the company, its founders, and its employees. This approach is a very successful response to the context of lowered trust, heightened expectations (pressure for social responsibility) and increased internet-enabled transparency that businesses need to contend with today. If the authors make it sound delightfully easy, I think no one should be deceived into believing that achieving authenticity and the level of coherence without which the message will just ring hollow is very difficult indeed (blatant manipulation is a lot easier to perform, but just does not seem to work as well as it used to).

These insights and the not-so-serious tone (supported by a totally innocent zesty format and cheeky illustrations) make this book a delight to read, from cover to cover. As someone who has read more management literature than I really care to admit, I also found it a fresh and compelling look into what marketing should be about. For those of you who are interested in the topic of how to build meaningful brands in today's business environment I'd also recommend the excellent textbook by Claudia Fisher-Buttinger and Christine Vallaster, "Connective Branding".
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