Branding Only Works on Cattle: The New Way to Get Known (and drive your competitors crazy) Hardcover – 16 Jan 2009
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"...provides an interesting read" (Brandchannel.com, February 16th 2009) "His observations generally are excellent, and his chapters on search, social media and the Internet in general are near brilliant." (BNET.com, March 24th 2009) "...a lively, chatty easy–to–read book...It′s well worth a look" (Research Magazine, April 2009) "Baskin′s book certainly has something valid to say...worth picking up...I would also recommend it for branding specialists" (TheBookBag.com, April 16th 2009) "Baskin′s thesis is compelling...worthy and brave...Baskin has at least started a debate." (Economist.com, August 7th 2009)
From the Inside Flap
Did you just flip the cover of this book to see the cow and grass the right way? If so, you’re already on your way to understanding a radical new idea: Behavior trumps branding. We can think about brands until, well, the cows come home, but unless your company and your consumers actually do things, branding is really a waste of time and money. You see, there’s an ugly secret the experts don’t want you to know: Consumers aren’t paying attention anymore, and they don’t believe or remember stuff anyway. So the traditional expectations of image and awareness are no longer valid. Since the digital world now connects people to one another – as well as to your company – your brochures, chat posts, or latest marketing tactics–du–jour better have real–time, 24/7 behaviors attached to them. You simply can’t expect to manipulate what people think when they – and perhaps your competitors – are already busy doing things. This is the first book that tells you why even the smartest, most memorable branding just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. In every chapter, Baskin reveals the dynamic, cutting–edge ways that brands are being reinvented around the world. Through detailed examples and checklists, he asks the tough questions that companies need to ask to get better answers...so you can start getting better results for your business. We all know that branding involves a lot more than just marketing. BRANDING ONLY WORKS ON CATTLE will be your essential guide to getting your customers and clients to jump into action. Want to start driving your competition nuts? Stop flipping this book and buy it.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Argumentative, poorly organised and with a distracting number of typing errors, it makes for a difficult read. Which is a real pity because author Jonathan Salem Baskin has a number of very useful things to say about the world of branding. He's the annoying boy in class, the show-off who's so determined to make the rest of us sit up and listen that we're in danger in missing out on many of the sharper observations he has to offer.
Baskin begins by announcing a shift in the world of branding, a new heresy to the established orthodoxy, and declares himself its high priest. However, for much of the early part of the book, it seems that the orthodoxy he's challenging is `advertising-as-branding' as practised by large agencies, rather than branding itself, which can distract from the value of much of what he has to say.
But the real challenge is his assertion, repeated throughout, that his represents a brave new world of thinking. I'm not so certain that much of his thinking is new; it's just that those who ply their trade in the great shop-windows of the world largely ignore it. For many business-owners, much of what Baskin has to write will seem common sense.
After dismissing most of what passes for branding as useless (aha! he thought that might get your attention), Baskin proposes a new behaviour-based model instead. He argues that most branding activity is geared towards achieving results that have little to do with sales and suggests that, "corporations ask nothing of branding other than glorified name recognition".Read more ›
The most interesting bit of the book is a topic I am really into: how to ensure branding is focused on changing behaviours, not just creating image. He suggests a new way of thinking about this as a "game", where you need to incentivice consumers to move along from awareness to interest to purchase.
It does take a bit of effort to get into, but its worth it if you stick with it as there are some genuinely new ideas in there. And not many books on branding can claim to do that.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I'm a twenty-plus year marketing professional with Fortune 500 experience and stacks of advertising and marketing books on my shelves. Some books were never read beyond the first few chapters. Branding Only Works on Cattle is different. It's incredibly relevant to marketing plan development, and I highly recommend it for marketing and C-level executives.
Portions of the book made me wince at misguided efforts from years gone by, but illumination requires painful self-examination. This is how we learn. Baskin's "Chronology of Purchase Intent" describes consumers' movement from problem recognition to purchase. This continuum provides a perfect basis from which to create specific, measurable marketing activity. Examples and stories provide edification along the way.
If you're willing to accept reality, and formulate marketing that drives action, this book is for you. Or, keep stroking Fluffy. She'll come back around.
In the age of disintermediation, or eliminating the middleman, and going direct to digital customers, people have no time for vague promises and linty images. Or as Baskin writes, useful marketing is the play-by-play of changing customer behavior and most branding is the color commentary with the sound turned down. Your product or service, Baskin astutely observes, is not a cause for you to promote, it must have a purpose, and that purpose is to get customers to do something.
And branding should be results-oriented, absent guesswork and hope. When changes in customer behavior is the branding focus, action becomes a potent tool and has a whole lot better chance of landing a sale than some fuzzy concept ad. Most of all, Baskin argues, you must measure any marketing activity, including branding. Millions of dollars are wasted without statistical proof.
Baskin cites the impact of statistical quality control in manufacturing as taught by American quality legend W. Edwards Deming and how that management instrument can be used in marketing to measure results and evaluate ROI. As Hewlett-Packard Founder Bill Hewett once said, "You cannot manage what you cannot measure. What gets measured gets done." Branding Only Works on Cattle is loaded with useful gems that are fit for use. I'm buying copies for business friends and clients.
Richard J. Noyes, business consultant, formerly Associate Director of the MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Study
Branding Only Works on Cattle notes that most branding efforts are wasted because the emphasis is on changing customers thinking rather than their behavior. Author Jonathan Baskin mentions the ubiquitous TV ads that don't tell you the purpose of the product or show the company name until late in the commercial after you've already left for the refrigerator.
Baskin points out that branding is expensive and usually goes unmeasured and that every branding claim must be evaluated against the sales it will bring in. Or put another way, most branding is made up of nouns instead of action verbs that are directed at customers who aren't listening much anymore and are impatient with intangibles. Branding should promote action and earn loyalty and only does so for high-quality products and services.
Guerilla, or word-of-mouth marketing, only works when it delivers something customers will talk about. Poor quality of service like trying to find a live person to talk to destroys brand benefits. Baskin also writes that branding for image rather than actionable customer behavior (getting customers to do something) is the business equivalent of buying a lottery ticket.
Buy this useful book, study it, and evaluate all future branding against measurable return on investment.